Is Spaying and Neutering Safe?

Dr. Joe Alcorn, M.S., D.V.M.

Dr. Joe Alcorn is founder of Care Animal Hospital in Temecula, California. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and his advice has been featured in large publications like Bustle and Martha Stewart.

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​​​​​There is an animal homelessness crisis across much of the world, a lot of which is fueled by the increasing demand for pedigree dogs and cats and in particular, infant pedigree pets. New breeding combinations have created unique furry friends that are highly sought after, pushing less desirable breeds and older pets in need of re-homing firmly to the back of the pack.

Reducing Animal Homelessness

Countless animals are euthanized every year because shelters do not have the space or funding to care for them. Pet owners have a responsibility to take steps to reduce the overpopulation of animals. Choosing to spay/neuter your pet is a morally conscious decision that will help to lower the number of homeless pets on the streets and in shelters in the U.S.

Health Benefits of Neutering Pets

As well as taking an active part in reducing animal homelessness, spaying/neutering your pet offers a variety of health and behavior benefits and can protect your female pet from unwanted attention from males.

Some of the health and behavior benefits you can expect your pet to receive from spaying/neutering include:

  • Preventing your female from bleeding when she comes into season.
  • Reduce aggressive behavior in males when they are around females that in season.
  • Protect against uterine infections in females.
  • Remove the risk of males developing testicular cancer.
  • Remove the risk of sex organ cancers in females.
  • Reduce uterine marking in and around your property.

Theft of pets for breeding purposes is becoming common. By spaying/neutering your pet you can reduce the likelihood of this happening. This is particularly important if your pet is of a desirable breed as immoral breeders tend to target popular varieties where they can make the most money.

Is Spaying/Neutering Safe?

The surgeries involved in spaying/neutering are extremely common, and most veterinarian will have the experience required to ensure the procedure is as safe as possible. There is always a slight risk to your pet when anesthesia is used, but your pet will be evaluated for their suitability for the procedure beforehand, to ensure that risks are minimal.

The technician that administers the anesthetic will also monitor your pet for the duration of the procedure, which will allow them to spot any complications as soon as they arise and take the necessary steps to keep your pet safe.

You should always ensure that you choose a licensed and experienced veterinarian for any treatment that your pet needs.

How Soon Should I Get My Pet Spayed/Neutered?

Even though it’s okay to spay older dogs, the American Veterinary Medical Association endorses neutering from an early age. The procedure can be carried out when your pet is as young as two months of age, but the average age of neutering is around four months. Some states have laws that require pet neutering by a certain age, so you should check and abide by these conditions.

For female pets, it is actually easier and more beneficial for their health for spaying to occur before the first heat. If your pet has already had a litter of babies, spaying can take place as soon as they are weaned, which is normally around four to five weeks after birth.

If your pet has not yet been spayed or neutered, doing so should be one of your immediate priorities. Speak to your local veterinarian to get more advice and arrange an appointment.

To learn how to care for a pet after her spaying surgery, visit our article here.