Neutering and Spaying
A massive overpopulation of cats and dogs means that approximately 3.7 million animals that live in shelters have to be euthanized each year due to a lack of willing adopters. This is a heart-breaking figure for any animal lover, and many responsible owners are now choosing to neuter or spay their pets to help prevent more animals going without loving homes.
What exactly does neutering or spaying entail?
Neutering is the removal of testicles in male animals and spaying is the removal of the uterus and ovaries of females.
Aside from overpopulation, there are plenty of other reasons why you should consider neutering or spaying your pets, including a number of serious health benefits. Here are some examples why we highly recommend this procedure for your pet.
- Neutering your male pet between they reach 6-15 months of age will help prevent them from developing testicular cancer. It will also reduce the risk of perianal tumours.
- Spaying your female cat before their first heat will prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in 90% of cats and 50% of dogs.
- Male dogs in particular will go to extreme lengths to find a mate and have been known to dig under fences and escape properties. They also regularly get into fights with other dogs. Neutering removes most of this aggression and stops them from trying to run away.
- Female in heat can be very noisy and messy as they urinate much more often and aren’t too fussy about where they do it! With heat cycles lasting 4-21 days in dogs and occurring every 3-4 weeks in catsduring the breeding season, it can be a difficult time. Spayed females will not go into heat and so this problem will be eradicated.
- Un-neutered males also mark their territory by spraying urine and exhibit quite naughty behavior. Neutering them solves many early aggression problems, helps level their behavior and brings their focus and attention on to their human families. Neutering can also help prevent unwanted behaviors such as humping you, your family and friends and toys.
- If you have more than one pet, spaying or neutering can improve the temperament of an animal meaning that all of your pets are much more likely to get along.
- It shows children that bringing unwanted babies into the world without loving homes is irresponsible and cruel.
- Contrary to popular old wives tales, neutering or spaying has nothing to do with an animal’s weight. Calorie intake and exercise is always an important part of weight management.
- Neutering or spaying will also benefit the community as it will reduce the number of animals on the streets, particularly strays who are known to destroy property, raid garbage, destroy wildlife and cause accidents and spread disease.
- With raising a litter of animals costing anything upwards of $300, neutering or spaying is a significantly cheaper – and easier – option!
How old does my pet need to be to be neutered/spayed?
Most animals can be neutered or spayed from around eight weeks of age and it is almost always better to perform the procedure before they reach sexual maturity/come into their first heat. At LaPaw Animal Hospital we often "fix" small breed dogs around 12 weeks of age. Sometimes we will wait longer in larger breeds to decrease the potential for some cancers, joint disease and other health issues. We will always discuss the most healthy choice for YOUR pet.
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