Beat the heat: Why is spaying and neutering important to community health?

Beat the heat: Why is spaying and neutering important to community health?

Many animal owners consider their decision to spay or neuter their animals a very personal choice. But, the reality is that our individual decisions to spay or neuter impact the community as a whole – from animal well-being to human safety. So, when you choose to spay or neuter your pet, you are making a decision that supports dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals, as well as your community!

Spaying and neutering your animals is a critical part of responsible pet ownership and is essential to improve the lives of animals in Memphis and Shelby County. In honor of World Spay Day Feb. 24, we’ll share three reasons why it’s important to spay and neuter your pets.

Spaying and neutering reduces animal homelessness.

We have made tremendous strides in Memphis and Shelby County toward reducing the number of abused, neglected, sick and homeless animals on our streets. But, there is more work to be done!

How does that number get so large? It’s a matter of simple multiplication. In just five years, one cat and her offspring can give birth to hundreds, if not thousands of kittens. Many of those animals will roam homeless, which is dangerous to other animals and humans in the community. And, a number of those kittens won’t make it to adulthood as a result of disease, malnutrition or other causes. We can significantly reduce the number of animals on the streets by spaying and neutering our pets.

You might think, “I’m a responsible pet owner, and I watch my animal closely and can prevent an unwanted pregnancy.” While you may be a wonderful pet owner, it is unrealistic to think that you can be with them at all times and to understand the spay or neuter status of every animal they come in contact with. This leaves room for unexpected litters. Those animals won’t necessarily be homeless, but they will likely be given or sold to families who might otherwise adopt a shelter pet, which adds to shelter overpopulation.

Spayed and neutered pets exhibit fewer dangerous behaviors.

Did you know that intact male dogs are more likely to roam in search of a mate? This can lead to dangerous situations, especially when animals run into the road. As many as 85% of dogs that are struck by cars are not spayed or neutered. Additionally, animals that are not spayed or neutered are proven to be more aggressive. In fact, 75% of dogs involved in attacks are not spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering our pets can help prevent behaviors that are dangerous to our animals and to our communities. Reducing unsafe behaviors, like roaming and animal aggression, keeps humans safe.

Spayed and neutered dogs live longer, healthier lives.

There are several life-threatening diseases associated with animals that are not spayed or neutered. Female dogs and cats that are not spayed are more likely to develop breast tumors, which are cancerous in more than 90% of cat cases and more than 50% of dog cases. And, female dogs and cats that are not spayed are more prone to uterine infections. Neutered male dogs do not develop testicular cancer, and are less likely to develop prostate-connected diseases.

Spaying and neutering your pet is the right thing to do. The Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County spays and neuters all animals that come through our doors. So, when you adopt from us, you’re helping to reduce and prevent animal homelessness. If you’re worried about the cost of the procedure, we can help. We also offer low-cost veterinary services, including spay and neuter, to families in Memphis and Shelby County. Visit our fix your pet page to learn about our local partnerships and to see if you qualify.

 

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