Spaying and neutering your pets helps to reduce the vast overpopulation of dogs and cats across the United States. Because of the extreme problem of homeless pets, caused by overpopulation, every year millions of dogs and cats are euthanized. In addition to helping improve this awful situation, spaying and neutering offers a number of important medical benefits for dogs and cats. Here is some information for you to consider in making the decision to have your pet spayed or neutered.
Medical Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
Spaying or neutering young cats and dogs can help prevent severe medical problems as your pets age. Below are just some of the important health advantages for spayed and neutered pets:
- Female dogs and cats tend to have healthier and longer life due to spaying.
- Spaying helps prevent uterine infections.
- Spaying prevents breast cancer (malignant breast tumors). These tumors affect approximately 50% of unspayed dogs and about 90% of unspayed cats. (Spaying prior to an animal’s first heat provides optimum protection from the disease).
- Neutering your dog or cat can reduce the risk of later development of an enlarged prostate gland.
- Neutering dogs and cats prevents testicular cancer.
Behavioral Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
There are also significant behavioral advantages from spaying and neutering. These benefits range from reducing stress for pet owners and making pet animals more manageable, to reducing safety risks for pets.
Female dogs and cats — Although the cycles for individual animal’s may vary, female cats typically go into 4-5 days of heat, every three weeks or so during their breeding season. Spaying removes the female cat’s or dog’s ovaries, which eliminates their cycles of heat. This change stops typical behaviors triggered by female pets’ breeding instincts, behaviors that pet owners may find frustrating and uncontrollable in unspayed female pets, for example:
- To attract the attention of prospective mates, while in heat a female cat can be expected to wail loudly.
- And, female cats urinate more frequently during heat. A cat in heat sometimes urinates in numerous spots in her immediate vicinity (such as the interior of your house).
Male dogs and cats — Male animals will relentlessly struggle to escape from home to pursue a female in heat. Neutering removes the testes from male pets, which diminishes their instinct to breed. This makes male dogs and cats less likely to roam, and avoids stress and frustration that pet owners often experience with behaviors of unneutered male pets, for example:
- Escaped male dogs or cats running loose, in pursuit of a female in heat, are at high risk for injuries from auto accidents and fights with other males.
- Unneutered pet dogs and cats are likely to mark their territory, which they do by spraying strong-smelling urine at numerous spots throughout your house and yard.
- They are likely to mount other dogs, people, furniture and other objects.
- Some aggression problems may be exhibited, which might be avoided by early neutering.
Misconceptions of Spaying and Neutering
These are a few misunderstandings that some people have about getting pets spayed or neutered:
- Reduced intelligence — The spay and neuter procedures do not impact an animal’s intelligence, or their ability to learn, or to hunt, work, or play. In fact, improved behavior in pets after spaying or neutering can make them better companions.
- Becoming obese — Neutering or spaying do not cause pets to gain excess weight. Your dog or cat will continue to be fit and healthy as long as you continue managing their food consumption and provide sufficient exercise.
- Cure for all bad behavior — Neutering is not a remedy for all behavioral issues. Neutering your dog or cat reduces unwanted behaviors caused by previously higher testosterone levels, but:
- Though neutering reduces testosterone, it does not completely eliminate it.
- Neutering does not solve the problem of unwanted behaviors that your pet has learned or that have become habitual.
- Behavioral changes after neutering depend mostly on your pet’s own personality and personal history, and his physiology.
- Very expensive — Spaying and neutering pets are highly cost-effective. The costs of these procedures are very low, when compared to the costs of caring for a litter of growing puppies or kittens.
When to Spay or Neuter Your Pet
The most appropriate time to have your pet spayed or neutered normally depends on his or her age, breed, and general physical condition.
Dogs — Typically, dogs are neutered between ages 6-12 months. But, healthy puppies 8 weeks or older can be safely neutered. Older adult dogs, dogs with health problems, and overweight dogs are at slightly increased risk of post-surgical complications.
Cats — It is normally safe to spay or neuter kittens 12 weeks or older. It is recommended to have your cat spayed or neutered prior to age 5 months. A female cat can be spayed while she is in heat.
Ask your veterinarian to help you determine the best time to have your pet spayed or neutered.
Risks of Spaying and Neutering
Mating behaviors caused by pet’s reproductive hormones may be frustrating for many pet owners, however these hormones can be beneficial to your pet’s general health.
- Removing testes or ovaries from pet animals eliminates hormones, which can increase risk of health problems like urinary incontinence and even some forms of cancer.
- Also, sterilization by neutering and spaying are major veterinary surgical procedures. As in any surgery, there are associated anesthetic as well as surgical risks. However, the overall occurrence of complications in these procedures is very low.
Discuss the risks and benefits of spay and neuter sterilization with your veterinarian, so that you can make a fully informed decision about what is best for your pet.
University Animal Hospital
The University Animal Hospital is a full-scale veterinary facility for small animal care. We also offer a full-service boarding facility and complete grooming services. We understand that your pets are part of the family, just as our pets are part of our families. We treat your pet with the same caring and compassion that we have for our own pets. We have been serving our neighbors here in the East Valley area for more than 55 years. And, we look forward to providing life-long care to your pets.
Our highly experienced team of skilled professionals offers our region’s best quality of preventive veterinary care, advanced medical services, and surgery. We provide many important standard and specialty services, including:
Spaying and Neutering
|Laser Pain Therapy
For More Information
For more information about the importance of spaying and neutering, or to make an appointment with a veterinarian, contact University Animal Hospital by calling 480-968-9275 or visit our website. We offer a 10% discount on your first visit for filling our new client form on line. (If you do not receive confirmation of your appointment made online within 3 days, call to ensure that we have received your appointment request). Do not use the online appointment request for an emergency or a sick pet; call or bring your pet directly to the hospital.