Why Spay/Neuter Your Dog or Cat?
Spaying and neutering help prevent unwanted litters and combat pet overpopulation. Pet homelessness and overpopulation are serious concerns in Atlanta, Georgia, and the greater US. With so many pets without homes, many shelters are at capacity, meaning healthy pets are either left as strays or euthanized. Spay and neuter surgeries greatly reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancies, which significantly impacts pet overpopulation.
In addition, spay and neuter surgeries also have significant benefits for your individual pet including:
- Spayed females will no longer go into heat, which is a frustrating and sometimes messy experience for both pet and owner!
- Neutered dogs and cats are often less aggressive and are less likely to practice behaviors such as urine marking and mounting.
- Spayed and neutered pets are all much less likely to have the urge to roam to find a mate. This means fewer escape attempts, which can put your pet in harm’s way.
- Spayed cats and dogs are significantly less likely to develop mammary gland tumors later in life. These tumors are almost always cancerous in dogs, and in more than half of cats.
- Neutered cats and dogs have a reduced chance of developing prostate problems and no chance of developing testicular cancer.
- Spayed dogs and cats have no risk of developing uterine, cervical, or ovarian cancers, and are also no longer susceptible to pyometra, a dangerous uterine infection.
The Best Time for Surgery
Generally, 6 months is the best practice for spay/neuter surgeries for most cats and dogs. However, some larger breed dogs can benefit from a later surgery at about a year old, because their reproductive hormones play an important role in their growth rate. Furthermore, spaying a female pet before her first heat cycle offers the most protection from future mammary gland tumors, so an earlier surgery can sometimes be beneficial if your pet is healthy and strong enough. We’ll discuss your pet’s personalized surgery timeline when you bring them in for their puppy/kitten exams!
Breaking Down the Myths
There are a lot of myths out there regarding spay and neuter surgeries and what their true benefit is for pets. Our veterinarians recommend this surgery for all pets, and for good reason. Let’s examine some of the biggest myths and explore their truthfulness.
Surgery doesn’t make your pet gain weight—too much food and too little exercise do! As long as your pet maintains a healthy exercise regime and eats a proper diet, they shouldn’t gain any weight.
Spay and neuter surgeries can curb some behaviors tied to your pet’s reproductive hormones, but they do not change your pet’s personality. They will still be their same smart, playful, and charming selves after surgery!
A female’s risk of developing mammary gland tumors later in life raises exponentially if she’s allowed to go through a heat cycle, get pregnant, and have a litter. Your female cat or dog will be far healthier (and happier) with a timely spay.
The cost of a spay and neuter surgery is a one-time payment and covers your pet’s procedure, as well as the safety protocols we take to ensure they are as healthy after surgery as before. On the other hand, ongoing care for a pregnant pet and her litter until you can find them good homes is much more expensive than the surgery’s one-time cost!
We hope you’ll see the benefits of surgery more clearly now! If you’ve welcomed an adorable bundle of fur into your home, make an appointment soon so we can discuss their best surgery timeline!