Spaying and neutering your pet achieves more than preventing the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens; it can also help to prevent some undesirable behaviors and a number of life-threatening illnesses. Today, our Santa Clarita vets share some important reasons to have your pet spayed or neutered.
When we refer to having an animal 'fixed,' we are using a generic term for the spaying and neutering of a pet. Spaying is the sterilization of female animals by removing their reproductive organs. Neutering is the sterilization of male animals by removing the testes.
Reasons To Have Your Cat Spayed Or Neutered
Some cat caretakers might feel some reluctance when it comes to having their cat spayed or neutered, especially if they intend for their cat to remain indoors full-time. Despite this, there are some very good reasons that your cat should be spayed or neutered regardless of whether they are indoor homebodies or outdoor adventurers:
- Protect your cat's health - Spaying a female cat, especially before she first goes into heat, can help prevent uterine infections, uterine cancers, and breast cancer. Having male cats neutered eliminates the chances of testicular cancer and lowers the risk of prostate problems. Generally, spayed and neutered pets live healthier, longer, and happier lives.
- Enjoy a better-behaved cat - Cats that have been spayed or neutered have better behavior for domestic living. They will be less likely to roam, yowl, wail, bite, display aggressive behavior, or spray or mark their territory. Male cats who are not neutered will do just about anything they can to find mates, including escaping from your home. This puts them at risk of injury or fights with other males. Roaming can also expose your cat to dangerous diseases, including feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus.
- Fight overpopulation - Millions of healthy cats are euthanized in the U.S. each year because there aren't enough homes available. Spaying and neutering can help control the pet overpopulation crisis and reduce the number of strays, which end up in shelters instead of loving homes. Unfortunately, many end up homeless and are left to fend for themselves.
- Cost-effective - The long-term costs you could incur by not spaying or neutering your feline friend can be excessive. Treating cancers of the reproductive system can be quite costly, as is caring for unexpected litters of kittens. Additionally, unaltered pets can be more destructive and may engage in serious fights with neighborhood strays, often requiring pricey treatments to address injuries.
- Your cat will be happier to stay home - One of the reasons neutered cats live so much longer is that they are less likely to wander away from home and fight with other male cats. Neutering stops the production of testosterone. This hormone leads to more aggressive behavior.
Reasons To Get Your Dog Spayed Or Neutered
Our vets feel that getting your dog neutered or spayed is an important part of caring for your pet's overall health and wellbeing. Below are just a few reasons why you should spay or neuter your dog.
- Population control - According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), approximately 3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year across the USA. Having your dog spayed or neutered is the best way for you to help reduce the overall number of unplanned puppies each year while improving your pet's behavior and reducing their risk of some serious health conditions.
- Prevent disease - Neutering helps to prevent male dogs from developing testicular cancer and spaying helps to prevent serious health problems from affecting your female dog such as pyometra, (a potentially life-threatening uterine infection), and mammary cancer.
- Curb unwanted behaviors - Spaying or neutering your dog can also help reduce a number of undesirable behaviors like dog aggression, roaming and straying, and humping or mounting.
- Save money and stress - Treating cancers of the reproductive system can be quite costly, as is caring for a dog throughout pregnancy and caring for unexpected puppies. Besides this, unaltered pets can be more destructive indoors and in your yard and may engage in serious fights with neighborhood strays, often requiring trips to the emergency vet.
- Your dog will be more contented to stay home - Male dogs that have not been neutered are very likely to try to escape on a regular basis to go in search of female dog's that are in heat. Unaccompanied roaming can lead to an increased risk of being hit by a car or becoming lost or stolen. Having your dog neutered can help them to feel more contented to be at home with you.
When To Have My Pet Spayed or Neutered
There are a number of factors that can influence the timing of these procedures, however, most vets recommend the following:
- Cats should be spayed or neutered before they are 5 months old (female cats can become pregnant as young as 4 months of age!)
- Dogs are traditionally spayed or neutered before 4 - 6 months old, but healthy adult dogs can also be safely spayed or neutered.
- Pets in shelters can be spayed as early as 6 weeks of age, before adoption.
It's important to note that while you can spay or neuter healthy adult pets, once undesirable behaviors such as spraying and mounting have been established, having your pet fixed may not curb these unwanted behaviors effectively. It's best to have animals fixed while young to avoid these behaviors from starting.
Speak to your vet in order to determine the best age to spay or neuter your pet.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.