The Importance of Spaying and Neutering
When it comes to owning a pet, there are a lot of responsibilities involved and decisions to be made such as what kind of pet food to buy, to crate train or not to crate train, when and where to walk your furry friend, and so on. One of the major responsibilities and decisions of owning a pet is deciding whether or not you should have your pet spayed or neutered. This subject is always touchy among pet owners and soon to be pet owners, as many consider the act of spaying or neutering to be cruel to the animal.
What is the difference between spaying and neutering?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, “Spaying involves the removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus in female dogs or cats, making them unable to reproduce and eliminate the heat cycle and breeding instinct-related behaviors. Neutering involves the removal of the testes from male dogs or cats, making them unable to reproduce and eliminating the breeding instinct.”
Why should you have your pet spayed or neutered?
Spaying or neutering your pet can provide a number of health and behavioral benefits. According to the ASPCA, some medical benefits of spaying and neutering your pet(s) is that females will live a longer and healthier life because getting them spayed helps to prevent uterine infections and breast tumors. Getting your male neutered can help prevent testicular cancer and prostate issues. Behavioral benefits include preventing your female from going into heat, and your male from spraying. In males, getting them neutered can mean they are less likely to roam and escape, and they are more likely to be better behaved (i.e. not mounting other dogs, people, or objects and not as aggressive). Getting your pet spayed or neutered can also be cost-effective in that the cost of having the surgery far outweighs the cost of having to care for a litter or health issues from not getting your pet spayed or neutered.
Getting your pet spayed or neutered can also have another positive effect: reducing the number of animals placed in shelters each year and reducing overpopulation in shelters that often result in healthy animals being euthanized because of overcrowding. PETA states that just ONE unaltered female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in just six years and in seven years, ONE unaltered female cat and her offspring can produce 370,000 kittens! According to the Humane Society of the United States, every 13 seconds, roughly 2.4 million healthy cats and dogs are put down in U.S. shelters each year because of overcrowding. The Dog Rescuers provide the following chart showing exactly how many babies one unspayed/unneutered pet and their offspring can have during their lifetime:
I decided to have my dogs spayed/neutered for their own health and safety, and based on personal experience. When I was younger, my mom and I lived next door to a woman who had a female Pitbull and decided to breed her – multiple times. The first two litters were successful; the third and final litter was not. There were 11 puppies that came from that litter; only 3 of them survived after contracting Parvo before they were 8 weeks old. The mama dog was only three years old by her third litter, though she looked much older.
I got my first dog, Midnight, spayed when she was 6 months old. When I got Mason, our vet told my mom and I to wait until he was at least a year and a day before we got him neutered. We waited until he was at least 11 months and had him neutered shortly after bringing Coco home to avoid any ‘accidents.’ Coco was spayed when she was seven months old.
I think part of owning a pet is being a responsible pet owner, and part of that responsibility is getting our animals fixed, not only for their own health but also for the health of other animals and to reduce the number of animals placed and killed in shelters each year. I took the step to get my animals fixed because I knew it was better for their health and I did not want the risk of an accidental litter. Any future pets I would adopt, if they were not already spayed and neutered, I would absolutely have the procedure done as soon as possible.
Many people are hesitant about having their pets spayed/neutered for a number of reasons, mainly the cost associated with having the procedure done. Talk to your vet or local animal shelters to see about low cost spay/neuter clinics in your area.
Are your pets spayed or neutered? Why did you make the choice you made when it came to that decision? Tell us in the comments below!
Featured Image Credit: Daniel Stockman (modified)