“Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered.” This statement was made famous by former game show host Bob Barker on The Price Is Right. These words are such a part of pop culture that the meaning behind them is easily overlooked. But spaying and neutering your dogs and cats is a critical health decision and a choice that you must make for your favorite companion.
Spaying is the act of removing the ovaries and uterus of a female dog or cat. This surgical sterilization procedure is completed while your pet is under anesthesia, which may make some pet owners anxious, but spaying is an established and important procedure that offers long-term health benefits.
Your female pet has the potential to live a longer, healthier life when spayed. Spaying reduces the risk of uterine infections and breast cancer, which are almost 100 percent fatal in cats and fatal nearly half the time in dogs. Spaying your pet before she goes into her first heat offers the best level of protection against these life-threatening conditions.
Plus, a pet that does not go into heat is a pet that isn’t crying or yowling or whining constantly for a mate or urinating more frequently. During breeding season, female felines are known to go into heat for four to five days at a time every few weeks. A spayed pet is a happier and more content pet who will provide better company to you and your family. Learn more about spaying your cat.
Neutering is the removal of your male pet’s testicles. This surgical act, completed while your pet is under anesthesia, provides a great number of positive side effects to your frisky male pet, most notably protection from testicular cancer.
Behavior, for one, is often greatly improved with neutering, which is known to subdue aggression by reducing high levels of testosterone. And if your male pet is a family pet, he will be far more focused on loving the people around him rather than roaming away to hunt for a mate (providing you have socialized and trained him correctly and are taking his unique personality into consideration). Plus, dogs and cats that are not neutered tend to mark their territory whenever and wherever possible. Your unneutered indoor pet is likely to cast a wide net of strong-smelling urine throughout your home – whether they’re housetrained or not.
And a male dog or cat that is intact will do just about whatever he can to find himself a mate, including jumping the fence – or, more likely, digging an escape route under it. Not only is this stressful for a male pet owner, it puts your male dog or cat at great risk for incurring injury. Escaped, unneutered pets on the prowl can be hit by a car, become involved in fights with other males, or simply never find their way back home. Learn more about neutering your dog.
Additional Benefits of Sterilization
It is always possible to make arguments for and against sterilization, but the facts cannot be disputed. Whether you have a female or male dog or cat, spaying and neutering is cost-effective. Sterilization of course comes with a monetary cost, but the price of the surgery is far less than the alternative: the cost of your pet giving birth to and caring for litter after litter, or the cost of treatment for your escaped and unneutered pet who is harmed on his excursion.
Spaying and neutering is also a positive choice for your pet that improves their health and behavior and, above all, minimizes pet overpopulation. Millions of dogs and cats are euthanized every year, or live unfortunate existences as strays. These animals are often the result of unplanned litters, many of which could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.
Avoid the excuses that many people succumb to when it comes to sterilizing their pet. Your dog or cat will not get fat because of spaying or neutering – it’s your care for them, the food you give them, and the exercise you encourage them to do that will make the difference in your pet’s physique. Your community too will be thankful for your conscientious decision to spay or neuter your pet, a move that will reduce the number of strays or escaped and intact pets roaming the streets, preying on wildlife, or acting out against humans.
When to Spay or Neuter Your Pet
If you have a dog, the typical age for spaying or neutering is 6 to 9 months. Adult dogs can also be sterilized, but this choice comes with some higher post-operative risks and complications.
If you have a cat, felines as young as 8 weeks old can be spayed or neutered, and it is recommended that the procedure occur before a cat reaches 5 months old.
Your veterinarian is your best source of information when it comes to spaying and neutering. Ask all the questions you need to ask at the Northpointe Veterinary Hospital, and find out why spaying and neutering is so important, what the procedure entails, and how to care for your pet before and after the surgery. Help control the pet population – have your pet spayed or neutered.