Longer Stories

Spaying and Neutering Saves Lives

With approximately 7.6 million animals entering shelters across the nation every year, it is important that pet owners know spaying and neutering their pets can dramatically reduce the problem of pet overpopulation and help their pets live a longer and more healthy life.

In 2016, Operation Kindness performed 2,875 spay/neuter surgeries. Operation Kindness makes sure that every dog and cat eligible for the surgery in the shelter gets spayed or neutered. Other shelters offer discounts or return the adoption deposit if adopters provide proof that they got their new pet spayed or neutered.

infographicUnplanned and unwanted litters cause overcrowding in shelters and many animals to be euthanized. Approximately 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in United States shelters each year because they could not find a home. According to the ASPCA, only 10 percent of pets in shelters have been spayed or neutered. Allowing pets to breed only negatively contributes to the overpopulation of cats and dogs in the United States and many other countries around the world. If more pets were sterilized, there would be less animals without homes and less animal being euthanized as a result.

In addition to helping bring down the overpopulation of dogs and cat, spaying and neutering can directly benefit your pet. Spaying and neutering helps pets fulfill a longer, more healthy life. USA Today reported in 2013 that pets in states with the highest spaying and neutering rates live the longest. The report states that neutered male dogs live 18 percent longer and spayed female dogs live 23 percent longer than those who are not. According to the Humane Society of the United States, spaying and neutering prevents or at least reduces the risk of many diseases and illnesses. If spayed or neutered before reaching sexual maturity, the risk of mammary or prostate diseases is reduced. Also, it prevents uterine, ovarian or testicular cancer. Spaying also prevents pyometra, which is an infection in the uterus. Pyometra is common in unsprayed dogs over the age of six and can be life threatening.

Neutering also reduces a pet’s desire to roam. Due to roaming, pets are more likely to get hit by a car, attacked by another animal or lost. They also can contact diseases from other animals that they may come in contact with while roaming. USA Today reported that male dogs are twice as likely to be hit by a car or bitten by another animal if they are not neutered and male cats who are not neutered are four times more likely to be hit by a car and three times more likely to be bitten by another animal because of roaming. Roaming can also lead to impregnating someone else’s pet or a stray. This results in an unwanted litter of puppies or kittens that may be sent to a shelter or neglected which continues to add to the overpopulation problem.

Many people who are against spaying and neutering their pets believe that the surgery will make their pet become fat and lazy. However, this is a myth. Becoming overweight is caused by lack of exercise and overeating, not because of spaying or neutering. The surgery has positive effects on the animal’s behavior such as reducing aggression. Unneutered male dogs make up approximately 80 percent of the dogs with problems with dominance aggression that are presented to veterinary behaviorists Another positive behavioral side effect of spaying and neutering is that it reduces their messy and smelly marking behavior. Females also no longer go into heat so you do not have to deal with that mess either.

Overall, there are many benefits of getting your pet spayed or neutered. Getting your pet spayed or neutered is the responsible thing to do as a pet owner.

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