Puppies and kittens sitting together.

Compassionate pet owners know that spaying or neutering their pets is the most responsible thing to do to help curb pet overpopulation and reduce the number of animals that end up in shelters. Recent estimates from the ASPCA say that roughly 6.3 million companion pets end up in shelters every year in the United States. 

Mobile veterinary clinics like At Home Pet Doctor make spaying and neutering pets more convenient, but some pet parents still wonder if it’s truly necessary. Read on for important insights on spaying and neutering.

Why Spay/Neuter Your Pet?

The most obvious reason for spaying or neutering pets is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. But the benefits of spaying and the benefits of neutering offer health and wellness advantages, too.

Health Benefits of Spaying

Spaying female pets provides the following health benefits:

  • Eliminates the risk of uterine and ovarian cancers, since spaying a female pet involves the removal of those organs. 
  • Because hormones play a role in the growth of certain cancer in dogs and cancer in cats, like mammary cancer, spaying a kitten or puppy prior to her first heat cycle greatly reduces this risk.
  • Besides reducing or eliminating the risk of some cancers, spaying eliminates the risk of a potentially fatal infection of the uterus called pyometra, which can occur in unspayed pets. 
  • Intact female cats are more likely to battle over mates, which puts them at a higher risk of cat-specific illnesses like feline leukemia and feline AIDS, since these diseases spread through bites. 

Health Benefits of Neutering

Male pets also stand to gain health advantages when neutered. Consider the following:

  • The risk of testicular cancer is eliminated because neutering involves the removal of the testicles.
  • A neutered male’s testosterone production is reduced, which lowers his risk of developing prostate diseases.

Behavioral Benefits of Spaying/Neutering

Altered animals tend to be better family pets for these reasons:

  • They are less likely to “spray.”
  • They are less aggressive.
  • They are less likely to exhibit “mounting” behavior.
  • Un-spayed females in heat vocalize (a lot!) and make quite a mess.
  • An estimated 85 percent of dogs hit by cars are intact males.

Discuss the Timing With Your Veterinarian

Spay and neuter surgeries are typically performed by the time a cat or dog is six months old, but a study from the University of California, Davis, points to an increased risk of cancer in dogs and certain joint disorders when a dog is spayed or neutered before the age of one year. A dog’s vulnerability to these risks varies significantly from breed to breed. Choosing the right time to spay or neuter your dog should be discussed with your veterinarian.

We welcome your questions about spaying or neutering your pet. Please contact us for an appointment as soon as you bring home a new pet.