by Heather Reynolds
According to the American Pet Products Association, 75% of owned dogs and 87% of owned cats are spayed or neutered. There are many reasons to spay and neuter your pets. The biggest reason most proponents give is the reduction in pet overpopulation. Shelters around the country euthanize perfectly happy and healthy pets because there are too many pets and not enough adopters. So, you are saving a life by adopting a pet – and saving several lives by spaying and neutering the pet you adopt!
But there are other benefits to spaying and neutering as well. Sterilization can increase your dog’s lifespan an average of one to three years, and your cat’s lifespan an average of three to five years. It also leads to a much lower risk of mammary gland tumors, prostate cancer, uterine cancer, and other forms of cancer.
Spaying and neutering also eliminates heat cycles in females and reduces your pet’s desire to stray. And when a dog or cat strays, they have a much higher chance of getting injured in a fight or hit by a car.
Your community will also benefit. Unwanted litters of animals caused by ‘accidental pregnancies’ often end up as strays, and unfixed pets who like to roam can easily aggravate neighbors, as they can start fights with other animals, soil roads and yards, and cause noise disturbances.
Finally, altered pets are much easier to insure because most pet insurance companies are not able to cover anything related to breeding or pregnancy, or anything related to fights caused by unneutered males.
We as pet owners have enough to worry about, right? Why give yourself a whole list of other things that may be an issue with your pet? Spaying and neutering gives pet owners more peace of mind that their pets will be happy and healthy members of their community.
Is your pet fixed? What has your experience been with your altered or unaltered pet?
Heather Reynolds is the Internet Journalist who lives in Bellevue with her two dogs, an Italian Greyhound named Ava and a Spaniel mix named Jackson.
Great artticle. We owe it to the rescue groups and responsible pet owners that the number of pets spayed and neutered is what it is today… now if we could get everyone to understand the importance. I’ve never had a dog or cat that wasn’t fixed.
Keep up the good work!
For the Love of Paws
>> Sterilization can increase your dog’s lifespan an average of one to three years, and your cat’s lifespan an average of three to five years. << Is there a link to a journal article, heather? I am trying to confirm the desex + longer lifespan connection, and have failed to find a peer-reviewed article to reference. Thanks for any help, - terry pride
Great article! We frequently get questions as to why we recommend all pets be spayed or neutered and this is a great article that covers all the questions owners ask.
Keep up the great work!
I couldn’t agree with you more! It is sad to see that so many people are ignorant to the health benefits when making this decision.
Thank you for the question. I didn’t use any actual peer-reviewed journal articles in my research, but found a lot of great information on spayusa.org, various rescue websites, and some Q&A’s online with veterinarians.
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I always try to stress & emphasize the importance of spaying & neutering. It goes beyond the booming pet population too! Spaying & neutering pet REALLY does help the over all health! One of my beloved furry friends “Stirling” the American Bull Dog wasn’t neutered when his owners got him. He was 6 when I started watching him. One day we were out walking & Stirling had bright red urine! A REALLY bad urinary infection. Well that was just the start – 2 years later Stirling was diagnosed with testicular cancer & lost his battle a year later. Not the way I wanted to lose my buddy & it could have been prevented it he had been neutered as a puppy.
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