What is spaying and neutering?
It is a common surgical procedure that stops your dog or cat or other animal from breeding. Female animals get spayed, and males get neutered.
Why should I get my pet “fixed”?
For every 1 person born, 15 dogs and 45 cats are also born. Sadly, only one in ten will find a home. Pet overpopulation is the number one problem for domestic animals in America. Some homeless dogs and cats just roam the streets. In Atlanta alone, almost 100,000 pets a year are euthanized in animal shelters. There are just not enough homes for all of the pets.
But surely my one cat or dog can’t make that much difference?
Two uncontrolled breeding cats, plus all their kittens and all their kittens’ kittens, if none were ever neutered or spayed, in the first fifteen years could theoretically add up to:
• 2 litters per year
• 2.8 surviving kittens per litter
• 10 year breeding life for each cat
• 80 million cats!
Won’t female cats and dogs miss having puppies or kittens? I would feel very lonely without my family.
Dogs and cats enjoy your company, and sometimes each other’s but they’re not into family life. Mother dogs and cats care for their young for a few months until they’re weaned, but then have nothing further to do with them.
I feel uncomfortable about getting my male pet neutered. I wouldn’t want that done to me!
Your pet is not you. His psychology and biology are quite different. His hormones developed in the wild to produce as many offspring as possible so his species could survive. In our modern world, there is just no room for this many offspring. Both male and female animals show an interest in sex only when females are in heat.
At what age should I have my pet neutered or spayed? How young is too young? How old is too old?
The best age is before your pet reproduces! Casper’s Fund endorses pediatric spay and neuter – most pets can be altered at two months of age and two pounds. These younger pets recover much quicker from the surgeries, often within 24 hours. Most vets don’t set an upper age limit for surgery, but we might recommend bloodwork to determine if your pet can safely handle the anesthesia if your pet is older.
Will spaying or neutering affect my pet’s health in any way?
Yes, it will greatly improve your pet’s chances for a long and healthy life! Spaying a female animal before her first heat reduces the risk of breast cancer, uterine infections, ovarian cysts, and several other life-threatening problems. Neutered males suffer a much lower incidence of prostate cancer, testicular tumors, and the painful enlarged prostate glands, which affect 60% of older, unaltered male dogs.
I’m worried that having my pet “fixed” will make it fat and lazy, and change its personality.
Animals become fat because of overfeeding and lack of exercise, not spaying or neutering. There is no evidence of negative personality changes following spay/neuter surgery. There are, however, several positive results, including eliminating the crying and frantic behavior when females are in heat, less wandering, aggression, spraying and marking by males, less likelihood of fights and traffic injuries.
Won’t my female dog or cat be a better pet if she has one litter?
No. There is no medical evidence that having a litter is beneficial to your pet’s temperament, and spaying before her first heat has major health benefits.
My dog/cat is a purebred and I want to breed her at least once to recoup the price I paid for her.
When you add up the cost of food, medical care, vaccinations and the time and responsibility involved, the profits tend to disappear. Sometimes you must suffer the heartbreak of placing your puppies or kittens in homes where they will not be treated kindly, or even take them to a shelter to be destroyed. Unless you are an expert, professional breeder, there is a good chance that your puppies and kittens will develop genetic ailments that will cause them a life of misery and great medical expense for their owners.
I would like my children to witness the miracle of birth.
By not adding to the suffering and the high community costs of pet overpopulation, you will be teaching your children kindness and civic responsibility.
Adapted from Planned Pethood