Every year, over 7.5 million homeless pets enter animal shelters nationwide. Some are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering. While preventing homelessness is one of the most compelling reasons to spay or neuter your pet, you may not know that this procedure has many other benefits to keep your pet happy and healthy.

A healthier, longer life

Spaying and neutering have many health benefits that can help pets live a longer, healthier life. Spaying female pets virtually eliminates the risk of uterine infections and greatly decrease the incidence of breast cancer, which can be fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before she is one year of age offers the best protection from these diseases, while neutering your male pet helps prevent certain prostate problems.

"Many aggression problems may also be avoided by early neutering. Though spaying and neutering is never a quick fix for behavior issues, it may reduce many unwanted behaviors, especially when paired with basic training."

Less runaway risk

An intact male dog will do just about anything to find a mate, including digging his way under the fence or trying other ways to escape from your yard or house. And once he's free to roam, he risks injury from traffic or fights with other males. Female dogs are also known to try and leave home in search of males while in heat, which can be reduced by spaying.

Better behavior, same personality

Despite myths to the contrary, spaying and neutering has no effect on an animal’s personality or interest in playing, working or being friendly. However, it may prevent a number of undesirable behaviors. Unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house, while unspayed females in heat urinate often to attract males.

Many aggression problems may also be avoided by early neutering. Though spaying and neutering is never a quick fix for behavior issues, it may reduce many unwanted behaviors, especially when paired with basic training.

Take action today

Unsure of where to find affordable options for spay/neuter services in your area? Check with your local shelter – many facilities offer these services, and some even have mobile units where you can drop off and pick up your animal at a convenient location.