The numbers are staggering.
One unspayed cat and her offspring can have nearly 5,000 kittens over the span of seven years. One unspayed dog and her offspring can have more than 500 puppies during that time. Is it any wonder that there are millions more dogs and cats than homes for these pets in the U.S. each year?
“Unfortunately, in areas of overpopulation, many of those animals are euthanized,” said Dean Daubert, Anderson Humane’s Senior Director of Operations.
The good news is that this is a very fixable problem! Getting your pets fixed is a relatively easy solution that not only prevents unwanted litters but also offers additional health and behavioral benefits for your pet and you.
In this season of summer lovin’, here’s why it’s important to have your pets spayed or neutered.
Before we get to why these procedures are important, let’s understand exactly what they are. When a female cat or dog is spayed, her reproductive organs are surgically removed so she can’t become pregnant. When a male dog or cat is neutered, his testicles are removed so he can’t impregnate a female.
These surgeries are performed at a veterinary clinic, and can be done when the kitten or puppy is as young as eight weeks old. Recovery usually takes a matter of days.
It’s also important to know what these surgeries don’t do, including impact the animal’s ability to learn, play, work, or hunt. “Many people think they’re taking something away from the animal with this surgery when they’re actually making their lives better,” Dean said.
Spaying female dogs or cats, especially at an early age, can help protect them from several serious health threats down the road, including uterine infections and breast cancer. Neutering male pets decreases the risk of them developing testicular cancer and an enlarged prostate gland.
In fact, a study by the University Georgia found that the life expectancy of neutered male dogs was 13.8% longer and the life expectancy of spayed female dogs was 26.3% longer than their unfixed counterparts. These findings were very similar to those from a Banfield Pet Hospitals study conducted with 2.2 million dogs and 460,000 cats.
Spayed female dogs and cats won’t go into heat, saving you from the unwanted behaviors that often accompany their four- to five-day cycle every three weeks during breeding season. Those behaviors include yowling and urinating more often, and often throughout your house.
“Neutering your male dog stops them from wandering to look for a mate,” said Dean Daubert. They’ll often try to escape to find that mate, making them vulnerable to injury from other animals and traffic. Plus they’ll be less likely to mount other animals, you and your visitors, and other items in your home if they are neutered.
Finally, neutered males tend to be less aggressive. Dean cites a study that found “75 percent of dog bite incidents involve intact [not neutered] males.”
Every animal available for adoption at Anderson Humane is spayed or neutered, in compliance with Illinois laws for animal shelters as well as our profound belief in the benefit of these procedures. Because these surgeries can cost from $350-600 at a typical veterinary clinic, adopting an animal from Anderson Humane saves you money.
If your pet still needs these procedures, our low-cost veterinary clinic offers spay and neuter surgeries for less than half of what they cost at traditional clinics. We feel strongly that these procedures are the right thing for our pets and are an important part of bringing people and animals together for good.