We are often asked the question: “Why should I spay or neuter my pet?” Well, spaying or neutering your pet lengthens its life and improves the quality of its life with you. Spaying or neutering your pet decreases some of the health risks that often take the lives of pets at early ages. Mammary rumors, prostrate enlargements, and uterine infections are less likely to appear in altered pets and, as a result, these pets lead longer (like 2 to 3 years) healthier lives.
Spaying or neutering your pet also makes your pet a better family member. Female cats that have been spayed no longer come into seasonal heats, sparing everyone in the family, even kitty, some discomfort. Male dogs that have been neutered no longer feel the urge to make a territorial statement by spraying the furniture or roaming the neighborhood in search of a canine partner. Instead, your companionship alone will be enough to keep the family pet at home. Spaying or neutering is the responsible thing to do for your pet and you!
Next question generally is: “Should I let my pet have one litter before spaying or neutering them?” The easy answer is no, as spaying is more difficult after a female pet has been allowed to come into heat or to have its first litter because the animal's sexual organs become enlarged. Each heat cycle increases the risk of mammary cancer in your pet. In addition, surgery is generally less stressful to younger pets.
Allowing your pet to have a first litter to fulfill your pet's "motherly instincts" or to "teach the children about life" are not good seasons. First, pets do not have emotional involvement in reproduction. Their sexual behavior is caused solely by hormones. And the ‘teaching children about the life cycle’ reason/excuse, well, that can be done with educational materials that will not create six more unwanted pets. What will your children learn about life if the litter must be taken to a shelter or has to be disposed of by other means?
Another common question: “Will spaying or neutering cause my pet to get fat?” No, being spayed or neutered does not cause weight gain. Sexual altering can slow a pet's metabolism and therefore your pet may not need as much food. A diet of a good quality food (check with a Petland pet counselor if you need helping deciding what to feed your pet) coupled with exercise will keep your pet fit and trim.
Finally: “Is neutering or spaying dangerous to my pet?” Both veterinarian procedures are routine surgical ones. A physical examination of your pet before surgery is routine in most animal clinics. Pre-testing will allow your veterinarian to give your pet a clean bill of health and an "all clear" before neutering or spaying. Complications can arise of course, but are fairly uncommon today due to improved surgical procedures and safer anesthesia.
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