By making sure that your pet can't have puppies or kittens, you'll have peace of mind that his or her offspring won't be euthanized in an animal shelter.
Many people are surprised to learn that nationwide more than 3 million cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters. You might think that these are animals born in the streets or there is something "wrong" with them. But often they are the offspring of cherished family pets, even purebreds. Maybe someone's dog or cat got out just that one time or maybe the litter was intentional, but efforts to find enough good homes failed.
Still the result is homeless animals that have to be euthanized because there are more dogs and cats entering shelters than there are people willing to provide them with loving care. Even if you do find homes for your pet's puppies or kittens, that means there are fewer homes available to take in other pets from shelters. Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100-percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats.
Help your community … and yourself
Homeless animals may get into trash containers, defecate in the neighborhood and bite or attack. Spaying or neutering your pet means that your animal and its potential offspring won't contribute to the population of unwanted pets.
You can also enjoy your spayed or neutered pet more. Female pets that have been spayed do not go into heat. You won't have the mess that comes with the female reproductive cycle or the boisterous, noisy male suitors. Spaying and neutering may also reduce the risk of certain health problems, offering you more years with your beloved dog or cat.
Safe and effective
Licensed veterinarians perform the spay or neuter operation while the pet is under anesthesia. Depending on your pet's age, size and health, he or she will stay at your veterinarian's office for a few hours or a few days. Depending upon the procedure, your pet may need stitches removed. Your veterinarian can fully explain spay and neuter procedures to you. If you have a new puppy or kitten, don't wait! Pets can become parents sooner than you think. Early age spay/neuter is safe and effective, so talk with your veterinarian at your pet's first visit.
Financial assistance may be available
Spay or neuter surgery carries a one-time cost that is relatively small when you consider the benefits. It's a small price to pay to make sure your pet's offspring aren't euthanized. For pets living in homes with limited income, reduced cost procedures may be available. Humane societies work with veterinarians to offer subsidized and affordable spay and neuter services in veterinarians offices, in specialized clinics and even in customized mobile units that bring safe, effective spaying and neutering into specific neighborhoods.
It's not just for dogs and cats!
When being conscientious about the pet overpopulation, don't forget to spay or neuter your pet rabbit. Rabbits reproduce faster than dogs or cats and often end up in shelters where they must be euthanized. Spaying or neutering rabbits can reduce hormone-driven behavior such as lunging, mounting, spraying and boxing. Spaying females can prevent ovarian, mammary and uterine cancers, which can be prevalent in mature females.
Millions of pet deaths each year are a tragedy—but it can be solved. By spaying and neutering your pet, you can be an important part of the solution. Contact your veterinarian today and be sure to let your family and friends know that they should do the same.
See also: Myths and Facts about Spaying and Neutering