February is Spay Neuter Month, and let me say it needs it’s own month. There are so many reasons to spay or neuter your pet that it will take three blog posts to fit them all in! The first in our 3-part series about Spaying and Neutering discusses the benefits to you and your pet of this vital surgery.
Most importantly for both you and your pet is the fact that sterilized pets live longer. A USA Today article reports that neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than unspayed female dogs. This is due to several factors:
- Sterilized animals have less incidents of several forms of reproductive cancers: mammary, testicular, uterine, and prostate, for example.
- Especially for male pets, sterilizing cuts down on roaming. Roaming pets get into fights, get attacked or eaten by predators, get hit by cars, and/or end up at the pound.
You want your pets to live the longest, healthiest life possible, don’t you? Sterilizing them goes a long way towards achieving this.
For you, a sterilized animal, overall, is less expensive:
- Sterilized animals are less costly to care for because they are less likely to develop certain cancers, which are expensive to treat.
- They get into fewer fights, fights that can result in wounds needing medical attention.
- Should a female dog have a litter, the cost of her pre-natal care and pup examinations, vaccinations and wormers is far more than the cost to have had mom spayed in the first place.
- Sterilized animals are also cheaper to register with your local town—usually about half the cost, but sometimes just a fraction. Here on Nantucket, it’s $5 for a sterilized dog, but $10 for an unsterilized dog.
- Some pounds charge more to release an unsterilized pet, but might waive the kennel fees altogether if you are willing to have your pet sterilized. That’s how important it is: shelters and humane societies are willing to take on the cost for you!
Annoying behaviors are diminished once an animal is spayed or neutered, especially when sterilized early in life:
- Excessive barking in dogs
- Yowling in cats
- The aforementioned roaming
- Urine marking. (Urine-marking is especially problematic, since it’s an odor almost impossible to get rid of once the cat starts spraying.)
Calmer animals, an odor-free, quieter home, and a fatter wallet are just so much more enjoyable, don’t you think?
If you agree that the benefits of sterilizing your pet are mounting up, make an appointment today with your veterinarian to have your pet spayed or neutered. If the cost of the surgery is prohibitive, there are resources that can help:
- SNIPP–Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals (application), 508‐825-2287
- SNAP–MSPCA (application), http://www.mspca.org/programs/spayneuter/
- SPAY WAGGIN’–AnimalRescueLeague (dogs and cats), 877‐590‐7729
- The STOP Clinic (cats), www.thestopclinic.com
- CATMOBILE–Feline Rescue Society, 978-465‐1940
We never want the cost of the surgery to be a barrier to having it done. In the long run, the costs to you, your pet, and society of avoiding the surgery far outweigh its one-time fee.
Next week: De-bunking popular myths about spaying and neutering.