Bob Barker, the famous Price Is Right host, always reminded his audience, “Remember to have your pets spayed or neutered.” An avid animal rights activist, Barker knew the importance of controlling the pet population.

February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month and Best Bully Sticks wants to remind fans and readers of the importance of Barker’s message along with the reality of having pets spayed or neutered. Overpopulation of domestic animals is serious issue and because of this, thousands upon thousands of pets sit in animal shelters waiting to be euthanized. In fact, for every person born in the United States, 15 dogs and 45 cats are also born. Only half of all rescue animals will be adopted into loving homes.

If you have any reservations about spaying or neutering your pet, just consider these facts and myths from the Humane Society of the United States:

MYTH: It’s better to have one litter before spaying a female pet.
FACT: Every litter counts.

Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age. Check with your veterinarian about the appropriate time for these procedures.

MYTH: I want my children to experience the miracle of birth.
FACT: The miracle of birth is quickly overshadowed by the thousands of animals euthanized in animal shelters in communities all across the country. Teach children that all life is precious by spaying and neutering your pets.

MYTH: But my pet is a purebred.
FACT: So is at least one out of every four pets brought to animal shelters around the country. There are just too many dogs and cats—mixed breed and purebred. About half of all animals entering shelters are euthanized.

MYTH: I want my dog to be protective.
FACT: It is a dog’s natural instinct to protect home and family. A dog’s personality is formed more by genetics and environment than by sex hormones.

MYTH: I don’t want my male dog or cat to feel like less of a male.
FACT: Pets don’t have any concept of sexual identity or ego. Neutering will not change a pet’s basic personality. He doesn’t suffer any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.

MYTH: My pet will get fat and lazy.
FACT: The truth is that most pets get fat and lazy because their owners feed them too much and don’t give them enough exercise.

MYTH: But my dog (or cat) is so special, I want a puppy (or kitten) just like her.
FACT: Your pet’s puppies or kittens have an unlikely chance of being a carbon copy of your pet. Even professional breeders cannot make this guarantee. There are shelter pets waiting for homes who are just as cute, smart, sweet, and loving as your own.

MYTH: It’s expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered.
FACT: Many low-cost options exist for spay/neuter services. Most regions of the U.S. have at least one spay/neuter clinic within driving distance that charge $100 or less for the procedure, and many veterinary clinics provide discounts through subsidized voucher programs. Low-cost spay/neuter is more and more widely available all the time. Start with this low-cost spay/neuter finder.

MYTH: I’ll find good homes for all the puppies and kittens.
FACT: You may find homes for your pet’s puppies and kittens. But you can only control what decisions you make with your own pet, not the decisions other people make with theirs. Your pet’s puppies and kittens, or their puppies or kittens, could end up in an animal shelter, as one of the many homeless pets in every community competing for a home. Will they be one of the lucky ones?