According to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), a large portion of the companion animals coming into the organization’s shelters comes from unplanned litters of kittens and puppies. National studies have also found that among pet owners who indicate their pets had at least one litter, 59% of cat owners and 38% of dog owners described the litter as “unintentional” or “accidental.”
“Spay/neuter represents one of the most humane ways to lessen the number of homeless animals in our communities,” explains Dr. Edward Schettino, director of veterinary medical services at the ARL. “The surgery comes with low risks and offers a variety of benefits to pets and the people who love them.”
In recognition of Spay/Neuter Awareness Month this February, the ARL encourages pet owners to consider the following five reasons to spay/neuter companion animals:
1. Reduce the cost of pet ownership. Particularly given the number of low-cost options available in Massachusetts, the cost of caring for an unplanned litter far outweighs the cost of having a pet spayed/neutered.
2. Diminish nuisance behaviors. Neutering resolves the vast majority of marking behaviors—even when a cat has a long-standing habit. Howling in cats and excessive barking in dogs eases and even disappears after surgery.
3. Prevent aggressive behaviors. According to the National Canine Research Foundation, approximately 92% of fatal dog attacks involved male dogs, 94% of which were not neutered. Neutering male dogs and cats reduces their urge to roam and fight with other males.
4. Increase longevity. The USA Today reports neutered male dogs live 18% longer than unneutered males, and spayed females live 23% longer than unspayed females.
5. Improve health outlook. Neutering males cats and dogs before six months of age prevents testicular cancer. Spaying female cats and dogs before their first heat offers protection from uterine infections and breast cancer.
The ARL will also host an #ARLAskaVet twitter chat on World Spay Day, February 25, 12pm-1pm. Join Dr. Schettino and fellow animal welfare supporters to talk about:
· Ways to encourage more people to spay/neuter their pets
· Common myths about spay/neuter
· Health benefits and cost savings
About the Animal Rescue League of Boston
Founded in 1899, the ARL is dedicated to rescuing domesticated animals and wildlife from suffering, cruelty, abandonment, and neglect. The ARL receives no government funding and relies solely on the generosity of supporters to help animals in need. To learn more about the ARL, visit arlboston.org.