By Dr. Carolyn Walsh
Both female and male pets live longer and healthier lives when they are spayed and neutered. When it comes to females, spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. Neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer and prostate infections, if done before six months of age.
Those are the first two reasons. The rest are as follows:
3. Your spayed female won't go into heat. Female cats usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they'll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house! Female dogs in heat will attract male dogs from miles away.
4. Your male dog won't want to roam away from home. An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate, and will roam and disappear for days! Neutered males have less desire to roam, therefore less likely to injured in fights or auto accidents.
5. Your neutered male will be much better behaved. Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.
6. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat. Don’t use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.
7. It is highly cost-effective. The cost of your pet's spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter, or the cost of treatment of fight wounds, uterine/prostatic infections and cancer.
8. Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community. All of us are affected by pet overpopulation. Millions of dollars are spent annually in effort to manage stray and unwanted dogs and cats. Stray animals can also pose health and safety risks to your community (rabies, dog bites)
9. Your pet doesn't need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth. Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children—especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way.
10. Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation. Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.
BC SPCA stats at a glance: (2010)
* Provided more than $2 million for a wide range of programs to reduce pet overpopulation.
* Found new, loving families for 18,144 homeless animals.
* Rescued 33,762 injured, homeless, neglected and abused animals.
Please spay and neuter your pets!
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