Spay and Neuter- Save Money, Save Lives

Deciding to spay or neuter your pet is one of the most important decisions you will make on behalf of your pet. Some of the benefits of this procedure include reducing unruly behavior, improving pet’s health, as well as reducing the number of homeless pets in the community.

Unfortunately, there are homeless animals within every community of every state in the United States with an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. Less than half of these animals are adopted leaving the rest to be euthanized. One may think that these homeless animals are simply the offspring of other homeless “street” animals, but in reality, many of these are the puppies and kittens of family pets and even purebreds.

Tragically, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually. Spaying and neutering is the only effective method of birth control for dogs and cats.

According to a USA Today (May 7, 2013) article, pets who live in states with the highest rates of spaying and neutering also live the longest. They report that neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than un-spayed female dogs.

One reason for their longer life span is the avoidance of dangers that pets in heat encounter. Pets in heat have an increased urge to roam, exposing them to fights with other animals, getting hit by cars, and other mishaps.

A second contributor to the increased longevity of altered pets is the reduced risk of cancers such as pyrometra (a fatal uterine infection), uterine cancer, and other cancers of the reproductive system. Females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier while males can eliminate their chances of getting testicular cancer and have lowered rates of prostate cancer, as well.

One hesitation that pet owners have is the fear that getting their pets spayed/neutered will change their fundamental personality, like their protective instinct, but professionals say that’s not likely. On the contrary, spaying/neutering your pet may reduce unwanted behaviors while preserving the personality traits of your pet.

Unneutered dogs are much more prone to urine-marking than neutered dogs among both males and females. In males cats, it is best to neuter by 5 months of age, before marking becomes a problem, as ridding your home of the smell is painstakingly difficult. It can also minimize the urge to roam, howling, barking, mounting, and fighting with other males.

There are many low cost spay/neuter clinics which help to cut costs in the long run as you avoid many of the potential health risks of not “fixing” your pet as medical treatments could be in the thousands.

While we can not possibly find a home for each of the millions of pets that are homeless and euthanized each year, we can greatly reduce the amount of homeless pets in our communities by spaying and neutering. Let your friends and family members know how spaying/neutering can save them money as well as save lives and contact your vet today.

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