Millions of dogs and cats end up in shelters, at risk of being euthanized each year because there just are not enough homes for all of them. As a pet lover, it can be hard to see. But, there is something all pet parents can do to help slow the pet population, and ensure pets in need of homes can find them. It is as simple as having your cat and dog neutered or spayed, and that simple act is enough to stop unwanted animals from ending up on the streets. On top of that, pets that have been spayed or neutered are less likely to have serious health issues and behavior problems.
About Cat and Dog Neutering and Spaying
Most people are familiar with the terms spay and neuter, and have a general idea of what happens during the procedure. But, what does it actually mean for your pet?
Results of Spay and Neuter
Spaying and neutering are surgical sterilizations, meant to prevent your dog or cat from reproducing, stop heat cycles, and, in males, reduce breeding behavior.
As described by the American Veterinary Medical Association, spaying and neutering are:
- Ovariohysterectomy, or the typical “spay”: the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are removed from a female dog or cat. This makes her unable to reproduce and eliminates her heat cycle and breeding instinct-related behavior.
- Orchiectomy, or the typical “neuter”: the testes are removed from a male dog or cat. This makes him unable to reproduce and reduces or eliminates male breeding behaviors.
The procedure can sound scary for pet parents, but your dog or cat will be under general anesthesia the entire time, which includes being fully asleep with a breathing tube. This is done so that the veterinary staff can keep a close eye on your pet’s viral signs during the surgery, even though most times the procedure is done very quickly. And, to ensure your pet remains comfortable, many veterinarians will also place the pet on a heated pad or blanket during the surgery, or immediately after it is complete. Your dog or cat will likely need a lot of rest in the days following their surgery to completely heel. However, the procedure should have no effect on your pet’s ability to learn new tricks or play with your family.
While cat and dog neutering and spaying are the most common ways of sterilizing your pet, there are non-surgical options to achieve the same goal:
- A hysterectomy is similar to the ovariohysterectomy, the traditional spay, except that the ovaries remain intact and will produce hormones. This means your dog’s or cat’s behaviors related to reproducing may not be eliminated or reduced.
- The vasectomy only removes the vas deferens, which is used to move sperm from the testes. Because your dog’s or cat’s testes will be intact, they may still exhibit some of the behaviors associated with breeding.
- In an ovariectomy, the ovaries are removed from a female dog or cat, but the uterus is kept intact. While it is less invasive than the ovariohysterectomy, it will still leave your pet unable to produce, reach her heat cycle or reduce those breeding instincts.
When To Have Your Cat and Dog Neutered or Spayed in Sonora, CA
Because a spay or neuter is a surgical procedure, some pet parents may be concerned about how safe it is for their puppy or kitten. However, these surgeries are some of the most common performed in animal hospitals, and risks are still low. So, when is the best time to have your cat and dog neutered or spayed?
While there are recommended ranges for having the procedure, the best place to start is with your veterinarian in Sonora, CA. They can help you to easily navigate the process, taking into consideration your dog’s age, breed and overall health.
Timing for Dogs
In general, veterinarians will recommend dogs be neutered or spayed between the ages of six and nine months. However, some dogs, based on breed size, may need to be spayed or neutered at younger or older ages. Smaller breeds may be ready for the procedure as early as five months, while larger-sized dogs may need more time to grow before going through a spay or neuter surgery. If you have adopted from a shelter, you know that sometimes dogs are altered in adulthood, but that does slightly elevate the risk of problems after the procedure.
Timing for Cats
Kittens as young as eight weeks old can be spayed or neutered, which is a big difference from recommendations for dogs. This is because female cats can reach their first heat cycle as young as four months old, though this is somewhat rare. Most female cats will not enter heat until they are five or six months. Sterilizing your cat early will help to prevent any unwanted pregnancies, and discourages spraying or marking your home in male cats.
Should My Female Pet Experience Pregnancy First?
It is a common belief among pet owners that female dogs and cats need to experience a pregnancy, but it may not be in your dog’s or cat’s best interest to wait. Always check with your veterinarian to ensure your pet is getting the proper care.
Benefits of Cat and Dog Neutering and Spaying in Sonora, CA
Some pet owners may not see the need for spaying or neutering their dogs and cats, or they fear it may take away from the pet’s life, but that is not the case. In fact, there are a variety medical and behavioral benefits of having your cat and dog neutered or spayed.
You want your dog or cat to live a long, happy, healthy life, right? Having your cat and dog neutered or spayed may be the key. A study at the University of Georgia found that increased the lifespan of male dogs by 13.8%, and female dogs by 26.3%.
Less Risk of Disease and Cancer
You can also increase your pet’s lifespan with a spay or neuter, because it decreases the risk for certain types of cancers – in females, mammary and uterine issues, and in males, prostate or testicular diseases.
No Heat Cycles
This one is more for pet owners’ peace of mind. If you have ever owned a female cat, you know that during a heat cycle they may yowl and urinate more frequently in an effort to attract a mate. It can be a frustrating time, but having your pet spayed will, in most cases, prevent this behavior.
Less Likely to Roam
If your male dog is a master of escape, having them neutered may help to solve the problem. When dogs are searching for a mate, they may want to roam. While roaming, your dog may be more likely to get into an altercation with other animals, or be injured in some kind of accident. Neutering can help to take away this urge.
Talk with Your Vet About Cat and Dog Neutering and Spaying in Sonora, CA
Are you ready to schedule your cat and dog’s neuter or spay or do you have additional questions? The veterinarians and team at Live Oak Veterinary Hospital are ready to help your pet. Give them a call at 209-432-9437 or book an appointment online today!