For a shocking number of pet owners, the true importance of spaying and neutering your pets isn’t often understood. As a result, 20% of dogs and 10% of cats in the U.S. today haven’t been spayed or neutered — and 98% of the country’s stray animal population is neither spayed nor neutered.
That’s because many people aren’t as educated on the benefits of spay and neuter procedures as they should be. Instead of learning about why you should spay and neuter your pets, it’s easier for many of us to go off of myths and inaccuracies we’ve heard from others — something that no responsible pet owner should do.
To help demonstrate the reasons why you should spay and neuter your pets, we’ve compiled this list of the top five most pervasive spay and neuter myths — and have provided the truth that lies behind these myths:
Myth: Having my pet spayed or neutered is too expensive.
Fact: Believe it or not, but it’s easier than ever to find an affordable spay and neuter clinic in your area. Many communities throughout the country offer reduced licensing fees and a multitude of other benefits to pet owners who have their companion animals spayed or neutered. And just remember — the cost of having your pet spayed or neutered will always be much, much less than the cost of caring for an entire litter of puppies or kittens.
Myth: Having my pet spayed or neutered will change his or her behavior.
Fact: This myth is actually true, to an extent. While spaying or neutering won’t do anything to change your pet’s actual personality, your pet will be less likely to roam away from home, decreases aggressive tendencies. A number of other undesirable behaviors will be eliminated after your pet is spayed or neutered.
Myth: Animals become less active and overweight as a result of spaying or neutering.
Fact: As any animal matures, it is necessary for owners to adjust dietary intake to compensate for more sedentary lifestyles. Animals become overweight only when they are fed too much and not exercised properly.
Myth: Behavior is adversely affected by sterilization.
Fact: The only changes in dog and cat behavior after spaying or neutering are positive changes. Male cats tend to reduce territorial spraying, depending on their age at neutering. Neutered dogs and cats fight less, resulting in fewer bite and scratch wounds and lessening the spread of contagious diseases. Male dogs and cats tend to stay home more after neutering because they no longer wander in search of a mate.
Myth: Spaying and neutering is painful to my dog or cat.
Fact: Surgical sterilization is performed under general anesthesia by a doctor of veterinary medicine. The procedure itself is not felt by the patient. There may be mild discomfort after the surgery, but most animals return to normal activity within 24 to 72 hours. The minimal discomfort experienced by dogs and cats that are spayed or neutered can be lessened with post-operative pain medications and is well worth the endless suffering that is prevented by eliminating homeless puppies and kittens.