S/N is the single most important thing you can do for the health and welfare of your pet and to halt the killing of millions of unwanted animals in shelters. Here’s just six reasons why:
- Your Pet’s Health. Pets who live in states with the highest rates of spay/neuters live the longest. Females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. Spaying removes the common threat of pyometra (a fatal uterine infection), and mammary and other reproductive tumors which are malignant 50% of the time. Neutered males are significantly less likely develop common testicular or prostate cancers. Dogs are safely altered as young as 2 months old and weighing 2 pounds.
- Stops the Killing! Be a part of overcoming serious pet overpopulation. In the US, an average of 8 million pets enter shelters each year. Less than half are adopted, the rest are euthanized. There simply are not enough homes for the huge number of pets being born. And that doesn’t include those who are killed by unscrupulous breeders or the huge number of strays who are abandoned or lost, hit by cars, or “pets” who lead lives of desperation in horrible, unsheltered kennels, who are chained, underfed, un-loved and often breeding at will.
- Don’t allow your dog to “have just one litter.” Having just one litter kills 7-13 already born and homeless dogs, even if you find homes for all your puppies, because there’s just that many fewer homes available for the millions of dogs waiting to be adopted in shelters. And unless you invest in altering every one of your dog’s pups before re-homing them, remember that one unaltered female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in just 6 years. And male animals contribute even more to the problem – just one unsterilized male can impregnate dozens of females each year!
- Altering curbs bad behavior. Neutering your male before six months when habits have become ingrained reduces or eliminates most bad behaviors, including roaming to find females in heat, fighting other males, urine marking at home and in public, mounting other dogs, and other aggressive tendencies. Studies show that the vast majority of dog bites and attacks on pets and people come from unaltered males.
- Cost Savings. The cost of altering your dog is minor compared to surgery and treatment of reproductive diseases, fight or accident injuries, and proper veterinary care of litters of puppies and their mom. Required or voluntary licensing of your dog is also less expensive. Today, almost all apartments and rentals require that all pets be altered, or, if not, they charge an expensive pet and damage deposit. Most communities now have low cost spay/neuter clinics (like WAG locally) and often there are organizations like SPOT that can help even more to ensure anyone can afford this for their pets.
- It’s good for the community! Lost and stray animals picked up by animal control and taken to shelters cost communities hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Sadly, most of these animals do not get adopted. But many more are never picked up. If they are not killed in traffic or shot by people fearful of them or farmers concerned about their livestock, they pose other real problems in communities. Those car accidents also kill people, thousands of birds and wildlife are killed by hungry strays, they can carry and transmit deadly diseases, and much local fauna is destroyed. And of course, few of these dogs are altered so they are producing feral pups that continue the sad cycle.