Spaying/neutering your pet is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your pet will lead a healthy happy life. It is also the most effective and humane means of decreasing the number of homeless animals and saving lives. Today is World Spa Day, a global occasion designed to shine a spotlight on the importance of spaying/neutering companion animals and feral/stray cats.
Here are 8 important reasons to spay/neuter your pet.
- Your pet will live longer. Studies show that, on average, the lifespan for spayed/neutered pets increases by 1-3 years (dogs) and 3-5 years (cats).
- Spaying offers health benefits to your female pet. Spaying eliminates the risk of ovarian/uterine cancers and life-threatening uterine infection. It also lessens the risk of breast cancer, in 90% of cats and 50% of dogs.Spaying your pet at about five months before their first heat provides the best protection from these diseases.
- Your spayed female won’t go into heat. Female cats normally go into heat every 3 weeks between January and November. Unspayed, they may howl relentlessly, escape the house to find a mate, or urinate inappropriately. Female dogs normally go into heat twice a year. Unspayed, they may display unwanted behaviors including aggression.
- Neutering provides health benefits to your male pet. If done before six months of age, neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer in dogs and cats. It also reduces the risk of prostate troubles in dogs.
- Your neutered male won’t wander. Unaltered males will do almost anything to find a mate, including bolting out the door and digging under the fence. Once they roam, they’re at risk of injury/death from traffic, fights with other dogs, becoming lost or stolen. Unaltered male cats are at risk of contracting deadly diseases like feline leukemia.
- Your neutered male will behave better. Neutered pets centre their interest on their human families. They are less frustrated, calmer and less apt to bite or get into fights. They also lose the desire to mark their territory by spraying urine in the house.
- Spaying/neutering your pet is cost-effective. The cost of spay/neuter surgery is relatively small when compared with the health and behavioral benefits your pet will attain, and it helps to avoid expensive serious health problems in the future. It is also much less than the cost of having a litter – prenatal care, birth complications, food and puppy/kitten care.
- Spaying and neutering helps battle pet overpopulation. Each year, thousands of homeless animals end up in shelters and rescues across Nova Scotia. Thousands more who aren’t as lucky are abandoned to face life on the street as strays, suffering from starvation and disease or dying from injury. Pet overpopulation is a direct outcome of unplanned unwanted litters that could have been prevented by spaying/neutering. Every pet owner has an important role to play in preventing pet overpopulation.
Many pet owners don’t realize that ‘babies’ can have babies of their own. Female dogs can breed as early as six months old; cats as early as four months old. Pets also reproduce at alarmingly fast rates. In 7 years, one unspayed female dog and her offspring can produce 99,000 dogs. In the same timeframe, one unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats! Question: How does one person save thousands of homeless animals? Answer: Just spay/neuter one.
The Nova Scotia SPCA is leading the fight against pet overpopulation in the province with its three low-cost spay and neuter clinics for low income families and rescue groups, the P.U.P. (Prevent Unwanted Pets) Program and the TNR (Trap Neuter Release) Program. As a responsible pet owner, please spay or neuter your pet. Do it now as spring and summer breeding season is just around the corner. Reducing pet overpopulation begins with you, so please ‘spay it forward.’ Together, we can help end the suffering.