Today is World Spay Day

Fixed pets save money, reduces the population of unwanted pets, are less likely to develop certain types of cancer, and more. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

It’s important to talk to your pet’s veterinarian about the best time to spay or neuter your dogs or cats. Spaying and neutering dogs and cats should occur before they turn four months old. Spaying (for females) and neutering (for males) has an abundance of health benefits for your pets, and to further emphasize the importance of getting your pets fixed, there’s even a World Spay Day, which is held on February 24.

“Behaviorally, spaying or neutering your pet can keep them from roaming, spraying, and marking their territory; medically, it can prevent disease or illness later in life,” says Dr. Stacy Eckman, a clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “For example, if a female dog is spayed before her first heat cycle, the chance of the dog developing mammary cancer is less than 0.05 percent.”

The top five reasons to fix your pet

  1. Spaying and neutering reduced overpopulation of unwanted animals.
  2. Dogs and cats who have been spayed or neutered live longer healthier lives.
  3. Altered pets have less risk of getting mammary and peri anal gland tumors, cancer, prostrate cancer, and uterine, ovarian, and testicular cancers.
  4. Sterilization cuts back on the urge to roam.
  5. You will save money by having a healthier pet. Plus, your community won’t have to incur costs due to impoundment and destruction of unwanted pets.

If the costs of spaying or neutering your pet is a deterrent, contact your local animal shelter to find out about low cost spay/neuter clinics. Organizations such as Best Friends Animal Society and the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) may be able to point you toward low cost spay/neuter programs.

Spaying and neutering doesn’t hurt your pet. “Just as every anesthetic/surgical event carries a risk, this does as well, but proper examination and testing prior to the procedure can mitigate many of these risks,” Dr. Eckman says. “By spaying or neutering your pet, you will be acting in the best interest of the animal’s health, saving money in the long run, and potentially providing a deserving, homeless animal with a loving home.”

Sources: Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), Best Friends Animal Society