Most people love animals. In 2016, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) estimated there were 90 million dogs and 94 million cats owned in the United States. That’s a lot of pet lovers!
Despite our love of pets, there is a dirty little secret that people don’t like to talk about. The ASPCA estimates approximately 6.5 million pets end up in animal shelters in the United States each year. Even worse, millions of these animals are euthanized each year.
With millions of animals dying every year because they don’t have a home, there is one thing every responsible pet owner can do to ensure they are part of the answer and not part of the problem. They can spay or neuter their pet.
What Does Spay or Neuter Mean?
When a female animal is surgically sterilized, it is called a spay. This means the female organs involved in pregnancy are removed. This includes the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the uterus. The female will no longer get pregnant or go into heat.
When a male animal is surgically sterilized, it is called a neuter. This means the male testicles are removed. The male will no longer get females pregnant.
What Are the Advantages?
Spay or neutering your pet decreases overpopulation by eliminating unwanted litters, but your pet gains benefits as well. For females, the risk of breast cancer is reduced, and deadly infections of the uterus are eliminated. Since she will no longer go into heat, she won’t attract males. Marking territories with urine may be decreased as well.
For males, the risk of testicular cancer is reduced, and overgrowth of the prostate is decreased. Males will be less likely to roam, since they won’t be driven to find a female for breeding. They will be more content to stay at home, and less likely to get injured by running into traffic or fighting over females.
Solution or Problem?
It is estimated there are 70 million homeless pets in the United States. Millions are euthanized each year. Spaying or neutering our pets gives us one way to reduce this overpopulation issue. Will you be part of the solution or part of the problem? What will you choose?