As winter is winding down, we’ve all got our minds set on warmer weather and the brightness coming with Spring. Unfortunately, Spring also brings about tons of unexpected litters in cats and dogs. These litters contribute to the problem of overpopulation, which causes shelters to overflow with abandoned pets.
February is spay and neuter awareness month. Whether you have obtained a new pet over quarantine, or if you’re still trying to decide if you should spay or neuter your pet, then you have come to the right blog! Keep reading to gain some valuable information on the process, which will allow you to make an informed decision.
Why Spay or Neuter?
Did you know that by just the fourth year of fertility, a single cat can have 20,736 offspring? A dog can have 4,372 puppies by its seventh year of fertility. That’s a lot of paws on the ground, and mouths to feed. Sadly, too many of them do not find suitable homes.
An estimated 6.5 million unwanted companion animals enter shelters every year. Stray and feral cats and dogs can also cause health hazards and nuisances in communities, making it difficult for responsible pet owners to take their pets outside safely. A lot of money is spent, and volunteers also spend hours trying to manage the problem.
It is important to note during spay and neuter awareness month that this is a safe and humane medical procedure. It’s also a beneficial procedure that can have long term health benefits.
Benefits of Spaying or Neutering
Many people think that spaying or neutering is unnecessary. There are plenty of benefits to spaying and neutering, even for pets where reproductive activity is not a concern.
Unaltered females and males will have behavioral and physical conditions that many pet owners find undesirable and inconvenient. Female cats and dogs that are intact will go through heat cycles. During this time, the animal can experience behavioral changes, appetite changes, and bleeding. Heat cycles can occur up to 3 times a year, lasting 2 – 3 weeks at a time. Cats can experience heat cycles more frequently, with some going into heat every three weeks.
Intact male dogs or cats will also have behavioral conditions associated with their drive to reproduce. They can try to escape the house or yard when a nearby female is in heat. Aggression, urine marking, and mounting (of objects, other animals, and even people!) occur in unneutered males.
Besides getting rid of these unwanted behaviors, choosing to spay a female animal has health benefits. Female dogs and cats that get spayed have much lower incidences of uterine infections and breast tissue cancers. When the procedure happens before the female cat has had its first heat cycle, the risk will decrease even more.
What can you do?
The best way to reduce the number of unwanted animals is to take responsibility for our pets and get them spayed or neutered. Spaying or neutering ensures that our furry friends won’t be contributing to the overpopulation problem.
Spaying and neutering procedures are standard veterinarian practices with straightforward recovery routines. Both kittens and puppies can be spayed or neutered at around eight weeks of age, and juvenile procedures are preferred because younger pets heal faster and have fewer complications. However, adult animals are also eligible.
Where can you go?
Since February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month, we ask that you take a responsible step and get your pet spayed or neutered during February. Keep an eye out for specials.
Mecklenburg County residents can get on the waitlist for free spay and neuter services from Animal Care and Control.
If you live outside of the county boundaries or don’t want to wait, there are some other local options as well:
The Humane Society of Charlotte offers services for dogs ($85 spay and $65 neuter) and cats ($50 spay and $35 neuter), pricing that includes post-surgery pain management.
Stand for Animals Veterinary Clinic offers monthly specials that often include spay and neuter services. Be sure to check out their February deals!
Wherever you choose to go, make sure that you take the time to schedule this necessary procedure for your furry friend. In essence, it’s the responsible thing to do to ensure that your pet has a long, healthy life and to keep your community safe as well!