February 26th is World Spay Day. The importance of spaying and neutering goes beyond the physical benefits for your pet but has an ecological impact on the community. Spay and neutering can help extend the life of your pet, prevent thousands of unwanted litters, and help save costs for our community.
When considering spaying or neutering consider the health benefits. For females, spaying eliminates heat cycles, lowers risk of developing uterine infections, lessens the risk of breast cancer, and on rare occasions can help with some behavioral issues. For males, neutering lessens the likelihood of roaming, lessens the risk of developing enlarged prostate glands, lowers risk of testicular cancer, and on rare occasions can help with some behavioral issues.
For ecological benefits, spaying and neutering can help slow the population growth. According to PETA, “Just one unaltered female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in only six years. In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce an incredible 370,000 kittens!” The prevention of these and future litters can help the shelter population. Did you know, the ASPCA estimates approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year? Of those, approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats. That being said, each year approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats). Thankfully, these statistics have been declining over the past 6+ years.
Another benefit includes the cost. Communities spend millions on animal control including housing, disposing of deceased strays, dog bites and attacks to name a few. As for personal costs, go back to the prevention of health risks later in life and costs of taking care of and vetting the unwanted litters.
There are multiple options to get your pet spayed or neutered including a traditional veterinarian or low/no cost options. Check with your humane society, municipal shelter, or a simple search online can give you more options. Note: If you decide to adopt a pet from a rescue or shelter, most will require the pet to be spayed or neutered to prevent adding to the current overpopulation of animals.
Photo credit: Athena – currently available for adoption through ARF-Texas.