Many well-intentioned pet owners still find making the choice to spay or neuter their pet a difficult one. This is due largely to the many misconceptions associated with this very basic surgery. However the reality is pets that are spayed or neutered typically live much longer, healthier, and happier lives and are also helping to solve the serious problem of pet overpopulation. For these reasons, and many more, all animals adopted from The Anti-Cruelty Society have already been spayed or neutered. However, you may have a pet at home or have a friend with a dog or cat that has not yet had this simple surgery. Here are some of the reasons that spaying or neutering is one of the best things you can do for your pet, yourself, and your community:
- Spayed or neutered pets are typically better behaved, calmer, and more affectionate than those that are not altered.
- Male animals are less likely to mark their territory by urinating or spraying and less likely to run away in an attempt to find a female; no, this does not mean you should leave your neutered animal outside unattended.
- Spaying an animal eliminates their heat cycle and the undesirable elements of a heat cycle such as bleeding, crying, and nervous behaviors.
- Want to take your dog to that fun dog park down the street or the daycare around the corner? Then your dog needs to be spayed or neutered as most dog parks and daycares require it.
- Every year approximately 4 million animals, the vast majority of which are medically and behaviorally adoptable, are euthanized. By spaying or neutering your pet you are directly helping to reduce this number.
- Due to the fact that it helps reduce the incidence of some of the most common types of cancers (breast, uterine, prostate, and testicular), your animal is likely to live a longer and healthier life.
- Spaying and neutering decreases the number of stray animals which results in a decrease in animal bites (to both humans and pets), car accidents, and destruction to property.
- Spayed and neutered animals get along better with each other and exhibit less aggressiveness towards animals of the same gender.
- Spaying and neutering are straightforward surgeries and are performed under anesthesia. Like any surgical procedure, there is some risk but the overall incidence of complications is extremely low.
What is a spay or neuter procedure?
Spaying/neutering are surgical procedures performed under anesthesia by a veterinarian. A female dog or cat will usually have her ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus removed. The medical term for this surgery is an ovariohysterectomy, although it is commonly called “spaying.” If your pet is male, the testicles are removed and the surgery is an orchiectomy, commonly called castration or “neutering.”
While both spaying and neutering are major surgical procedures, they are also the most common surgeries performed by veterinarians. Our veterinarians perform over 11,000 every year! Before the procedure, your pet is given a physical examination to ensure it is healthy enough for the surgery. General anesthesia is administered and pain medications are given to minimize discomfort. You will be asked to keep your pet calm and quiet for a few days after surgery as the incision begins to heal.
What is the best age to spay or neuter my pet?
Your veterinarian can advise you on the timing based on your pet’s breed, age, and physical condition. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT best to wait until your female pet has gone through her first heat cycle. The Anti-Cruelty Society supports early age ( usually 8 weeks) sterilization.
The facts are simple—spaying and neutering saves lives. There are just too many pets and not enough homes for them. It is one of the most important decisions you can make for your pet. Not only does it help him or her live a happier, healthier life, it will save the lives of many others.