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The Benefits of Neutering Your Pet
Too many pets, not enough homes
Each year, around 15 million pets are turned into animal shelters across
the country. Only 25 to 30 percent of these animals are reclaimed by their owners
or adopted into new homes. The rest, some 11 million dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens,
be put to death because no one wants them.
This terrible waste can be easily reduced by reducing the
number of puppies and kittens being
born. And the best way to do that is to neuter your pets.
Neutering is a simple
surgical procedure which prevents pets from reproducing by removing their
When neutered, pets offer you what you got them for --
affection, companionship, and being the center of their
As a pet owner, you can add to the overpopulation problem
or help end it. Don't fool
yourself into thinking that if you find a home for each of your pet's offspring
you avoid adding to the number of homeless pets. Actually, you've only eliminated
potential homes for other waiting puppies and kittens. Only so many
responsible, caring homes exist,
and finding a home for one of your pet's offspring inevitably dooms some other cat or
Besides giving other pets a chance at a loving home, neutering your pets
gives them and you a lot of benefits you may not be aware of:
Your pet will be a more content family member
Because they're domestic animals, dogs and cats naturally take to, and need,
people, but this natural affection gets overpowered by the drive to reproduce.
This urge to mate leads to roaming, fighting, aggression, excessive barking,
howling, and other unwelcome behaviors. Neutered pets are freed of this urge and the
resulting bothersome behaviors, making a calmer and more content pet who prefers
to stay home and concentrate on you. If your have more than one pet, you'll find
that your neutered pets get along much better with each other.
Your pet will be healthier
Because the urge to search out mates is eliminated, neutered pets are less
likely to roam from home and be injured in fights or killed in traffic. In fact
neutered pets have twice the average life expectancy of unneutered pets, partly
due to a much lower chance of suffering from breast, uterine, prostate, and
Dogs and cats can be neutered as early as eight weeks or anytime beyond that
age. Females can be neutered when they're in season or early pregnancy, but
the risks are somewhat greater. (Be sure to inform your veterinarian of her
condition.) The best and easiest thing for you and your pet is to get her
neutered as early as possible and before she comes into season the first time.
Waiting until after her first heat period does nothing for either of you.
Make an appointment with your veterinarian. If the expense if a problem, ask
your local humane society about the low-cost spay/neuter clinics in your area.
You won't have to put up with staining or spraying
During their "heat" periods, female dogs and cats experience a flow of blood.
So, unless you're prepared to diaper your pet (and can anticipate the timing) or
deal with the stains on your rugs and furniture, spay your pet and eliminate
this problem entirely.
Unneutered male cats can also stain your floors and furniture, but it happens
year round, and it smells terrible. As active reproducers, unneutered male
cats must tell everyone that this is their area and they're willing to defend
it, so they mark territory by "spraying" objects inside and outside of the house
with strong smelling urine. If neutered early, male cats rarely develop this
habit. Older "sprayers" usually stop within a few months of being neutered.
A lot of expense goes into producing a litter. To keep the mother and
offspring healthy, there'll be special diets, vaccinations, and plenty of
veterinarian visits. Profits are rare.
You won't have to fight off suitors
When your female dog or cats goes into heat, the males for blocks around will
know it. Walking her will be like going into battle. Every loose mail dog in the
neighborhood will follow, and nothing will drive them away. Your dog will
normally come into heat twice a year, and she'll attract males for almost
Cats are incredibly efficient reproducers. During breeding season (approximately
February through October), females come into heat as often as every two weeks,
and won't stop unless they're allowed to reproduce. They'll also go into heat
while nursing their current litter. Cats needing to mate will wail, rub,
and dart out the door at the slightest opportunity. They become almost magical
in their ability to escape.
If you don't want your pet to breed, you're in for a very trying time. You'll
get no cooperation from your pets because all their instincts are compelling
them to find a mate. Nor is a fenced yard sure protection. Dogs will achieve the
"impossible" when motivated to mate, and the number of puppies conceived in
safely fenced yards number in the hundreds of thousands.
You won't have to find homes for the offspring
When you read the columns of the classified ads selling puppies and kittens
you'd think breeding your pet could make you rich. Don't count on it. A lot
of those animals are never sold and end up being given away or taken to a shelter.
If your pet isn't a purebred, you'll have trouble giving the young
away. Even if your pet is purebred, she must be mated with another purebred,
and the pups or kittens properly registered (for a fee) for any hope of profit.
And it's very likely your pedigreed female will make a shambles of your best-laid
plans by mating with the first mutt or alley cat she meets.
You won't have to spend extra money
Purebred or not, it costs money to bring a healthy litter into the world.
The mother will need periodic check-ups by a veterinarian and a special
diet during her pregnancy. Medical costs will mount if she has problems
during the pregnancy or delivery, or if the puppies or kittens have health problems.
The young won't be ready to leave home for eight weeks, which means two
months of housing, cleaning and feeding them. In addition, they'll need to
be checked and vaccinated by a veterinarian before putting them up for sale.
All this takes time and money, not to mention the cost of advertising and the
days spent waiting by the phone and showing the animals to prospective buyers.
If you don't screen the buyers carefully, you may also end up carrying the
additional burden of conscience for letting a puppy or kitten go to a home where
he may be ignored, mistreated, abandoned, or abused.
Worst of all is the heartbreaking decision about what to do with the leftover
puppies and kittens you just can't find homes for.
You won't add to the fatal population explosion
No one likes to think about the healthy, beautiful affectionate cats, dogs, puppies, and
kittens losing their lives because no one wants them. Shelters, which offer
food, warmth, and medical attention, care very much about these animals, but the
volume of pets entering shelters greatly outnumbers the families looking to
adopt. Euthanasia protects the unwanted ones from the pain of a life without
companionship. A better solution is to limit the number of animals being born until they equal the number
of people who want and can care for them. So please contact your veterinarian or animal
shelter and get your pet neutered.
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Tuesday March 08, 2011