Importance of Spay/Neuter
Spaying/neutering is recommended for both dogs and cats and for both male and female pets. The term spaying refers to sterilization of female pets by removing their ovaries and uterus, while the term neutering is used to describe the removal of testicles in male dogs and cats. Both spaying and neutering are routine surgical procedures that are done at your veterinarian’s office. All surgical operations including spaying and neutering pose a risk of complications but they are extremely rare. Your veterinarian will explain the potential surgical and post-surgical complications including signs to watch for after the procedure.
Why Your Pet Should be Spayed/Neutered?
– Prevent reproduction and unwanted litter. An average cat can produce more than 100 kittens during her lifetime, while a pair of cats and their offspring can produce tens of thousands of kittens in just a few years. In dogs, this figure is lower but despite that, there are not enough homes for as many puppies as can be produced by unspayed/unneutered dogs. In fact, the majority of homeless pets – and there are millions of them – are the result of uncontrolled reproduction. To reduce the number of pets that are either homeless or euthanized (only about one half of all dogs and cats in animal shelters are adopted), it is of key importance for as many pets to be spayed/neutered as possible.
– Reduce the risk of a number of health problems and increase longevity. Spaying/neutering brings a number of health benefits and reduces the risk of a variety of health problems including potentially life-threatening conditions. These include various infections and infectious diseases, and several types of cancer. Spayed/neutered pets also have a decreased urge to roam which in turn reduces the risk of getting struck by a car and other accidents/injuries they may suffer while trying to find a mate. As a result, spayed/neutered pets live a longer life. According to a recent study, neutered male cats live more than 60 percent longer than unneutered males, while spayed female cats live nearly 40 percent longer than unspayed females. Spayed/neutered dogs live longer than their unspayed/unneutered counterparts as well although the difference in life expectancy is not as dramatic as in cats.
– Improve behavior/discourage unwanted behavior and reduce aggression. Spayed/neutered pets are much calmer and behave a lot better than their unspayed/unneutered counterparts. They are more attached to their owners and don’t have the urge to roam or the latter is dramatically reduced. Spaying and neutering also eliminate/minimize unwanted behavior such as urine marking/spraying (in both males and females!), roaming and yowling/howling, while neutered male dogs and cats are less aggressive (towards both humans and other animals) and are less likely to engage in fights and display dominance. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unneutered male dogs are more than twice as likely to bite than neutered males.
When is the Best Time to Have Your Pet Spayed/Neutered?
You can have your pet spayed/neutered while still a kitten/puppy. In order for your pet to fully benefit from spaying/neutering in terms of health and to prevent bad behavior such as urine marking, roaring and fighting other animals, it is best to have her/him spayed/neutered before reaching sexual maturity (in contrary to popular belief, there is no need to wait for female dogs and cats to have a litter). However, older pets can be spayed/neutered as well. To determine the best time for your pet to be spayed/neutered and other questions you may have about the procedure, please consult your veterinarian.