One of the most responsible decisions a pet owner can make is to spay/neuter their pet. Animal overpopulation is a prominent problem in many areas, and Oakland County is no exception. While to some, spay/neutering a pet may seem like an obvious direction for a pet owner to take, others do not feel that way. From my experience at the Oakland Pet Adoption Center, I’ve noticed that the primary concerns against spay/neutering a pet are often inaccurate and I hope to clear up some of these myths.
Some people worry that spay/neutering a pet can affect their pets’ natural life course. This is correct- a pet’s life expectancy is altered when it’s spay/neutered, but for the better. Spay/neutering your pet can provide monumental health benefits and effectively elongate their lives. A dogs’ life expectancy can be increased an average of 1-3 years, and a cats’ an average of 3-5 years, according to SPAY-USA. Spaying females largely decreases the risk of breast cancer, and neutering males significantly reduces their risk of testicular cancer. On an emotional level, pets benefit from this procedure with a calmer temperament, as aggression tendencies have been shown to significantly decrease in altered dogs.
The biggest misconception I hear about spay/neutering a pet is the cost. Many pet owners feel that they simply cannot afford the expense of having their pet spay/neutered by their veterinarian, which can easily cost over $150. In this tough economy, I can certainly relate to that financial fear. However, if you don’t spay or neuter your pet, the potential to encounter larger fees should they develop cancer in their reproductive organs is quite high. Cancer can quickly demand costly procedures or aggressive treatment to stop the growth of tumors. The most common outcome of not spaying a pet is obviously pregnancy, and trying to find a good home for a litter of kitties or puppies is not often a wanted task of a pet owner.
Many shelters and rescues have worked hard to offer low cost spay/neuter options for pet owners. The Oakland Pet Adoption Center yearly offers several low cost spay/neuter clinics for cats to county residents, with surgery costing just $20 per cat. All About Animals offers low cost spay/neutering for cats and dogs, ranging from $40-$80. There are also several low cost vet clinics held throughout the year by various organizations to help accommodate any pet owner’s schedule.
Aside from the numerous health benefits and low cost opportunities available to spay/neuter, making the decision to spay/neuter your pet ensures that your pet will not contribute to the growing overpopulation of homeless animals. Approximately 70% of the animals that come into the Oakland Pet Adoption Center are animals that were found wandering by residents, picked up by our Animal Control Officers, or a pet’s litter that is unwanted by that resident. I don’t doubt that many other shelters and rescues fare similar percentages- the fact is that a large majority of the homeless animals that occupy shelters are a direct result of a lack of spay/neutering. Join us in the fight against animal overpopulation by making the simple pledge to spay/neuter every pet you have. There is no better way to show a love of animals than to help prevent homeless ones in a simple, cost effective manner.