Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Deciding to have your pet spayed or neutered isn't always easy for everyone. You might feel bad about putting them through the procedure, you have to face the realization that you won't hear the pitter-patter of little puppy feet, and (depending on your finances) it can be expensive.
But you’re doing the right thing.
World Spay Day, which comes on the fourth Tuesday of February and shines a spotlight on the importance of spaying and neutering companion animals, homeless dogs and feral
cats. The event takes place in 68 countries and all 50 U.S. states and its territories.
Each year an estimated 6 to 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters across the country, according to the Humane Society. Sadly, about 3.4 million of them are put down. What might surprise you is this: The Humane Society states that most of them aren’t street animals, but rather the offspring of beloved family pets who were accidentally (or intentionally) allowed to breed.
The Humane Society conservatively estimates that since
Spay Day started in 1995, more than 1.5 million animals have been “fixed” in conjunction with the campaign.
To help increase that number even more, we’ve rounded up 10 great reasons to spay or
neuter your pet.
The first one is the most obvious: To limit the number of pets without homes. While euthanasia rates for
cats and dogs have dropped from about 15 million per year in 1970 to around 3.4 million today, that’s still far too many. Although you love your pet and might want to see the adorable puppies or kittens they would have, by spaying or neutering you can avoid adding to the number of unwanted animals, and by doing so, give the animals who are already in shelters a better chance of finding a home.
Spaying or neutering your pet could actually make them healthier. It eliminates the risks of testicular, uterine and ovarian cancers and reduces the risk of mammary (breast) cancer in females. Some of these cancers are aggressive and can be life-threatening to your four-legged friend and expensive to treat. Spaying female
dogs and cats also prevents a serious type of uterine infection, called a pyometra, that can also be life-threatening.
Breeding may not be as easy as you think. There can be health or delivery risks for the mom, and some dogs aren't interested in mothering, leaving the cleaning and feeding of her pups to you. Breeding can also be more costly than many people expect. Did you know that an ultrasound examination can cost hundreds of dollars? And if mom has problems trying to deliver her puppies or kittens, a cesarean section can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Yikes!
Having a female cat or
dog who's in heat (actively seeking a mate) in your home isn't always pleasant. Pets in heat may vocalize more, leave stains on carpets or furniture, and attract unwanted male canine or feline suitors to your property.
Neutering males makes them less likely to mark their territory (which is often inside your home!) by spraying urine. It might also make taking your male
dog for a walk a little easier, as he could have fewer urges to stop and leave his scent.
Intact pets are more likely to roam or run away "looking for love" in some dangerous places. Once they've had this procedure, your pet should be less likely to escape and roam in search of a mate. That cuts down on the chance of them being injured in a fight with another animal, by someone who's not pet-friendly, or being hit by a car.
Although neutering is not a fix-it-all for every type of aggression, some forms of aggression tend to respond favorably to neutering. It can also reduce certain other unwanted behaviors, like mounting behavior.
Although research shows that some neutered pets do become obese, neutering will not automatically make your pet fat or lazy. If your pet receives adequate exercise, eats a balanced, healthy diet and is not overfed, even a neutered pet can maintain a trim waistline.
Contrary to what some pet owners believe, your male pet won't feel like "less of a man" if he is neutered, and your female pet won't feel like she is missing anything. And although you might long to see your dog's puppies and think that they'll be just like their mom or dad, the unfortunate fact is that it can be tough to find them homes, and your granddogs could end up in a shelter.
This surgery is a one-time investment in the health of your pet that could save you money in the long run. As we mentioned above, there's a good chance it could save you the cost of caring for a pet with testicular cancer or a uterine infection. And considering the chances of serious problems associated with pregnancy or delivery, it's probably
much less expensive than caring for a pregnant pet, not to mention the cost of vaccinations,
deworming medications and food for their litter. Plus, you can often find low-cost clinics through local shelters, rescues and even veterinary schools. For example, veterinary professionals and students in Florida, Oklahoma and Wisconsin have volunteered this month at Spay Day clinics to sterilize hundreds of cats.
If you have a pet who hasn’t yet been spayed or neutered, we hope you’ve been inspired! And if your pet already has been, we’ll count on you to spread the word for World
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
From bringing in your puppy or kitten to
telling your friends about him or her, there
are plenty of ways to make a…
Studies show that therapy dogs are
helping kids recover from anesthesia and
having a positive effect on medical…
Have you heard that kittens can raise
themselves or that it's OK to let cats stay
home alone for long periods of…
Minimize the risk of a bad trick-or-treat
interaction by brushing up on your dog’s
manners before October 31.
Dr. Jenna Ashton shares how to
determine your pet's water intake and tips
for encouraging him to drink more.
If your cat's routine is thrown off by scary
decorations and trick-or-treaters, she
might not be on her best…
The Schapendoes (aka Dutch Sheepdog)
is known for his incredible jumping skills
and cheerful personality.
Parasites are no fun for dogs. Learn how
to protect your canine from heartworms,
hookworms, whipworms and more.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.