February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. Spaying and neutering are not only beneficial to your animal companions’ health and comfort, but are the single most important thing you can do to save cats and dogs from the suffering and death caused by overpopulation. Spaying and neutering are routine, affordable surgeries that can prevent thousands of animals from being born, only to suffer and struggle to survive on the streets, be abused by cruel or neglectful people, or be euthanized in animal shelters for lack of a loving home.
Spaying and neutering makes a big difference: Just one unaltered female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in only six years. In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce an incredible 370,000 kittens!
Sterilized animals live longer, happier lives. Spaying eliminates the stress and discomfort that females endure during heat periods, eliminates the risk of uterine cancer, and greatly reduces the risk of mammary cancer. Neutering makes males far less likely to roam or fight, prevents testicular cancer, and reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Altered animals are less likely to contract deadly, contagious diseases, such as feline AIDS and feline leukemia, that are spread through bodily fluids.
Communities spend millions of taxpayer dollars each year coping with problems that a failure to spay and neuter causes. The one-time cost of spaying or neutering is far lower than the expense involved in rounding up strays, feeding and housing abandoned animals, and euthanizing those for whom homes can’t be found.
Cities and counties all over the country are aggressively addressing the animal overpopulation crisis, requiring everyone who chooses not to spay or neuter to pay a hefty breeder’s fee. Areas with mandatory spay-and-neuter laws have reported a significant reduction in the number of animals who are taken to their facilities and subsequently euthanized.
Many communities have low-cost or free spay-and-neuter clinics that make it easy for everyone to do the right thing and have their animals sterilized. Call 1-800-248-SPAY to find your nearest low-cost spay-and-neuter clinic.
Summary: Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Animal Companion:
- Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life.
Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.
- Neutering provides major health benefits for your male.
Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer.
- Your spayed female won’t go into heat.
While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they’ll yowl and urinate more frequently-sometimes all over the house!
- Your male dog won’t want to roam away from home.
An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate! That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he’s free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.
- Your neutered male will be much better behaved.
Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.
- Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat.
Don’t use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds-not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.
- It is highly cost-effective.
The cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray!
- Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community.
Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna and frighten children. Spaying and neutering packs a powerful punch in reducing the number of animals on the streets.
- Your pet doesn’t need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth.
Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children-especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are tons of books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way.
- Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation.
Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.