Did you know that 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized in animal shelters every year, simply because they don’t have a home? Cats are 45 times as prolific, and dogs are 15 times as prolific, as humans. They do not need our help to expand their population, instead, they need our help to reduce their numbers until there are good homes for them. Spaying or Neutering your pet is an important way to reduce overpopulation.

There are so many other benefits to spaying or neutering your pet. Many pet owners find their dogs and cats to be more affectionate after they are fixed. Dogs and cats that have been spayed or neutered are generally happier. They don’t have the urge to breed and therefore are spared feelings of frustration that can arise when not allowed to mate.

Here are some other key benefits:

  • It reduces your pet’s urge to roam and decreasing the risk of contracting diseases or getting hurt as they roam. Surveys indicate that as many as 85% of dogs hit by cars are unaltered.
  • Sterilization of your cat or dog will increase his or her chance of a longer and healthier life. Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. Neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems. Altering your canine friend increases his or her life an average of 1 to 3 years. Spaying or neutering your feline companion can add 3 to 5 years on their life.
  • Your spayed female won’t go into heat. While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they’ll yowl and urinate more frequently (sometimes all over the house). Female dogs go into heat every six months, and during the process experience bloody vaginal discharge that can also be messy to clean up.
  • The cost of your pet’s spay or neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter! It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered pet escapes and potentially gets into a “cat fight” with other neighborhood strays.

When is the right time to have your pet spayed or neutered? Spaying and neutering can be done as early as a few months old. At Animal Health Center, we recommend the spaying or neutering be done between 5 and 9 months of age. Research from AKC’s Canine Health Foundation indicates there may be long-term health benefits to spaying or neutering dogs before they have gone through puberty, such as curbing behaviors like marking and aggression. Many recommend for female puppies to be spayed before their first heat, which can happen as early as 5 months old.

Ultimately, it’s important to talk with your veterinarian about the best time to have your pet spayed or neutered.