What You Need To Know About Spaying/Neutering Your Pet
If you’re a new pet owner, you probably have a lot of questions. As vets, we find that often, those questions center around neutering and spaying. To help you understand the basics, we’ve listed some of the most common questions we receive about this topic. Read on to learn more about sterilization procedures.
What Is Spaying/Neutering?
During a spay procedure, we surgically remove a female pet’s reproductive organs to prevent future pregnancy. Neutering is performed on male dogs and cats. During the neuter procedure, we remove a male animal’s testicles to prevent him from impregnating a female.
Each procedure is performed while animals are under general anesthesia. While pets may experience some discomfort after the surgery, we provide medication to help relieve it.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Spaying/Neutering?
Unfortunately, millions of unwanted animals are euthanized every year. By choosing to neuter or spay, you can prevent your dog or cat from parenting an unwanted litter.
Spaying and neutering pets also reduces the likelihood of them developing certain serious health conditions like mammary cancer and testicular cancer. Additionally, neutered male pets are typically less aggressive, less likely to stray from home, and have a reduced risk of spraying or marking behavior.
Finally, sterilized pets, on average, live longer lives. For instance, neutered male dogs live 1-3 years longer, whereas spayed female dogs live 3-5 years longer. By contrast, intact male cats who live outside typically live less than 2 years. Furthermore, surveys show that as many as 85% of dogs hit by cars are not sterilized.
One of the cons of spaying and neutering is that there are certain diseases that are more common in pets who have been altered. Also, the sterilization procedure is irreversible, so that’s another thing to consider prior to scheduling the procedure. However, most pet parents find that the benefits of spaying/neutering outweigh these negatives.
What Common Myths Exist About Spaying/Neutering?
There are 2 persistent myths we come across. The first is that neutered dogs will become fat and lazy. This isn’t so, as long as you continue to exercise your pet. However, your dog will need less calories after being sterilized.
We also hear from people who fear that spaying or neutering will radically alter their pet’s personality. This isn’t the case. While sterilization may eliminate some of those pet behaviors you didn’t like, it won’t change those adorable things about your pet that you do like.
When Should a Cat or Dog Be Spayed or Neutered?
Cats can be spayed or neutered at 6 months of age. While it is possible to do the procedure once your cat is older than that, we recommend you schedule surgery before your cat reaches 5 months of age. At that age, cats can begin urine spraying, and it’s best to spay/neuter before that behavior develops.
Healthy dogs can be neutered as young as 6 months. Dogs can also be neutered as adults, but they do have a slightly higher risk of complications if they’re older, overweight, or experiencing health problems.
If you have a puppy, kitten, or adult pet that you’d like to have spayed or neutered, you can schedule an appointment at our Columbus office by calling 614.268.8666 during normal business hours. For your convenience, we’re open until 6:30 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; 7:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 3:30 on Saturdays.