Overpopulation of cats and dogs throughout the world contributes to worldwide pet homelessness and the endangerment of animal welfare. Spaying and neutering can also help keep your pet healthy throughout their lifetime and reduce their risk of developing serious health issues. The team here at Pet Doctor X recommends spay/neuter procedures to help keep your pet healthy and to manage the stray animal population throughout our own community.

Protect Your Pet's Health

It surprises many pet parents to know that spay/neuter procedures can help protect their pet's health throughout their lifetime. Sterilized pets tend to live longer than pets who haven't been fixed. They are also less likely to develop serious health issues like specific types of cancers. Male pets who are neutered eliminate their risk of developing testicular cancer and they have a lower rescue of developing prostate cancer. Female pets who are spayed eliminate their risk of developing uterine infections and breast cancer, both of which can be fatal to most cats and dogs. Spaying your female pet before her first heat can greatly reduce her chances of developing mammary tumors. Puppies and kittens also recover from surgery very quickly, whereas older pets can take a much longer time and have a higher risk for complications.

Reduce Animal Homelessness

Pet homelessness is a huge issue worldwide. Millions of animals are euthanized every year due to homelessness, neglect, and unethical living conditions. By being responsible with your pet's reproductive care, you are preventing potentially unwanted or unsafe breeding practices from occurring in your own community. Even if you have no plans of breeding your pet, accidents can happen simply by socializing with other animals in their environment. Unplanned litters can be prevented by spaying and neutering your pets.

Prevent Unwanted Behaviors

While not all behaviors can be adjusted by spay/neuter procedures, they can reduce some unwanted behaviors. Animals tend to roam more often, especially when females are in heat. This can lead to unwanted pregnancies and fights among animals. Male animals also tend to mark their territory more often when they are not fixed, so they may pee around your home. Spayed and neutered pets are also much less aggressive than non-fixed pets. Pets that have not been spayed or neutered are more likely to bite, growl, and may become territorial. Of course, spaying and neutering is not a fix-all for every behavioral problem. Be sure to work with your dog and play with them frequently so that they are entertained and mentally challenged every day. If your pet has a serious behavioral issue, talk to our Tucson veterinarian or a professional dog trainer to help work on the behavior.

Common Myths About Spaying/Neutering

Many clients have heard myths and misconceptions that may lead them to not want to spay or neuter their pet. Some common misconceptions include:

My pet will gain weight - Spaying and neutering does not cause pets to gain weight. An animal's weight is determined by their diet and exercise, just like humans. If your pet has a persistent weight issue, it may be a sign of an unrelated health issue and they may need a consultation with our veterinarian.

We can find the litter new homes - Even successful breeders have difficulty finding homes for their litters. There are plenty of animals in shelters that require loving homes, and they should be given first priority. It is also impossible to guarantee what a litter will look and act like, or what their health needs will be, so finding suitable homes that are prepared to care for a pet's every need can be difficult.

Their personality will change - Having your pet spayed or neutered will have no effect on their personality. This type of procedure can reduce unwanted instinctual behaviors, but it will not change how loving, unique, or playful they are. Your pet's cognitive abilities will not be impacted by spaying or neutering. In fact, your pet will be more likely to engage with you because they will not be seeking a mate.

Spaying and neutering is dangerous - Sterilization is a routine procedure that is safe for pets. We recommend having your pet spayed or neutered when they are young, as young as eight weeks, so that they can experience the full health benefits of sterilization. Puppies and kittens bounce back after surgery very quickly, and older animals can feel totally normal after just a few days.

The procedure is expensive - There are several low-cost options to spay or neuter your pet. Talk to our team about your situation so that we can recommend the best possible option for you and your furry friend.

We should wait until after my pet has had a litter - Spaying your female pet after she has already had a litter will not provide her with the same level of protection against certain health issues. Choosing to spay your pet before her first heat can reduce her risks for certain cancers by up to 85% percent. Some people think that allowing your pet to have one litter will help to calm her down, but that is not true. To reduce pet anxiety or to release their energy, play with them for a minimum of 30 minutes per day. You should also challenge her mentally, with games or by teaching her tricks, so that she can remain occupied throughout the day. Having a litter will not cure doggy boredom or restlessness, only attention and behavioral training will.

It is so important to spay or neuter your pet both for their health and for the health of other animals in your area. Communities spend hundreds of thousands of dollars nationwide to care for and rehome stray animals. Choosing to spay or neuter your pet can help increase the chances of these stray animals finding loving homes with responsible owners who are able to care for them. We highly encourage that you consider spaying or neutering your pet for the good of our local community and for the good of animals all over the world. Through responsible pet ownership and proactive veterinary care, we can help to eliminate pet homelessness.

If you have more questions about the importance of spaying and neutering your pet, call our office for more information. We can talk you through your options and schedule an appointment to help you decide what is right for your pet.