Spay + Neuter Benefits

Spaying and Neutering: All You Need to Know

As a pet owner, there is a multitude of things to consider when it comes to medical decisions you make on behalf of your furry friends. Whether or not to get them “fixed” is one of the most important choices you’ll make.

Below we will provide you with information on why “fixing” your dog or cat is an important thing to consider. Allowing your pet to have this procedure benefits everyone by providing population control, longer and healthier lives for your pets, and cutting costs of possible future medical procedures. 

Population control:

According to The Humane Society of the U.S., there are an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals entering shelters each year. While a number of shelter animals are adopted out, there are sadly 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs remaining who are euthanized annually.

A majority of these euthanized animals are the direct offspring of people’s beloved pets. Spaying/neutering or sterilization are the only sure-fire ways to keep the birth rates of dogs and cats under control and ultimately decrease the number of animals in shelters.

Help your pet live a longer, healthier life:

A study revealed that after reviewing 40,139 dog death records spanning a 20-year period, researchers at the University of Georgia discovered that spayed or neutered dogs tend to have longer lifespans than intact dogs.

According to another article written by USA Today (May 7, 2013), neutered male dogs live apx 18% longer than intact male dogs and spayed female dogs live apx 23% longer than unspayed female dogs. For both canines and felines, neutering males prevents future testicular cancer and prostate problems, while spaying females helps prevent uterine infections and malignant breast tumors.

Reduction of behavioral issues:

Female dogs will typically go into messy heat cycles for four to five days every three weeks during the breeding season, which means they will be more prone to wander and seek out male attention while in public and may become less obedient.

They also tend to urinate more frequently to mark their territory, which could mean more cleanups indoors. Both female and male cats decrease their urine marking after they are fixed. Although this is not a guarantee, fixing male dogs and cats early on has shown to decrease their aggression and other dominance behaviors towards others.

Cut costs of future veterinarian bills:

Intact pets can develop reproductive system cancer or pyometra (uterine infection) later in life, which can easily cost the pet owner thousands of dollars. That is five to ten times as much as a routine spay/neuter surgery costs! Something else to consider is the extra expense for food or veterinary care in the event of an unexpected litter of puppies or kittens, and those bills can add up quickly.

The unexpected financial burden is a major contributing factor for why people surrender pets to animal shelters. There are plenty of low-cost clinics with widespread availability that provides spay and neuter services, however, it is important to do your research and make sure they are verified, vet clinicians. After all, any surgery is a big deal and it’s worth making sure the clinic doing the procedure is trustworthy.

You can always ask your local veterinarian if they are running specials on these procedures and plan to have it done with a vet you are comfortable with or ask your vet about another clinic they would recommend to do the procedure through.

Current methods available and suggested ages for procedures:

Surgical removal of the ovaries (spaying) or removal of the testes (neutering) are the most common procedures for “fixing” one’s pets. It’s recommended that females dogs get spayed before their first heat cycle for the best long term healthcare outlook.

The typical age for neutering dogs is six to nine months, but puppies as young as eight weeks old can be neutered as long as they’re healthy. It is generally safe for kittens as young as eight weeks old to be spayed or neutered, but you can wait longer if you desire. However, it’s best to fix your cat before they reach 4-5 months of age to prevent pregnancy.

Animals can also be sterilized without being desexed with either a vasectomy for males or modified spay for females in which only the uterus is removed. Sterilization is a procedure that will prevent pregnancy while sparing the ovaries or testes so these organs can continue to produce hormones essential for the dog’s health throughout their lifetime. You can always inquire with your personal veterinarian to determine what the best choice is for your pet. 

Making healthcare decisions for your pets can be a daunting task, so we hope that the information provided in this blog has helped guide your decision on getting your pet fixed. Overall, sterilizing pets benefits not only them healthwise by providing them with the opportunity to live a longer and healthier life, but also helps you financially, your community, and your local animal shelters in the future.

Credit: Robin Laclede