Reasons People Don’t Spay or Neuter Their Pets

There are behavioral and health benefits to spaying or neutering your pet

According to the ASPCA, approximately 3-4 million companion animals are euthanized every year. While only about 10 percent of the pets received by shelters have been spayed or neutered, approximately 78% of pet dogs and 88% of pet cats have been altered. Most responsible pet guardians are aware of the importance of spaying or neutering their pets, both to reduce the problem of pet overpopulation and for the health and behavioral benefits for the pet. However, there are still those that choose not to spay or neuter their pets. What are some of the most common reasons that people don’t alter their pets?

Many people believe that spaying or neutering will change the personality of their pet, or make the pet become “fat and lazy.”  Altering your pet can actually have a positive impact on your pet’s behavior as it reduces aggression, the desire to roam, and spraying or marking behavior. Pets become overweight from lack of exercise and overeating.

There are those pet guardians who still believe that a pet should be allowed to have “just one” litter. It is a myth that female dogs or cats should have a litter or go through at least one heat cycle for health reasons before being spayed. While it may seem harmless to allow your pet to have a litter, there are simply not enough homes for all of the homeless animals now, so allowing your pet to breed only adds to the problem. Even if homes are found for all of the puppies or kittens in the litter, this takes a home away from another pet in need.

Some pet owners are confused about the proper age to spay or neuter their pet.  If you spay or neuter your pet before reaching sexual maturity, you can reduce the risk of mammary or prostate diseases, and prevent uterine, ovarian or testicular cancer in your pet. While some parents want their children to witness the “miracle of birth,” responsible pet ownership can be a much more valuable lesson to teach your children.

In these difficult financial times, there are pet owners who feel they cannot afford to spay or neuter their pet. However, the cost to care for and raise just one litter of puppies or kittens usually exceeds the cost of spaying or neutering. Most communities have shelters or clinics that offer low-cost spay and neuter procedures.

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There are 8 comments

  • […] Reasons People Don’t Spay or Neuter Their Pets, by […]

  • Gabriel says:

    All pets today are adopted from humane societies or pet stores which will not put them up for adoption unless they are altered. So how is a pet owner in a position to decide whether or not to alter them? I do not understand. Humane societies and pet stores often have kittens and puppies for adoption so obviously someone is not spaying/neutering their pets.

  • Erin Gleeson says:

    Hi Gabriel, many pets are still purchased from breeders and pet stores, where they are not altered. People can also get pets from former owners or can rescue pets found as strays, and these pets may not be spayed/neutered. There are still many areas of the country where pet overpopulation is a real problem, and it can be difficult to stay on top of spay/neuter rates. Unfortunately, there are many, many pets that are not spayed/neutered and continuously have unplanned litters.

  • Zarganth says:

    Blame irresponsible owners who don’t understand the resposibile methods of caring for a dog, Europe does not even nuther/spay a 1/4th as much as the U.S yet dogs in Europe live longer then in the U.S, Its multation but at the sametime we got irraposibile consumers who just see something they want they buy they get in over their head and dont read up on the breeds needs or just can’t afford it etc.

    This could all be resolved with more hefty pet ownership laws and or wage requirements to own x pets along with the level of training the pet has, I.E if the dog comes back when called and follows basic commands then it being intact is not really an issue, female dogs only have 2 heat cycles a year so a responsible owner would know to avoid having her outside during that time of the year.

    Here is an example many Husky end up in a shelter due to a consumer does not research breed needs, aka they don’t provide enough walking a day they keep it crammed in a small apartment the dog gets pant up energy and tears though everything. These are working dogs bred to pull sleds they need to roam in a controlled matter of course.

    Then you have the many negative health effects a mutated dog may face, Skin cancers, Bone cancers and many other types of cancers are more prone to a mutated dog.

