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  • Georgia Pet Foundation

"The Importance of Spaying/Neutering Your Dog or Cat: What You Need to Know"



A lot of people have the misconception that spaying or neutering your dog or cat hurts them and in not beneficial.  Some think, “I want to have one litter to show my kids the magic of birth or I want to keep one and adopt out the rest…”.  These are not good reasons and here’s why.

A cat or dog can have anywhere from 2 to 10 kittens or puppies or more in one season.  They will all need to be placed in good responsible homes or they will be taken to a shelter.  If people who adopt don’t get these puppies or kittens spayed or neutered, then each year there are more puppies and kittens that need to find homes or end up in a shelter or rescue and the cycle continues.

Over a 6 year period, just one un-spayed cat and their kittens can produce over 66,088 cats.  And from just one un-spayed dog and puppies, they can produce over 67,000 off spring.  This is one reason why spaying/neutering is so important.

Another reason other than overpopulation of companion animals is since Covid, the dumping of companion animals, has increased dramatically.  In 2023, almost 20,000 pets were euthanized due to overpopulation and lack of space in overcrowded shelters. So spaying/neutering truly helps with the heartbreaking overpopulation and euthanasia issues in Georgia.

There are also medical and behavioral benefits to spaying and neutering.  Female pets will live a longer, healthier life.  Spaying of female pets prevents uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 50% of dogs and and 90% of cats.  The best time to spay your pet is BEFORE their first heat.  This offers the best protection from these diseases.

Neutering you male pets prevents testicular cancer and some prostate issues.

Behavioral benefits include the following: Your female spayed dog or cat will no longer go into heat.  Female cats can go into heat for four to five days, every three weeks during the two breeding seasons in spring and fall.  If you’ve never experienced this, you are lucky.  A female cat will yowl incessantly, become a bit aggressive and urinate more frequently.  Sometimes this mean all over your house instead of the litter box.

A male dog that is neutered, will be less likely to roam and mark his territory in both in the house and out.  Both dogs and cats, when not neutered, will mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine. Did you know an intact male will do anything to find a mate.  This is includes escaping from the house and yard.  Neutering also lowers the chance of your dog mounting other dogs, people and random objects.  Some aggression issues are also addressed by neutering.

Still balking?  I know, you’ve heard things like, “it makes your pet fat”, “it affects their personality”, or “my dog won’t be so masculine anymore”.  HA!  Here’s the truth.  Your pet becomes overweight due to lack of exercise, overfeeding and too many treats.

Neutering or spaying doesn’t effect your pet’s personality.  It may make males less aggressive due to less testosterone.  Surgery reduces the amount of testosterone in your dog’s system, but it doesn’t eliminate the hormone completely.  

The usual age for neutering is six to nine months, but puppies at eight weeks old
can be neutered as long as they are in good health. Dogs can be neutered as adults as well, although there’s a slightly higher risk of post-operative complications in older dogs, dogs who are overweight have health problems. 
For cats, it is generally considered safe for kittens as young as eight weeks old to be spayed or neutered. This surgery is often performed at this time in shelters, so kittens can be sterilized prior to adoption. 

In an effort to avoid the start of urine spraying and eliminate the chance for pregnancy, it’s advisable to schedule the surgery before your own cat reaches five months of age. It’s possible to spay a female cat or dog while in heat, but cost is increased.

Make sure you talk to your veterinarian to figure out the best time to spay/neuter your pet.

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