There are a ton of benefits to having your pets spayed or neutered. While it is beneficial to both you and your dog, it’s also considered an important responsibility as a pet owner. There are many reasons including preventing animals from being born accidentally, and is the most effective way to save animals. Not only will it help control the pet homelessness crisis, but there are both medical and behavioral benefits for your dog.

If you’ve recently welcomed a new puppy into your home, you may be curious and have some questions about spaying or neutering your dog. This decision is a very important one for pet owners. It can be the single best decision you make for their long-term wellbeing. Let’s talk about what exactly this procedure is and why spay and neutering is so beneficial for you and your dog.

What is Spaying?

A spay, also known as an ovariohysterectomy, is one of the most common surgical procedures performed on female dogs and cats. This surgery removes the entire uterus and both ovaries. The primary reason for this surgical procedure is to prevent unwanted pregnancy. However, there are many other reasons, including treatment for uterine cancer and uterine infection.

It is possible to conduct this surgery on a female animal while they are pregnant or while they are in heat. Spaying during pregnancy will terminate the pregnancy and be performed until just a few days before delivery. However, this is not recommended.

Spaying is a routine procedure that could result in complications, although it is rare. A spayed female is considered sterile immediately following her surgery and should be taken care of with the right precautions.

What is Neutering?

Neutering, on the other hand, is the practice of sterilizing male pets by removing the testes and is also referred to as an orchiectomy or castration. Neutering is another routine procedure that rarely results in complications from the procedure itself. Male dogs usually recover much more quickly following the surgery than females do since spaying is much more invasive and requires a larger incision.

Unlike females, males are not considered sterile immediately after their surgery. It usually takes around two weeks or up to four weeks for a neutered male to be considered sterile. Importantly, you should keep a neutered male away from any females in heat for around four weeks to ensure that pregnancy will not result from the interaction.

Benefits of Spaying and Neutering

A common topic brought up by dog owners is spaying and neutering. This is a subject that should be addressed by all pet owners. There are many benefits of spaying and neutering including improved health, improved temperament, and a decline in homeless pet population. Below we will take a look at some of the most cited benefits from spaying or neutering your pets.

Medical Benefits: 
  • Female pets who are spayed will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying helps to prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are cancerous in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats.
  • Neutering male dogs prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems.
  • Spaying and neutering reduces the desire to roam, which will help keep your pet safely out of the streets or woods.
Behavioral Benefits:
  • Spayed females won’t go into heat. Females usually go into heat for to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to call for mates, they will howl and urinate more frequently, even all over the house!
  • A male dog who hasn’t been neutered will most likely roam away from home and will do just about anything to find a mate, including escaping from the house. Once the pup gets free, you’re risking injury in traffic, fights with other animals, and impregnating female dogs.
  • Neutered males will be better behaved in general. Unneutered dogs and cats are more likely to spray strong-smelling urine all over the house. Furthermore, aggression problems may be avoided by early neutering.
Solution to Overpopulation:
  • One female dog who is not spayed can produce 67,000 puppies in only six years. That is a lot! Spaying can help prevent all of those adorable puppies from becoming homeless and in danger.
  • There is rarely a time when animal shelters aren’t bursting with unwanted and stray animals. If pet owners spayed and neutered their pets, animal shelters would experience fewer animals in need. This not only would help shelters, but also prevent animals from being euthanized due to unavailable space.

When to Spay or Neuter Your Dog

While the common age for neutering is six to nine months, puppies as young as eight weeks old can be neutered as long as they’re healthy. Dogs as adults can be neutered as well, although there is a slight risk of post-operative complications in older dogs, dogs who are overweight, or dogs who have health issues. The weight of a younger animals is also taken into consideration when scheduling spaying to ensure a safe and successful surgery with no complications.

Some dogs can become pregnancy prior to 6 months, so an earlier timeframe makes sense for most dogs. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that shelter pets be sterilized by 4 months. Many shelters neuter puppies when they reach 8 weeks of age and before they are placed for adoption. Puppies recover more quickly from the surgery than adult dogs.

Is Spaying/Neutering Safe?

The surgery involved in spaying and neutering are very commonly done. Most veterinarians will have the experience required to ensure the procedure is done as safe as possible. However, there is always a slight risk to your pet when anesthesia is used, but veterinarians will evaluate for their health and suitability for the procedure beforehand. Furthermore, technicians will monitor your pet during the procedure, which will allow them to see any complications that might arise to take the proper steps.

Spay and Neuter FAQ 

  1. Will my pet’s personality change after spaying or neutering?

Spaying and neutering will only eliminate the behaviors you don’t want, such as aggression and spraying urine. Neutering males will prevent them from wondering around, fighting, or getting diseases. Spayed females will experience less hormone-related issues such as moodiness.

  1. Will spaying and neutering affect my pet’s weight?

No, it will not affect your pet’s weight. Cats and dogs become overweight and inactive because of food or physical exercise, not because they are sterilized.

  1. Should I let my female dog have one litter before having her spayed?

Its recommended to spay animals before they reach sexual maturity in order to reap the full health benefits. Spaying your female pet before her first heat cycle will reduce the risk of developing mammary cancer. Spaying also eliminates risks for diseases and other life-threatening issues, which will require expensive surgery and treatment.

  1. What if I can find homes for all my animal’s puppies or kittens, can I still let my pet get pregnant?

Even if you find loving, lifelong homes for all the puppies or kittens, you will be affecting the puppies and kittens in animal shelters who desperately need to be adopted. There are so many animals out there who are waiting for their forever homes. Furthermore, unless you ensure that every puppy and kitten you give away is spayed and neutered, they can produce litter after litter and create more animals in need of homes.

  1. Is sterilization safe?

Spay and neuter surgeries are the most commonly performed animal surgeries. Most animals experience little discomfort because anesthesia is used during the surgery and pain medication is given afterward. Your pet should be back to normal within a day or two.

10 Facts About Spaying and Neutering

  1. Around 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the U.S. simply because there is no room I shelters. These high numbers are the result that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.
  2. Many states and counties have established low-cost spay/neuter programs that can help make surgery more affordable and accessible.
  3. The cost of spaying and neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies for one year.
  4. Approximately 6.5 million animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Spaying and neutering can help reduce these numbers significantly.
  5. Around 85% of dogs that are hit by cars are ones that were not spayed or neutered by their owners.
  6. Areas that have mandatory laws for low or no cost fixing options have reported reduction in animal overpopulation and euthanizing.
  7. Communities spend millions of dollars to control homeless animals.
  8. Spaying and neutering decreases the number of strays, which are involved in dog bites and attacks, car accidents, and more.
  9. Despite all of the beneficial reasons for spaying or neutering your pet, about 35% of pet owners refuse to do so. This can be the fear of hurting their pet in the process.
  10. Almost twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to those who are relinquished by their owners.