What are spaying and neutering?
There are two surgical procedures that prevent animals from being able to reproduce and are the most common surgical procedures performed on animals. The spay surgery performed on females removes the ovaries and uterus. The word “neuter” is commonly used for sterilizing a male animal, but can be used to refer to an animal of unknown sex (or to a group of animals of mixed or unknown sex). The testicles are removed when neutering a male animal. Anesthesia is used, so the surgery itself is painless. Discomfort after surgery is usually minimal.
Why should my pet be spayed or neutered?
- A spayed or neutered pet typically lives a longer, healthier life. Many health problems can be difficult for the unneutered pet and expensive to treat.
- A spayed or neutered pet is better behaved, more affectionate, satisfied, calm, and trainable. Overall, neutered pets are much better companions, as they are able to focus attention on you and your family.
- A spayed or neutered pet is less likely to bite and roam.
- Spaying and neutering is good for your community which spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to control unwanted animals. These unwanted animals are often running at-large causing problems on the streets, hungry or diseased. Many others are living in shelters or rescue organizations and are costly to care for and if not adopted, euthanized by the thousands.
When should my pet be spayed or neutered?
As early as possible. A pet that is spayed or neutered at five months of age or earlier benefits greatly. The first heat cycle is avoided for females and males haven’t developed common undesirable habits due to excessive hormones. A younger pet is more likely to experience an easier surgery with a faster recovery.
Why should my female dog be spayed?
- If you spay your female dog before her first heat, she will have a near zero chance of developing mammary cancer, a very serious and potentially fatal form of cancer. If spaying occurs after her first heat, this incidence climbs to 7 percent and after the second heat the risk is 25 percent.
- She won’t have heat cycles (twice per year for 6-12 days). She will experience a bloody discharge and attract male dogs.
- She won’t experience Pyometra, a common life-threatening uterine infection, in middle-age to older female dogs. Without swift treatment, she will likely die.
- No chance of common and expensive pregnancy complications.
Why should my female cat be spayed?
- Mammary cancer will be prevented.
- She won’t have heat cycles. Cats in heat are typically annoyingly vocal, agitated, aggressive, and will rub excessively, often spraying urine in the house.
- She won’t have heat cycles, which occurs every 2-3 weeks for 6-7 days at a time until she is spayed or impregnated.
Why should my male dog be neutered?
- Roaming, escaping, wandering typically decreases by 90 percent due to the reduction of excessive hormones driving him to search in heat females. This resulting in fewer dogs hit by cars.
- Fighting, territorial marking, “humping” will decrease. A neutered dog will typically protect his home and family just as well as an unneutered dog, but excessive aggressiveness is typically reduced.
- He is less likely to have infections and cancers of the reproductive organs such as testicular cancer and prostate disease.
Myths about Spaying and Neutering
My female should have a litter before she is spayed.
False. The earlier she is spayed, the healthier she will be for the rest of her life. She is less likely to develop mammary cancer, a very serious and potentially fatal form of cancer. If spaying occurs after her first heat, this incidence climbs to 7 percent and after the second heat the risk is 25 percent.
I’ll find good homes for all of the litter.
You may, but each home you find means one less for each dog or cat living in a shelter or rescue facility. Also, in less than one year, each litter mate may have created his or her own litter, adding to even more unwanted animals.
My pet is so special; I want one just like her.
A great pet doesn’t mean her offspring will be a carbon copy. Personalities are determined by many factors. Color, markings, and physical traits are unpredictable. A pet is more often a reflection of it’s owner, training, and care.
I can make money raising puppies or kittens.
False. Nurturing a pregnant female properly to birth is costly and time consuming, especially with complications. A litter of puppies or kittens require veterinary visits and initial vaccinations against diseases. It takes years of research about bloodlines and breeding to make intelligent choices to breed with the purpose of improving the breed standards. Others who carelessly choose to breed create pets with temperament and health problems such as hip dysplasia, cancer, autoimmune disease or allergies. Just because you may own a purebred, doesn’t mean it should be bred.
My pet should experience sex and birth.
False. Sex, for a dog is simply the result of a powerful instinctive drive to reproduce. This statement is often made by a person over-identifying with their dog. A pet doesn’t have any concept of sexual identity or ego. Therefore, he won’t feel like “less of a male.”
My children should experience the miracle of birth.
False. Many online videos are available to teach your children about birth in a responsible way. Births usually occur at night and in seclusion, so it is likely to be missed. Allowing your pet to produce offspring that you have no intention of keeping is teaching irresponsibility. The reality of death is experiencing an animal being euthenized because there aren’t enough homes for them. Responsibility is preventing the births of unwanted animals is saving the lives of others in need of homes in shelters.
Spaying or neutering will alter my pet’s personality.
False. Regardless of the age your pet is spayed or neutered, your pet will remain loving, caring and protective. Any slight changes will be a positive result of the reduced need to breed, due to a calmed pet.
My pet will get fat and lazy after spaying or neutering.
False. Lack of exercise and overfeeding makes pets fat and lazy (similar to humans). Pets typically become calmer as they get older, whether neutered or unneutered. If your pet previously roamed excessively in search of a mate, he or she will be more content to remain close to your home and family. This does result in fewer burned calories. A slightly reduced food ration and some exercise will result in a happy, healthy pet of proper weight.
Sterilization surgery is painful for my pet.
False. Spaying and neutering is a common surgery performed on animals. With anesthesia, pain medications and simple post-op care, your pet will resume normal behavior in a few days.
Spaying and neutering my pet will be expensive.
False. There are many low-cost spay/neuter clinics which exist to reduce the cost factor in the decision to spay and neuter. Some have programs to assist families who are on low-income assistance programs. The veterinary expenses for problems as a result of not neutering are far more expensive. The price of a spay/neuter is small compared to the health of your pet and the prevention of the births of more unwanted pets.