It’s hip to snip
From 1979 to 2007, at the end of each episode of the Price is Right, Bob Barker notoriously encouraged his viewers to “help control the pet population” by having pets spayed or neutered. His successor, Drew Carey, is carrying on Bob’s legacy by asking the same of his audience. Isn’t it refreshing when celebrities use their influence for the greater good?
Both Bob and Drew set out to raise awareness about spaying and neutering in an effort to make an impact on the animal overpopulation crisis in the United States. Overpopulation, however, isn’t just an American issue. In a research paper published in Avian Conservation & Ecology, author Peter Blancher states that in Canada, there are an estimated “5.4-9.6 million free-roaming cats, with 1.5-4.1 million of these being feral or unowned.” The exponential reproduction rate of these numbers is almost unfathomable. By spaying or neutering your pet, you are helping to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats in our community and playing an important role in minimizing the number of stray or unwanted animals.
• Spaying/neutering is the most effective and humane method of controlling pet overpopulation. Not only does it prevent unwanted pregnancies, but it also has many health and behaviour benefits for your pet:
• Neutering decreases aggressive behaviours in males. Male dogs are less likely to bite, attack or get into dog fights, while male cats are less likely to mark or “spray” and get into tussles with other kitties. Aggression can also be displayed by female dogs in heat.
• When females are spayed, their heat cycles end for good. Female cats can go into heat every three weeks – the natural instincts of unaltered cats could mean that they may attempt to escape to mate, or they may urinate inappropriately. Let’s face it – cat pee is anything but pleasant and produces an aroma that nobody wants in their home.
• Studies show that spayed/neutered pets live longer. One such study conducted by Banfield Pet Hospitals found that neutered male dogs lived 18 per cent longer and spayed female dogs lived 23 per cent longer. Cats benefit to an even greater degree, with spayed female cats in the study living 39 per cent longer and neutered male cats living 62 per cent longer.
• In addition to increasing life expectancy, spaying/neutering helps prevent a number of illnesses. Spaying eliminates the risk of uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and pyometra (a life-threatening infection of the uterus) and reduces the risk of mammary cancer. Neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate problems in male dogs. Caring for a pet with reproductive system cancers and pyometra can run thousands of dollars, while fixing your pet costs just a fraction of those fees. There is a good chance that spaying/neutering will save you money in the long run.
The benefits of spaying/neutering a pet are clear for communities, pets and their owners. From controlling pet overpopulation, to preventing disease in pets and cutting veterinary costs over time, the decision to spay or neuter your pet is an easy one to make.
Anna Schuett is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator for the Georgian Triangle Humane Society.