Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog
Why fix what’s not broken? If you have added a new dog, cat, puppy, kitty, or rabbit to your family, you’ve probably wondered why you should get your pet spayed or neutered. The easiest answer to this question is that your pet may face serious health problems later in life if they don’t undergo one of these procedures, even if they’re perfectly healthy today.
While considering whether or not to keep your pet intact, your thoughts probably included Bob Barker, homeless pet populations, and unwanted litters. While these are all great reasons to have your pet altered, there’s also a number of health benefits. We’ve put together our top reasons to have your pet spayed or neutered to help you make a more informed decision and make the right choice for you and your family.
Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Pet
1. Long Live Your Pet
Breast tumors and uterine infections are common problems for unaltered female dogs and cats. Spayed pets are less likely to develop these issues, particularly when the procedure is done before her first heat.
For male pets, getting fixed reduces the likelihood of prostate issues like prostatic hyperplasia, cysts, cancer, and infection. Neutering your dog can also eliminate the risk of testicular cancer.
2. Your Female Dog or Cat Won’t Go Into Heat
Between six months and a year, female dogs that haven’t been fixed will begin their reproductive cycle. While going into heat is natural, it may not be considered a delightful experience for pet parents.
When a dog goes into heat, her hormone levels will shift, causing behavioral changes and bloody discharge. A dog in heat may urinate more frequently and increase their vocalizations to attract males. You’ll likely notice your dog lifting her backside and restlessly wandering.
Female cats experience similar symptoms, including yowling and trying to escape.
3. Neutering Your Pet Can Help Behavior Issues
Unaltered male dogs and cats work hard to free themselves from homes and yards to search the neighborhood for a mate. Studies show that 70% of male dogs that got altered were less likely to roam.
What if your home and yard are as secure as Fort Knox? When a male dog or cat can’t get out on the prowl, they tend to experience more restlessness and agitation, especially when there’s a potential mate nearby.
There’s also the pee problem. Intact dogs and cats more often feel the need to spray or mark. Even worse, their urine is often higher in urea, making it more pungent.
Neutering a male dog or cat can also reduce mounting and aggressive behaviors.
4. Having Your Pet Spayed or Neutered Can Save You Money
If your pet cannot reproduce, you won’t get surprised with an accidental litter and the accompanying bills and stress. When your pet gives birth, you are responsible for the new puppies or kitties until they are old enough to be rehomed. The time it takes to find homes for a litter of puppies and kitties can take its toll on pet owners, and the cost of care including shots, exams, bedding, food, and more can really add up.
Your male or female pet escaping to roam the neighborhood comes with a costly risk. What if your dog gets into a scuffle or possibly worse, gets hit by a car? Then you’re looking at possible emergency care and procedures that are far more complicated than a spay or neuter.
5. The Operation to Alter Your Pet is Safe and Affordable
Having your pet altered is a routine procedure with low risk for complications. We will examine your pet prior to surgery and evaluate if they are ready to be fixed since different breeds mature at different rates. We will also thoroughly explain the procedure and aftercare instructions.
While many consider the social benefits of fixing their pet, like reducing stress on shelters, we hope you appreciate the many health benefits of having your animal companion altered. Spaying or neutering your pet is a commitment to their overall health and your lifestyle (and bank account). If you have any questions or you’re ready to make an appointment, give us a call.
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