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Why do we require dogs and cats to be ‘altered’?

One of the first questions we ask potential clients is whether or not their pet is ‘altered’. But why?

Well, to begin, let’s define ‘alter’. It’s just a brainy term for spaying or neutering. At Lucy’s Friends Pet Sitting, we require all animals in our care to be altered by six months of age. We began requiring this way back in 2009, after a trip to the state capital. We went to petition the department of agriculture to stop the practice of euthanasia via gas chamber. The gas chamber was a horrible, inhumane way to euthanize unwanted animals in the shelter system–nearly 300,000 a year in North Carolina ALONE. We lost the fight that day (but not in the long term; in 2014, NC shelters phased out the use of gas chambers) and decided one way to keep animals out of the shelter, and subsequently being euthanized, was to prevent unwanted pets in the first place. Thus, our new rule regarding unaltered pets. 

But there are other benefits to altering your pets. Mainly, disease prevention. Spaying eliminates the possibility of pyometra, and reduces the risk of reproductive cancers in dogs. Males have a reduced risk of cancer after neutering, and male cats typically stop spraying once they are ‘fixed’. And there is longevity, too–the Humane Society of the United States estimates that spayed dogs live 23% longer than unaltered female dogs. Altered male dogs live an average of 18% longer than unaltered males. 

The only way we’ll ever tackle the pet overpopulation problem is to adopt homeless pets and  get them altered. Lucy’s Friends is incredibly proud to be a part of such an important solution. 

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