Millions of pets are euthanized every year at shelters across the country, because homes can’t be found for every pet. Spaying and neutering your pet can help prevent this problem by ensuring your pet does not produce offspring and add to the overpopulation. Our team at Columbia Pike Animal Hospital wants to answer some frequently asked questions about spaying and neutering your pet, to help you see the importance of these procedures.

Question: Does spaying and neutering my pet provide health benefits?

Answer: Spaying and neutering your pet helps them live longer, happier lives. Health benefits include:

  • Spayed females — Spaying your female pet eliminates their risk of developing ovarian or uterine cancer, and uterine infections. In addition, the procedure decreases their mammary cancer risk, especially if performed before their first heat cycle.
  • Neutered males — Neutering your pet prevents testicular tumors, and decreases their risk for prostate problems. In addition, the procedure decreases their risk for perianal tumors and hernias. Another factor is that neutered males are less likely to roam and look for a mate, so they are less likely to be hit by a car, or to fight with another male.

Q: Are there behavioral benefits to spaying and neutering my pet?

A: Spaying and neutering your pet makes them a better family pet. Behavioral benefits include:

  • Spayed females — During a heat cycle, pets are more vocal and may bleed and urinate excessively. Spaying your pet eliminates their heat cycle.
  • Neutered males — Neutered pets are typically less aggressive, less likely to urine-mark their territory, and less likely to exhibit mounting behavior on people and other pets.

Q: Is anesthetizing my pet safe?

A: Spay and neuter procedures require general anesthesia, and while a slight risk is involved anytime a pet undergoes anesthesia, the anesthetic procedures that our veterinary professionals use are extremely safe. Your pet’s vitals will be monitored closely by a veterinary professional throughout the procedure and during their recovery, to ensure they are at the best anesthetic level. In addition, spay and neuter procedures are the most common veterinary surgeries performed, and most pets are back to their normal activities in a few days.

Q: Will my pet gain weight if they are spayed or neutered?

A: You may need to make slight changes to your pet’s diet after they are spayed or neutered, but as long as you feed them appropriately and provide adequate exercise, spaying or neutering your pet will not affect their weight. 

Q: Will my pet’s personality change if they are spayed or neutered?

A: Spaying or neutering your pet will only change unwanted behaviors, such as aggression and urine-marking. They will still be the same loveable, mischievous, devoted pet, but without the need to search for a mate.

Q: What if I want another pet like my favorite four-legged friend?

A: Breeding purebred pets rarely results in offspring who are the same as one of their parents. When breeding mixed-breed pets, getting a puppy or kitten like a parent is virtually impossible.

Q: Should I let my female pet have a litter before she is spayed?

A: To realize the full health benefits, you should have your pet spayed before her first heat cycle, when her risk of mammary cancer falls to almost zero. In addition, having a litter of puppies or kittens can cause numerous health issues for your pet, who may not survive the birth. Your female pet will benefit in no way from having a litter before being spayed.

Q: What if I want my child to see our pet giving birth?

A: Pets often seek a private place to have their babies, and frequently give birth in the middle of the night. Interrupting their privacy can cause them serious stress, and lead to complications, such as problems giving birth, or being unwilling to care for their offspring.

Q: What if I can’t afford to have my pet spayed or neutered?

A: Having your pet spayed or neutered will actually save you money. You will avoid the cost of treating future preventable conditions that can seriously affect your pet’s health, and you won’t have to pay for the care of a litter of puppies or kittens, which can be extremely pricey.

Q: What if I know I can find homes for my pet’s puppies or kittens?

A: If you can find good homes for your pet’s offspring, you are taking homes away from homeless dogs and cats in shelters. In addition, unless you ensure every puppy or kitten you place is spayed or neutered, they can go on to produce more litters. One female dog and her puppies can produce 67,000 dogs in six years, and one female cat and her kittens can produce 370,000 cats in seven years, significantly adding to pet overpopulation.

Spaying or neutering your pet has many health benefits for your pet, and helps combat pet overpopulation. If your pet is intact, contact our team at Columbia Pike Animal Hospital, so we can schedule their spay or neuter procedure.