    Heck a Mutilated male is more likely to get prostate cancer then a intact male,
    Studys show the sex hormone is linked to a strong healthy immune system and when that is not there that is why dogs are more likely to get bone cancer.

    another factor is you got hip displacement and bone growth issues from mutlation.

    Its not worth the pain caused to the animial in the whole run of its natural life span over the consumers stupidity.

    Outlaw puppy mills, inspire elective breeding, require breeding laws, have dog DNA on file etc

    Reduce dog licensee cost for a intact well trained dog and increase the license cost of a intact untrained dog since 9/10 the consumer is irresistible.

    So much can be done to correct the issue, Some lives are better unlived then lived.

  • Jesse Greathouse says:

    Not everyone wants a shelter dog. The breeding of a dog is an elegant thing and there’s nothing wrong with wanting a purebred dog with a strong pedigree. Pets end up in shelters because of irresponsible pet owners. The breeders and breed enthusiasts are very seldom going to allow their purebred dog to go astray and couple with random dogs. Furthermore, these people do not want shelter dogs and wouldn’t have adopted one in the first place.

  • Tyler Clopton says:

    I understand not everyone wants a shelter dog, because they want to know for certain the dog’s heritage, and know they are ending up with a purebred dog. I wish more breeders and breed enthusiasts were as responsible as you seem to be or give them credit to be because many purebred dogs are still ending up homeless unfortunately. Don’t discount shelters or “secondhand” dogs though just because you are convinced they are all mutts. Did you know that 25% of dogs in shelters are actually purebred dogs? (Based on statistics from the ASPCA) Being a purebred isn’t a guarantee for a home anymore and these pedigree dogs are finding their way into shelters as well. Not disagreeing with anyone, just advocating more strongly for a shelter adoption because it frees up space for more animals to come into the shelter and have a chance at finding a home too!

  • Lovely Lioness says:

    It is completely irresponsible not to neuter your dog or cat and then hoist the responsibility of a litter onto another animal or their owner because you somehow think your dog will be better off unaltered. Try thinking about other people and their pets for a change. It’s just plain ignorance that makes people not neuter their male dog or keep their female in tact past the first heat. The responsibility belongs to the owner of the animals and there is NO excuse for not properly taking care of your dog or cat and reducing unwanted litters.

  • Some of the comments ( and spelling) that I’ve read (above) are atrocious. Please come and ride along with me any day in Mississippi, where you will find homeless cats and kittens behind restaurants and apartment dumpsters. I’ve found countless females who were already pregnant…about half of the homeless ones are pregnant. What a great life. Can you imagine how run down you would feel eating garbage from a dumpster and drinking dirty water from the street contaminated with pesticides? How selfish people are to get pets and stick them, unaltered, outside, while they themselves enjoy the comfort of an indoor home. My family…we spoil our pets; our pets are family and cared for with proper vet services such as vaccinations some of which are required by law ( for example, rabies should be given by 3 months, but people don’t even know that!) We provide good food, and our pets are readily given lots of love and comfort.
    Unfixed animals will scratch the windows and blinds begging to go outside due to the urge to mate. Male cats wander off and fight, get lost, get bitten by another male cat , get an abscess or catch a terminal disease, get trapped by animal control and euthanized, or get hit by cars. Female cats can get pyrometra if they are not fixed. People who do not fix their cats do not know that females can and do get pregnant at 4 or 5 months. Basically it is lack of education that causes people not to fix their pets around here. The Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic offers discounts so anyone who can pay roughly $20 or less can get their cat fixed. Sadly, people won’t drive over to the clinic. People will use any excuse. Yet I am taking cats that I do not know, cats and kittens that I find…. and getting them fixed. Some of these cats are sick and need medications. Some of these cats have owners who neglected them and allowed them to have kittens outdoors and there was never any control over the situation by the human . The mom cat had her kittens and moved them, creating a problem for others. You see, bottom line…irresponsible people are going to be irresponsible. And the animals suffer and other people like me take up their “slack”.

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