This information on this site is taken from the PBS Kids It's My Life site that is no longer published.
What is spaying and neutering?
The terms "spaying" and "neutering" mean the surgical removal of a pet's reproductive organs. Basically, when an animal gets spayed or neutered it will no longer be able to have babies. "Spaying" applies to female animals and "neutering" is used with males. Most people focus on the importance of spaying and neutering dogs and cats, but rabbits are also animals who benefit from this.
Why is spaying and neutering important?
Did you know that:
It has other benefits for your pet, too. Spayed animals have a lower risk of some cancers and other illnesses, and neutered animals don't have as many problems with aggression, fighting, roaming, and certain diseases.
The idea that spaying and neutering is "mean" or doesn't let your pet experience a full life is just a myth! In reality, neutered and spayed pets tend to live happier, healthier, longer lives.
When should your pet be spayed?
Most veterinarians recommend that female cats and dogs be spayed before they're six months old and males between six months to a year old. But it's never too late to have this done, even if your pet has already had a litter or two. If you adopt an animal from a shelter or rescue group, chances are that you won't be able to take him or her home until the operation is performed.
How expensive is it? What if my family can't afford it?
Most animal hospitals will do this surgery for under $100, but you can have it done at a discount or even for free. Call your local shelter or animal control department to see if they offer coupons (sometimes called "vouchers") to help cover the cost of spaying and neutering at area vets. You can also contact SPAY USA at www.spayusa.org or 1-800-248-SPAY (1-800-248-7729) for advice on where to go for help in your town.
But won't I miss out on the fun of having puppies, kittens, or bunnies around?
Well, yes. But remember that animals are little for only a few months. At some point you have to find homes for these babies or commit to keeping them yourself. As they get bigger, they'll require more time and energy, especially if you already have one or more pets. So that's a lot of work for just a short amount of baby animal time! Here's an idea: if you're really dying to have a litter of kittens running around your house, talk to your family about being a temporary "foster home" for rescued baby animals. Many shelters and rescue groups are always in need of these!
I often struggle to find websites with thorough explanations in simple language to help kids understand historical events or scientific concepts, so I decided to create some of my own!