Why Spay or Neuter Your Pet? 2 Reasons + 2 Myths
In addition to preventing unplanned litters, spaying and neutering has other benefits such as protecting against health problems and reducing behavioral problems. Additionally, spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation, which reduces the number of strays and animals who are euthanized.
On the fence about getting your animal spayed or neutered? Here are a couple of reasons why you should.
Reasons to spay/neuter your pet:
1) Spaying/neutering improves your pet’s health and wellness.
Pets that are spayed or neutered are less prone to diseases.
For female pets, spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors (which are cancerous in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats).
Neutering male pets can prevent testicular cancer and some prostate problems.
Health conditions and transmissible diseases that animals can contract from breeding or remaining intact (such as TVT or reproductive cancers) are eliminated when the animal is sterilized.
By spaying/neutering, you can potentially increase your pet’s lifespan by an average of one to three years for dogs, and three to five years for cats.
2) Spaying/neutering can diminish undesirable hormone-related behaviors.
Early spaying and neutering can help avoid aggression problems and other hormone-related physical behaviors.
Did you know that while cycles vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season? When they go into heat, they tend to yowl to attract mates as well as urinate more frequently.
Female dogs also present unwanted behaviors when in heat, which happens on average twice a year for two to four weeks each time, including messy discharge. When in heat, they tend to get unwanted attention by male dogs.
Unneutered male animals tend to spray and mark their territory to attract the opposite sex.
Unneutered dogs may run away from home to find a mate, which could result in him getting lost, getting hit by traffic, or fighting with other male animals. When neutered, they may serve as better watchdogs as they are no longer distracted by the temptations of mating.
1) Spaying or neutering will make your pet fat.
Despite this popular misconception, spaying or neutering will not cause your pet to become overweight. Lack of exercise and overfeeding contribute to pets gaining weight – not spaying or neutering.
2) Spaying or neutering is expensive.
In the long run, spaying/neutering your pets is cost-effective. You won’t have to pay the cost of having and caring for a litter. You’ll also reduce the likelihood of your pet needing treatment for escaping or getting into fights with local animals while searching for a mate.
When to Spay or Neuter Your Pet:
Talk to your veterinarian to determine the best time to spay or neuter your pet.
- For dogs: Puppies as young as eight weeks old can be neutered (as long as they’re healthy), and dogs can be neutered as adults also (although there may be a higher risk of post-surgery complications). The traditional age for neutering is six to nine months.
- For cats: Kittens as young as eight weeks old can be spayed or neutered. To avoid the start of spraying or unwanted pregnancy, it’s recommended to schedule the surgery before the cat reaches five months of age.
When you adopt an animal from the Humane Society of Southeast Texas, your adoption fees go toward age-appropriate vaccinations, monthly flea and heartworm prevention, and spay or neuter surgery.
Interested in adopting? Visit humanesocietyofsoutheasttexas.org/adopt-a-pet/.