Ask any veterinarian, and they’ll tell you: one of the best things a pet owner can do for the well-being of their cat or dog is to ensure they are sterilized at an early age.
To drive home the importance of this issue, the last Tuesday of February is recognized as World Spay Day. This day gives shelters and organizations an opportunity to highlight their spay and neutering programs while highlighting the importance of fixing pets.
World Spay Day was created by the Doris Animal League in 1995, and today it is recognized in 70 countries around the world.
One of the main reasons veterinarians and animal rescues need to promote the importance of sterilization is because if animals are not spayed or neutered, it contributes to the overpopulation of that animal in that region. Dogs are five times, and cats are 45 times more prolific as humans.
When this happens, homeless cats and dogs are often neglected or die of disease or injury. More horrifically, however, these animals are euthanized or killed often by harsh means such as shooting or poisoning.
Spaying and neutering is a humane way of reducing the number of animals living on the streets.
Sterilization also curbs undesirable hormone-related behaviours. Females no longer have heat cycles while males won’t spray, mark their territory or are less likely to fight with other males.
Spaying and neutering also have immense health benefits for cats and dogs and can reduce the chance of reproductive cancers or other diseases such as Pyometra or TVT.
In fact, according to the Humane Society International (HSI), sterilizing pets at an early age ensures that your cat or dog will live a longer and healthier life and could increase their life spans, one to three years for dogs and three to five years for cats.
According to the HSI, just some of the ways you can get involved with World Spay Day are by using the hashtag #WorldSpayDay, write letters to editors of your local papers to raise awareness, or raise money to subsidize the cost of sterilizations.