The Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
Updated: Mar 30
Chances are if you’re reading this then you’ve either just got a pet or you’re thinking about it. It’s one of the most important health decisions you can make for your cat or dog. Spaying is removing the ovaries and uterus of a female pet, and is a veterinary procedure that for the most part requires very minimal hospitalization and it offers lifelong health benefits. Neutering is the removal of the testicles of a male cat or dog, and this will vastly improve your pet’s behaviour, and for outside cats, will keep him close to home.
Most countries including the US, Canada and the UK have established competitive, low cost procedures for spaying and neutering, making surgery easily affordable and accessible for most families. Simply research a vet near you, look at their reviews and prices and use these to decide where to go.
With that said, let’s dig in further with this and look at our in depth list of why spaying and neutering your pet is a good decision!
The first benefit is a longer lifespan. The effect is the same for both male and female, though it has a greater impact on females. Spayed dogs on average live a year and a half longer than their fertile counterparts. This was documented in a study by the University of Georgia in 2013.
Spaying also helps to prevent uterine infections and breast cancer. These health complications are fatal in around 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. If your pet is spayed before her first heat this offers the best protection from these two diseases.
As a result of spaying, your female also won’t go into heat. This means that instead of being in heat for four to five days every few weeks during breeding season, they’ll just be the same old pet you’re used to. No yowling, no peeing everywhere, bliss.
On to your male now, and neutering has a whole bunch of benefits for those guys too. First and foremost, there’ll be no unwanted litters, obviously. But it also prevents testicular cancer, which is a big deal because up to 27% of dogs will at some point develop testicular tumors. Your male pet also won’t roam too far from home either. Their counterparts however will be fleeing the garden however they can, be that cats hopping the fence or dogs digging an escape tunnel to go find a mate and risk being hit by traffic or being found by other males.
You’ll see an improvement in behaviour in neutered males fairly soon, although they may participate in activities similar to full testosterone males for up to 6 weeks after surgery. It’s often said that neutering will make your pet fat. This isn’t the case - weight gain is due to overfeeding and lack of exercise, just feed your pet less and go for walks more often if they put on the pounds (The exact same advice as non-neutered pets). Neutered cats and dogs will both focus their attention more on their human families rather than trying to mark their territory and make their own family.
The cost of your pet's spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered cat escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray as well as treatment for all of the health risks that neutering and spaying can fix, making this a really cost effective treatment.
Spaying and neutering your pet is also great for the community, particularly in outdoor cats. Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna and frighten children. Spaying and neutering packs a powerful punch in reducing the number of animals on the streets.
Your pet doesn't need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth.
Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children-especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are tons of books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way.
Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation, and although they aren’t our main pets for this article, this is a big one for rabbits! Every year, millions of cats, dogs and rabbits of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.
So there you have it. Hopefully you can now see the big list of benefits for spaying and neutering your pets.