What is spay/neuter
and why is it important?
There are millions of pet lovers in the United States, yet shelters across the country are forced to euthanize millions of dogs and cats each year because of pet overpopulation. Of the estimated ten million animals brought to shelters each year, approximately half will not find new homes and families. The uncontrolled breeding of dogs and cats has produced more animals than there are loving homes.
Consider these facts:
- In just six years one female dog and her offspring can be the source of 67,000 puppies.
- In seven years one cat and her young can produce 420,000 kittens.
- For every human born in the United States, 15 dogs and 45 cats are born.
You can help end this tragedy with one small but significant action - prevent a litter by having your companion animal sterilized. The surgery is routine, has health benefits for the animal, and should be done regardless of the sex of the animal. Often referred to as having a pet "fixed," neutering is a simple surgery performed by a veterinarian to remove an animal's reproductive organs. The neutering of a female is often referred to as spaying.
Spaying and Neutering is Beneficial for Your Animal
Sterilized pets generally lead longer and healthier lives. Spaying female animals greatly reduces the incident of breast cancer and eliminates the possibility of uterine and ovarian cancer. Spaying a female before her first heat and not after one litter further reduces these health risks. Neutering a male animal eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. Neutering also will make your pet more affectionate and less likely to roam, get in fights, or become lost.
What Spaying and Neutering Will NOT Do
Contrary to popular belief, pets do not become fat and lazy as a result of being spayed or neutered. Any animal who is given too much food and gets too little exercise, regardless if they are sterilized, may become overweight. Neutering your male animal will not make him less of a male or change his basic personality. Your pet's personality is formed more by genetics and environment than by sex hormones. Spaying or neutering will not affect a dog's natural instinct to protect his/her family and home.
Spaying and Neutering Makes Better Companions
While sterilization does not cure all aggression problems, it greatly reduces the chances that your pet will fight for dominance and may make them less likely to bite. According to Randall Lockwood of the Humane Society of the United States, "Of the nearly 20 fatalities caused by dog attacks investigated between 1992 and 1994, we have found that none were caused by a spayed or neutered dog." Unsterilized animals often exhibit more behavior and temperament problems than animals who are spayed or neutered. Neutering makes pets less likely to roam the neighborhood, run away, or get lost. In addition, spaying and neutering can reduce or eliminate unpleasant behaviors such as spraying, wailing, messy heat cycles, and humping. Spayed and neutered pets are more relaxed, affectionate companions and often are easier to train.