Some pet parents may wonder whether it's really important to spay or neuter their pet. In this post, our vets in Seattle discuss why this procedure is an important one, when it should be done and other information you may find helpful.
Why should I spay or neuter my pet?
Spaying or neutering your pet, otherwise known as "fixing" your animal, are elective surgeries that involve sterilization.
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), about 6.5 million animals end up in shelters or rescue systems annually across the United States. Of those animals, less than half are adopted as pets, meaning that millions of healthy cats and dogs are euthanized each year because there is no space for them.
One of the best ways you can do your part to reduce the number of unplanned puppies and kittens born every year (and lighten the load of rescues and shelters) is to book your pet's appointment at a spay and neuter clinic.
Medical Reasons to Spay or Neuter for Cats & Dogs
Spaying Female Dogs & Cats - Spaying your female dog or cat can help your pet live a healthier, longer life. Having your dog or cat spayed reduces your pet's risk of developing a range of serious conditions including uterine infections or breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 90 percent of cats and 50 percent of dogs.
Neutering Male Dogs & Cats - Neutering your male dog or cat also helps to prevent testicular cancer and reduce your pet's risk of developing prostate issues. This helps preserve your pet's long-term health.
Behavioral Reasons to Spay or Neuter Cats & Dogs
Spaying Female Dogs - Spaying your female dog will drastically reduce their risk of developing pyometra and mammary cancer - two conditions that can threaten the life of your pooch. While being spayed will not always put a stop to your female pup's instinctive breeding behaviors, generally those behaviors will cease after your kitty is spayed.
Neutering Male Dogs - Neutering your male dog will cut back on numerous undesirable behaviors including howling, roaming and aggression. It will also prevent testicular cancer. All of this can help to prevent unfortunate events such as fights with other dogs or being struck by a vehicle.
Neutering Male Cats - Male cats that are neutered will typically prefer to stay closer to home, where they will tend to be safer and get into fewer fights with other cats. They are also much less likely to spray (mark their territory with strong-smelling urine).
When to Have Your Pet Spayed or Neutered
Cats - Kittens can be spayed or neutered as young as eight weeks old. These procedures are considered safe even at this young age. Many animal shelters perform these operations early to make sure kittens are 'fixed' before they go to new homes. It's also best to have these procedures done while your cat is in early development in order to help prevent your cat from developing bad habits such as spraying. Adult cats can also be safely spayed or neutered.
If you're having your cat spayed or neutered near Seattle, our vets would love to meet you and your four-legged friend, and have you book this important appointment with us.
Dogs - Dogs are traditionally neutered while they are still young - at about six to nine months of age, while puppies as young as eight weeks can be neutered as long as they are in good health. While adult dogs may also be neutered, there's a slightly higher risk of post-operative complications in adult dogs as well as dogs that are overweight and those that have health problems.
The vets at our Seattle spay and neuter clinic routinely perform spay and neuter surgeries for pets, and are always happy to address questions and concerns you may have about the procedure.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.