Over one hundred thousand healthy dogs and cats are euthanized each year. What’s heartbreaking is that PETA says many unwanted animals in the shelters are killed by municipal officials through gunshots. In addition, other facilities use outdated gas chambers and even painful electrocution or cruel decompression chambers that cause severe discomfort and pain.
The ASPCA has been trying to help reduce pet homelessness that results in animal cruelty through spaying and neutering. Unfortunately, many rumors, falsehoods, and myths are circulating about these procedures.
If you’re a pet owner, here are some myths about spaying and neutering, as well as the good reasons you should have them undergo surgery:
Myth: Spaying and Neutering Are Unhealthy for Pets
Spayed animals no longer need to roam and look for a mate. Instead, they stay home and have less chance of getting involved in accidents, such as getting hit by a car. Furthermore, contracting contagious diseases and getting into fights with other animals is much lower.
Neutering male pets lessen the risk of developing prostatic disease and hernia, thus eliminating testicular cancer risks.
In females, spaying reduces breast cancer risks. And if the procedure is done before the first heat cycle, the rate goes down to zero. Additionally, it eliminates the chance of developing a severe and possibly deadly uterus infection called Pyometra. Matured unspayed animals often experience this disease. Visit here to learn more about the health benefits of spaying and neutering.
Myth: Spaying and Neutering Make Pets Overweight
Spaying and neutering don’t make cats and dogs fat or obese. However, weight change is possible if you don’t change their diet after the surgery.
These two procedures can result in hormone loss, including testosterone and estradiol. They also cause a shift in leptin, a hormone that affects appetite and food intake, and insulin controlling sugar. These hormonal changes may slow metabolism for neutered pets while increasing their appetite.
It means that spayed and neutered pets must consume fewer calories or exercise more to maintain their healthy weight and body condition. If you feed them as much as before the surgery, weight gain can occur. The Journal of American Veterinary Medicine says that the risk of weight gain after spaying or neutering is highest within the first two years after the procedure.
Myth: Neutering Makes Male Pets Feel Like Less of a Male
Unlike humans, pets don’t have any ego or sexual identity concept that neutering can change. Instead, they will be less likely to run away from your house to look for a mating partner. An unneutered male pet will just do everything to run away, increasing their risks of injury due to fights with other males.
Also, spayed females won’t go into heat. Most female felines go into heat four to five days every three weeks during the breeding season. So, to attract mates, they will yowl and urinate more than normal, which sometimes they may do all over your house.
Myth: Spaying or Neutering Is Expensive
The cost of these surgeries depends on some reasons: size, sex, age, vet’s fees, etc. But whatever the actual price is, it’s a one-time fee that saves you money in the long run. If your pets give birth, you have to pay for additional expenses, not only for them but for their babies. Besides, this is a small price for the sake of your pet’s health.
For example, some pet owners purchase a dog wellness plan. Imagine paying for multiple plans for many pets.
Myth: Spaying and Neutering Negatively Affect Your Pets’ Behavior
Spaying or neutering does affect your pets’ behavior – in a positive way. These procedures influence behavior by eliminating male and female sex hormones released by testicles and ovaries. As a result, unwanted behaviors may be minimized or prevented.
Neutering also controls undesirable behaviors, including territorials and sexual aggression and inappropriate urination or spraying. Similarly, spaying eliminates messy spotting, the attraction of males to your yard, and undesirable behaviors, such as mood swings and heat cycles.
Other unwanted behaviors include:
- Unwanted attention
- Frequent urination
Choosing the Right Vet
You should have nothing to fear about spaying or neutering your pets. Remember, these procedures are a part of their healthcare. In general, you can have them spayed or neutered anytime. But the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends that cats be sterilized at five months.
For adult small-breed dogs weighing under 45 pounds, the AAHA recommends spaying before going into heat at 5 to 6 months or neutering by six months. On the other hand, adult large-breed dogs that weigh more than 45 pounds should be neutered when they finish growing at 9 to 15 months and spayed between 5 to 15 months.
Your vet can decide when is the best time for your pet’s surgery based on various factors. Make sure to select an animal clinic with the right experience, facility, equipment, and lab and diagnostics, including puppy ultrasound, urinalysis, CBC, etc.