Whether you’re a brand-new or seasoned pet owner, you have likely heard your veterinarian talk about the importance of spaying or neutering your pet. You may think this elective surgery doesn’t apply to your pet, perhaps because they are kept strictly indoors so they won’t have the opportunity to mingle with members of the opposite sex and procreate. It’s certainly true, there are millions of perfectly healthy dogs and cats in our country that have to be euthanized each year just because of overpopulation issues. However, while controlling and reducing the overpopulation of dogs and cats in our country is a key benefit of spaying and neutering, there are many more. We encourage you to take a moment to learn about and consider these other benefits, so that you can better understand why spaying or neutering your pet is truly the best thing you can do for them.
Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
Following are just some of the benefits of spaying or neutering your pet at an early age:
- Spayed cats and dogs tend to live longer and healthier lives, because spaying helps to prevent uterine infections and breast tumors.
- Spayed cats and dogs won’t go into heat during breeding season, which means they won’t yowl or urinate more frequently in a bid to attract a mate.
- Neutered cats and dogs tend not to have testicular cancer and prostate problems.
- Neutered cats and dogs are less likely to wander away from home in their search for a potential mate, which means they are less likely to become injured in traffic or in fights with other animals.
- Neutered cats and dogs are often better behaved than unneutered cats and dogs, as they won’t obsessively mark their territory with strong-odored urine and are less likely to be aggressive. Neutered dogs are less likely to mount other dogs, people or objects than unneutered dogs.
- The time and money spent having your pet spayed or neutered is far less than the time and money spent caring for a litter of babies.
Contrary to what may have been heard, spaying or neutering your pet does not cause them to become overweight. A proper diet and exercise regimen can help to prevent unhealthy weight gain.
Spaying or neutering is not a guaranteed solution to behavioral problems, though there is a good chance that undesirable behaviors won’t develop and become habit if the pet has been spayed or neutered at an early age. This is because spaying or neutering can help reduce the production of the hormones that often contribute largely to behavioral problems.
What to Expect
It is recommended that dogs are spayed or neutered when they are six to nine months old, although successful neuter surgeries can sometimes be performed on puppies as young as eight weeks old. It is recommended that cats are spayed or neutered when they are eight weeks to five months old.
When you schedule your pet’s spay or neuter surgery, you will be given pre-surgical advice, including whether to withhold food and water. Your pet will be anesthetized during the surgery for their safety and comfort, and will recover from this anesthesia shortly after the surgery has been completed. Most pets are well enough to return home the same day.
You will receive post-surgical advice that will help you to properly care for your pet following their spay or neuter surgery. Some of this advice may include:
- Provide your pet with a quiet, safe place to recover, indoors and away from other pets.
- Restrict your pet’s physical activities following surgery, preventing them from running or jumping for as long as the veterinarian recommends.
- Use an Elizabethan collar if necessary to prevent your pet from licking or biting at the incision site or sutures.
- Refrain from bathing your pet for at least ten days following surgery.
- Check the incision site every day to ensure it is healing well.
- Contact the veterinarian if you notice redness, swelling or discharge at the incision site, or if your pet is lethargic, uninterested in food, vomiting or has diarrhea.
For more information about spays and neuters or to schedule your pet’s appointment, contact La Crosse.