February 27 is World Spay Day. To understand the importance of having your pet spayed or neutered, consider the numbers involved. According to the latest estimates, there are 144.1 to 183.9 million pet dogs and cats in the USA. The number of dogs and cats entering in shelters each year is between six and eight million. Of these, three million are euthanized while most of them are healthy and treatable and could have been adopted into new homes.
Spaying or neutering is making your pet infertile by partially or wholly removing its reproductive organs. Kittens may be spayed or neutered as early as 16 weeks, while the owners of young dogs usually wait until the animals are six to seven months old. Taking this measure has many advantages for you as a pet owner, for your pet and for society.
Advantages of spaying or neutering for your pet and you
The main advantage is that you’re not stuck with a nest of kittens or puppies.
When cats become fertile, their hormones cause them to develop unpleasant habits, such as spraying urine, straying from home, nightly fights, and whining. Spaying or neutering them will calm them down so that once again, they’re wonderful companions. Dogs, too, may start displaying unwanted behavior such as straying. If your dog is often in the company of other dogs, if he can run freely in a dog pound or dog daycare, it may be wise to have him treated to prevent a nest of puppies.
The health advantages are essential, too. The chance of developing diseases such as mammary cancer or leukosis (FELV) are reduced to nearly zero. While some diseases aren’t contagious to humans, pets can affect each other through sexual contact or fights, which may even result in death. Spayed and neutered cats tend to live longer than their untreated friends. So, treating your pet means giving it a chance to a longer life.
Advantages for society and overpopulated pet shelters
Dogs and cats are fertile animals and reproduce swiftly. Combined with irresponsible pet ownership, a surplus is created quickly: there are more puppies and kittens than people who want them. Shelters are always full, and every year too many pets are put to sleep.
Colonies of stray cats or dogs can cause a lot of inconvenience by tearing open garbage bags and leaving behind droppings. These animals live in abominable circumstances too. Often, they are sick, they have fight wounds and suffer hunger. Luckily, many people care for these poor creatures and volunteer to help them. Treatment costs a lot of money and time though. Have your cat or dog neutered or spayed so that you don’t contribute to stray animals suffering.
When should you have your cat neutered or spayed?
The rumor that a she-cat should throw a first litter before being neutered is untrue. Neither do you need to wait until she’s had her first heat. On the contrary, the chance of health problems only increases. A kitten’s operation usually doesn’t take long, and since the little one is young, it recovers very quickly.
Contact your vet to know the exact time for spaying or neutering your dog. The right time depends on several factors such as race and build, so you’ll want an expert’s opinion.
When the time is ripe, follow your vet’s instructions. Usually, your pet is not allowed to eat the evening before the operation. If you don’t have a pet bed yet, consider buying one. Even though your pet will probably come through the operation quite well, it’s good to give them a place of their own, where they feel comfortable and safe. Kittens may need only a few hours of sleep and will already be running, jumping, and playing as if nothing ever happened. A dog may need a little bit longer, but they too won’t suffer any adverse effects. The animals grow to be just as big as their fellows, or even surpass them.