Spay & Neuter
Spaying or neutering is one of the greatest gifts you can provide your pet, your family, and your community. These routine medical procedures help control pet overpopulation as well as assist in the prevention of medical and behavioral problems, allowing your pet to lead a longer, healthier and happier life. Spaying or neutering your pet is not only responsible but it is required by the law. (Taos County Animal Control Ordinance)
Spaying or neutering is a surgical procedure performed by a veterinarian. The procedure removes the animal’s reproductive organs and prevents them from producing offspring. Spay is the term for the procedure for females, neutering is performed on male animals. ’ Alter’ or ‘fix’ are terms commonly used when referring to surgery performed on either gender.
Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Dog or Cat
Spay/neuter improves your pet’s health, reducing or eliminating the risk of certain cancers and other diseases. Because spay/neuter often reduces the tendency to fight with other animals, it also protects your pet from fight-related injuries and from dangerous viruses spread through bite wounds. Spayed/neutered animals wander less and stay closer to home. As a result, they are less likely to be lost or hit by cars.
Spay/neuter reduces or eliminates spraying (marking objects with a spray of urine), yowling/howling, escaping, and other troublesome behaviors. You won’t have to deal with the mess or the inconvenience of a pet in heat (or a male pet reacting to a female in heat). You’ll be saved the considerable amount of time, money, and hassle (not to mention property damage!) involved in raising litters of puppies or kittens.
Spay/neuter has a direct impact on the incidence of dog bites in a community. The majority of dog bites (60–80 percent) are caused by intact male dogs. Pregnant or nursing female dogs are more likely to bite as well. Reducing your pet’s likelihood of biting or fighting may also help protect you from potential legal action. Spayed/neutered pets are less likely to engage in behaviors that could cause problems with neighbors.
No More Homeless Pets.
Spay/neuter directly impacts the number of animals that lose their lives in our shelters and on our streets. Having your pet spayed or neutered frees up homes for homeless pets that are already born. By getting your pet ﬁxed, you are part of the campaign to reach the day when there are truly no more homeless pets!
Spay & Neuter FAQ’s
Will my pet’s behavior change after the surgery?
Spay/neuter can result in some behavior changes – for the better! Spayed or neutered pets are often less aggressive, more relaxed, and even more affectionate. Contrary to what some people fear, pets show no signs of “missing” mating or breeding. Rather, they are more content without those raging hormones!
Will my pet become fat?
Just like people, pets become overweight when they eat too much and/or exercise too little. An appropriate diet and sufficient activity will keep your pet slender and healthy.
How young can a dog or cat be spayed/neutered?
Puppies and kittens can now be spayed very early – as young as eight weeks. Though they may seem fragile at that age, healthy puppies and kittens are actually quite strong and recover quickly from the surgery. If your veterinarian is trained in early spay/neuter, the procedures are fast and easy. In addition, the cost for spaying or neutering a dog is often based on the weight of the animal and increases along with the dog’s weight. Spaying or neutering early can save you money!
How long does it take for an animal to recover from the procedure?
Depending on your pet’s age, size, and health, he/she may be kept at the vet’s for a few hours or overnight. Your veterinarian can give you more details. The surgery to ﬁx animals is routine, and they generally bounce back fairly quickly.
Isn’t it healthier for my pet to have one litter?
Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. Cats can go into heat and get pregnant as early as five months of age, so it’s important to spay early.
How much does it cost?
The cost varies, depending on the services offered in your community, but spay/neuter is a one-time cost, a bargain when you consider the cost of taking care of litter after litter of puppies or kittens.
But, what if I want my kids to have the experience of raising puppies or kittens?
Contact us and ask if you can sign up as a foster family for expectant or new mothers. While most mothers prefer not to have an audience while they are actually giving birth, your family may be able to play an invaluable role as a foster family for newborn puppies or kittens.
So, make an appointment today with your veterinarian to spay or neuter your pets. They’ll be happier, and so will you!
*Adapted from educational resources at the Best Friends Animal Society https://bestfriends.org/about-best-friends
Low & No Cost Spay & Neuter Resources
All Stray Hearts animals have been spayed or neutered. If you need information regarding spay and neutering services for your pet, visit these websites to learn more:
Cats only - FREE spay/neuter
Taos Feral Feline Friends (TFFF)
Cats only - FREE spay/neuter
Four Corners Animal League
Dogs & Cats - Copay
Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society
Dogs, Cats & Rabbits at reduced cost
Española Valley Humane Society
Dogs & Cats - FREE spay/neuter