Did you know that getting your pet fixed does much more than just prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens, it may also prevent some undesirable behaviors and several life-threatening illnesses. Today, our Las Vegas vets share some important reasons why you should spay or neuter your pet.
What It Means To Get A Pet Fixed
When we talk about getting an animal "fixed," we are referring to the sterilization of a pet. Female animals are sterilized through the removal of their reproductive organs. Male animals are sterilized by removing their testicles.
Reasons To Spay or Neuter Your Cat
Pet parents may feel reluctant to have their cat fixed, especially if they intend for their cat to remain indoors full-time. Nonetheless, there are some very good reasons why our vets believe that your cat should be sterilized regardless of whether they are indoor homebodies or outdoor adventurers:
- Protect your cat's health - Fixing a female cat, especially before the first heat, helps prevent uterine infections, uterine cancers, and breast cancer. Fixing male cats eliminate the chances of testicular cancer and lower the risk of prostate problems. Generally, sterilized pets live healthier, longer, and happier lives.
- Enjoy a more behaved cat - Cats that have been sterilized are more well-behaved. They will be less likely to roam, yowl, wail, bite, act aggressively, spray, or mark their territory. Intact males will do almost anything to find mates, including fleeing your home, putting themselves in danger of injury, or fighting with other males. Roaming can also expose your cat to potentially fatal diseases such as feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus.
- Fight overpopulation - Millions of healthy cats are euthanized in the U.S. each year because there aren't enough homes available. Sterilization can help control the pet overpopulation crisis and reduce the number of strays, which end up in shelters instead of loving homes. Unfortunately, many end up homeless and are left to fend for themselves.
- More cost-effective - The long-term costs you could incur by not fixing your feline friend can be excessive. Treating cancers of the reproductive system can be quite costly, as is caring for a new litter of kittens. Additionally, unaltered pets can be more destructive and may engage in serious fights with neighborhood strays, often requiring pricey treatments.
- Your cat will be happier to stay home - One of the reasons fixed cats live so much longer is that they are less likely to wander away from home and fight with other male cats. Sterilization stops the production of testosterone. This hormone leads to more aggressive behavior.
Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Dog
Our vets feel that getting your dog fixed is an important part of caring for your pet's overall health and well-being. Below are just a few reasons why you should do it.
- Population control - Every year, approximately 3.3 million dogs enter shelters in the United States, according to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Fixing your dog is the most effective way for you to help reduce the overall number of unwanted puppies each year while also improving your pet's behavior and lowering their risk of some serious health conditions.
- Prevent disease - Sterilization helps to prevent male dogs from developing testicular cancer and helps to prevent serious health problems from affecting your female dog such as pyometra, (a potentially life-threatening uterine infection), and mammary cancer.
- Curb unwanted behaviors - These procedures can also help to curb several undesirable behaviors such as dog aggression, roaming and straying, and humping or mounting.
- Save money - Treating cancers of the reproductive system can be quite costly, as is caring for a dog throughout pregnancy and caring for puppies. Not only that, unaltered pets can be more destructive indoors and in your yard and may engage in serious fights with neighborhood strays, often requiring trips to the emergency vet.
- Your dog will be more contented to stay home - Male dogs that have not been fixed are very likely to try to escape regularly to go in search of female dogs that are in heat. Unaccompanied roaming can lead to an increased risk of being hit by a car or becoming lost or stolen. Having your dog fixed can help them to feel more contented to be at home with you.
The Best Time To Get Your Pet Fixed
There are several factors that can influence the timing of these procedures, however, most vets recommend the following:
- Cats should be fixed before they are 5 months old since female cats can become pregnant as young as 4 months of age!
Dogs in Shelters
- Dogs in shelters are frequently spayed or neutered when they are very young to help limit the birth of unwanted puppies in the area. Every year, an estimated 6.5 million unwanted animals enter US shelters. For pets in shelters, spaying, and neutering can begin as early as 6 weeks.
- Up until recently, it has been common practice to advise pet parents to have their pets spayed or neutered when the dog is between 6 - 9 months of age, however, more and more often that advice is being questioned.
- Recent research appears to indicate that spaying or neutering pets at 6-9 months of age may increase the risk of conditions such as joint disorders, cranial cruciate injuries, and some cancers in some breeds. Many veterinarians now advise waiting until your dog reaches sexual maturity before having them fixed. This occurs much earlier in small breeds than in large and giant breeds. As a result, it's critical to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best age to have your dog fixed.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.