Pet owners around the world are encouraged to spay and neuter their dogs and cats to prevent unwanted pregnancies, overbreeding, and lower the risk of certain cancers and infections. But some UK veterinarians believe it may be time to make it a law.
A study of 100 veterinary surgeries conducted by Direct Line Pet Insurance found that 82% of veterinarians in the UK believe the spaying and neutering of cats and dogs should be compulsory unless the owner is a registered breeder.
Commercial licensed breeders by law are only able to breed females who are “over a year old; should have no more than six litters in a lifetime; and can have only one litter every 12 months. Dog breeders should keep records to show compliance with these requirements.”
But there are countless unlicensed and backyard breeders who don’t follow these rules and add to the overpopulation of pets.
The most overbred dog breed in the UK is also the most popular, Labrador retriever. However, vets say that overbreeding happens in many breeds and crossbreeds.
The study states, “Over 1.7 million dogs and 600,000 cats haven’t been neutered or spayed in the UK.”
Every year, millions of healthy shelter dogs and cats are euthanized due to lack of homes. Overbreeding and unwanted pregnancies only add to this crisis and the only solution is to spay or neuter.
Aside from reducing the amount of homeless pets, there are numerous health benefits to having your pet spayed or neutered.
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Spaying female dogs and cats before their first heat cycle can “prevent breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats,” states ASPCA.
Neutering males prevent testicular cancer and prostate problems.
- Males are less likely to mount other dogs and people.
- Males won’t have such a strong desire to roam away from home.
- Females won’t come into heat and spray or urinate all over the house.
The study uncovered that UK pet owners who did neuter their pets did so because they wanted to prevent unplanned pregnancies, lower their risk of certain diseases, and encourage calm behavior.
Madeline Pike, Veterinary Nurse, Direct Line, said: “There are major behavioral and medical benefits to neutering and spaying your pet, which can lead to them living a longer and healthier life. It can be the single best decision you make for their long-term welfare.
“However, as we continue to ease out of lockdown, many clinics are operating at reduced capacity, so waiting times for face-to-face consultations and treatments may be longer than normal. If your pet needs to be neutered/spayed in the meantime, owners should enquire with their local vet for the services and treatment that are currently available to them, as this can vary between clinics.”
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