In honor of National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week (November 5th-11th), star of National Geographic Wild’s #1 series, Dr. Jan Pol from The Incredible Dr. Pol took time from his busy schedule to offer our readers his expertise on spaying and neutering, as well as answer some burning questions we had about him, his family and the show. We’re HUGE fans of the show and so excited to get the opportunity to interview him as well as help spread the word about the importance of spaying and neutering all pets to help reduce the number of unwanted animals who end up in shelters through no fault of their own.
10 Questions with The Incredible Dr. Pol
1) We know that you’re helping to spread the word about reducing the homeless pet population as part of National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. What age should pets be spayed or neutered? Is it ever too early?
We spay and neuter pets at 4 months. This is the ideal age for us. I know some places do it earlier, but I like to do it at 16 weeks.
2) Are there other benefits to spaying and neutering pets besides reducing the homeless animal population/overcrowding in shelters?
Yes. It reduces the incidence of mammary tumors, uterus infections and in males the prostrate problems later in life.
3) Why do you think some people are reluctant to spay or neuter? What are the most common reasons (excuses) you hear from people?
Many men don’t want their dogs castrated (too close to “home”.) Otherwise many times it is the cost. Often the excuse is that “My friend wants a pup”, but what happens to the rest of the litter?
4) Besides spaying and neutering, what’s the most important piece of advice you can give to pet owners about keeping their animals healthy?
Regular checkups, quality dog food, regular vaccinations, heart worm checks, and lots of love & exercise.
5) You obviously LOVE what you do! Are there parts of the job that you really dislike, or types of animals you find especially difficult to deal with?
As a veterinarian, we have to put pets to sleep. This is never easy, especially if they have been part of the family their whole life. Animals that are not socialized are much harder to work with.
6) What advice do you have for people who think they might like a career working with animals?
You have to think about the welfare of the animals and not because of the medical part. Be practical! Keep your grades up and do the best you can.
7) You have SO many fans! Is there a downside to being famous? Has it affected your personal life or practice?
Yes, it has changed our lives! We can’t go out to eat without being interrupted, but it is so nice to have all the people come up and tell us how they like the show and how the whole family watches it!!
8) I love watching your son when he rides along to assist you on a call? Have you ever tried to convince him to pursue a veterinary career?
Yes, but he knows better! Seriously, I have never tried to convince any of my children to become veterinarians. We feel that they must find a career that they enjoy.
9) Besides porcupine injuries and having to flip cows on their backs, what are some other crazy conditions or situations you’ve dealt with over the years?
Too numerous to count! Do you have a few weeks to listen? We have treated bucking rodeo animals, snakes attacked by the rat he was supposed to eat, calves with two heads, and cyclop lambs among many more.
10) We can’t wait for Season 3 to start in January! What can we expect? Will there be new cast members or any big surprises? Give us a hint!
They are getting an hour episode per week and they are filming with at least 6 cameras all day long six days per week. The editors cut out all the real gross parts. So we never know what ends up in the shows. We do know there will be lots of surprises. There will be family get-togethers as well as new exciting cases.
Don’t miss Season Three of The Incredible Dr. Pol, beginning January 5, 2013 at 9pm on National Geographic Wild!