What is pet neutering?

Neutering is an operation to stop your pet from reproducing. For female cats and dogs, this stops unplanned pregnancies, and puts a stop to them gaining the attention of males. For male cats and dogs, neutering can reduce aggression and other troublesome behaviours. Neutering also reduces the chance of some cancers and other diseases.

You can discuss the benefits and details of both procedures with your vet, but to help you prepare, here is some more information on microchipping and neutering your companions.

Why choose to neuter?

It is entirely your choice as to whether or not you neuter your pet. Not all pet owners feel comfortable with this concept, but for many it is the best way to stop your female pets from becoming accidentally pregnant. It can also help to control negative behaviours in male pets, and to lower the risks of certain cancers in both genders and species.

For those worried about their pet being in pain, neutering is performed under general anaesthetic, and most pets are up and about within a few hours. It takes around 10 days for them to fully recover, and complications are unlikely.

If you don’t plan to breed your pet, then caring for a pregnant animal and their litter of puppies or kittens, can be a huge and unwanted responsibility. It can also be an expensive one. Many unwanted kittens and puppies end up in rehoming centres – adding strain to services which are already under pressure.

If you think neutering is right for your pet, it is best to have the procedure done sooner rather than later. The age at which your pet can be neutered is dependent on breed and size, and your vet will be able to advise you. Usually, before 4 months is best for cats, while female dogs can be neutered from 6 months and male dogs between 6 and 7 months. Some owners believe that allowing females to have one litter first is beneficial to them – this isn’t true and has no health benefits.

If you have animals who are siblings or parent and offspring, neutering is very important. Neither cats or dogs have respect for familial relationships, and will mate regardless. An unfortunate outcome of this is the young are more likely to have birth defects.

The cost of neutering a pet varies due to breed, size and gender; your vet is the best person to ask.

The benefits of neutering female pets

Aside from preventing pregnancy, there are various benefits of neutering – known for females as spaying – for you and your female pet, including the following:

  • Neutering prevents false pregnancies, triggered by hormonal imbalances, and cause cat and dogs to exhibit many pregnancy symptoms.
  • Female cats who are not neutered often make a lot of noise when in season, with many pet owners complaining that they are kept awake at night by their cat’s wailing. Neutering usually stops this from occurring.
  • Neutering will stop your female dog from coming into heat, and as a result stop unwanted discharge that occurs when this happens.
  • Neutering helps to prevent breast cancer or womb infections.

The benefits of neutering male pets

Though a male pet won’t become pregnant, it’s considerate to ensure they won’t impregnate a female and there are various other benefits to having them neutered – known for males as castration – including the following:

  • Dogs who have been neutered are often less boisterous.
  • Neutering reduces the risk of prostate disease and some cancers in dogs.
  • Dogs and cats who have been neutered often stay closer to home, and so are less likely to get lost by wandering off.
  • Neutered cats are less likely to mark their territory by spraying in your home.
  • Male cats are less likely to fight with other cats over a female cat, and so will be less likely to become injured.

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