Animal overpopulation can be curbed

Monday, September 11, 2017

After attending a summer program at Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, shadowing world-renowned veterinarians, the severe consequences of domestic animal overpopulation became extremely evident to me.

Every year, millions of dogs and cats are euthanized due to overpopulation and responsible pet owners can make a substantial difference. By having your dog or cat spayed or neutered, you help to eliminate unwanted litters. By reducing the number of unwanted puppies and kittens, the number of strays found in the community also decreases. A decrease in the stray population alleviates some of the pressure on animal shelters as many of them face a significant overflow of animals in need of care and re-homing. If shelters functioned at a reasonable capacity, the number of innocent stray pets being euthanized would be reduced.

The sterilization of domestic pets not only helps to lessen overpopulation, it also posed various health and behavioral benefits. Removing the ovaries of a female dog or cat eliminates heat cycles and generally leads to reduced behaviors that cause frustration to an owner. The removal of a male cat or dog’s testes minimizes natural breeding instincts. This typically leads to the animal being more content at home and less likely to roam throughout the neighborhood.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “Early spaying of female dogs and cats can help protect them from some serious health problems later in life such as uterine infections and breast cancer. Neutering your male pet can also lessen its risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia and testicular cancer.”

Given both the health and behavioral benefits, and the positive effect spaying and neutering domestic animals has on reducing overpopulation, it something that every pet owner should consider. If the financial aspect of this procedure is a concern, low-cost clinics are a great resource.

Kelsey Jarvis