Why You Should Take Your Dog to the Vet
Wellness exams, bloodwork, and vaccines are just a few of the many reasons you should take your dog to the veterinarian.
If you've recently brought home a new dog or cat, you might be curious about whether to have your new friend spayed or neutered. Here, we've got answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about these procedures.
The difference between spaying and neutering has to do with the gender of the pet. Spaying is performed on female pets and typically includes the removal of the uterus and ovaries. Meanwhile, neutering is done to sterilize male pets and usually involves removing the testes.
There are lots of great reasons to spay or neuter pets, including health benefits and avoiding unexpected litters of puppies or kittens that need homes.
Spaying or neutering can help your pet live a longer and healthier life. Spaying prevents uterine infections and significantly lowers the risk of breast cancer. Neutering eliminates the chance of testicular cancer and helps avoid some prostate problems.
By spaying your female pet, you can avoid issues related to going into heat, such as crying, yowling, more frequent peeing, and discharge. Cats typically go into heat every few weeks for four to five days during breeding season. Dogs generally go into heat two times a year for two to four weeks at a time.
There are several unwanted behaviors in cats and dogs that can be reduced or eliminated by spaying or neutering.
Kittens and puppies who are born as part of unplanned or unwanted litters can end up in shelters and may be euthanized if they can’t be placed in loving homes. Some also end up suffering as strays without enough food to eat or proper shelter.
Even if you always keep your pet indoors, on a leash, or confined to your yard, there’s always a chance they can get away and mate with another animal. If they’re spayed or neutered, you can be sure that they won’t contribute to the problem of animal overpopulation.
What age should a dog be spayed? Female dogs are usually spayed at around six months old — before their first heat cycle. Male dogs are typically neutered between five and 10 months old, depending on their breed and size.
Female cats are usually spayed at around five months old. Male cats are often neutered around six to seven months old. Ask your veterinarian about the best time to spay or neuter your pet.
You may be wondering how much it is to spay a dog or neuter a cat, for instance. The costs vary depending on where you have the procedure done. If you adopt your pet from a shelter, they sometimes include the costs of spaying or neutering as part of your adoption fee. There are also low-cost spay and neuter programs available across the country.
One common myth about spaying or neutering is that it can cause your pet to put on extra pounds. This is not altogether true. Healthy pets gain weight when they’re overfed or don’t get enough physical activity. If you’re concerned about your pet’s weight, ask your veterinarian for recommendations to safely modify their diet and exercise routine to help get them into better shape.
Spaying or neutering may help avoid some unwanted behaviors, but it won’t change your pet’s innate personality. If your pet is curious, energetic, and loving before surgery, you can count on them being the same afterward. It’s a myth that pets get lazy and sluggish after being spayed or neutered. Of course, they will need a little downtime to bounce back from the procedure.
Any surgery comes with risk, including spaying or neutering. But surgical sterilization is one of the most commonly performed surgeries. If your pet is healthy and receives proper care before and after surgery, the chances that something could go wrong are low.
Your pet will be under anesthesia during the procedure, so they won’t feel a thing. They may have some discomfort afterward, but that can be managed with pain medication. Be sure to ask your veterinarian about prescribing some for your pet.
It’s not necessary or advisable to let your female pet have a litter before being spayed. Some pet parents might think it can help them teach their children about the miracle of birth, but there are other ways to impart this lesson—ones that don’t result in a litter of puppies or kittens that need to be placed in loving homes.
If you wait to spay your pet, you’re also putting them at risk for developing breast tumors or uterine infections during that time. Also, if your pet starts exhibiting unwanted behaviors related to going into heat, they may become ingrained and more difficult to stop later on even after they’ve been spayed.
You should follow your veterinarian’s post-operative instructions carefully to make sure your pet has a smooth recovery. Their recommendations may include:
You should also call your veterinarian if your pet is lethargic, refuses to eat, or has symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. With the right after-care, pets should get back to their usual selves in no time.
An ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance plan can help you with eligible costs for covered conditions like surgery expenses for accidents and help provide peace of mind that your pet can receive the care they need. Check out our online resources to learn more about your insurance options and get a free quote today. The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.
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