Spaying or Neutering Your Pet

Spaying or Neutering Your Pet

For both males and females, spaying or neutering provides certain health benefits as well as eliminating distress and distraction for your pet. 

Why Should I Neuter or spay My Pet?

“Spaying” is the procedure used for female pets.  “Neutering” normally refers to the procedure used for male pets.  Spaying or neutering your pet has many benefits for both you and your pet:

  • Eliminates the reproduction of unwanted or homeless puppies and kittens.

It is not as easy as one would think to either sell or find permanent homes for puppies and kittens.  Thousands of homeless animals are destroyed each day at humane societies across the country.  It is estimated that only one out of every five kittens born will find a permanent home.  The statistics for puppies aren’t much better. 

  • Ends the distress to your pet and inconvenience to you that accompanies a female in heat or a male prone to wandering or mounting because of the mating urge.

Dogs are in heat twice a year for up to 21 days each time.  Cats vary, but can be in heat for 3 to 15 days, and return to heat every 21 days.

Male animals will want to roam to seek a mate.

Female animals also will often try to escape to find a partner.

The discharge from the female will attract courting males even if the female is kept indoors.

In addition to that, it can stain furniture, rugs and clothes.

Both sexes can be very vocal at mating time.

When your pet goes in search of a mate, there is always the risk of injury or death from fights, poisoning, or traffic, or that he will get lost or stolen.

Male cats spray a foul smelling urine to mark territory.  Neutering him will stop this habit in most cases, although if the habit is already established, it may not completely eliminate the problem.

  • Protects your pet from certain cancers and other health risks.

If a female dog is not spayed by age eight, we begin to see health problems such as life-threatening breast tumours many of which are cancerous and can spread to the lungs or other mammary glands.  Virtually none develop if the dog is spayed before her first heat, although chances are still reduced if she is spayed thereafter.  Cats have fewer breast tumours, but when they do, they are nearly always malignant.  Spaying almost eliminates this risk.

The removal of the uterus through spaying also eliminates the site of other serious diseases such as pyometra, a potentially fatal infection.

Further, it protects your female pet from possible miscarriages and complications during delivery. 

Both male dogs and male cats have reduced risk of prostate cancer if neutered, and no risk to testicular tumours.  Neutering your dog will also reduce the risk of enlarged prostate glands which are common in older unneutered dogs.

  • Frees your pet to enjoy more time spent with you.

Unspayed female pets have to be confined during heat cycles.

Those that produce litters must devote both their time and energy to the offspring.

Male pets are often distracted by amorous pursuits, and it is not unusual to have to keep them visitors (human as well as animals) because of embarrassing mounting habits. 


Common Misunderstandings About Spaying and Neutering

  • Are spaying and neutering expensive?

Having your pet spayed or neutered will actually save you money.  Raising even one litter of pups or kittens can be quite costly (even if you are fortunate enough to find homes for all of them immediately).  Dog licences are also less expensive for neutered animals than unneutered animals.   

  • Wouldn’t having a litter first make her calmer?

Having a litter will not permanently change her personality.  While she has her litter she may be irritable and overly protective.  If you would like to see a change in your pet’s behaviour, obedience training — not having a litter — might be the answer.

  • If I have him neutered, won’t he stop being a good watch dog?

His protective instinct won’t change.  He’ll also be less likely to wander off.

  • Doesn’t spaying or neutering make pets fat and lazy?

Spayed or neutered pets require fewer calories.  But it’s lack of exercise or overfeeding that makes them fat or lazy.  Cut down o their meals and provide them with regular walks or play.

  • Females have the babies.  Why should I have my male neutered?

While the owner of the female usually has to find homes for the babies, a male pet can easily father will over 500 offspring during his lifetime.  Is it really fair to allow your pet to contribute so greatly to the pet overpopulation problem?


When Should I Have My Pet Spayed or Neutered?

Although spaying can be done later, it is recommended that females be spayed before their first heat for best protection against breast cancer.  The age at which the first heat will occur will vary from breed to breed.  It is best, therefore, to have the spaying performed before your pet reaches six months of age.  Because of advanced anesthetics, it is now quite safe to have a female spayed as early as three months old.  Extensive studies have shown no adverse affects to these early spayings and they have shorter recovery periods.

If you suspect your pet may be pregnant be certain to advise your TCAC veterinarian when discussing her spaying.

Male pets should be neutered before bad habits can be established, much within the same time frame as female pets.

Remember that even older pets can be spayed or neutered as long as they’re in good health and not overweight.


How Long Will My Pet Have to Stay in the Hospital?

Young males and females can go home the same day as their surgery.  You will have to bring your pet back 10 days after the surgery to remove the stitches.  The important thing to remember is to keep your pet quite, warm and indoors for a few days.  When you take your dog outdoors to relieve itself, keep it on a least to stop it from running or jumping which could pull out the stitches.

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