There are a lot of joys that come with owning a pet, but there can be a number of challenges as well. Forget about the destroyed furniture, the constant walks outside and the persistent begging for food – the biggest challenge is often the cost of healthcare. For pet owners today, that means neglecting to spay or neuter their pets because it is costly.
The primary benefit of spaying and neutering pets is that it reduces the risks of companion pet overpopulation, which is responsible for the death of nearly 3 million pets in the US annually.
Spaying or neutering a pet doesn’t just mean stopping offspring from being produced. It also means that a beloved pet has a better chance to live a healthier, longer life. Spayed or neutered dogs can live up to 3 years longer than their non-fixed counterparts and cats that have been sterilized can live up to 5 years longer than their non-fixed counterparts.
3 Facts to Think about When It Comes to Spaying and Neutering
1. As many as 85% of dogs that are hit by cars are animals that were not spayed or neutered by their owners.
2. Pets that have been fixed have fewer desires to roam, which means fewer incidents of spraying, marking, and even cancer risks.
3. Spaying or neutering also decreases the aggressive behavior in dogs and cats while eliminating heat cycles, creating fewer opportunities for injuries or violence to occur.
Takeaway: It is easier than ever before to spay or neuter a pet, but it isn’t being done because of the cost. Despite this excuse, more than half of all households in the US right now own at least one pet. For homes that have a dog, most of them have 2 dogs instead of just one. Pet ownership has tripled in the United States over the last 40 years and this has created millions of pets that are simply not wanted every year that are prematurely put down. By investing a little bit into the care of a pet right away by spaying or neutering, overpopulation can be limited and each companion animal can live healthier, happier lives.
Why Is Spaying and Neutering So Importaant?
1. In just 6 years, one female dog and her offspring is able to produce up to 67,000 puppies that would need care.
2. In just 7 years, one female cat and her offspring can produce over 370,000 kittens that would require care.
3. Communities and regions that have an aggressive stance in addressing spaying and neutering are able to save millions of dollars per year because of fewer housing, feeding, and sanitary issues.
4. You can call 1.800.248.SPAY in the US to find a low-cost spay and neuter clinic near your community if cost is the primary roadblock.
5. Areas that have mandatory laws and incorporate low or no cost fixing options have reported significant reductions in overpopulation euthanizing incidents.
6. The practice helps to reduce or even eliminate the problematic behaviors that pets have, such as urine marking and aggression.
7. For a vast majority of pets, they are still protective of their families after being spayed or neutered, yet become more interested in companionship.
Takeaway: Part of the issue surrounding spaying and neutering comes from the fact that veterinarians a couple generations ago believed that it was important for animals, especially female animals to become “mature” by having at least one litter. As science has improved and medical practices have progressed, however, this idea of maturing an animal has been debunked. This only problem is that this idea is still prevalent in society and so more offspring are created when they really aren’t wanted. Others let their pets produce offspring simply so they can witness the miracle of birth. The problem? When pets aren’t wanted, they’re generally abandoned. That just creates future problems for a community that brings higher costs.
The Myths Of Spaying Or Neutering Are Prevalent
1. Some people believe that spaying or neutering a pet will make them fat, but animals increase in size because of too many calories and too little exercise.
2. Some people believe that pets will become unbalanced when they are spayed or neutered, but the procedure actually balances out hormone levels and creates personality stability.
3. Some people believe that only female pets need to be spayed, but male pets are even more likely to contribute to the pet overpopulation problem because they can create dozens of offspring at one time.
4. Some people believe that animals must reach a level of sexual maturity before they can be spayed or neutered, but the risks of cancer and future health problems are reduced even more when the procedure is completed earlier instead of later.
5. Some people don’t spay or neuter their pets because they’re afraid of losing the pet during surgery. Although any surgery entails a small risk, just as it does with humans, modern veterinary medicine means animals have very little discomfort and return to normal behavior often in 48 hours or less.
6. Even with modern spaying and neutering practices, up to 16,000 pets are euthanized every day because they don’t have a home.
7. An animal that is boarded in a shelter is killed every 1.5 seconds.
8. Only 10% of the pets that are born in the US will get a good home that lasts for a lifetime.
Takeaway: Once the myths of spaying and neutering are removed from the equation, it becomes very apparent that the practice is a much needed one. Animals don’t have the self-control of humans when it comes to procreation. They’ll go to great lengths to satisfy a primal urge and that might mean breaking down a door, jumping out a third floor window, or finding ways to get into trouble outside when you least expect it. Now think about the cost that it takes to spay or neuter just one cat: $45 or less in some communities. That’s less than one dinner out with the family! Yet the practice is still too expensive?
