How to Celebrate Spay and Neuter Awareness Month
We all want to do what’s best for our pets. When you become a new pet parent, you’re faced with many decisions, not the least of which is whether to spay or neuter. So, in celebration of national Spay and Neuter Awareness Month, we’re going to take a closer look at the many benefits of sterilizing your pets.
According to the Humane Society, approximately 7.6 million dogs and cats wind up in overcrowded animal shelters in the US alone, and about half of them are euthanized because there aren’t enough families willing to adopt them. About every eight seconds, a cat or dog is euthanized in an animal shelter. Euthanasia kills more companion animals every year than any disease. That’s why the single most important thing we can do to save cats and dogs from the suffering and death caused by overpopulation is to get our animal companions spayed or neutered.
Every year, our nation spends more than $1 billion for community animal control services and care for homeless animals. One unspayed female cat can have approximately 25 kittens a year, and each of those kittens can also have 25 kittens in the same amount of time. Many unwanted litters are abandoned.
Overproduction of puppies and kittens often takes place during the spring and summer months and, during this time, animal shelters become severely overcrowded. That’s why we celebrate national Spay and Neuter Awareness Month in February to encourage pet owners to have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered before the busy seasons.
Why Spaying and Neutering Is Important
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, dogs can have an average of two litters a year, producing six to 10 puppies per litter. Cats can have an average of three litters per year with four to six kittens per litter. No wonder pet overpopulation has become such an epidemic!
Another big part of the problem is that most people don’t know when to spay and neuter their pets. Did you know that a cat can go into heat and get pregnant by four months of age and dogs by five months? Waiting too long to spay or neuter could mean an unwanted litter. That’s why it’s so important to spay or neuter your pets early. Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age.
The Health Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Pets
Not only will spaying or neutering your pets help with overpopulation, it will also encourage longer, healthier lives. In fact, the decision to spay or neuter your pets could be the single most important decision you make in regards to their physical wellness.
- Medical evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier.
- Spaying removes the risk of pregnancy. The health of the mother can be in jeopardy during delivery and some new mothers can develop health problems during nursing.
- Spaying your pet can help prevent uterine infections, uterine cancer, and breast cancer.
- Neutering male pets can help prevent testicular cancer and prostate problems.
- According to an article in USA Today, spayed female dogs live 23 percent longer than their unspayed counterparts. Neutered male dogs live 18 percent longer than unneutered male dogs.
Behavioral Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
Spaying and neutering can also help control behavioral problems in pets. Sterilization can result in a calmer, quieter, more affectionate pet and a cleaner home. Some of the behavioral problems that can be addressed by spaying or neutering include:
- Heat. Spaying eliminates the crying, pacing, and roaming that is experienced during heat.
- Aggression. Neutering prevents assertive or aggressive behavior, which decreases the number of fights, bites, and injuries.
- Urine marking. Neutering also reduces the likelihood of frequent urine marking. The urge to spray is extremely strong in an intact cat, but neutering solves most marking issues.
- Roaming. Both procedures can prevent the urge to roam, which often results in injuries from traffic accidents or fights with other cats and dogs.
Take the time during national Spay and Neuter Awareness Month to make sure that your pets are spayed or neutered. After all, it’s the responsible thing to do.