This was adapted from the Winter 2011 Healthy Pet Magazine article with the same title written by Andrew Kaplan, DVM who is also the founder of The Toby Project. The message is important and worth sharing.
1.) Overpopulation: Between 6-8 million animals enter shelter facilities each year, and half of those never find homes. Adoption alone will not solve the problem (nor will the less favorable alternative, euthanasia).
2.) Reduced Risk For Breast Cancer: If you spay your female dog or cat before her first heat cycle, the incidence of malignant breast cancer is reduced to virtually zero.
3.) Reduced Risk For Uterine Infections: Spayed dogs and cats rarely develop uterine infections, because they are generally progesterone mediated. Uterine infections are life threatening and are resolved by spaying. Typically, they occur in older dogs, which makes the procedure higher risk.
4.) Female Heats Are Annoying (I’m paraphrasing): Female cats will cry out all night for a mate, at the detriment of your own restful sleep schedule. I’m sure at some point in your life, you’ve been privy to this from neighborhood cats, or possibly your own cat. I like sleep, so this would be a big problem for me. Additionally, female dogs bleed for 3 weeks every 6-8 months, which is messy and to add to that, during those 3 weeks you’re trying to fend off neighborhood male dogs who will go to great lengths to get to your female dog in heat….and Fido can be kind of a jerk if you’re coming between he and his lady dog friend.
5.) NO Testicular Cancer Or Prostatic Cysts: Simply put, “a neutered dog can’t develop testicular cancer.” The instance of Prostatic Cysts decreases dramatically in the absence of testosterone (from neutering). Also, like Uterine Infections, Prostatic Cysts typically occur in older males- -making the procedure to remedy the situation riskier.
6.) Fido Is Less Of A Flight Risk (paraphrasing again): Male dogs and cats are far less likely to wander in the absence of the drive to search for a mate. If the thought of your dog running around busy streets and either getting hurt, stolen, or picked up by Animal Control is sobering or scary….consider neutering.
7.) Less Territory Marking: Intact males like to mark their territory and sometimes that extends to your sofa, your curtains, your pant leg (this has actually happened to me) or your bed. Fun! I could tell you stories about when I first acquired my dog, Xavier who liked to pee on everything in the house before he was neutered, but I’ll save that tale (tail? :)) for another time.
8.) Less Aggressive Behavior/Fights: Neutered male dogs are less likely to exhibit dominant, testosterone-based aggressive behaviors that lead to human bites, dog fights, etc…..and summarily, vet and doctor bills, potential litigation, etc.
9.) Puppies/Kittens Cost Money: No one will refute that puppies and kittens are cute, I mean, of course they are! BUT, in addition to contributing to pet overpopulation, you will need to feed them, take them to the vet, your female (depending on the breed) may need vet car to assist with the delivery or may need vet care following- -and you’re on the hook for caring for the little things until they are ready to find new homes (8-10 weeks), that is….if you’re able to find a home……
10.) Not Enough Homes: If your litter of puppies/kittens aren’t all able to find homes, then what? Do you bring them to the local shelter (p.s. the surrender fee will also cost money)? What if they don’t find homes at the shelter? Can you picture your beloved family pet’s progeny being euthanized because the shelter is full? Eek! I can’t! Also, bringing puppies or kittens to a shelter means that you’re likely contributing to an older dog or cat not getting adopted.
I apologize for the graphic images below, but this is essentially what the result of overcrowded shelters begets: