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Spay Day 2021

Daniesq [Flickr]

How many puppies can you count in this picture?  Should be easy to find homes for them - after all, they're so cute!  But if the shelter has already received more than a hundred puppies that day, chances for these little guys are not so good.  Please spay or neuter your pet!

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This week saw the 27th annual observance of Spay Day USA, originally started by actress and animal champion Doris Day, along with World Spay Day, because pet overpopulation is not just an American issue – it is global.

Some pet owners are reluctant to have their furry friend surgically altered so they cannot reproduce. I’ve been told that it’s cruel not to let an animal have babies. But from my perspective, it’s more cruel to let animals have litters of puppies or kittens, only to see hundreds and thousands of them euthanized in shelters because there are too many of them and not enough homes.

In fact, there are some real benefits to spaying a female pet and neutering a male. One study showed that spayed cats, for example, live almost forty percent longer, and spayed dogs live almost twenty-five percent longer, than their unspayed sisters. Because of the surgery, the animals are less likely to develop certain health problems, including some cancers. Neutering a male animal will also help it to live longer and healthier by eliminating the possibility of testicular cancer and decreasing the instances of pancreatic cancer.

There are also benefitsfor you. Your female pet won’t go into heat and won’t attract unwanted male animals. Your male pet will be less likely to “mark” its territory or get into a fight with another animal over a female in heat. Your pet may be better behaved, live longer, and because of the health benefits, it could lower your veterinary bill.

Also consider spaying or neutering your pet rabbit. Because they reproduce so fast, rabbits are now the second-highest species surrendered to some shelters.

Remember Spay Day USA and call your vet today about having your pet spayed or neutered. It will help to keep your furry friend healthier, live longer, cost less, be a better-behaved pet - and help to reduce the number of unwanted animals in shelters. Making that commitment will make you part of the solution, when we’re speaking of pets.

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Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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