When you look at the many pet adoption websites, adoption fairs, and shelters across the country, it’s clear that there are more cats than dogs. And for good reason—spaying or neutering your cat or dog can help reduce the number of animals entering shelters.
There are also good reasons to spay or neuter your pet. When you spay or neuter your pet, you cut down on their inclination to roam and fight with other animals. These procedures also prevent them from getting diseases like cancer while they’re young.
Another important note is that spaying and neutering can help prevent your pet from having unwanted litters of puppies or kittens.
Unfortunately, there are some cons to spaying and neutering as well—and these must be recognized before making any decisions regarding your pet’s surgery.
What is spaying?
Spaying is a surgical procedure that removes a female dog or cat’s uterus and ovaries. This prevents them from getting pregnant or having uterine or ovarian diseases. Spaying is generally recommended for female cats and dogs who are 6 months of age or older.
There are risks associated with spaying, including bleeding, infection, and death. At the same time, spaying prevents the risk of uterine infections, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer. Spayed animals also have a lower risk of developing hormone-related behaviors such as yowling, spraying (urine) outside their litter box, and aggression.
What is neutering?
Neutering is the removal of a male cat or dog’s testicles. This is done to prevent them from impregnating a female animal. It also reduces the risk of testicular cancer and infection. Neutering is generally recommended for male cats and dogs who are 6 months of age or older.
There are also risks that come with neutering, including bleeding, infection, and death. At the same time, neutering prevents the risk of testicular cancer and hernias. Neutered animals also have a lower risk of developing hormone-related behaviors such as yowling, spraying (urine) outside their litter box, and aggression.
The Pros of Spaying and Neutering Your Pet
Protects the health of your pet. Spaying and neutering can help prevent cancer in your pet. While dogs can get cancer in their reproductive organs, cancer is a bigger risk in cats. Spaying or neutering your cat can reduce its risk of getting ovarian or uterine cancer.
Reduces your pet’s urge to roam and fight. Roaming and fighting are common behaviors in male and female cats and dogs. Spaying or neutering your pet can help reduce these behaviors by lowering their sex drive. This means they’re less likely to fight with other animals and wander into traffic.
Helps prevent unwanted litter. Unwanted litters are a reality for pet owners who choose to keep their animal’s reproductive organs intact. Spaying or neutering your pet can help reduce the chance that they’ll give birth to a litter of puppies or kittens.
The Cons of Spaying and Neutering Your Pet
Risk of obesity and other health problems. Spaying and neutering can lead to weight gain in dogs and cats, which can increase their risk for diabetes. Obesity is more common in indoor cats than in outdoor cats, but the risk increases after spaying or neutering.
Anesthesia complications. Any surgical procedure comes with a risk of complications, especially if your pet is older. To reduce this risk, make sure to ask your veterinarian about pre-and post-operative care.
Pain. Many animals experience pain after spaying and neutering, especially if they are young. Pain medication can help, but it is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions.
Should You Still Spay or Neuter Your Pet?
Your pet is healthy. If your pet is healthy, there is no reason to wait to spay or neuter them. This is especially true for unneutered male dogs, who can impregnate female dogs throughout the year.
You want to keep your pet indoors. If you plan to keep your pet indoors, spaying or neutering can help reduce their risk of contracting diseases, roaming, and fighting.
You plan to adopt your pet. If you want to adopt your pet out, you should spay or neuter them to reduce the risk of them contracting diseases if adopted by someone else.
How to Find the Right Vet for Your Pet
When choosing a vet, it’s important to find one who has experience with spaying and neutering procedures. Look for a vet who performs surgeries regularly and has a good reputation in the community.
You may also want to ask other pet owners for recommendations. You can also check online reviews of different veterinary clinics to see what other pet owners have to say. Remember to keep an open mind when searching for a vet—you may have your heart set on someone, but if they are too busy, you should move on to the next option.