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Stop Canine Overpopulation

By: Angell Memorial Animal Hospital

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Last year about 17 million dogs and cats were turned over to animal shelters. Out of every 10 that were taken in, only one found a home. Of the rest, some 13.5 million had to be destroyed.

Simply put, there are too many animals chasing too few prospective guardians. The tragedy is that this is unnecessary. Much of the problem could be eliminated by simple surgery: Spaying and neutering operations are performed under general anesthesia and are quite painless. By neutering their pets, owners can help lower the numbers of unwanted and homeless creatures.

Spaying Your Female Dog

Avoiding unwanted litters is good for animals and people. By helping to keep the pet population in check, you increase the chances of adoption for already homeless animals.

A spayed female is a more pleasant dog to live with. There are no furniture stains and soils resulting from her heat cycle and no annoying advances or serenades from neighborhood males. What's more, her chances of leading a healthy, happy life are improved by reducing susceptibility to mammary cancer and uterine infections.

Neutering Your Male Dog

Neutering discourages "wandering," which often leads to fights, car accidents and the spread of disease. It eliminates the foul-smelling sprays your pet uses to stake out his territory. It reduces male tendencies toward overly aggressive behavior and also lessens the likelihood of the animal developing prostate infections and cancer.

Sterilization and Your Dog's Disposition

Dogs that have been spayed or neutered are not only healthier, they tend to be more gentle and affectionate, toward both people and other animals. Contrary to popular belief, neutered pets are not inclined to be inactive or overweight, though special care should be taken when feeding them.

What About Paying for Neutering?

You can't afford not to. If you're unable to place even one of your dog's offspring, raising the puppy for only one year will cost you far more than the price of sterilization surgery, which can range from about $100 to $150, depending on the size of the animal and where you are located. Note, too, that some shelters offer vouchers and discounts that can be applied to the cost of the surgery. There are many programs that help pay for a portion of the procedure, if you qualify. Contact your local shelter to learn more about a spay/neuter program in your area.

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