In Honor of World Spay Day: Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Pet
On the last Tuesday of every February, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and its international partners host World Spay Day — a time devoted to raising awareness about the many positive benefits of spaying and neutering. While “fixing” pets remains just as important throughout the calendar year, this day is an opportunity to remind ourselves and our neighbors to take this critical step in helping community animals.
Many people assume that spaying female pets and neutering male pets will leave owners footing a hefty vet bill. However, an abundance of low-cost and sliding scale clinics offer widely accessible spay/neuter services (try the Humane Society’s handy search tool!). Surgery is painless, thanks to general anesthesia, and medication is administered to minimize post-procedure discomfort. Both you and your best friend have next to nothing to lose and everything to gain, and here’s why.
Mitigate shelter overcrowding: Dogs can give birth to 2 litters per year, while cats can give birth to up to 3 litters per year. Though many people assume the majority of newborn puppies and kittens find good homes, statistics are not as optimistic.
According to the Humane Society, an estimated 6-8 million animals end up homeless each year. Unfortunately, shelters are unable to accommodate such large numbers, especially considering just under half of shelter animals are adopted. Most of these animals are perfectly healthy. Some are mixed-breed and some are purebred. Uncontrolled overpopulation is just not on their side.
In Washington State alone, more than 150,000 dogs and cats end up in shelters annually. Pet owners can do their part to help by spaying and neutering their beloved animals. If you are considering bringing a pet into your life, try to adopt a spayed or neutered animal from your local shelter. More adoptions and controlled birth rates mean less domestic animals turned feral, less unnecessary euthanasia, and more space and resources to care for shelter pets!
Healthy pets make happy owners: We know that spaying and neutering helps the animal community as a whole — but did you know you’re doing your own pet a direct favor when you schedule a procedure? Both male and female dogs and cats benefit from a significantly lower risk of reproductive cancers when they are altered. This, in turn, saves you from expensive long-term veterinary costs in the future. If savings are important to you, you’ll also be glad to learn you may be eligible for reduced pet license fees. Many areas require higher license costs for unaltered pets.
Alteration is the only 100-percent effective birth control method for dogs and cats. For the best results and lowest risk of complications, it’s best to plan ahead for the procedure to take place by the time your pet turns 4 months old. However, even adult pets can benefit from neutering, so consult your vet with any questions.
Appreciate the behavioral benefits: Don’t worry — spaying and neutering won’t change your pet’s unique personality, but it is likely to inhibit undesired hormone-driven behaviors. Unaltered pets may be more prone to escape from home, as they typically experience a greater instinctual desire to roam. This makes them more susceptible to fights with other animals or being hit by a vehicle. Spayed and neutered pets are also far less likely to exhibit destructive tendencies such as excessive dominance, urine marking, spraying in cats, howling, barking, and aggression. They also tend to be more trainable.
If you’ve already spayed or neutered your furry friend, high five! If it’s still on your to-do list, consider discussing further with your vet.
Regardless of your pet’s status, we know you have their best intentions at heart. Let our pet care professionals help you provide the love they deserve. Contact Sarah’s Pet Care to learn more about our dog walking services, home visit options, off-leash park trips, pet taxi, and more!
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