Pet overpopulation is a steadily growing problem in the United States and abroad, especially as shelters and foster homes are reaching their capacities or becoming overcrowded. Neutering your dog or cat is a responsible choice, but not always an easy one when you have children. Many children see this as a harmful procedure, one that will hurt their new puppy or kitten. It's often difficult to explain to kids that, while it may cause a bit of discomfort, it's better for the animal to be neutered than not to be.
Begin by explaining what neutering is. That includes explaining that neutering is a surgical procedure during which the animal's reproductive organs are removed, rendering the animal incapable of having babies. You may have to explain what reproductive organs are.
Tell how important the procedure is for population control. Explain that there are about 70,000 puppies and kittens born in the United States every day, and there are not enough homes for all of them. Tell your kids what happens to puppies and kittens that are not adopted; that is, tell them about animal shelters.
Assure your kids that the procedure does not hurt the pet, because the pet is sedated during it, and that neutering your pet may actually prevent it from experiencing harm later on. Neutering your dog or cat limits its aggressive behavior, making it less likely to get into fights with other animals. Animals that are not neutered are more likely to bite humans and more likely to get hit by cars because they are more prone to leaving the yard in search of potential mates when they are in heat. Additionally, neutering your cat or dog prevents it from having reproductive system cancers, breast cancer, prostate cancer and fatal uterine infections.
- Be prepared to answer your kids' questions about neutering.
- kitten image by Radoslav Lazarov from Fotolia.com