Helping control the pet population begins with responsible pet owners. By spaying or neutering your pet, you can help control the pet homelessness crisis, which leads to millions of healthy dogs and cats being euthanized each year in the United States.
According to the ASPCA, there are also medical and behavioral benefits to spaying and neutering your animals, like providing them with a longer, healthier life.
Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, and spaying your female cat before she experiences her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. Neutering male pets prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems.
There are also behavioral benefits as well, curbing mating behaviors like roaming, howling, increased aggression and territory marking.
When determining when to spay or neuter your pet, the ASPCA recommends as early as six to nine months of age for dogs. Dogs can also be neutered as adults, although there’s a slightly higher risk of post-operative complications in older dogs, dogs that are overweight, or dogs that have health problems.
It is generally considered safe for kittens as young as eight weeks old to be spayed or neutered. To avoid the start of urine spraying and eliminate the chance of pregnancy, schedule the surgery before your cat reaches five months of age. It is possible to spay a female cat while she is in heat.
Ultimately, however, you should talk to your veterinarian to determine the best time to spay or neuter your pet.
Kathy Asta, Director of the Corsicana Animal Shelter, said that pre-adoption spaying and neutering is a great first step in a successful adoption.
“All of our donation funds collected are used for pre-adoption spays and neuters,” Asta said. “We find this helps our pets transition to their new homes easier, and our adopters aren't tasked with appointments and transporting animals for surgery appointments. It helps with unwanted behaviors, and the possibility of unwanted litters and reproducing if the adopted pet should get loose before being fixed.”
The Humane Society of Navarro County provides invaluable support to the animal shelter. By organizing volunteers, partnering with the shelter to find its animals responsible, permanent homes, and providing a spay and neuter program, the two organizations work diligently to educate the public on the importance of controlling the pet population.
A spay and neuter assistance program is available through Navarro County's Humane Society, and many other organizations state-wide, for people who otherwise would not be able to afford the necessary procedure.
To find an assistance program near you, visit the ASPCA's Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Programs page online to find options available in your area.
Spaying and neutering your pets can save you money in the long run, as the cost of surgery is far less than that of caring for an unplanned litter.
On the web:
Debunking Spay/Neuter Myths and Misconceptions
Spaying or neutering will not cause your pet to become overweight, but lack of exercise and overfeeding will.
Neutering is not as a quick fix for all behavior problems. Although neutering your pet often reduces undesirable behaviors caused by a higher level of testosterone, there’s no guarantee that your dog’s behavior will change after he’s neutered.
Helping Your Pet Before and After Surgery
Your veterinary clinic will provide pre-surgical advice and post-operative instructions that you should follow.
Here are tips for a safe and comfortable recovery:
Provide your pet with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals.
Prevent your pet from running and jumping for up to two weeks following surgery, or as long as your veterinarian recommends.
Prevent your pet from licking the incision site, which may cause infection, by distracting your pet with treats or by using an cone collar.
Avoid bathing your pet for at least ten days after surgery.
Check the incision site daily to confirm proper healing.
If you notice any redness, swelling or discharge at the surgery site, or if the incision is open, please contact your veterinarian. Also call your veterinarian if your pet is lethargic, has a decreased appetite, is vomiting or has diarrhea or any other concerns following surgery.