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All About Spaying or Neutering Your Pet

Are you wondering whether you should have your pet spayed or neutered? Getting your dog or cat 'fixed' is considered a safe and easy process, with a number of potential benefits. Here, our Santa Clarita vets help you understand the basics of these common reproductive surgeries.

Big Picture Benefits to Spaying or Neutering Your Pet

Spaying or neutering your dog, otherwise known as "fixing" your pet, are elective surgeries that involve the sterilization of an animal.

According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), around 6.5 million animals enter rescue systems or shelters across the United States each year. Of those animals, less than half are adopted as pets, meaning that millions of healthy dogs and cats are euthanized each year. 

Spaying or neutering your pet is one of the best ways to do your part to reduce the number of unplanned puppies and kittens born each year and lighten the load of shelters and rescues.

Medical Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Pet

  • Spaying Female Cats & Dogs - Spaying your female cat or dog can help your pet live a longer, healthier life. Getting your cat or dog spayed reduces your pet's risk of developing a number of serious conditions including uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 90 percent of cats and 50 percent of dogs.
  • Neutering Male Cats & Dogs - Neutering your male cat or dog also helps to protect your pet's long-term health by preventing testicular cancer and reducing your pet's risk of developing various prostate issues.

Behavioral Benefits of Getting Your Pet Spayed or Neutered

  • Benefits of Spaying Female Cats - Getting your cat spayed will prevent your kitty from going into heat. When in season female cats typically go into heat for four or five days every three weeks. During breeding season your unspayed female will yowl, try to escape your home and may urinate frequently outside of her litter box.
  • Benefits of Spaying Female Dogs - Spaying your female dog will drastically reduce their risk of developing mammary cancer and pyometra, two potentially life-threatening conditions. And while it is not always the case, generally being spayed will put a stop to your female pup's instinctive breeding behaviors.
  • Benefits of Neutering Male Cats - Neutered male cats are much less likely to spray (mark their territory with strong smelling urine), typically fight less with other cats, and prefer to stay closer home where they tend to be safer.  
  • Benefits of Neutering Male Dogs - Neutering male dogs will prevent testicular cancer as well as help to cut back on a number of undesirable behaviors including aggression, humping, howling and roaming. All of this can help to prevent unfortunate events such as fights with other dogs or being struck by a vehicle.

When To Get Your Pet Spayed or Neutered

  • Dogs - Traditionally dogs are neutered while still young at about six to nine months of age, although puppies as young as eight weeks old can be neutered as long as they are in good health. Adult dogs can also be neutered although there’s a slightly higher risk of post-operative complications in adult dogs as well as dogs that are overweight and those that have health problems.
  • Cats - Kittens as young as eight weeks old can be spayed or neutered. Even at this young age these operations are considered safe. Many animal shelters perform these operations early in order to ensure the kittens are 'fixed' before heading to their new homes. It is also best to have these operations performed while your cat is young in order to help prevent your cat from establishing bad habits such as spraying. It is also safe to spay and neuter adult cats.

Helping Your Pet Recover from Spay or Neuter Surgery

Both male and female pets typically recover quickly from spay and neuter surgeries. Following your pet's surgery, your vet will provide you with detailed instruction on how best to care for your cat or dog.

Here are a few basic tips for helping your pet recover safely and comfortably:

  • Make sure that your pet has a quiet place to recover indoors and away from small children and other pets.
  • Try to prevent your pet from running and jumping for about two weeks following surgery, as per your vet's instructions.
  • Prevent your pet from licking the incision site, which can lead to infections. Elizabethan collars work well to prevent licking but other options are available - speak to your vet for more options.
  • Do not bathe your pet for at least ten days after surgery, or allow them to swim.
  • Check the incision site daily to ensure that your pet's incision is healing properly. If you notice any signs of redness, swelling or discharge at the surgery site, or if the incision is open, contact your vet.

If your pet becomes lethargic, has a decreased appetite, or is vomiting or has diarrhea following surgery, contact your vet right away.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Ready to get your pet spayed or neutered? Call our Valencia Veterinary Center vets to book an appointment for your dog or cat.

(661) 263-9000 Contact