The Food and Drug Administration will now allow women age 15 and older to buy the emergency contraceptive Plan B over the counter. Unfortunately, there is no “Plan B” for dogs and cats who find themselves in trouble — and that’s why it’s vital to have them spayed or neutered as soon as possible.

Puppies and kittens who are as young as 8 weeks old can be safely spayed or neutered. Early sterilization has many benefits: Females who are spayed before their first heat cycle have one-seventh the risk of developing mammary cancer. Spaying also eliminates female animals’ risk of diseases and cancers of the ovaries and uterus, which are often life-threatening and require expensive surgery and treatment.

Most important, early spaying and neutering prevents “oops” litters of puppies and kittens from being born only to end up on the streets or to join the 3 to 4 million unwanted animals who must be euthanized every year in shelters for lack of homes.

Spaying and neutering should be “Plan A” for our animal companions. For the nearest low-cost spay/neuter clinics, call 1-800-248-SPAY. To learn more, visit

Lindsay Pollard-Post

The PETA Foundation

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