One of the most important decisions that we make as pet owners is to spay or neuter our animal companions. This decision has a positive impact on our pet’s health, as well as the health of our community. Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100-percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats.
Math: Too Many Animals, Not Enough Homes
For every human born, there are seven puppies and kittens born. The good news is that there are currently 86 million cats and 78 million dogs living in American households. The sad news is that there are an estimated 6–8 million homeless animals entering shelters every year. Approximately half of these potentially adoptable animals are euthanized. Most are not the offspring of homeless or “street” animals–they are the puppies and kittens of cherished family pets. As a matter of fact, a staggering 25 percent of all shelter animals are purebred.
Spay/Neuter: The Health and Longevity of Your Pet
Altered animals have a low-to-no risk of being afflicted by mammary gland tumors and cancer; prostate cancer; perianal tumors; pyometra; and uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers. However, reproductive cancers are common among older dogs that have been bred.
An unspayed female dog bleeds for about 10 straight days twice a year. She will bleed on everything she comes in contact with inside your house and on the ground outside. As soon as she has marked your yard, you can anticipate a constant parade of unneutered male dogs trying to gain access to your property. Fenced yards are not always deterrent enough.
Spaying and neutering increases your pet’s chances of a longer and healthier life. Altering your canine and feline friends will increase their lives an average of one to three years for dogs and three to five years for cats.
The Scary Truth About Unneutered Dogs:
Negative Behavior is the number one killer of dogs
Most dog bites to humans are by unneutered male dogs.
The largest number of serious dog bites to children comes from unneutered male dogs.
The largest percentage of roaming dogs is unneutered males.
The largest incidence of dog-to-dog aggression is between or by unneutered males.
There are a number of popular myths about spaying and neutering. Here are a few of the most common–and the truth about each.
Altering makes a dog fat
Spaying or neutering at the youngest possible age–before the dog has reached sexual maturity–generally has no effect whatsoever on weight. Dogs that undergo the surgery after reaching sexual maturity may show an increased appetite because this surgery does affect hormone balance. However, overweight dogs become this way as a result of overfeeding and lack of exercise.
Altering makes a dog lazy
Neutering reduces a male dog’s desire to find female dogs in heat. Spaying and neutering does not make dogs lazy. In fact, altered dogs are as playful and energetic as intact dogs.
Altering changes a dog’s personality
The only personality changes that result from spaying or neutering are the positive changes–no roaming, less tendency to mark territory, and less aggression.
It’s good for children to see the miracle of birth
Bringing more puppies (or kittens) into a world already overburdened with thousands of homeless animals is not the best way to show your children the birth process. You can show them a video online.
Although sterilization does cost money, it will save you money in the long run because you will not be paying for the treatment of the many common diseases that afflict unsterilized animals as they age. Most private veterinarians perform spay/neuter surgeries as part of your pet’s wellness care. If you are unable to pay for the cost of surgery, there are organizations in most cities that will perform the surgery at little or no cost.