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Spay/ Neuter Facts & Myths
Navigational Menu Animal Pic Sometimes there's just too much of a good thing, and then there's a problem. In the case of cats and dogs, the problem is pet overpopulation. Each year between eight and twelve million dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens end up at animal shelters around the country. Some are lost, some are abandoned, some are unwanted, most are the result of irresponsible pet ownership. Sadly, about 2.4 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs - about one every 13 seconds - are euthanized in U.S. shelters each year. Often these animals are the offspring of cherished family pets. Spay/neuter is a proven way to reduce pet overpopulation (HSUS).

Consider these facts: In six years, one female dog and her offspring can the the source of 67,000 puppies. In just seven years, one female cat and her young can produce 420,000 kittens. There is theoretically no limit to the number of offspring male dogs and cats can produce. Every day in the United States, tens of thousands of puppies and kittens are born. Compare this to the 11,000 human births each day, and you can see that there can never be enough homes for all of these pets. Please consider the following facts and myths associated with spaying/ neutering your pet.

Spay/ Neuter Facts

What Does Pet Overpopulation Have To Do With Me?
Just about everything. It's hard to imagine that letting your pet have one or even two litters causes a problem, especially if you find homes for most of your pet's puppies or kittens. But the fact is that "just one litter" does cause pet overpopulation. In less than a year, all of the little ones in your pet's litter could be having litters of their own. Every day, thousands of healthy puppies and kittens are euthanized and each one of those thousands came from "just one litter."

Pet Overpopulation is a Problem You Can Help Solve
Fortunately, there is a solution to pet overpopulation: routine surgical procedures called spaying and neutering that will sterilize your pet. Being a responsible pet owner means choosing spay or neuter surgery for your pet. It means making a choice that saves lives. Talk to your veterinarian about spaying and neutering. Prevent a litter and be a part of the solution to the tragedy of pet overpopulation.

What do "Spay and Neuter" Really Mean?
Female dogs and cats are spayed by removing their reproductive organs, and male dogs and cats are neutered by removing their testicles. In both cases the operation is performed while the pet is under anesthesia. Depending on your pet's age, size, and health, he/she will stay at your veterinarian's office for a few hours or a few days. Depending upon the procedure, your pet may need stitches removed after a few days. Your veterinarian can fully explain spay and neuter procedures to you and discuss with you the best age at which to sterilize your pet.

Prevent a Litter: It's Good for Your Pet
Spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives. Spaying and neutering can eliminate or reduce the incidence of a number of health problems that can be very difficult or expensive to treat. Spaying eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer and greatly reduces the incidence of breast cancer, particularly when your pet is spayed before her first estrous cycle. Neutering eliminates testicular cancer and decreases the incidence of prostate disease.

Prevent a Litter: It's Good for You
Spaying and neutering makes pets better, more affectionate companions. Neutering cats makes them less likely to spray and mark territory. Spaying a dog or cat eliminates her heat cycle. Estrus lasts an average of six to twelve days, often twice a year, in dogs and an average of six to seven days, three or more times a year, in cats. Females in heat can cry incessantly, show nervous behavior, and attract unwanted male animals. Spaying and neutering makes pets less likely to bite. Unsterilized animals often exhibit more behavior and temperament problems than do those who have been spayed or neutered. Neutering makes pets less likely to roam the neighborhood, run away, or get into fights.

Prevent a Litter: It's Good for Your Community
Communities spend millions of dollars to control unwanted animals. Irresponsible breeding contributes to the problem of dog bites and attacks. Animal shelters are overburdened with surplus animals. Stray pets and homeless animals get into trash containers, defecate in public areas or on private lawns, and frighten or anger people who have no understanding of their misery or needs. Some stray animals also scare away or kill birds and wildlife.

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Overpopulation Myths

"My pet will get fat and lazy."
The truth is that most pets get fat and lazy because their owners feed them too much and don't give them enough exercise.

"It's better to have one litter first."
Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age. Check with your veterinarian about the appropriate time for these procedures.

"But my pet is purebred."
So is at least one out of every four pets brought to animal shelters around the country. There are just too many dogs and cats; mixed breed and purebred.

"I want my dog to be protective."
Spaying or neutering does not affect a dog's natural instinct to protect home and family. A dog's personality is formed more by genetics and environment than by sex hormones.

"I don't want my male dog or cat to feel like less of a male."
Pets don't have any concept of sexual identity or ego. Neutering will not change a pet's basic personality. He doesn't suffer any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.

"It's too expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered."
The cost of spaying or neutering depends on the sex, size, and age of the pet, your veterinarian's fees, and a number of other variables. But whatever the actual price, spay or neuter surgery is a one-time cost; a relatively small cost when compared to all the benefits. It's a bargain compared to the cost of having a litter and ensuring the health of the mother and litter; two months of pregnancy and another two months until the litter is weaned can add up to significant veterinary bills and food costs if complications develop. Most importantly, it's a very small price to pay for the health of your pet and the prevention of the births of more unwanted pets.

"I'll find good homes for all the puppies and kittens."
You may find homes for all of your pet's litter. But each home you find means one less home for the dogs and cats in shelters who need good homes. Also, in less than one year's time, each of your pet's offspring may have his/her own litter, adding even more animals to the population. The problem of pet overpopulation is created and perpetuated one litter at a time.

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