Spay/Neuter Awareness Month
Everyone knows that puppies and kittens are, of course, adorable! But these pets quickly grow and can have liters of their own if they aren’t spayed or neutered, leading to overpopulation and unwanted pets. February is known as spay/neuter awareness month and is sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. World Spay Day, the last Tuesday of February, doubles down on the efforts of this month. Originally created by the Doris Day Animal League in 1995 as Spay Day USA, World Spay Day has grown to be internationally recognized in almost 70 countries. This year is the 24th World Spay Day.
While spaying/neutering a pet is widely accepted and studies have shown nothing but benefits, there are still myths. One is that purebred status is worth more than another animals. But tell that to one out of four purebreds who are still waiting in a shelter or rescue group to be adopted. Another is - the dog needs to be protective? That doesn’t mean that they need to be neutered, it’s in a dogs personality to be protective of their home and families. Also, a male pet will feel less like a male when they are neutered? Pets don’t understand the concept of sexual identity, and neutering them will not change their unique personality. There are people who think that when their pet has a litter that they will turn our exactly like their parents. This chance is unlikely, not even professional breeders can make this guarantee.
According to WhenToSpay.org, the statistics of how many litters dogs and cats can have is an eye-opener. Dogs can conceive two litters a year, with an average of 6-10 puppies in a litter, while cats can have three liters a year with an average of 4-6 kittens. Just one litter from one cat and dog is 10-16 extra pets! 79% of pet parents might not know that at only 4 months, cats go into heat and dogs can go into heat in 5 months. That leaves such a short amount of time for pet parents to get their animals to the vet before any unexpected surprises arise.
In the U.S. alone, there are 6-8 million animals entering humane societies. Barely half of these animals are adopted while sadly, others, who would have also made wonderful companions, are euthanized. The only permanent, 100 percent effective method of keeping animals from mating is spaying/neutering. A pet can also have an increased life expectancy when they are fixed, reducing the chances of them suffering from certain types of cancers, as well as behavior issues.
Want to help pass on the importance of spaying/neutering a pet? Luckily, there are many ways to get involved. Promote spay/neuter programs on social media pages like Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #worldspayday. Locate a local humane society director at humanesociety.org/statedirectors and check to see if there is a plan in the works for a legislator to pass a resolution in the state of residence to declare the last Tuesday in February World Spay Day. Or, visit humanesociety.org to sponsor a spay neuter surgery. The only way to help is to get involved!