Every hour in this country, more dogs and cats are born than humans. When supply is greater than demand, the excess is put to death. While some feel killing companion animals is not a solution, the reality of pet homelessness dictates otherwise. Who could house and care for 5 million dogs and cats each year? There is kinder, simpler solution to the mass-euthanasia that takes place, daily, in animal shelters. The solution is to spay and neuter our companion animals.
The single most important benefit of sterilizing our pets is that they will not contribute to the supply of companion animals. If we choose to add to the supply, we must take responsibility for the pets we create and their offspring and all future generations. Responsibility doesn't end when the cute puppy or kitten is adopted or sold. When we create a life, we have a responsibility to it until it ceases to exist. If we don't accept this, we are adding to the death toll of companion animals. If we choose to spay and neuter our pets, our responsibility ends with our pets.
There are many benefits to spaying a female dog. First, semi-annual heat cycles or "seasons" are non-existent. A spayed female does not discharge blood or mucous. With hormones regulated, a spayed female is not prone to "wanderlust" or the desire to seek out a mate. Spayed females cannot get ovarian or uterine cancers since their ovaries and uterus are removed. Uterine cancer and pyometra (pus-filled uterus) are life-threatening conditions. Sterilizing a female dog prior to her first heat cycle virtually eliminates the possibility of mammary cancer later in life.
Neutering a male dog is a simple procedure wherein the testicles are removed through a small incision. While neutering a dog results in an obvious physical change, the procedure is less invasive than spaying a female. Neutered dogs don't have reproduction on their minds which results in a less-aggressive, more devoted family companion. Neutered males aren't excited by a female in heat and are less prone to "wanderlust." An intact male that cannot get to a female in heat leads a frustrating existence. Neutered dogs can't get testicular cancer. Finally, perianal tumors (lumps on and around the anus) are more commonly seen with intact males.
Myths abound on the topic of sterilization. Many believe spay/neutering will render a dog fat and lazy. The reality is, too much food and too little exercise result in an overweight dog, and people, too. Some folks have a litter because their friends want a dog "just like Princess." The reality is, when it's time to take the Princess replica home, most friends aren't committed. Witnessing the birth seems to top some lists for having a litter. The reality is, most dogs will hide and don't want to be bothered during the birthing process. And finally, some say, "it's just one litter." The reality is, unless every puppy in the litter is sterilized, there will be future litters at a compounding rate.
A common reason people give for not sterilizing their pet is, "Just haven't gotten around to it." It is time we get around to it. Lives are at stake. We have an opportunity and a responsibility to prevent pet homelessness. If we sterilize our pets and encourage others to do the same, we can bring supply closer to demand. Our pets will also thank us for giving them a happier, healthier existence.
PBRC has financial assistance available for pit bull owners and rescuers. Please fill out an application: http://www.pbrc.net/fund/ap_neuter.html
Low cost and/or free spay and neuter programs: http://www.pbrc.net/speuter.html