Did you know that there is a day set aside expressly to promote the spaying and neutering of pets? That day is World Spay Day, and it's observed every year on the last Tuesday of February. This important event was established in 1995. Its goal is to save millions of animals' lives each year by reducing the number of unplanned births.
This year, let's take a closer look at why it's so important to have your pet spayed or neutered. Whether you're a first-time pet owner or have been around animals your whole life, there are plenty of reasons to consider having your pet spayed or neutered. From reducing animal homelessness to decreasing the risk of certain cancers, there are plenty of benefits to spaying and neutering.
Why is World Spay Day So Important?
While it may make you cringe a bit to think of celebrating this day, remember the pain of putting unwanted animals down, that end up in the shelters, is much worse. Failing to spay or neuter your pets may lead to many unwanted births with animals living in the streets, without food and shelter, or ending up in a shelter where they may get euthanized if not adopted.
World Spay Day was launched in 1995 by Doris Day Animal League. Doris Day Animal League merged with HSVMA (Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association) in 2006. In 1995, the estimated euthanasia rate in overcrowded shelters was between 14 and 17 million cats and dogs each year. World Spay Day is an event that joins everyone worldwide in one single effort to help control pet overpopulation and decrease the number of homeless and euthanized animals. Although there is still much work to be done, currently, the estimated number of dogs and cats euthanized in U.S. shelters has dropped to about one million annually.
The benefits of spaying/neutering your pet
There are numerous reasons to spay/neuter your pet. Here are just a few of the most important ones:
- Curb pet overpopulation and make your pet healthier
- Reduce the number of homeless pets euthanized
- Neutered male dogs live an average of 18% longer than unneutered male dogs
- Spayed female dogs live an average of 23% longer than unspayed female dogs
- Increased longevity of altered pets involves the reduced risk of certain types of cancers, including uterine cancer and cancers of the reproductive tract
- Spaying females before their first heat cycle nearly eliminates the risk of breast cancer (decreases the chance by over 98%) and prevents uterine infections and uterine cancer
- Reduces unruly behavior
How to find affordable spaying/neutering services for your pet
Whether you've recently adopted a pet or you're considering doing so, one of the most important health decisions you'll make is to spay or neuter your cat or dog. There are several places around you to find affordable spay and neutering services around you. You can start with a Google search, reach out to the local shelters or check out SpayUSA.
Tips for preparing your pet for surgery
Pet surgery can be scary for owners, but preparing a pet for their upcoming surgery can help keep you stay calm.
- Fasting - This surgical procedure will require some form of anesthesia. General anesthesia is best used on animals with an empty stomach, so your veterinarian will probably tell you to withhold food from your pet for at least 12 hours leading up to the pet surgery.
- Current prescription or supplements - Your veterinarian will also be able to tell you whether or not your dog or cat can take existing medications before the surgery. Be sure to let your vet know what they are currently taking and ask your veterinarian if you need to bring your pet's prescription to the appointment.
- Early drop-off - The morning of the surgery, your vet may ask you to drop your pet off reasonably early in the day, regardless of the surgery time. During this time, your veterinarian may do some tests, such as a physical exam, a blood test, and x-rays.
- Anesthesia - Your pet will likely get an IV catheter and IV fluids. Your veterinarian will also need to correctly calculate the amount of anesthesia required for the pet surgery.
- Prep your home - The night before is also an excellent time to prepare your home for the next day. Make sure you have an area in your house ready for your dog's recovery. This could mean separating your dog from other pets, getting his crate set up, and making sure any medications and food required to meet special dietary needs are packed and ready to go to the veterinarian with him.
What to do after surgery to ensure a speedy and safe recovery
According to the American Kennel Club, your veterinarian will give you detailed instructions on caring for your pet after surgery. There is a good chance they may need some meds for the pain after surgery and help with inflammation. Make sure you follow the instructions given!
Your pet may also need a cone since the vet had to make an incision. The "cone of shame" will help keep the pet from licking their wounds and causing an infection.
The vet will also put restrictions on the amount of activity they will be allowed to have until they are healed. Consider having a crate or a quiet room for your pet to rest, relax, and recuperate after surgery. It can be overwhelming for them.
World Spay Day is an international campaign to help reduce the number of animals euthanized each year due to overpopulation. Too many healthy cats and dogs are put down in shelters annually in the United States alone. You can help make a difference by spaying or neutering your pet. Not only does this provide them with health benefits, but it's also more affordable than you may think. If you need help finding affordable spaying/neutering services for your pet, we've got you covered. Follow our tips for preparing your pet for surgery, and then take a look at our post-surgery care guide to ensure they have a speedy and safe recovery.