Reasons to Spay and Neuter Your Pets
Helping Every Pet Find a Home
Every pet deserves a loving home, but not all of them get one. Nearly 8 million animals in the United States are homeless. In some states more than 300,000 homeless animals are euthanized each year with another 2.7 million adoptable animals euthanized in shelters because there is no place for them to go.
The solution to bringing these numbers down is spaying and neutering your pets. By reducing the number of animals that need a home, we can increase the quality of care our dogs and cats receive and better ensure that every adoptable animal finds a loving home.
What is Spaying and Neutering?
Spaying and neutering are common procedures that alter the reproductive organs of dogs and cats to avoid pregnancy:
- Spay – the removal of a female animal’s reproductive organs to prevent conception.
- Neuter – the removal of a male animal’s testicles to eliminate the ability to impregnate a female.
Other common terms include “fixed” or “altered.” A male dog with testicles is fertile. It is more difficult to tell if a male cat has been neutered. You may be able to determine if a female dog has been spayed by looking for a small scar on the abdomen. When cats are spayed, some clinics will mark them with a small tattoo, or clip their ears. If you do not see these normally obvious signs, check the abdomen for shaved fur or a small scar.
Benefits to Pets, Owners & the Community
Spaying and neutering your pets most importantly reduces the number of homeless animals in your neighborhood, but the animals are not the only benefactors. Spaying and neutering your pets benefits pet owners as well, including:
- Reduction/elimination of urine marking
- Lowered aggression levels
- Elimination of mounting and similar dominance-style behaviors
- Lowered risk for cancer and uterine infections
- Elimination of messy heat cycles
Debunking Common Myths
The following is a list of common myths associated with “fixing” animals:
- My pet will gain weight – Spaying/neutering has nothing to do with weight gain. Like people, a healthy diet and exercise will keep your pets at a normal, healthy weight.
- You shouldn’t fix a purebred animal – Purebreds equally contribute to the overpopulation problem.
- I will be responsible for the babies – This might be true, but who is going to be responsible for the litter that all those babies will have? You can only be responsible for making decisions for your animals.
- My dog will lose his/her protective instincts – No, your pet will not lose his/her protective instincts because of altered sex hormones; the two are not related.
- Spraying and Neutering is too expensive – Most local clinics charge less than $100 to spay or neuter your pet. Community shelters will often offer these services for free as part of a special promotion or event. Find a low cost spay/neuter program in your neighborhood.
The greatest myth about animal overpopulation is that you cannot make a difference. Every cat and dog owner has the potential to greatly impact animal overpopulation. It is an issue facing our communities that we can only solve together.
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