Have a new fuzzy member of your family? Congratulations! Now, make an appointment with your vet. Here are the Top 5 reasons to spay/neuter your pet.

My Border Collie Robbie--who I'm convinced is part dog, part reindeer, and part ice cream sandwich--is getting neutered today by Doc Lewis at the Valley View Veterinary Clinic. It made me sad to drop him off and to see the fear in his eyes, but I believe I'm doing the right thing for him.

Listen, I'm not Bob Barker. I'll never beat you over the head with my values because yours are every bit as valid as mine. I don't like to proselytize, but I do believe in treating my pets like part of the family, spoiling them, and making sure they have long, happy, and healthy lives.

To do that, it's best to have your pet spayed or neutered.

I found articles published by the ASPCA and the Humane Society and managed to work out the top 5 reasons you should spay or neuter your pet:

  1. Neutering provides major health benefits for your pet. Neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age, and Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats.
  2. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat. Don’t use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering.
  3. It is highly cost-effective. The cost of your pet's spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray!
  4. Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community. Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. Spaying and neutering helps reduce the number of animals on the streets.
  5. Animal Shelters all over the country are full to capacity. While it's a lot of fun to have a litter of kittens or puppies to play with, our nation is facing an explosive overpopulation of unwanted pets. Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented.

I have to admit that I'm no saint in this department. My female cat escaped our house before we had her spayed and we ended up with the cutest batch of kittens ever. We did find them all good homes, but it wasn't ideal. Mama cat has since been spayed. The majority of my pets have been spayed or neutered because it felt like the right thing to do.

In the Magic Valley, contact People for Pets The Magic Valley Humane Society and you could get your pet's spay or neuter for free through the Seagraves Outreach Program and participating vets--such as Valley View Veterinary Clinic. Call People for Pets at (208)736-2299.