Despite growing awareness on the issue of spay and neuter, thanks to the work of the ASPCA, public figures such as the late Bob Barker, and various animal welfare organizations around the country—there is still much misinformation about the importance of spaying or neutering your pets.
For Miami-Dade County in particular, where we have a pet overpopulation problem that leads to the euthanization of hundreds of innocent animals each year, spaying and neutering your pets is of the utmost importance. Keep reading for the top five reasons why you should spay or neuter your pet.
- Prevent the overpopulation of pets
At Miami-Dade Animal Services, Miami’s only open intake shelter, staff and volunteers care for over 400 homeless pets at any given time. Over the course of a single year, this number translates to around 10,000 pets brought into the shelter—either because they were found as strays, or because their owners surrendered them. By refusing to spay or neuter your pets, you may be adding to an increase in the number of homeless pets if your dog or cat has a litter of puppies or kittens, or impregnates another pet. Rather than continuing to increase pet populations, we need more households willing to house pets and to reduce pet populations over time until the number of pets can equal the amount of households that can care for them.
- Improve the behavior of your pet
Un-spayed and un-neutered pets are known for more difficult behavioral problems than sterilized pets. Both dogs and cats, especially males, can spray strong-smelling urine in order to mark their territory. They will even do this within their own homes. This behavior is caused by strong sex hormones in pets, which can also lead to aggression problems that can make pet ownership difficult. When pets are spayed or neutered, these problems tend to subside, and the pets make for much more affectionate and easy-to-care-for companions.
- Support the health of your pet
Studies show that sterilizing your pet can drastically increase their life expectancy. For dogs, sterilization increases life expectancy by one to three years, while in cats, life expectancy raises by three to five years! Spaying your female pets decreases the likelihood that they will develop cancers including uterine, ovarian, and breast cancers. These forms of cancer are 50% fatal in dogs and 90% fatal in cats. For males, neutering before six months of age can prevent the development of testicular cancer. Not only can these health risks hurt your pets, they are damaging to you and your family, and very costly if not impossible to treat. Sterilization is much cheaper than paying for medical treatments and the loss of a life-long companion for your family is not something to take lightly.
- Keep your pet from running away
When trying to find a mate, an unsterilized male dog will seek out a female dog anywhere they can. This means that they will do anything to find an unsterilized female dog, even leave their yard or home. They can dig under fences or break out of their home and roam, trying to reproduce. This behavior can be extremely dangerous for your pet and they risk being killed or hurt when they come across other dogs, traffic, and the elements outside of your home.
- Help improve your community
Thousands of unwanted pets in Miami-Dade county are euthanized every and many more lose their lives living on the streets of our community. Having so many homeless, unsterilized pets on the streets is damaging to them. Pets who live their lives as homeless animals on our streets may be harder to place in loving, forever homes due to behaviors developed while roaming or their general mistrust of people after having to fend for themselves.
Getting your pets spayed and neutered is important for the safety and health of your pets, your community, and yourself. Visit the FoMA website to learn more about making the right choice for your pets. Please, spay and neuter your dogs and cats.