Importance of Spaying & Neutering

What does it mean to spay and neuter?

Spaying & Neutering an animal, also known as “fixing” or “altering”, means to perform a surgical procedure that makes an animal incapable of reproducing.

  • spay is the surgical removal of a females ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus so she cannot become pregnant.
  • neuter is the surgical removal of a males testicles so that he cannot impregnate a female.

Surgical alternatives to traditional spaying and neutering do exist.  For more information, please visit the American Veterinary Medical Association.


Why spay and neuter?

Spaying or neutering animals prevents them from successfully breeding which reduces accidental pregnancies and works to counteract the current overpopulation of unwanted, homeless pets.

Medical Benefits:

  • Spaying helps prevent infections, tumors, and messy heat cycles (periods).
  • Neutering prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems.

Behavioral Benefits:

  • Your spayed female pet won’t go into heat which means she won’t yowl and urinate everywhere in an attempt to advertise to males.
  • Your male dog will be less likely to risk injury in traffic and fights with other male animals because they will not feel the strong urge to escape to find a mate.
  • Your neutered male may be less likely to mark their territory, mount other dogs, and their aggression will be strongly reduced.

When should I spay or neuter my pet?

Although it is best to consult with your veterinarian about the best time to spay or neuter your pet based upon his/her breed, age, and physical condition, here are some general recommendations:

  • For dogs: It is recommended that dogs be neutered/spayed between six to nine months but puppies as young as eight weeks old can be neutered as long as they do not present with any health issues.
  • For cats: Similar to dogs, it is recommended for cats to be neutered/spayed before 5 months and as early as eight weeks old.  In fact, for females it is best to do it earlier in order to avoid the chance for pregnancy.

What is the cost?

The cost to spay or neuter your pet depends largely on the weight, age and sex of your pet.  Another important factor to consider is whether your pet requires vaccinations.  This one-time cost should be viewed as an investment into the health and longevity of your pet.

Keep in mind that some veterinary clinics lower their fees to promote spaying and neutering, some community pet stores offer free spay and neuter on the weekends, and often rescue centers will have some resources as well.