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When you get a new pet, you’re faced with a lot of decisions, and one of the most important choices you must make is whether to spay or neuter. Many people feel the decision to spay or neuter is a no-brainer, but nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of any surgery. Considering the benefits of spaying and neutering can help you determine what choice to make.
Pet overpopulation is a serious problem and when people let their pets have offspring when there is no one to take care of them, the babies become strays or end up in shelters. If nobody adopts them, they are eventually euthanized. Finding homes for puppies and kittens is not as easy as you may think.
About every eight seconds, a cat or dog is euthanized in a U.S. animal shelter, according to The Humane Society of the United States. While some may be euthanized due to illness or injury, most are victims of human failure to provide them with the care they deserve. Despite the best efforts of shelters everywhere, there are still too many pets and not enough loving, responsible homes. The cost of pet overpopulation is staggering, with over $1 billion per year going to community animal control services and care for homeless animals.
Spaying and neutering do more than prevent your pet from having offspring. These procedures also keep your pet healthy.
Spaying removes the risk of pregnancy. Pet overpopulation is a serious problem and by allowing your cat to have litters, you are adding to the problem. Finding homes for your new family additions is not always easy, and even if you choose to keep the kittens, you will have the additional cost of vaccines, parasite control, toys, and food — for several animals. In addition to costs, the health of the mother can be in jeopardy during delivery. Some new mothers can have serious complications delivering kittens and can even develop health problems during nursing. All these potential problems can be avoided by spaying your cat.
Spaying also makes for a calmer cat. Without the drive to mate, your cat may be quieter and won’t be prone to cat calls and the incessant need to seek out a mate. A spayed cat no longer attracts males and their annoying advances and serenades. Spayed cats are also easier to get along with. They tend to be more gentle and affectionate.
However, spaying means sterilization. Spaying will result in the sterilization of your cat, and she will no longer have the ability to become pregnant. If you wish to breed your cat, spaying should not be done.
Neutering is a procedure used to “de-sex” an animal. This procedure has been used to control animal population growth, reduce unwanted sexual behavior in dogs, and decrease or eliminate the possibility of certain disease conditions later in life, such as pyometra or infection in the uterus.
Neutering is done most commonly at or around six months of age. However, many veterinarians perform this procedure earlier — as early as 8 to 10 weeks in some situations. Early neutering can be done safely and has a number of advantages, especially in cases of pet adoption.
Neutering can result in a calmer, and sometimes cleaner, home. Without the drive to mate, your dog may be quieter and not prone to an incessant need to seek out a mate. The neutered dog no longer feels the need to seek out and serenade females. He no longer has the stress of needing to mark his territory and urinate throughout the house and yard. Neutered pets are also easier to get along with. They tend to more gentle and affectionate. Neutered males tend to roam less and typically are not involved in as many fights with other animals.
Don’t Fear a Simple Surgery
Last year, about 17 million dogs and cats were turned over to animal shelters. Only one out of every 10 taken in to the shelters found a home. This means that over 13.5 million had to be euthanized. 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 pets, owners can help lower the numbers of unwanted and homeless animals.
Surgery is a part of nearly every dog’s life. Many pets will only go under the knife once in their lives to be spayed or neutered. Other pets may have various planned surgical procedures such as lump removals, biopsies, mass removals, or exploratory surgeries. Then there are those potential emergency surgeries to suture lacerations, remove an intestinal obstruction, or take care of bladder stones.
Regardless of the reason, surgery can create a lot of anxiety and confusion for pet owners. By knowing what is expected and preparing yourself and your pet, the surgical procedure, hospital stay, and home recovery can go a lot more smoothly.
Planned surgeries are the easiest to prepare for. You know when the surgery is going to take place and can have everything ready. Those emergency surgeries take you by surprise and there is little you can do to plan for them.
Resources for Understanding the Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
Want more useful advice on knowing the benefits of spaying and neutering? Check out our featured articles:
- To Neuter or Not to Neuter — What You Should Know
- What Do Animal Shelters Do?
- Pros and Cons of Spaying and Neutering in Cats
- Pros and Cons of Spaying and Neutering in Dogs
- Preparing Your Dog For Surgery: What You Should Know
- Preparing for Surgery in Cats
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