Recent studies indicate that for every person born in America, there are more than 40 cats and 15 dogs. Understanding the importance of spaying or neutering your pet can do more than help regulate the pet population: spay and neuter procedures could also spare pets from cancer and urinary tract infections. Every year, local and state governments spend millions to control stray animals; owners are advised to return unwanted pets to local animal shelters for both pet and public safety.
Surprisingly, pets are at risk for breast cancer, prostate cancer, urinary tract diseases, and other forms of cancer. Neutering a puppy at a dog vet clinic is a procedure best performed at the age of two months, or when the puppy reaches approximately three pounds. Cats are also best spayed or neutered at two months or at the weight of two pounds, and veterinary experts agree that allowing a pet to breed before spaying is not always a workable solution.
Dogs who produce even one litter retain the same risk for cancer as unspayed pets. For pet safety, a dog vet clinic would recommend spaying when the dog is still a puppy. Shorter recovery times for puppies that are either spayed or neutered have dog owners thinking twice about breeding their pets. In the event that owners cannot be found for even a single litter of puppies, dog owners may find themselves with a much higher spaying and neutering bill at their local dog vet clinic.
Owners of thoroughbred dogs who are considering breeding their dogs should also know current statistics: out of the more than 7 million dogs who are currently in animal shelters, about one in four has a pedigree. More than 3 million dogs are euthanized every year; breeding thoroughbred dogs may seem lucrative, but sometimes finding owners for puppies can be difficult.
Experts also report that pets that are spayed and neutered have a lower risk of developing aggression and other unmanageable behavioral issues. Every dog is different, but some male dogs can benefit from being neutered as puppies. Runaway dogs may roam miles in their attempts to find a mate, and dogs that are used to being in doors may find that the outside world is much more dangerous to navigate.
Curtailing male cats’ tendency to spray their territories is also a compelling reason for neutering: cat spray can sink into walls, carpets, and bed linens. The money spent on neutering can prevent long-term spending on odor removal; cat spraying behaviors can be extremely difficult to regulate and change. Owners who skip neutering male house cats may discover that it is best to leave them outdoors.
Spaying and neutering pets can be an important decision for pet health as well as for owners’ comfort. Long-term pet ownership can help alleviate depression and anxiety in owners, and there are millions of dogs and cats at animal shelters that need to be adopted. Instead of buying a pet from a store, pet lovers may find that they can become a “forever family” for an older dog or cat that could use a helping hand.