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When Is the Best Time to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Bringing a new kitten or puppy into your family is an exciting time. Adding a pet to your household also requires some important decision making. Choosing whether or not to have your new pet spayed or neutered is an important decision that can have long-term implications for your pet and your family. Learn more about what it means to have your pet spayed or neutered, why you should consider these procedures, what type of impact this surgery will have on your pet and more.

What is Spaying and Neutering

Spaying and neutering are medical procedures in which an animal’s’ reproductive organs are removed. When a female cat or dog is spayed their uterus and ovaries are removed, while when a male cat or dog is neutered the testes are removed. These procedures are sometimes referred to as having the animal ‘fixed.’ Both procedures are done under general anesthesia and it typically takes several weeks for the pet to make a full recovery.

Why Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Having your pet spayed or neutered can provide several benefits. Often, the most common benefit is preventing the pet from breeding. Pregnant pets, as well as new kittens and puppies require additional veterinary care, and finding good homes for the litter can sometimes be a challenge. Having your pet spayed or neutered ensures you will not have your hands full with an unplanned litter.

Unfortunately, many unplanned pets end up as strays or in shelters. This can put the animals in harm’s way and place a burden on local shelters and rescue operations. Pet overpopulation is a problem in many areas, and unplanned litters of puppies and kittens contribute to the problem. Taking action and ensuring your pet is spayed or neutered helps keep the local pet population under control.

Health Benefits

Spaying and neutering your pet also reduces certain life-threatening health risks. Spayed females are clearly not at risk for health issues related to the organs that were removed, but spayed females also experience a reduced chance of mammary tumors. Neutered male pets are less likely to experience prostate disease. The health benefits of spaying or neutering your pet extend beyond health concerns related to the reproductive organs.

Behavioral Issues

In some instances, having your pet fixed may help address behavioral issues. Spaying or neutering your cat or dog is not guaranteed to curb certain behaviors, but sometimes this does prove to be an effective solution.

Cats and dogs, particularly males, are more likely to roam and explore surrounding areas. Sometimes, when pets are spayed or neutered they lose interest in roaming and tend to stay close to home. Animals can also be territorial and will mark their areas, including the inside of your home, with urine to indicate their turf to other animals. Spayed and neutered pets are much less likely to be territorial. In other cases, having your dog neutered or spayed can reduce aggressive behavior and prevent unwanted behaviors, such as mounting.

Misconceptions

There are plenty of misconceptions or myths surrounding whether to spay or neuter pets. One such myth is that having your pets spayed or neutered will make the animal lazy and gain weight. This is not true and there is no evidence to support this belief. Regardless of whether or not your pet is spayed or neutered it is important to feed your pet a healthy diet and ensure your furry friend gets plenty of exercise.

When to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

After deciding to spay or neuter your pet, your next decision revolves around timing. Some animals can be spayed or neutered as young as four months, while other breeds stand to benefit from waiting until the animal is about nine months of age or possibly even older.

If an animal is too young when undergoing surgery they may grow up to be shy and timid pets and have trouble socializing with people and other animals. Spaying or neutering young pets can also impact the animal’s growth and development. As an animal grows the reproductive organs release hormones that aid in growth. If these organs are removed prematurely growth and development may be stunted, resulting in issues such as orthopedic problems.

The ideal time to have your kitten or puppy fixed can vary from one breed to another, so it’s important to consult your vet if you wish to have your pet spayed or neutered. For instance, large breed dogs typically require a year or longer to reach maturity, so for large breed dogs it is necessary to wait until the animal is older before they can undergo this surgery.

Do What’s Best for Your Pet

As a responsible pet owner you need to do what is in the best interest of your pet. Having your kitten or puppy spayed or neutered provides a host of health benefits, may possibly reduce or eliminate behavioral issues and also helps prevent pet overpopulation. Feel free to Contact our Team at Longview Animal Hospital if you have questions, concerns or want to schedule a time for your pet to have the procedure.