Spaying is the surgical removal of a female dog or cat’s ovaries and uterus.
Neutering is the surgical removal of a male dog or cat’s testicles.
Why are dogs and cats spayed or neutered?
- A spayed dog or cat will not go into heat and will no longer be able to get pregnant.
- A neutered dog or cat will no longer produce sperm and so cannot impregnate a female.
At what age should my pet be spayed or neutered?
On average, cats and dogs are spayed or neutered at between 5 and 9 months of age. Depending upon their size, some puppies and kittens may be safely sterilized when they’re as young as 8 weeks old. In fact, puppies and kittens recover more quickly from surgery than do adult dogs and cats. In addition, sterilizing female puppies and kittens before they are 4 months old will assure that they will not have a first heat cycle.
How do I know if my dog’s in heat?
A dog’s heat cycle can begin as early as 5 months of age; the average age is between 6 and 9 months. She will stay in heat for approximately 21 days. During her heat cycle, she will
- pass blood from the genital area
- become irritable and lose her appetite
- urinate more frequently.
While she is in heat, a dog must be carefully confined. Most fences will not provide sufficient protection from determined males! Male dogs will be attracted to her and can create a nuisance if they are in close proximity to a female dog in heat.
How do I know if my cat’s in heat?
- Cats can come into heat as young as 4 ½ months of age.
- Cats come into heat when the daylight hours are longer.
- Cats come into heat every 21 days, from February through October (in the Southeastern states). A female cat will stay in heat for approximately one week.
- Cats kept indoors may come into heat all year long, because indoor lighting provides more hours of light.
- A female cat will exhibit obvious behavioral changes while she’s in heat. She will yowl, roll on the floor, and “posture” with her rear end higher than her front end. She will also attempt to escape to the outside.
How old is too old to have my dog or cat altered?
Pets are never too old for spaying or neutering. Dogs and cats that are sterilized have a greatly reduced risk of testicular and ovarian tumors in later years of life. Extra precautions are taken with older dogs to ensure they are handled with special care.
Will the surgery be painful?
Spaying and neutering are performed under general anesthesia. Some animals will have some discomfort following their surgery, and pain medications may be prescribed.
Your pet may lick at the incision. If so, ask your vet for advice. Pets will need to be kept in a dry place and have limited exercise following surgery.
What are the advantages of spaying female cats and dogs?
- Will not have a heat cycle
- Will not be able to reproduce
- Will not affect protectiveness
- Will not get ovarian or uterine cancer
- Will not have dangerous uterine infections
- Will be less likely to fight with other animals.
What are the advantages of neutering male cats and dogs?
- Will not be able to reproduce
- Will be less likely to mark territory by urinating or spraying
- Will be less likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors that stem from sexual tendencies
- Will be less likely to roam and get into fights
- Will not get testicular tumors; will have less prostate inflammation
- Will reduce inappropriate behavior like “humping” on humans.
Common Misconceptions about Spaying and Neutering
“I’m sure I can find good homes for all of my dog’s puppies.”
Even if you allow your pet to reproduce on purpose, their kittens or puppies are just as likely to end up in an animal shelter as any others. This adds to shelter overcrowding and, unfortunately, to many otherwise-adoptable pets having to be put down each year. You also can’t be sure the puppies’ or kittens’ new owners will spay or neuter them, and an unaltered pet is at the highest risk for ending up in an animal shelter. Without a doubt, spaying and neutering helps reduce the number of unwanted animals that must be put down each year.
“My pet should come in heat before she can be spayed.”
It is actually better for her to be spayed before her first cycle; it will reduce the chances that she will develop certain serious health issues later in life.
“My pet will get fat and lazy.”
The decrease in an animal’s hormone level that’s caused by spaying or neutering can indeed result in a slower metabolism. If so, you’ll need to adjust your pet’s diet accordingly. However, when sterilized at a young age, most animals will continue to stay active and not gain excess weight.
“My dog will not guard my home after having the surgery.”
Most dogs are naturally territorial, and spaying or neutering will not change that instinct. The only behaviors that will change are those controlled by the sex hormones.
It is particularly recommended that an aggressive animal be neutered or spayed to help reduce that behavior. However, sterilization may not stop it altogether, because aggressive tendencies can be caused by the environment or a lack of training, rather than by sexual/hormonal reasons.
“It costs too much.”
Fees vary, depending upon where you have your pet altered, whether it’s male or female, its size, and other factors. It’s a one-time only cost, however, and over the lifetime of your pet could save you money by lowering your pet’s risk of developing such health problems as those described above.
For those whose income qualifies them for our services, Young-Williams Spay/Neuter Solutions’ charges are as follows:
dog (female) spay: $65.00
dog (male) neuter: $55.00
cat (female) spay: $45.00
cat (male) neuter: $35.00
Please call 215-6677 to schedule an appointment, or for more information about our spay/neuter programs.