It’s no surprise that spaying and neutering are a part of being a responsible pet owner, however many people don’t always know the very real consequences of NOT spaying and neutering. Spaying and neutering helps prevent a wide array of illnesses in animals.
An article from The Humane Society of the United States pointed out that there have been studies done that show that the average lifespan of spayed and neutered pets is longer; in one study, neutered male dogs lived 18% longer and spayed females lived 23% longer, while neutered male cats lived 62% longer and spayed female cats lived 39% longer.
Contrary to popular belief, spaying and neutering does not alter your pet’s personality, it can only alter certain behaviors. Spaying and neutering can minimize unwanted territorial and mating behaviours. This includes urine-mark and spraying (mostly males), howling (mostly females), the need to roam, bleeding (mostly in female dogs), aggression, and fighting. These are all behaviours that every single animal may exhibit if they are in heat, so minimizing or eliminating them is not only helpful for you as a pet owner but to the pet itself. I personally always remember a family friend’s female dog who always had to wear diapers around that time of the month; even as a child I remember thinking there’s gotta be a better way to deal with this.
Speaking from experience, I’ve been fortunate to live in an arena where spaying and neutering are generally accessible, however, there are still several barriers for pet owners to access and afford veterinary care. Great news is, if you adopt from a reputable shelter/rescue the animals should always be spayed and neutered prior to adoption! If you adopt from a reputable shelter, the animals should always be spayed and neutered prior to adoption! In many parts of the world, vet care is not as accessible and as a result there are countless strays on the streets. These are animals who have to fend for themselves and are at risk every single day; they have to figure out what to eat, where to sleep, how to escape other predators (including not-so-nice humans), and how to seek shelter from the elements. I’ve seen this myself and it’s genuinely heartbreaking because of how preventable it is. Moreover, did you know that the City of Calgary has a No Cost Spay & Neuter Program? It offers free spay and neuter surgery for cats and dogs of eligible low income Calgarians.
Spaying and neutering is also something that will ultimately cut your costs later on in life too! Not sterilizing pets can lead to an increase in uterine infections, different types of cancers, and prostate issues; these all don’t come cheap when it’s time for a visit to the vet. If you have a cat that’s mostly outdoors, you also run the risk of your pet getting into a fight and sustaining costly injuries as well. To put this into context, sterilization services can cost a few hundred dollars. According to one source, for cats the cost of diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer is up to $5,000 and more!
At AARCS, all of the dogs, cats and rabbits are spayed/neutered prior to adoption. We are proud to partner with the Canadian Animal Task Force to assist in the animals onsite spay/neuters and we also facilitate programs that help curb the vast problem that is overpopulation:
- First Nations Spay Neuter Assistance Program: Offering affordable spay/neuter surgeries for dogs and cats limited to First Nations Communities in Alberta.
- Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Program: Humanely trapping cats that are living in colonies in small towns or on farms and acreages, then bringing them back to AARCS’ Veterinary Hospital where they are medically assessed, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, and given identification so that we can keep track of which cat has been spayed/neutered. The cats are then released back where they were found.
For more information on spay and neuter initiatives, please click here, and to read more about feral cats and colonies and why TNR is so important for them, click here, and lastly, to apply for TNR assistance, please email [email protected].