Spaying and Neutering

dogs and cats

Did you know?

  • On average, for each pet adopted into a new home, 9 animals are euthanized because there are not enough homes for them.
  • Each day in the U.S., 70,000 puppies and kittens are born while only 10,000 humans are born. That’s a 7 to 1 ratio.
  • Each year in the U.S., almost 15,000,000 dogs and cats are destroyed because there are not enough loving homes for them all.

Please don’t fool yourself into thinking that if you can find a home for each of your pet’s offspring you avoid adding to the number of homeless pets. Usually, you’ve eliminated potential homes for other waiting dogs or cats. Only so many responsible, caring homes exist, and finding a home for one of your pet’s offspring just prevents some other dog or cat from finding a nice home.

You Can Teach Them Tricks, But…

The “No Sex” command does not work! If you get a puppy or a kitten, plan to have it surgically sterilized as soon as the animal is old enough. This procedure is beneficial for you and your pet, as it does not alter your pet’s personality, and they are less susceptible to certain forms of cancer, particularly in females.

Sterilized pets have twice the average life expectancy of unsterilized pets, partly due to a much lower chance of suffering from breast, uterine, prostate, and testicular cancer. Also, since the urge to mate is eliminated, neutered pets are less likely to roam from home and be injured in fights or killed in traffic.

Health Benefits

Female Dogs and Cats

Spaying removes the ovaries and uterus, so this eliminates the possibilities of ovarian and uterine infection or cancer. Bacterial infection of the uterus (pyometra) commonly afflicts older unspayed cats and dogs. In its advanced stages, pyometra causes general illness and kidney failure. If the uterus ruptures, your pet will probably die. Pyometra requires emergency spaying, in an attempt to save the pets live. The best preventive care is to spay dogs and cats when they are young and healthy.

Spaying can also prevent mammary gland tumors, the most common tumor in unspayed female dogs and the third most common tumor in cats. Mammary gland tumors or breast tumors are much more common in dogs than in humans. A high percentage of mammary tumors are cancerous: in dogs, nearly 50%; in cats, nearly 90%. Once a cancerous mammary tumor spreads to the bones or lungs, the cancer will be fatal. An unspayed dog is 200 times more likely to develop mammary tumors than a dog spayed before her first heat. An unspayed cat is 7 times more likely than a spayed cat to develop mammary tumors.

Spayed dogs and cats also avoid the dangers of giving birth. A narrow birth canal or inadequate body size can sometimes make giving birth perilous. Many times, litters must be delivered by c-section.

Male Dogs

Neutering removes the testicles, which prevents testicular tumors and greatly reduces the risk of developing rectal tumors. A dog who develops a testicular tumor must be treated before the tumor spreads — the only effective means is neutering. Testicular tumors are especially prevalent in older dogs and are the second most common tumor in male dogs.

Enlargement of the prostate gland affects over 60% of unneutered male dogs older than five years. Prostatic enlargement predisposes a dog to prostate and urinary-tract infections, which can make urinating difficult and painful. If an infection leads to an abscess, the abscess must be surgically drained. Common consequences of surgery include system wide infection and shock or sometimes death. Because prostatic enlargement is caused by the male hormone testosterone, and testosterone is produced by the testicles, neutering acts as both a preventative measure and a cure.

Additionally, by eliminating the sexual drive that can cause a dog to bolt from the yard or house, neutering helps protect dogs from injuries associated with roaming, such as being hit by a car or infections transmitted by other animals.

Male Cats

As with unneutered male dogs, an urge to mate increases the chances that a male cat will slip out of the house and suffer fight wounds or traffic injuries. The resulting wounds frequently develop into abscesses that must be surgically drained and treated with antibiotics. Worse, even a single bite can transmit deadly diseases, such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) or Feline Leukemia from one cat to another. FIV and Feline Leukemia can cause fatal failure of the immune system in some cats.

Behavioral Benefits

Female Dogs

Spaying prevents irritability and aggressive behavior that some dogs show while in heat. For indoor dogs, spaying also prevents vaginal blood spots from getting on household furniture or carpet.

Female Cats

Most unspayed female cats experience heat cycles during 10 months of the year. While in heat, many cats yowl loudly and continually during any hour of the day or night. By eliminating the heat cycle, spaying frees cats (and their human companions) from considerable stress.

Male Dogs

In many male dogs, neutering reduces or eliminates sexual mounting behavior and territorial marking with their urine (including any that might take place in the house).

Male Cats

Most unneutered cats frequently spray urine to mark their territory. In contrast, only 1 in 10 neutered males sprays. The urine of an unneutered male has an exceptionally strong odor as well.


More Information on Pet Health