Why Should We Spay and Neuter Our Pets?

We hear it all the time, but why exactly is it important to spay and neuter our pets?

spay and neuter

Reduce Pet Overpopulation

The primary reason we spay and neuter pets is to reduce the overall pet population. By reducing the number of accidental litters, we can decrease the number of homeless animals. According to the ASPCA, 6.5 million animals enter shelters each year. Many of them are stray animals, but many are puppies and kittens from unwanted or unexpected litters. The simplest way to reduce the number of abandoned pets entering shelters is to prevent our pets from reproducing.

Prevent Health Issues

Health considerations are among the most compelling of the many reasons to spay and neuter pets. For instance, one of the benefits of spaying or neutering is a longer lifespan. Also, unaltered pets have an instinctual need to roam in search of a mate.  This causes them to get into fights, struck by cars, or injured in some other way. Because fixed pets don’t have these urges, they often live longer. Spaying and neutering can also reduce a pet’s chances of developing health issues like reproductive system cancers, uterine cancer, and fatal uterine infections.

Deter “Bad” Behavior

Although spaying and neutering don’t necessarily change a cat or dog’s personality or habits, they can help forestall the development of certain undesirable behaviors later on. When we spay and neuter our pets at an early age, we can prevent them from spraying or marking territory around the house, mounting objects or people, and even barking. Of course, we need to use training and reinforcement to correct any learned or habitual behaviors.

When Should We Spay and Neuter?

If you do choose to spay or neuter your pet, we suggest you discuss the timing with your veterinarian. Traditionally, dogs are spayed and neutered when they’re six to nine months old; cats, when they’re as young as eight weeks. Many veterinarians choose to spay and neuter early in the pet’s life to prevent health issues down the road. Others believe that allowing a pet to grow and develop their musculature before spaying and neutering is the way to go. Talk to your veterinarian to decide what is best for your pet.

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