Why is it Necessary to Spay and Neuter Our Dogs and Cats?

Dog and Cat standing still

Choosing to adopt a pet is a serious commitment and as her owner, you will be entirely responsible for the health and happiness of your furbaby. You will have many considerations to make in her early life including what you will feed her and what preventative medications and vaccinations you wish for her to have. However, one of the other early acts of responsible pet parenting that should be high on your agenda is getting your pet spayed or neutered.

What is Spaying/Neutering?

Spaying and Neutering are essentially exactly the same thing – the removal of the reproductive organs so that the animal can no longer reproduce. In females, it tends to be referred to as spaying; while neutering is used to describe the procedure in males.


The procedure itself is performed under a general anesthetic meaning that your pet will have no awareness of the surgery and experience no pain. Your pet may be kept on a heating blanket during and after the procedure which will help keep her comfortable.


What age can Spaying/Neutering be Performed?

Healthy dogs and cats can be sterilized from around eight weeks of age, or as soon as they reach two pounds in body weight. It is advisable to get your pet spayed or neutered as early in their life as possible so that they can reap the full benefits of this procedure.


So, why is it so important for us to get our dogs and cats sterilized?


Sterilization is Good for your Pet’s Health and Behavior

Spaying/neutering has a number of health benefits for your pet. In the case of females, spaying at a young age does not only prevent unwanted pregnancy, preventing her coming into season also means that she won’t be the victim of unwanted attention from over-enthusiastic males. There will be no messy bleeding during those weeks when she would ordinarily be in season, and her risk of developing female cancers and urine infections is dramatically reduced.


In the case of male pets, early neutering can deter behaviors such as urine spraying/marking and aggressiveness. It also completely removes the risk that he will develop testicular cancer in the future.

Do your part for the Overpopulation Crisis

Pet overpopulation is a serious concern in the United States. There are millions of homeless animals living on the streets or in shelters, and countless more are euthanized because there simply isn’t the capacity to deal with them.


Unfortunately, owner’s unwillingness to sterilize their pets, often due to cost, means that there are plenty of kittens and puppies who are abandoned. Those who are adopted are not guaranteed a forever home as in many cases, the new owners do not realise the implications and expense of raising a pet. The increasing desirability of pure-breeds and ‘designer’ breed combinations is also pushing demand for certain types of pups and kittens upwards, meaning fewer pets who require rehoming are being adopted. Many owners of these more popular breeds are choosing to allow their animals to procreate in the hope of taking advantage of the often outrageous prices that they command.

Prevent Puppy Farms

Breeding animals is much more complicated than the physical act of impregnation, and unfortunately not all breeders have the knowledge, experience or even morality to provide adequate care for the parents or their babies. Puppy farms are a widespread problem across many first world countries. Designed to produce as many puppies as possible so that they can turn huge profits, the conditions of these farms is usually appalling and many animals sold through them are already unwell or quickly develop serious health problems. By ensuring that your pet doesn’t breed and encouraging those around you to re-home an animal rather than buy a cat or dog specifically bred for them, you can help reduce the demand that keeps puppy mills in operation.


Keep her Safe from Thieves

If you have a breed of animal that is in high demand, she could potentially be at risk of being stolen. Unfortunately, many people are keen to take advantage of the popularity of certain pets, and it is not unheard of for dogs and cats to be stolen specifically so that they can produce highly saleable puppies or kittens. By getting your pet sterilized and making it well known that she has had the procedure, you may be able to deter potential thieves.


As a responsible and compassionate pet owner, it is up to you to keep your pet healthy and safe. If you would like further information about spaying/neutering, or if you would like to schedule an appointment for your furbaby, contact us at (530) 491-4500 or Request an Appointment, and our friendly and knowledgeable veterinary team will get back to you as soon as possible.