The puppies and kittens you see at your local animal shelter are the lucky ones, because they are up for adoption. (The unlucky ones never made it that far.) But even those who did make it to the adoption area still may not find homes. That's the sad reality of pet overpopulation.
Thousands of puppies and kittens are surrendered to animal shelters during the spring and summer months. Often, many of them will never even have a chance for adoption because there just are not enough homes for them all. That is one good reason to have your dog or cat spayed or neutered, but it’s not the only reason.
Spaying a female pet can protect her from certain health problems, like uterine infections and even breast cancer. Breast cancer has a fatality rate of fifty percent for dogs and ninety percent for cats. Neutering your male pet can offer protection from testicular cancer.
Spaying and neutering offer the most health benefits if done before the animal is six months old. Spaying your female pet will prevent her from going into heat, which means she will not be attracting unneutered males. Neutering your male pet will help to keep him from roaming and getting into fights with other male animals.
If you’re concerned that spaying or neutering will make your pet fat, you should know that the surgery does not cause weight gain. Pets become overweight for the same reason we do – they eat too much and don’t get enough exercise. And like us, our pets need a healthy diet and regular activity to stay trim and healthy.
You may be concerned about the expense of having your pet spayed or neutered. It’s true that the surgery can be expensive, usually more so for spaying a female than for neutering a male. But the cost of taking care of a litter of puppies or kittens can be up to ten times as expensive, when you count the cost for food, cleaning supplies, veterinary care, and (for kittens) litter. It turns out that spaying and neutering is actually cost-effective.
Having your pet spayed or neutered is good for your pet and good for you and your budget. It’s also good for your community because it will mean there are fewer puppies and kittens waiting for good homes and help reduce overcrowding at your local shelter.
With just a phone call to your veterinarian to make an appointment, you can become part of the solution to the tragedy of pet overpopulation, when you’re speaking of your pet.