Is It Bad to Spay and Neuter Pets? Experts Say It Is Actually Healthy

Over one hundred thousand healthy cats and dogs are euthanized each year. What’s disturbing is that PETA says municipal officials kill many unadopted animals in animal shelters through gunshots. Additionally, other animal facilities use outdated gas chambers and even painful electrocution or cruel decompression chambers that cause discomfort and severe pain.

The ASPCA has been trying to help minimize pet homelessness that leads to animal cruelty through spaying and neutering. Unfortunately, many rumors, falsehoods, and myths are circulating about these procedures. 

If you’re a pet owner, here are some facts and myths about spaying and neutering that you should know:

Myth: Spaying and Neutering Are Unhealthy for Pets

Spayed animals no longer need to roam and look for a mate. They stay home, so there’s less chance of being involved in accidents, like getting hit by a car. Also, contracting contagious diseases and getting into fights with other animals is much lower.

Neutering male pets lessen the risk of developing prostatic disease and hernia, thus eliminating the chances of testicular cancer. 

In females, spaying reduces breast cancer risks. The rate goes down to zero if the procedure is done before the first heat cycle. Plus, it eliminates the chance of developing a severe and potentially fatal uterus infection called Pyometra. Matured unspayed animals usually experience this disease. That’s why it’s essential to communicate with your vet, like Thomasville Veterinary Hospital, before the surgery. Click here to know more.

Myth: Spaying and Neutering Make Pets Overweight

Spaying and neutering don’t make cats and dogs fat or obese. However, weight change is possible if you don’t change their diet after the surgery. 

These two procedures can result in hormone loss, including testosterone and estradiol. They also cause a shift in leptin, a hormone that affects appetite and food intake, and insulin, controlling sugar. These hormonal changes may slow metabolism for neutered pets while increasing their appetite.

In short, spayed and neutered pets should consume fewer calories or exercise more to maintain their healthy weight and body condition. If you feed them the same before the surgery, it can lead to weight gain. The Journal of American Veterinary Medicine says that the risk of weight gain after spaying or neutering is highest in the first two years after the procedure.

Myth: Neutering Makes Male Pets Feel Like Less of a Male

Unlike humans, pets don’t have any ego or sexual identity concept, so neutering won’t change that. Instead, they will be less likely to run away from home to look for a mating partner. An unneutered male pet will do everything to run away, increasing their risks of injury due to fights with other males.

Also, spayed females won’t go into heat. Most female felines go into heat four to five days every three weeks during the breeding season. So, to attract mates, they will yowl and urinate more than usual, which sometimes they may do all over your house.

Myth: Spaying or Neutering Is Expensive

Spaying or neutering cost depends on various reasons, including size, sex, age, vet’s fees, etc. But whatever the actual price is, it’s a one-time fee that saves you money in the long run. If your pets give birth, you have to pay for additional expenses, not only for them but for their babies. Besides, this is a small price for the sake of your pet’s health.

For example, some pet owners purchase a pet wellness plan. Imagine paying for multiple plans for many pets. Visit this page for more information about pet wellness plans.

Myth: Spaying and Neutering Negatively Impact Your Pets’ Behavior

Spaying or neutering affects your pets’ behavior but in a positive way. These procedures influence behavior by eliminating male and female sex hormones released by testicles and ovaries. As a result, unwanted behaviors may be minimized or prevented. 

Neutering also controls undesirable behaviors, including territorial, sexual aggression, and inappropriate urination or spraying. Similarly, spaying eliminates messy spotting, the attraction of males to your yard, and undesirable behaviors, such as mood swings and heat cycles.

Other unwanted behaviors are:

  • Irritability
  • Roaming
  • Aggression
  • Unwanted attention
  • Bleeding
  • Frequent urination
  • Marking
  • Mounting

Choosing the Right Vet

You should not hesitate to have your pet neutered or spayed, considering their benefits. Take note that these procedures are a part of their healthcare. Spaying and neutering can often be performed at any age.

But the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends that cats be sterilized at five months. 

For adult small-breed dogs with under 45 pounds weight, the AAHA recommends they may be spayed before going into heat at 5 to 6 months or neutered by six months. At the same time, adult large-breed dogs that weigh more than 45 pounds should be neutered when they finish growing at 9 to 15 months and spayed between 5 to 15 months. 

Your vet can choose the best time for your pet’s surgery based on various factors. Be sure to select a spay and neuter clinic with the right experience, facility, equipment, and lab and diagnostics.