Spay & Neuter FAQ
Why Spay & Neuter?
Your spayed or neutered pet will not produce unplanned litters of puppies or kittens who end up in shelters. Nationwide, 7.3 million dogs and cats enter shelter systems every year. Of those, 2.7 million are euthanized¹. In a decade, just one unspayed cat will have 3,200 descendants², so spaying and neutering your pet will significantly reduce animal overpopulation!
Spayed and neutered pets have fewer medical conditions, which means you will pay less in both veterinary bills and in pet insurance premiums. Spayed and neutered animals also require 20% fewer calories than intact animals, so you can save 20% on pet food!
Spayed and neutered pets are less likely to suffer from an array of painful, costly, and sometimes fatal conditions involving the reproductive system, including:
- Pyometra: infection of the uterus affects 25% of unspayed female dogs, and can cost thousands in emergency treatments without promise of recovery.
- Mammary Cancer: breast cancer affects 26% of unspayed female dogs, and can easily spread to the lungs without aggressive, prompt, and expensive treatment. Female dogs spayed before the first heat cycle only has a 0.5% chance of getting breast cancer³.
- Dystocia: when pregnant mothers cannot pass the babies through the birth canal, emergency caesarian section must be performed to save the pregnant mother’s life. Often, the babies will not survive this condition.
- Testicular Cancer and Tumors: testicular tumors occur in dogs more than in other species⁴, and can be minimized with early neutering.
- Perianal Tumors: perianal tumors are gland tumors most commonly found near the anus of older, unneutered males. It is the third most common type of tumor in unneutered males, and may require surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. 95 percent of perianal gland adenomas will disappear after neutering⁵.
- Prostatic Hyerplasia: prostate disorders are found in 95% of male dogs by 9 years of age. Neutering at an early age inhibits testosterone and reduces its adverse effect on the health of the prostate⁶.
Spayed and neutered pets are less likely to be driven by mating behaviors and less likely to display associated and often undesirable behaviors, such as:
- Urine-marketing and leaving foul odors inside your home.
- Aggressive and territorial behavior towards other pets, children, and adult humans.
- Humping furniture, other pets, or guests.
- Roaming or running away from home in order to find a mate.
- Yowling that keeps your family and neighbors wide awake during spring and summer nights.
Spayed females do not go into heat, nor do they experience estrus (cat equivalent of menstruation). Neutered males also produce less discharge from the reproductive organ.
Spay & Neuter Myths and Facts
Fact: You will save money on pet food when you spay and neuter your pets. Pets will only gain weight if you feed them more calories than they need and are not provided with enough exercise. Spayed and neutered animals require 20% fewer calories than intact animals. That’s $20 back in your pocket for every $100 you spend on pet food!
Fact: Your pet might become happier! Spaying and neutering can reduce mating behaviors such as aggression, urine marking, running away from home, and the frustration of unfulfilled instincts.
Fact: Dogs and cats reproduce out of instinct driven by hormones. Once those hormones are gone, they will not miss their reproductive organs. Pets do not have a sense of “manhood” or “womanhood” like humans do.
Fact: Dogs and cats driven by hormones will break out of the house in order to mate. Not only will your pet still have a chance to reproduce, he or she may be in danger of cars or serious fights against other territorial animals.
Fact: Your pet will live a longer, happier life after they are spayed or neutered³. The procedure itself has a very low complication rate and is performed routinely by veterinarians. Pets who are spayed or neutered live on average 1-3 years longer than pets who aren’t. Unspayed females have a 26% chance of getting mammary cancer and a 25% chance of getting potentially fatal uterus infection. Unneutered males are at risk of getting testicular tumors, perianal tumors, perianal hernias, and other dangerous diseases.
Fact: It will not benefit your pet in any way to have a litter. In fact, it could harm her. Waiting after the first heat cycle to spay your pet will increase her risk of mammary cancer. Pregnancy can put your pet at risk of dystocia, which is a difficult birth caused by a small pelvis, a poorly positioned fetus, or insufficient uterine contractions. Dystocia often means your pet will need a caesarian section, which can cost thousands of dollars. Many breeds and lineages have very high rates of dystocia.
Fact: If you want your children to see the miracle of birth, please foster a pregnant animal or a litter of “bottle baby” kittens or puppies from a local shelter or rescue organization. Not only will your children experience new life, they will also learn to be socially responsible by volunteering, and gain awareness of the pet overpopulation problem.