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Is Spaying/Neutering (sterilization) safe?
Spay and neuter surgeries are the most commonly performed animal surgeries. Most animals experience relatively little discomfort (anesthesia is used during surgery, and pain medication is generally given afterward) and are back to their normal activities within a day or two.
What Are the Health Benefits of Spaying and Neutering?
Through spaying/neutering, you can help your dog or cat live a happier, healthier, longer life. Spaying eliminates the constant crying and nervous pacing of a female cat in heat. Spaying a female dog also eliminates the messiness associated with the heat cycle.
Neutering of male dogs and cats can prevent certain undesirable sexual behaviors, such as urine marking, humping, male aggression and the urge to roam. If you have more than one pet in your household, all the pets will generally get along better if they are neutered.
A long-term benefit of spaying and neutering is improved health for both cats and dogs. Spaying females prior to their first heat cycle nearly eliminates the risk of breast cancer and totally prevents uterine infections and uterine cancer. Neutering males prevents testicular cancer and enlargement of the prostate gland, and greatly reduces their risk for perianal tumors.
What is the best age to spay or neuter my pet?
A dog or cat can be surgically altered at almost any age. Puppies and kittens can be spayed/neutered as early as 8 weeks old and at least 2 lbs. (kittens) or 3 lbs. (puppies). It's a myth that you can't spay/neuter kittens and puppies when they're this young. Your veterinarian can advise you on the most appropriate time for your particular pet based upon its breed, age and physical condition.
Will the surgery affect my pet's disposition?
The procedure has no effect on a pet's intelligence or ability to learn, play, work or hunt. Most pets tend to be much better behaved following the operation, making them more desirable companions.
Will spaying and neutering affect my animal's weight or metabolism?
No. Cats and dogs become overweight and inactive because their guardians feed them too much and exercise them too little, not because they are sterilized. A balanced diet and exercise will keep your pet from experiencing the health risks associated with obesity. Ask your veterinarian to advise you on the best diet and exercise plan for your pet for each stage of its life.
Should I let my female animal have one litter before having her spayed?
It's best to spay animals before they reach sexual maturity in order to reap the full health benefits. Spaying your female companion animal before her first heat cycle means she will have one-seventh the risk of developing mammary cancer. Spaying also eliminates female animals' risk of diseases and cancers of the ovaries and uterus, which are often life-threatening and require expensive surgery and treatment.
Can't I allow my purebred dog to have just one litter?
Mixed breed or purebred -- there just aren't enough homes. Purebred animals also often end up in shelters. In fact, 25% of shelter dogs are purebreds. Responsible purebred breeders have homes for their potential litters before they breed.
Won't animal shelters take care of the surplus animals?
No. Shelters do their best to place animals in loving homes, but the number of homeless animals far exceeds the number of willing adopters. This leaves many loving and healthy animals in our community that must be euthanized as the only humane solution to this tragic dilemma. Only spaying and neutering can end the overpopulation problem.
If I find homes for my pet's litters, then I won't contribute to the problem, right?
Wrong. Only a finite number of people want pets. So every home you find for your pet’s offspring takes away a home from a loving animal already at a shelter.
Isn't it wrong to deprive an animal of the natural right to reproduce?
No, it’s wrong to allow these animals to reproduce millions of unwanted offspring that are eventually killed because there aren't enough responsible homes.
Shouldn't children experience the miracle of birth?
No. A more important lesson to teach your children would be responsible pet ownership and concern for life by explaining why their pet should not have babies.
Is the expense for the surgery really worth it?
Yes! This is a one-time expense that can dramatically improve your pet's quality of life. The cost of caring for a pet, including providing veterinary care, should be considered before acquiring an animal. The cost to have your pet spayed/neutered is a one-time cost that is much less expensive than the cost to have and care for a litter or litters. Plus, the health and behavioral benefits to your pet will save on veterinary bills and training/behaviorist fees. If you are still uncertain whether or not to proceed with the surgery, consider the expense to society of collecting and caring for all the unwanted, abused, or abandoned animals being housed in shelters. Having your pet spayed or neutered is a part of responsible pet ownership and an important investment in your pet's long-term good health.
Get your pet spayed or neutered!
Page Credits: HSUS, Peta, ASPCA, Utah Pets, American Humane