Spaying Pets Is Kind And Responsible

FOCUS ON PETS

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Spay Day should not be just one day a year but something we preach and practice every single day of the year. The problem of pet overpopulation is so tragic throughout the world.

I just read about puppies, very young puppies, being shipped by air to the United States from other countries.

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Dogs of every size, color and description are euthanized each year because there are not enough homes for them. Being a responsible pet owner dictates that we all spay and neuter our pets.

A recent news broadcast talked of puppies being smuggled across the border from Mexico. Many die en route. Why are we allowing puppies to come from other countries when we have such an awful overpopulation problem right here? People are buying these puppies from pet stores and other outlets, thinking they are of good breeding because they have registration papers. The papers mean nothing. It is the breeder who makes the difference in the quality of the puppies. Professional breeders are not in it for the money. They breed to produce the perfect puppy of their particular breed.

Our government spends $2 billion a year to capture, shelter, feed and euthanize abandoned pets. Three to four million dogs and cats are euthanized by shelters each year. Why are we so hesitant to spay and neuter our pets when we know these terrible statistics?

Beyond the terrible overpopulation problem, there are other vitally important reasons why our pets should be spayed or neutered. Neutered pets live longer, healthier lives. They are less likely to roam and get hit by a car, and they are less likely to have health problems that are difficult and expensive to treat. Spaying eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer and greatly reduces the incidences of breast cancer, particularly if the pet is neutered before his or her first heat cycle.

Neutering eliminates testicular cancer and decreases the incidence of prostate disease. Neutering cats greatly reduces the likelihood that they will spray and mark territory.

Intact males, both dogs and cats, are much more likely to get into fights and can be much more aggressive toward people. Temperament problems often are reduced by neutering, the sooner the better.

Rabbits, ferrets and other pets should be neutered as well. Rabbits reproduce faster than dogs or cats and are the third most often surrendered pets at shelters.

A variety of myths keep some from considering sterilization. Female dogs and cats can gain weight after spaying if we over feed them and they do not get enough exercise. It is up to us to keep them fit.

Spaying or neutering does not affect a dog's natural instinct to protect his home and family. The dog's personality is formed more by genetics and environment than by hormones. Neutering will not change a pet's basic personality.

The worst reason for not neutering your dog is because you love him or her so much, you want more of the same in puppies. The facts prove that the chance of a female producing a puppy just like herself is rare. Professional breeders who follow generations of bloodlines cannot guarantee the traits of a litter.

Cost should never be a reason for not spaying or neutering. The cost is small when compared with the cost of feeding and caring for a litter of pups, especially when you would be conscientious enough to provide the needed puppy vaccinations. If cost is a factor in your spay or neuter decision, call around. The charge for the procedures vary greatly.

Feral cats are a huge problem everywhere. This problem would not exist if we spayed and neutered all our pet cats. If you have feral cats in your area, look into the Trap, Neuter and Release program. A grant is available providing free neutering for these feral cats.

Most all of us claim to love our pets. We say we would do anything for them. Responsible pet ownership dictates that we spay and neuter our pets for their health and well-being and to do our part in reducing the tragedy of pet overpopulation. Employees of pet shelters everywhere, including here in Payson, are faced every day with the horrible task of euthanizing wonderful, adorable puppies and kittens, dogs and cats. All these pets ever hoped for was a chance to be a best friend but they never were given the opportunity.

Responsible pet ownership begins with us. If each of us spayed and neutered all of our pets, there would still be way too many pets for the available homes. Be fair. Be responsible. Spay and neuter your pets. You will be very glad you did, and so will your pets.

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