Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures used to prevent pets from reproducing by sterilizing them. Spaying refers to the removal of the reproductive organs of female dogs and cats. Surgically, under the effect of anesthesia, the ovaries or both the ovaries and uterus are removed. Neutering is the removal of the testicles in male dogs and cats.
In the United States, it is now common to have all dogs and cats not meant for breeding purposes spayed or neutered. This practice was incorporated to reduce the number of unwanted animals that would be euthanized. The statistics say that in the US alone 6.5 million animals enter animal shelters each year out of which 1.5 million are euthanized. The combined efforts of the animal shelter community and the veterinarians have resulted in spayed or neutered canines in 78% of dog-owning households. This has helped curb the pet homelessness crisis to a great extent.
Just as in humans, pre and post-surgical care is essential whether you are getting your cat or dog spayed or neutered. A puppy or kitten needs adequate nutrition and proper rest after surgery for at least two weeks. Avoid bathing them for at least ten days after surgery and prevent them from licking the incision site to thwart any chances of infection. Following all the instructions and advice from your vet will ensure quick healing and a healthy pet in no time.
When to spay your pet
In most cases, the veterinarians advise spaying female dogs as early as four to six months. Over the years researches suggest that the age varies from one breed to another because they mature at different ages. For toy breeds or smaller dogs, spaying is advisable as early as six to eight months of age. Giant breeds may mature as late as 16-18 months of age when spaying is considered right. If they are spayed earlier, they may be prone to more risk of future health conditions.
For cats, it is generally considered safe to spay or neuter them as young as eight weeks old. Schedule the surgery before your cat reaches five months of age to potentially avoid the start of urine spraying and eliminate the chances of pregnancy.
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Why should you spay or neuter your pet
The average lifespan of spayed and neutered cats and dogs is demonstrably longer than the lifespan of those not. This is due to their reduced chance of certain types of cancer, most cancers of the reproductive system. Certain behavioral issues like urine-marking, excessive barking, and mounting activity, howling, and the urge to roam and pick fights can be minimized by spaying and neutering your pet.
Reasons to spay or neuter your pet
In addition to increasing the lifespan of your pet and being helpful in resolving certain behavioral problems, sterilizing them is easy on your wallet too. The potential long-term medical costs incurred for an unaltered pet could run into thousands of dollars. Caring for them in sickness and seeing them in pain could take a toll on your mental health too. It also helps the community by fighting overpopulation and reducing the burden on animal shelters. Spayed pets don’t go into heat and you have healthier, happier, better behaved and longer living pets than otherwise.
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Health benefits of spaying and neutering a dog
It is vital to spay your dog as part of responsible canine care. It has many benefits for the individual pup as well in addition to community benefits by battling overpopulation. Spaying can help to prevent your female dog from having many serious health problems. Uterine infections are common among dogs that have not undergone spaying and this can pose serious implications on health. Breast cancer is another serious concern and results in almost 50% of canine cases. This can be warded off to a great degree by spaying the pets. The most effective way to provide this protection is to ensure that your dog is spayed before her first heat.
In general, after about six months of age, unspayed females go into heat for two to three weeks at a time, usually twice a year. Although this varies with size and breed, this period of time can be challenging both for the pet and their owners. This is because of their increased troublesome behavior and refusal to abide by the manners they were otherwise adhering to. Urinating more often and that too in the house, howling incessantly are some behavioral patterns during this time. This attracts the attention of every unneutered male within smelling distance and poses further problems of unwanted pregnancy.
In males, neutering reduces or eliminates the risk of spraying and marking. Prostrate diseases which are otherwise common in males are reduced significantly in neutered dogs. The risk of testicular cancer is eliminated and it is also known to decrease aggressive behavior including dog bites. They are less inclined to roam and therefore less likely to be injured in fights and vehicle accidents.
Spaying a dog means fewer dogs roaming the streets and causing trouble such as destroying property, causing car accidents, and scaring or biting people. Stray animals become a public nuisance and are a growing concern in many places. Even if it is only a few strays causing problems like these, it could negatively influence the opinion of the entire community about dogs. That is why spaying and neutering pets are important for the pet’s health, the owner’s health, and the community’s health at large.
Sterilizing your pets make them better behaved and more loving towards their owners. Feline immunodeficiency Syndrome is spread by bites and intact cats are known to fight a great deal more than altered cats.
The capture, impoundment, and eventual destruction of unwanted animals cause taxpayers and private humanitarian agencies over a billion dollars each year. Chances of contracting rabies through these stray dogs are another reason of huge concern.
Having advocated the reasons and time to spay or neuter your pet, it is important to consult your vet before you take any decision.