Spring has Sprung, so Spay/Neuter!

 A recent litter of puppies born at BDAR.

A recent litter of puppies born at BDAR.

It has become a common refrain amongst those who work with companion animals and their owners: Spay and neuter your pet!  Spay and neuter! Really, don’t forget to get your pet spayed or neutered! Why are we making that plea again now? It is officially "kitten season," and we always see a rise in the numbers of unwanted kittens and puppies this time of year. 

Many shelters and rescues don’t allow a dog or cat at any age (BDAR included) to walk out the door with functioning reproductive parts. Many places also offer low cost spay and neuter surgeries. There are a multitude of reasons to get your pet spayed or neutered.

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1)  Reduce the number of unwanted pets. According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are 6-8 million homeless pets entering animal shelters every year, and more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized. That’s a lot of pets that already need homes when more keep “entering the system” every day. Many of these are often purebred or come from well-intentioned homes that just can’t find a place for their pet’s offspring. Spaying and neutering is the only real way to reduce the sheer number of unwanted pets.

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2)  Keep your pet healthier. According to an article from USA Today, spayed/neutered dogs live 18 – 23% longer than those that aren’t. And according to the ASPCA, “Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. Neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems.” Think of it as preventative care for your pet, and remember you are actually reducing your future costs of healthcare.

3)  Preventing unwanted behaviors. There are many unwanted behaviors that can be prevented by spay/neuter, such as roaming, aggression, excessive barking/dominance behaviors, fighting, and urine marking (in both cats and dogs). Considering a large number of pets end up in the shelter due to these bad behaviors, why not stop them before they start? And make your life easier for you and your pet?

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Conventional and traditional wisdom has dictated that you wait until an animal is six months or older before spay/neuter, if you do it all. But, in fact, there aren’t any detrimental side effects to getting a pet spayed/neutered at a very young age. It only prevents the unwanted problems listed above without any negative effects on an animal’s growth. In addition, "The surgical procedures are easier, faster, and less expensive than they are in adult animals. With shorter surgery times and shorter anesthetic episodes, the incidence of perioperative complications is low. Anesthetic recovery and healing are shorter than in adults as well." That is why BDAR and many other rescues now perform pediatric spay/neuter surgeries. The Association of Shelter Veterinarians, HSUS, and Society of Animal Welfare Administrators all state that pediatric spay and neuter is a best practice in animal shelters and rescues. 

If you have a dog or cat that needs to be spayed/ neutered or you need additional resources, please contact us today at bdar@bdar.org.