Benefits of Spaying a Dog or Cat
Established in 1995, World Spay Day is celebrated annually on the fourth Tuesday in February, and this year it falls on February 23rd. However, the entire month is recognized as Spay/Neuter Awareness Month (AKA Beat the Heat Month), and local animal shelters and humane societies often host awareness events.
World Spay Day is a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering companion animals and encouraging people to do so as it can save lives. It’s completely expected that you might be asking, “why spay and neuter?” or have some additional questions regarding World Spay Day so we’re here with some answers and to talk you through the importance of spaying and neutering your pets.
Importance of Spaying and Neutering
- What’s the difference between spayed and neutered? Spaying is a veterinary procedure that removes the uterus and ovaries of a female pet. This typically requires minimal hospitalization time and offers lifelong health benefits. Neutering is the veterinary procedure that removes the testicles of a male pet. This can vastly improve the male pet’s behavior and also can provide lifelong health benefits.
- Benefits of spaying a cat/Benefits of spaying a dog. Many pet owners often ask, “why spay or neuter?” The answer is simple: long-term health. Breast tumors are cancerous in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats but spaying your pet helps prevent breast tumors and uterine infections. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection against these diseases. Additionally, neutering your male pets helps to prevent testicular cancer and other prostate issues as well as minimize poor behaviors.
- What if I choose not to spay my pet? The instinct to procreate is strong in animals. An unspayed dog will enter into a “heat cycle” where her hormones tell her to breed. This can result in bloody discharge, swollen/inflamed genitals, excessive mounting, and may attract other dogs to mount her as well. In addition to this, male pets, including those still intact, can smell females in heat from great distances away and will do anything they can to reach them. Lastly, having a litter of puppies is not always safe. Intact females are at risk of developing Pyometra, a potentially fatal infection in the uterus that is often a result of hormonal changes in the reproductive tract.
- What if I choose not to neuter my pet? While these claims may vary from breed to breed, some consistencies can be stated about unneutered cats and dogs. Males can be very aggressive. By failing to alter your pet, they produce more testosterone, which can intensify aggressive tendencies. Excessive amounts of testosterone can be harmful to a domesticated dog. They may be more inclined to initiate fights with other males they come across, and can be more likely to view other males as rivals rather than friends. Unneutered pets can also project this same aggressive energy toward humans. Furthermore, an unaltered male will have more sexual energy meaning much more mounting of furniture, people, objects or female animals. If he cannot achieve this, he can feel stressed and agitated.
Additionally, while dogs are known as ones to mark their territory any chance they get, cats are more likely to mark their environment when still intact and, unfortunately, feline urine is much stronger and contains high levels of ammonia making it harder to clean out and giving off a more pungent odor.
Celebrate World Spay Day or Spay/Neuter Awareness Month by spreading the word and raising awareness behind the importance of spaying and neutering your dog or cat. By doing so, you can help protect pets against certain types of illness, address