Responsible pet parents know that one of the best ways to ensure your pet’s longterm health and help decrease the epidemic of pet overpopulation is to spay or neuter your furry friend. Despite the information available regarding the benefits of fixing your animal, however, not all caretakers are as sold on the idea. If you or someone you know is on the fence about the procedure, read on for 4 reasons you should spay or neuter your pet:
1. Your pet will live longer. Studies show that spay/neuter lowers the risk of cancer and UTI infections in pets. According to a 2013 report by USA Today neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than unspayed female dogs. The report goes on to add that in Mississippi, the lowest-ranking state for pet longevity, 44% of the dogs are not neutered or spayed.
2. You’ll save money. Spay/neuter surgery is a one time cost, and often the price is quite low. Compare this to the cost of caring for a pregnant pet or a little of puppies or kittens and you’ll see that it is significantly more cost effective to have your pet fixed.
3. Your pet will be better behaved. In both cats and dogs spay/neuter surgery has been proven to ameliorate many behavioral issues such as urine marking, roaming, and aggression. The surgery will not change your pet’s fundamental personality, only curb those issues that are related to hormonal surges.
4. You’ll help your community. Animal homelessness is a serious problem across the globe-–in the United States alone about 5-8 million animals end up in shelters every year, and many of them are euthanized because there are not enough available homes. Sad as this is, there is something you can do about it: By choosing to spay/neuter your pet your are contributing to keeping the homeless animal population down as opposed to increasing the number of animals in need of homes.
If you’re still not convinced, check out these myths and facts about spay/neuter from Petfinder:
Myth: A female cat or dog should have a litter before she is spayed.
Fact: The sooner you spay your female, the better her health will be in the future. As long as a kitten or puppy weighs more than 2 pounds and is 2 months old, he or she can be neutered or spayed. Many veterinarians practice perfectly safe early sterilization. The longer a female goes unspayed, the greater the likelihood of developing mammary tumors or uterine infections. In fact, a female spayed before her first heat (6 to 9 months of age) has one-seventh the risk of developing mammary cancer as an intact female.
Myth: Spaying or neutering (sterilization) will alter my pets personality.
Fact: Any slight changes will be positive. Regardless of the age when spayed or neutered, your pet will remain a caring, loving and protective companion. Neutering will reduce the need to breed, and that has a calming effect on many animals. Both neutered male canines and felines tend to stop roaming and fighting, and they also lose the desire to mark their territory with urine.
Myth: Companion animals will become fat and lazy if they are neutered.
Fact: Absolutely not! Lack of exercise and overfeeding make pets fat and lazynot neutering. Your pet will not gain weight if you provide exercise and monitor food intake. Neutering is good for your pet, since sterilized pets tend to live an average of two to three years longer than unsterilized pets.
Myth: Sterilization is a dangerous and painful surgery for my pet.
Fact: Spaying and neutering are the most common surgeries performed on animals. With a minimal amount of home care, your pet will resume normal behavior in a couple of days.
Myth: Children should witness the miracle of birth.
Fact: Countless books and videos are available to teach your children about birth in a responsible manner. Letting your pet produce offspring that you have no intention of keeping is teaching your children irresponsibility. Anyone who has seen an animal euthanized in a shelter for lack of a home knows the truth behind this dangerous myth.
Many states and counties have established low-cost spay/neuter programs that make the surgery affordable. Many cities also offer reduced licensing fees for owners of spayed and neutered pets. To find a low-cost program near you, call your local humane society or shelter, or call toll-free (800) 248-SPAY or visit TAILS Resource Page.