What is spay and neuter?
These are common surgical procedures which reduce reproductive hormones to prevent animals from being able to reproduce. Spay/neuter are the most common surgical procedures performed on cats and dogs. The spay surgery performed on females removes the ovaries and uterus so they no longer have heat cycles. 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 is painless. Pain medication is provided for three days after surgery, so 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 and expensive to treat for an unneutered pet.
- 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 manage the burden of unwanted animals. These unwanted animals are often running at-large on the streets, hungry, or diseased. Many others are sadly living in shelters or rescues. They 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 four to five months of age benefits greatly. The first heat cycle is avoided for females, and males haven’t developed common undesirable habits due to excessive hormones. A younger patient is more likely to experience easier surgery with a faster recovery and healing.
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 common, 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/year for 6-12 days). Otherwise, 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 senior female dogs. Without emergency treatment, she will likely die.
- No chance of expensive, common pregnancy complications.
Why should my female cat be spayed?
- Mammary cancer and common uterine infections will be prevented.
- She won’t have heat cycles. Cats in heat are typically annoyingly vocal, agitated, aggressive, often spraying urine in the house. These occur every 2-3 weeks for 6-7 days at a time until she is spayed or bred.
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 for in-heat females. This results in fewer dogs injured or killed by cars.
- Fighting, territorial marking, “humping” will decrease. A neutered dog will typically retain the instinct to protect his home and family as well as an unneutered dog, but excessive aggressiveness is usually reduced.
- He is less likely to have infections and cancers of the reproductive organs, such as testicular cancer and prostate disease.
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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 common, 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 require means one less for each dog or cat living in a shelter or rescue facility which is desperate for one. Also, in less than one year, each littermate may have created his or her own litter, adding to the suffering and burden.
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 external, post birth factors. Color, markings, and physical traits are unpredictable. A pet is more often a reflection of it’s owner, training, environment, 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 common 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. Too many carelessly choose to breed animals with common temperament or health problems (heart murmurs, hip dysplasia, cancers).
My pet should experience sex and birth.
False. Sex, for a dog is simply the result of an 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 the birth process 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 being fully responsible for, is teaching irresponsibility. The reality of death is experiencing an animal being euthanized because there aren’t enough homes for them. Responsibility is preventing the births of unwanted animals and saving the lives of others in shelters who are in need of homes.
Spaying or neutering will negatively 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 reduce the cost . Many 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 and common. The price of a spay/neuter is small compared to the health and happiness of your pet and the prevention of the births of more unwanted pets.