Why Should All Companion Animals Be Spayed Or Neutered?
1. About 25% of the dogs that enter into the average animal shelter are animals that are purebred. Many of them even have registry documents associated with their breeding.
2. Only 1 out of every 2 animals that enters a shelter will ever be adopted. A third of the animals that aren’t adopted are put down simply because of cost and space issues.
3. Only 2% of cats are ever reclaimed by their owners once they enter an animal shelter. Compared to the 30% of dogs that are reclaimed, it is easy to see why cats are more at risk of being put down.
4. Despite cats not being reclaimed at shelters, 3 out of every 4 households that have a pet will own at least one female cat.
5. Although over 90% of cats in the US are spayed or neutered every year, there are still nearly 10 million cats that are able to reproduce offspring every year.
6. Even though 1 out of every 4 pet households as 3 or more cats, only 1 out of every 4 cats that are owned in pet households came from an animal shelter.
7. Despite all of the needs that animal shelters have and all of the work they do, there is no system of data reporting that allow for shelters to have a concentric, influential voice.
Takeaway: The sad reality is that many pet owners have a bond with their animal, but no the offspring that the animal can produce. Puppies, kittens, and other baby animals are often seen as more of a commodity than anything else. This perspective leads to other forms of abuse, like storing animals in small cages and practicing forced mating so that the most litters of animals can be produced throughout the year. What happens to the leftover animals? They’re simply discarded like yesterday’s trash. That’s why spaying and neutering is so important. You might be able to find a good home for your pet’s offspring, but that just means another animal will be eventually put down because of it.
Choosing Spaying Or Neutering Is Easy
1. Spaying or neutering pets will dramatically reduce the number of stray animals that exist on your community’s streets.
2. Spaying and neutering is a practice that dates back as far as 284 BC, although companion animal surgeries have become popularized within the past century.
3. The cost of spaying or neutering one pet is far less than the cost of caring for and then placing the offspring of a beloved pet into new homes.
4. Most pets can be spayed before they reach 6 months of age, making it easy to take care of this issue during the routine checkups that young animals need.
5. For every human that is born in the world today, there are at least four cats, dogs, or other companion animals that are born as well.
6. The time to act is now because there could be as many as 70 million stray cats roaming the streets right now.
7. Only 10% of animals that are received by American animal shelters for care have already been spayed or neutered.
Takeaway: The one issue that comes with animal adoptions from shelters is that the personality of the pet could be affected because of abuse, neglect, and other issues. This creates defensive animals, somewhat aggressive ones even when they’ve been spayed or neutered, and that creates a wild card for a family. If an animal tends to bite when fearful and is triggered by home conditions because of past neglect, then that’s problematic for families with small children. It’s no wonder why 1 out of every 5 shelter animals ends up not living with the adopting family just 6 months later! That’s just another reason to spay or neuter pets. Why put an animal into a situation where they could be abused in the first place if you can prevent overpopulation with a reasonably affordable surgical procedure?
What Can Be Done To Encourage Spaying And Neutering?
1. The best way to encourage others to spay or neuter their pets is to have this surgical procedure performed on your own pets first.
2. If you are a pet household who is looking to adopt a new pet, check with the animal shelters in your community first to see what pets might be available to become family members.
3. There are a number of breed or animal specific rescue groups that will also care for unwanted pets and are searching for owners that will provide a good home.
4. Because money is such a problematic issue for many households, it is important to budget the cost of spaying or neutering into the animal ownership costs before a companion pet is adopted.
5. Remember that adopting a pet means a lifetime of companionship, not just having a friend that stays with you because it is convenient for you at the moment.
6. Support your local animal shelters, rescue groups, and other organizations by purchasing dog licenses, making monetary or food donations, or volunteering your time every so often to care for local homeless animals.
7. Share articles like this that talk about the various myths of spaying and neutering that persist in society today, even with science able to disprove these myths easily.
Takeaway: Seeing an animal that doesn’t have any hope is an image that pulls at everyone’s heart strings. Whether you like those ASPCA commercials that feature wrenching images of ownerless companion animals or find them appalling, the fact remains that this organization and those commercials exist because pet owners aren’t spaying or neutering their pets. Do a vast majority pet owners take care of their responsibilities? Absolutely they do! Yet just one animal can produce tens of thousands of offspring in just a few years. That means the only way to limit pet overpopulation problems and to reduce unwanted animals is to promote a spaying or neutering rate that climbs toward 100%. Until that happens, there will always be issues with unwanted pets that could have been prevented.