To Spay or Not to Spay?

When I was growing up, we adopted many homeless dogs and cats and routinely got them fixed. But it wasn’t until I officially entered the animal welfare world, that I realized the widespread significance of this action.

The United States has witnessed a dramatic reduction in the number of dogs and cats destroyed in shelters – from 17 million a year in the 1980’s to the current estimated five million a year. Even though more homeless pets are being saved than ever before, animal shelters are still full of wonderful dogs and cats longing for homes. While this alone is a good reason to get your pet fixed, did you know there are lots of other benefits of spaying and neutering?

Healthier and happier pets: Fixing your pets ends their urge to mate and dramatically reduces their desire to fight or wander. Mating and fighting behaviors put them at greater risk of being injured or picking up an illness. Neutering also reduces the risk of several types of cancer in dogs and cats. Your neutered pets will often be calmer and more likely to stay at home which reduces the potential for encounters with cars, a major danger for outside pets. At the same time your pets are experiencing a better quality of life, you are saving on vet bills.

Happier pet owners: Spay/neuter greatly reduces nuisance behavior, which also cuts down on complaints from the neighbors. The sounds of fighting and mating, the presence of strange males drawn to your female, and spraying (urine marking) of territory are reduced or eliminated. The urine of intact males smells especially strong and can be offensive. Dog bite risk may also be reduced by neutering. Many owners report that their pet becomes more affectionate, and it is much easier to introduce another pet into the home when the resident pets have been fixed.

Isn’t it healthier for my pet to have one litter?

Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. Cats can go into heat and get pregnant as early as five months of age, so it’s important to spay early.

How young can a dog or cat be spayed or neutered?

Puppies and kittens can be safely spayed or neutered at approximately eight weeks of age. Though this may seem young, puppies and kittens are actually quite resilient and recover more quickly from surgery than most mature animals.

How much does it cost?

Cost varies depending on the services offered in your community, but spay/neuter is a one-time cost, a bargain when you consider the cost of taking care of litter after litter of puppies or kittens. Make an appointment today with your personal veterinarian. Individuals on a limited or low income may be eligible for low-cost or free programs in our community. Call the Nevada Humane Society Animal Help Desk (775-856-2000 ext. 200) to find a program that meets your needs. Your pets will be happier and so will you.

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