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Spaying and Neutering Your Pet

Responsible pet care involves making decisions that affect your animal's health, safety and well-being. Spaying or neutering your pet is one of the best ways to protect its health and welfare.

Spaying or neutering is a surgical procedure performed by a veterinarian that removes the animal’s reproductive organs and prevents them from producing offspring. “Neuter,” “alter,” or “fix” are terms commonly used when referring to surgery performed on either gender.

Why You Should Consider Spaying or Neutering Your Dog or Cat (including feral cats)

Spaying or neutering your pet can be one of the most important things you do – and one of the most beneficial, not only for your pet but for your community as well. If you allow your pet to breed it doesn’t take long to produce more offspring than available homes to take them.

You can be part of the solution to reduce pet overpopulation by having your pet altered, and helping to reduce the number of orphaned animals that are euthanized.

Other Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Pets

In addition to reducing pet overpopulation, spaying or neutering is healthy for your animal and may prolong its life. The risk of breast cancer or reproductive tract disorders is greatly reduced when females are spayed. Spaying also eliminates the female ”heat cycle” and the need to separate females and males or making special confinement arrangements.

Neutering males will eliminate testicular cancer and related testicular diseases, and can also often help eliminate undesirable behaviors such as aggression, territorial spraying or tendencies to roam, fight or bite. Because of these positive benefits, animals that are spayed or neutered live longer, healthier lives.

Spaying or neutering can keep your pet more focused on being home with you rather than wandering to find a mate. Wandering increases your pets chances of encountering dangers such as becoming lost or diseased, being abused or hit by a car or fighting with another animal.

When Do You Spay or Neuter an Animal

Most veterinarians perform spay or neuter surgery on animals as young as eight weeks of age, and it’s always best to spay a female BEFORE she comes into her first “heat.” We recommend you consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible to discuss the right time for your pet to have surgery. Kittens can get pregnant as early as four months and puppies as early as 5-6 months, which means a litter of “uh-oh’s” can happen sooner than you think. By spaying and neutering your pet at four months, you can stop the accidents before they happen.                                                                                     *Adapted from the San Diego County Dept. of Animal Services

 

Humane Alliance's video on When To Spay:

 

Best Friends: Fix at Four

Prevent more. Fix at month four.

“More than 70,000 puppies and kittens are born every day in the United States – half are accidents. And when about four million homeless pets are killed in shelters each year, it’s time we took the “oops” out of the equation. But you can help. All you have to do is remember one number: four. As in four months.

Kittens can get pregnant as early as four months and puppies as early as six months, which means a litter of “uh-oh’s” can happen sooner than you think. By spaying and neutering your pet at four months, you can stop the accidents before they happen. And that helps keep animal shelters from crowding, and pets from being killed. Thank you for being part of the solution.”

 

For More Spay and Neuter Information:

Common Spay/Neuter Myths

When to Spay, A Humane Alliance

Spay First—How early can my cat or dog get pregnant?

Spay/Neuter Action Project

The Humane Society of the United States

Best Friends Animal Society, For Dogs

Best Friends Animal Society, For Cats

House Rabbit Society

 

*Stray Hearts thanks Planned Pethood Taos for compiling the information listed on this page.