Every year in Australia thousands and thousands of healthy dogs and cats are euthanised.
There are, of course, a lot of reasons why animals end up being homeless, but let’s face it, a huge part of the problem is that people just don't get their pets desexed.
The National Desexing Network, which is a project of Queensland’s Animal Welfare League, has begun promoting July as National Desexing Month.
All year long, there are vets who will provide reduced-cost desexing for pets whose owners are also government concession card holders, but during July this is extended to all pet owners.
In some cases, the savings during July are as much as half the usual cost.
It’s a great bargain and should be enough to motivate anyone who has been planning the procedure for a family pet and hasn’t quite made the time.
But we need to make the time. The prospect of being stuck with an unplanned litter of puppies or kittens to either care for or rehome is a daunting prospect, but there are actually also a lot of health advantages for pets who have been desexed.
According to the National Desexing Network, pets that have been “fixed” generally live longer and healthier lives.
The benefits to females in not being subjected to a continual cycle of physically taxing breeding is also obvious.
But – and I’ll put my hand up and say I’d never given this one any thought – it also reduces the risk of a lot of reproductive diseases in our pets.
It’s nasty stuff like testicular and prostate cancer or disorders in males, and cystic ovaries, ovarian tumors, acute uterine infections and breast cancer in females, and also other diseases like mammary cancer, perianal tumors and perianal hernias.
Nobody wants to see a beloved family pet suffer, and this is a straightforward procedure which can offer lifelong reduction in health risks, as well as many benefits to the wider community.
The federal Department of Environment and Energy estimates there are at least 100 species of native wildlife whose survival is currently threatened by feral cats.
And there are millions of them in Australia.
The challenge of reducing the number of feral cats already loose in Australia is a daunting task.
Those of us with pets have a responsibility to stop more getting into the wild by having our animals desexed.
But it’s not just stopping the breeding cycle, desexing could also discourage pets from roaming and may even make them less aggressive.
And let’s nor forget the cost of pet registration drops when it has been desexed.
Nobody with a “furbaby” needs to be reminded of their benefits.
We all know the benefits of having unconditional love and a devoted companion, even if some of them are inclined to nip your toes when you’re trying to watch telly late at night and they want some attention (Or is that just my kids’ cat?).
There is plenty of evidence that pets teach kids everything from responsibility to empathy and give them a few life lessons in love and loss.
It’s also said that being exposed to a couple of different pets may well reduce allergies in children.
Give the years of love that a pet offers, it’s really not that much of a burden to spend the money once to have them desexed.