We are all familiar with the discussion that happens so often with regards to owning an animal, and we see the television commercials and ads that always remind us that it is important to spay and neuter your pets, but there are far fewer people that actually understand why this is important.
There are an estimated 10 million pets that will end up in shelters and pounds every year for a wide variety of reasons. Many of them are lost or have been abandoned, and some are homeless and were born on the streets. These animals are picked up by animal control or turned in to the shelters due to the fact that they are not able to be cared for in a loving home, however we must realize that they are being produced by animals that are generally members of a loving home. If a cat is left out at night and is not spayed or neutered, there is a good chance that this pet is seeking other cats to mate with, which produces more cats that do not have homes. If a dog manages to escape from a yard, as they often do when they are seeking a mate, they are attempting to produce more dogs. These animals will generally be born on the streets or potentially within the owner’s home, only to have the owner desperately seeking others to give the puppies or kittens to. When homes cannot be found they end up in shelters.
In addition to the homelessness problem, many people are unaware that it has health benefits to your pet if they are spayed or neutered. Many types of cancers that are common in dogs and cancers can be reduced through spaying and neutering. Additionally, most injuries and losses occur when an animal escapes and roams. Their desire to escape and roam is generally increased when they want to mate or are in heat, which are both eliminated when the animal is fixed. If we reduce the animal’s urges to escape in order to find a mate, we significantly reduce their propensity to be hurt while they are outside the yard and loose on the streets.
Even though many people will delay spaying and neutering due to “feeling bad” or “taking away their manhood” it is important to understand that it is completely safe to spay and neuter your pet as young as 1 year old. The health benefits and reductions to the pet population are worth the effort it takes, and the feelings that you get about the procedure are not shared by your animal. They will not notice that they are spayed or neutered, nor will they be “changed” as a result of it. They will still be your loving pet who wants to take walks, spend time cuddling and enjoys your company. They will just be a little safer and healthier after the procedure. Do not delay and wait until something bad happens to spay and neuter your pets, make it part of their regular health care.