Pet overpopulation is a nationwide concern that all pet owners and potential pet owners should be aware of and take seriously. Neutering is the answer to this problem. But before I mention the reasons for neutering, I know there is a common misconception regarding the proper terms in regard to the sex of the animal, so here is a quick tip: neuter can be applied to either sex, male or female; only males can be castrated and only females can be spayed. There are three important reasons to have your pet neutered:
Reason # 1: Neutering helps decrease the overpopulation problem. Each year animal control and humane society officials have to end the lives of thousands of innocent animals that have been abandoned or simply picked up off the streets running free. There is simply not enough room, manpower and monies available to house and take care of them all until they are finally adopted. Adult stray dogs can form packs (feral dogs) in which a lot of their wild instincts and behavior return. These dogs can damage personal property, hurt or kill owned pets, harm small children and bring havoc to neighborhoods. Even stray cats can pose a serious threat to the human population. Stray dogs and cats usually are not vaccinated against Rabies, therefore increasing the risk of human exposure to this deadly disease. All of these free-roaming animals are subject to being wounded, poisoned, susceptible to disease, or met with a tragic death.
Reason # 2: There are health benefits to neutering. Older or geriatric male dogs that have not been neutered (intact) are at risk of developing prostate disease and tumors or cancer of the reproductive organs. Intact male cats (tomcats) run the high risk of catching FIV or "cat AIDS" and other often fatal diseases during their fighting episodes with other cats. Older or geriatric intact female dogs and cats are at risk of developing serious uterine infections or tumors of the reproductive tract that may eventually become malignant. Therefore, neutering your pet can help decrease or totally eliminate the chance of your geriatric pet developing these life-threatening conditions. Treating these conditions pose a much higher risk and expense for the geriatric pet and owner than the costs of early neutering.
Reason # 3: Neutering helps prevent a lot of behavioral problems. A neutered pet is not driven to reproduce during the appropriate time of year or season. Female dogs and cats in estrus give off special scents or pheromones to attract a mate when they are fertile and receptive to mating or in other words "in heat". Male dogs have been known to crash through windows, climb or dig under fences, and become escape artists in their attempts to reach females that are releasing pheromones they can detect miles away. Intact male dogs and cats will disappear and roam for days and weeks at a time while on these escapades. They fight other male suitors for mates and dominance. Many return home beat up, underweight, and sometimes diseased or critically injured. Many do not return home at all. Many pet owners are familiar with the territorial and often damaging urine marking done by male dogs, cats, and even rabbits. Female cats that are in heat can irritate their owners with their antics while female dogs can ruin furniture and carpets with the blood produced during their heat cycle. These females will also attract male suitors from the neighborhood and beyond. These behaviors can create headaches for the owner although it is perfectly natural for the pet.