Since 1995, the last Tuesday of February has been chosen to celebrate World Spay Day. The holiday was established to promote the importance of spaying and neutering your pets. This year World Spay Day will take place on February 23, 2021.
Spaying or neutering your pet provides many health and behavioral benefits and helps reduce the homeless pet population. Each year, millions of unwanted litters are born and enter shelters where they may struggle to find homes. By spaying or neutering your pet, you’re helping your community and giving your pet a happier, healthier life.
What Do Spaying and Neutering Entail?
Both spay and neuter surgeries are performed by expert veterinarians (usually when the animal is relatively young). The animals are under anesthesia, so they do not feel pain. And though cats and dogs may experience a certain level of discomfort in the days following surgery, recovery times are quick—and medication is available to put the animals at ease.
Spaying a cat or dog involves surgically removing a female’s reproductive organs to prevent pregnancy.
Neutering a cat or dog involves surgically removing parts of a male’s reproductive organs so he can no longer get a female pregnant.
Why should you spay or neuter your pet?
Spaying or neutering your pet carries many benefits and few risks. Spay and neuter programs benefit not only our companions, but also the communities they call home.
Here are 10 benefits of spaying or neutering your pet.
- Improves health of dogs and cats
Spaying or neutering your pet has many health benefits. The odds of breast cancer and uterine infections increase in unspayed female pets, while the risk of testicular cancer and prostate issues increase in unneutered male pets.
In turn, the risk of contracting conditions like TVT and pyometra is virtually eliminated when a dog or cat has been spayed or neutered.
- Increases life expectancy
Generally, animals that have been spayed/neutered at an early age live longer lives. We’ve mentioned some of the fatal diseases animals risk developing when they have not been spayed or neutered. By preventing these health conditions, spaying or neutering your pet can actually increase their life expectancy. Research shows that spayed and neutered dogs live one to three years longer on average, while spayed and neutered cats typically live three to five years longer.
- Minimizes unwanted hormone-driven behaviors
Biting, humping, and marking territory are common hormone-driven behaviors in pets that have not been spayed or neutered. By spaying or neutering your dog or cat, you can reduce these common annoyances and help your animal feel more comfortable.
Plus, your companion will be more trainable and typically happier after their surgery. This is because they won’t be forced to fight the natural urge to reproduce when they’re in heat (for females), or in the presence of a female in heat (for males).
- Mitigate financial strain
Say your pet unexpectedly gives birth to a litter of kittens or puppies. You will suddenly be responsible for feeding and providing veterinary care for a whole litter. Surprise animal pregnancies can cause financial stress.
Under any circumstances, pet parenthood can be expensive. By spaying or neutering your pet, you can better manage the funds you have to feed and love the animals in your care.
- Prevents unmanageable population growth
Spay and neuter programs keep animals from contributing to the growing number of homeless or abandoned pets in shelters and in the streets. Have you ever noticed that strays are more common in certain areas? Chances are pet owners in these places are less likely to spay and neuter their companions.
The devastating truth is that homeless animals are euthanized and neglected far more often than their domesticated counterparts. This makes sterilization all the more critical in decreasing the number of dogs and cats living on the streets.
- Reduces the urge to roam
Unfixed animals grapple with a biological need to roam. This makes them more likely to run away, get lost, or even get hit by a car. Statistics reveal that 85% of dogs hit by cars are intact. Unneutered male cats and dogs in particular are especially inclined to run off in search of a mate.
Spaying or neutering your pet will reduce their chances of wanting to escape the house and roam.
- Helps protect wildlife and other animals
Stray or feral cats and dogs are more likely to get into fights with wildlife. Similarly, unaltered animals are more likely to experience unpredictable urges that could put livestock and other pets at risk.
Accordingly, doing your part to spay or neuter your pet can help protect not only your companion, but the other animals around you — reducing overpopulation all the while.
- Keeps communities clean and orderly
Though it might not be the first issue that comes to mind when you consider caring for dogs and cats, many communities consider unwanted animals a public nuisance. Stray pets can soil parks and streets, destroy plants and gardens, and cause other disturbances.
Spaying or neutering your pet can help mitigate this by reducing the number of stray animals. It can also keep animals from scaring kids or seniors (along with other groups that might feel uneasy around homeless, unfixed animals).
- Save millions of lives.
About 3 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States. Of these, 2.4 million are healthy or dealing with treatable conditions. These devastating figures are linked to the unplanned litters that could have been prevented with spay and neuter programs.
Additionally, failure to spay or neuter your pet can also increase an animal’s chances of contracting a serious health condition. Scheduling these surgeries can truly help to save lives.
- Create vital shelter space for animals in need.
Impoundments are often devastating and shouldn’t occur unnecessarily. Even if you manage to find homes for the kittens or puppies an intact animal might create, you wouldn’t want to risk needlessly sending members of their litter to a shelter.
By spaying or neutering your pet, you can do your part in making sure there’s plenty of shelter space for dogs and cats most in need. Spay and neuter programs really can go a long way in protecting the animals we so dearly love.
In Celebration of World Spay Day
While spay and neuter initiatives are vital year-round, World Spay Day is a wonderful opportunity to spread the word and discuss just how much these programs matter.
Mark your calendar for February 23—because spaying and neutering your pet will directly benefit your companion, their overall species, and your community. It’s an effective, humane approach to giving cats and dogs the care they deserve to live healthy and happy lives.
Have questions about spaying or neutering your pet? Need to schedule your pet’s spay or neuter procedure? Please don’t hesitate to contact Anicira Veterinary Center for more information.