Spaying and neutering your pet may at first glance be a strange or frightening procedure, but it is generally the recommendation for most of our companion animals for 3 main reasons: to prevent medical disease, to limit behavioral issues, and to reduce overpopulation.
Medical Concerns for Animals that are Intact(not spayed or neutered)
- Female dogs and cats that remain intact, can develop life-threatening uterine infections(pyometra) that can often only be resolved through emergency surgery.
- Female dogs and cats that are spayed early in their life(~6 months old) drastically reduce the incidence of mammary cancer development, a type of cancer that is malignant in ~50% of dogs, and ~90% of cats.
- Neutering male pets at an early age(~6 months old) can drastically reduce and even eliminate some diseases such as prostate infections, perineal hernias, and testicular cancer.
Behavioral Benefits for Neutering/Spaying your Pet
- By spaying your female pet you can completely eliminate their ability to go into heat, reducing any unwanted behavioral changes and vaginal discharge.
- By neutering your male pet you can reduce or eliminate unwanted behaviors such as: urine marking/spraying, trying to escape the house to seek out a mate, and reduce some aggression issues at an early age.
Reducing Pet Overpopulation
- Almost a million shelter animals are euthanized each year in the United States due to a lack of homes for pets. By neutering and spaying your pet, we can continue to decrease the number of animals left to this fate.
I’ve heard that spaying or neutering my pet will cause him/her to gain weight?
The most common cause of overweight pets is overfeeding, not hormonal changes. Neutering/spaying your pet does decrease the metabolic demand of his/her body, but a mild adjustment to feeding amounts is enough ensure your pet maintains a healthy weight. Work with your veterinarian to ensure your pet is not being overfed for their specific lifestyle.
I’ve heard it’s healthier to allow my pet to breed at least once before they get fixed?
Waiting until an animal is more mature, could actual increase the chance of them developing reproductive diseases. Your veterinarian may consider other medical reasons when determining the time to spay/neuter so be sure to ask what’s best for your pet.
As always if you have any questions or concerns that aren’t outlined above, schedule a discussion with your veterinarian regarding the benefits of spaying and neutering your pet.