by Samuel Bennett, FCAS Volunteer
You’ve probably heard the ads about how you should spay or neuter your pet. But do you know why it’s such a good idea? There are multiple reasons why so many shelters and organizations run campaigns urging pet owners to spay or neuter – not only does it prevent overpopulation, but it has numerous health and behavioral benefits.
The most commonly cited reason to spay or neuter is to prevent overpopulation. Since dogs and cats give birth in litters, they often end up producing more puppies and kittens than an owner can care for. Sadly, there are more dogs and cats in the world then there are homes, and a shelter can only do so much for them. Getting your pet neutered cuts back on the number of strays, which prevents needless suffering to the animals themselves as well as keeping them off the streets, where they can cause car accidents or disrupt local habitats and communities.
But overpopulation isn’t the only reason to neuter your pet. In males younger than six months and females who haven’t had their first heat, neutering helps prevent testicular or ovarian cancer and infections, helping to increase your pet’s chances of living a long, healthy life.
Furthermore, neutered animals are better behaved. If they aren’t neutered, they might make noise and mark their territory to attract mates, and this can happen inside your house. They may also wander away from home to look for mates, and they tend to be more aggressive. The easiest way to keep your pets from getting into trouble is to neuter them.
Finally, spaying or neutering your pet is cost-effective. Many owners balk at the price of neutering, but it’s a lot less than the amount it costs to take care of a litter of puppies or kittens! Unneutered pets can also get injured when wandering off in search of mates, so spaying or neutering can save the money it would take to treat them.
Spaying and neutering are safe procedures with little risk, and most pets recover from the operation in no time. Although, as with any major operation, it’s best to talk with your vet to determine the best plan before going through with it, the benefits of spaying or neutering far outweigh the drawbacks, so there’s hardly any reason to leave your pet intact. Spaying and neutering is all part of being a responsible pet owner.