What’s the best gift for your intact female dog or cat this Mother’s Day? How about an appointment to be spayed? We’ve discussed spaying and neutering here before, but it’s an important subject that deserves to be revisited periodically. If your pets are already spayed, you can celebrate Mother’s Day by helping spread the word: Spaying saves lives.
Why Your Pet(s) Should Be Spayed
Pet overpopulation is a serious problem worldwide. Although much headway on this issue has been made in some parts of the United States, there are still many areas, particularly in the Southeastern US, where 90% or more of animals taken in by shelters are euthanized. Areas with fewer stray and unwanted pets may be able to help reduce euthanasia rates by taking in animals from the most crowded shelters. For that reason, even if you’re lucky enough to be in one of the areas with less overpopulation, your pet should be spayed unless it’s a purebred competing in shows or performance events.
In addition, spaying is a great way to keep your dog healthy for years to come. It eliminates or reduces the chance she’ll get certain cancers of the reproductive system, eliminates the risk of pyometra (a life-threatening infection of the uterus), and eliminates all of the many risks associated with pregnancy and delivery.
If Your Pet Is Already Spayed…
If you’re among the many responsible pet owners who have already had their pet(s) spayed, please consider using one of these alternate ideas to celebrate Mother’s Day by reducing the number of unwanted baby animals. After all, if pets could think like humans, what could a maternally inclined pet want more than to know that she won’t have babies who will end up euthanized in shelters?
- Foster a pregnant or nursing pet, or an orphaned litter. If your pet is particularly motherly toward baby animals or her toys, fostering an orphaned litter might be a great alternative to the “just one litter” policy practiced by some pet owners. Remember, even just one litter increases pet overpopulation!
- Sponsor a spay surgery for a low-income pet owner. Many larger shelters have programs through which you can do this.
- Donate your time to help spread the word about low-cost or free spay/neuter options in your area. If you’re particularly bold, a great way to do this is to collect some pamphlets on your favorite low-cost spay/neuter clinic and canvass your neighborhood. Greet neighbors and explain, “I’m celebrating Mother’s Day by getting the word out about low-cost spay and neuter surgeries for pets.”
- Tell a friend about the benefits of spaying pets. Some pet owners believe that spaying and neutering are promoted only by “animal rights nuts,” and hearing from a trusted friend that spaying actually has health benefits for their dog might tip the scales in favor of spaying.