Each year in Canada, approximately 80,000 cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters. That is almost half of all animals admitted to shelters. The number of cats euthanized is almost three times that of dogs. Across North America, almost a half millions cats and dogs are euthanized. Many thousands more die lonely, painful deaths outside. Many are family pets that were not spayed or neutered, that mated with other unspayed and unneutered animals, resulting in unwanted pets. The only method that can absolutely guarantee avoidance of pet over-population and unwanted animals is by having your pet spayed (female) or neutered (male). The procedure is safe and your pet will be under anesthesia during the operation and only be in the vet’s office for a few hours. Spaying involves the removal of the female reproductive organs including the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. Neutering refers to castration, meaning that both testicles are removed. Both surgeries prevent unwanted offspring and eliminate many of the behavioural problems associated with the mating instinct. The advantages of neutering males are that it makes them less likely to roam, mark their territories with urine, and get aggressive with other dogs or cats. Spayed female cats and dogs benefit by having fewer urinary tract infections and less chance of developing certain types of cancer.
COMMON MYTHS, OBJECTIONS AND RELATED FACTS
MYTH: PROCEDURE is TOO EXPENSIVE.
FACT: A one-time cost is certainly much smaller than the cost of raising more unwanted cats or dogs and certainly worth the peace of mind knowing the offspring won’t be put down. There is some financial assistance for individuals receiving Canadian disability benefits. This assistance is offered on a voluntary basis through veterinarians via The Farley Foundation/Farley Fund. In addition, the Ontario SPCA operates a low cost spay-neuter clinic.
MYTH: It’s better for a female to have one litter before being spayed.
FACT: Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age. Check with your veterinarian about the appropriate time for these procedures.
MYTH: MY MALE PET WON’T FEEL OR ACT LIKE A MALE IF HE IS NEUTERED.
FACT: The reality is that pets don’t have any concept of sexual identity, so they won’t have an identity crisis or nervous breakdown if they get snipped. Pets don’t have any concept of sexual identity or ego. Neutering will not change a pet’s basic personality. He doesn’t suffer any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.
MYTH: MY PET WILL GET LAZY AND FAT IF ALTERED.
FACT: If your dog or cat gets fat and lazy, it is going to be because you either fed it too much or you did not exercise it enough, but it has nothing to do with being spayed or neutered. Most pets get fat due to poor diet and lack of exercise.
MYTH: MY MALE DOG WILL BE LESS PROTECTIVE IF HE IS SPAYED or NEUTERED.
FACT: A dog’s sex hormones aren’t what make it want to protect your family; it’s their natural instinct and genetics. A dog’s disposition is determined more by environment than hormones.
MYTH: OUR CHILDREN SHOULD EXPERIENCE THE MIRACLE OF BIRTH THROUGH OUR PET.
FACT: More than likely, the puppies are going to be born in the middle of the night or not when the children are around to witness it. Additionally, there are plenty of educational materials and videos if parents want to introduce children to this concept.
FACT: The miracle of birth is quickly overshadowed by the thousands of animals euthanized in animal shelters.
MYTH: IF I LET MY PET HAVE PUPPIES, I CAN HAVE ANOTHER (Dog or Cat) JUST LIKE THIS ONE.
FACT: There’s no guarantee that the puppy or kitten will be just like its parent. Even professional breeders cannot make this guarantee. There are shelter pets waiting for homes that are just as cute, smart, sweet and loving as your own.
MYTH: THE SURGERY IS TOO RISKY.
FACT: The number of negative incidents compared to the number of surgical procedures is very low. Of course, there is the possibility of surgical complications or risk, just as there is with any surgery involving humans. But the very low risk, compared to the overall positive health of your pet and the reduction in pet overpopulation, makes the minor risk more than worth it.
MYTH: I SHOULD MATE MY PET BECAUSE HE OR SHE IS A PUREBRED.
FACT: So is at least one out of every four pets brought to animal shelters around the country. There are just too many dogs and cats—mixed breed and purebred. Remember that about half of all animals entering shelters are euthanized.