February is National Spay and Neuter Your Pet Month, which focuses on bringing awareness to the community about how important it is to spay and neuter your pets.
Prevent Homeless Pets
The homeless pet population is a crisis that we should all be concerned about, as it increases daily. Animal shelters are overpopulated, leaving them short of the money they need to take care of all the extra animals. Although these places try to save as many as they can, millions of healthy dogs and cats are euthanized each year simply because the shelters don't have enough resources to care for them all.
One of the biggest contributing factors to animal overpopulation is pet abandonment. Thousands of animals are abandoned by their owners every day, and most of them are left unneutered. Abandoning your pet in any condition is not only a disservice to the animal, but to the public as well. Unvaccinated and unneutered animals can spread disease, damage property, fight with other pets for food or territory, and in many circumstances produce unadoptable offspring (leading to even more unwanted animals that continue this cycle).
Save Some Money
If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t keep your pet, look for a no-kill shelter that will work hard to find each animal their new forever home. Many shelters have a small surrender fee for bringing your animal to the shelter, but paying a fee is so much better than letting them loose, leaving them in the woods, or having them end up along the side of a busy highway.
If spaying or neutering your pet is a monetary issue, there are programs provided by local organizations, veterinarian clinics and shelters that help reduce the costs of the operation. And in certain circumstances you can even get the service for free. Keep in mind that the cost of neutering your pet is significantly cheaper than the vet bills and other costs to care for a litter of puppies or kittens. Not to mention unforeseen health issues that can lead to higher vert bills in the future.
Of course, if you adopt your animal from a shelter, they will already be spayed or neutered, thus reducing the homeless pet population and the cost of getting them fixed yourself.
Enjoy a Healthier Pet
By spaying or neutering your animal, you are also helping your animal stay healthy and free of certain types of cancer, such as ovarian cancer, testicular & prostate cancer, breast tumors, and uterine infections.
It is said that neutered male dogs can live 18% longer than intact males, and spayed female dogs can live 23% longer than unspayed females.
Some people think that getting your animal neutered will make their animal overweight. That statement is untrue; poor diet and exercise will make your animal overweight.
It is important to know that dogs can start reproducing at 6 months old, so it’s recommended to get them spayed or neutered by 4 months old. Since every breed is different we recommend you speak to your veterinarian if you are concerned about any risks, or if your dog has any medical conditions.
Cats can start reproducing at 5 months old, so getting them fixed as early as possible is key, especially if your cat likes to be outside. Male cats and dogs have a lower risk of wandering off when they are neutered because they won’t feel the constant urge to find a mate. It can also help curb aggression and territorial behaviors like marking and spraying.
Speak with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about when to get your dog or cat neutered, or want to know what’s best for your pet.
Spread the Word and Make a Difference
If left unfixed, female dogs can have 5–8 puppies per litter, and just one female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs in only 6 years. Cats reproduce even faster than dogs and even while a cat is still nursing her kittens she can become pregnant again. Female cats can have 3–5 kittens per litter, and one female cat and her offspring can produce over two million cats in 8 years, that is astounding!
We hope that by spreading the word of this important act it will help reduce the homeless animal population and spread awareness to the crisis that animal shelters and neighborhoods face everyday.
Finally, we’d like to end this post by mentioning that shelters are always in need of volunteers, supplies and monetary donations to keep up with the increase of animals coming into these places daily. If you are interested in helping in any way contact your local shelter, you will be happy that you did!