What do spay and neuter really mean?

Female dogs and cats are spayed by removing their reproductive organs, and male dogs and cats are neutered by removing their testicles. Spaying and neutering your pets stops them from having puppies and kittens.

Your veterinarian can fully explain spay and neuter procedures to you and discuss with you the best age at which to sterilize your pet.

Why you should spay or neuter your pet:

  • Spaying and neutering makes your pet calmer and more affectionate or loving companions.
  • Spaying and neutering makes your pet less likely to be mean or aggressive, or to run away.
  • Spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live an average of 3 years longer than animals that haven’t been spayed/neutered!
  • Spayed/neutered animals are healthier and less prone to many diseases (like breast, uterine, mammary, or ovarian cancer in female animals and testicular and prostate cancer). Lowering the possibility of disease lowers the cost of vet care for your pet.
  • Neutering and spaying cats makes them less likely to spray and mark territory. Spaying a dog or cat eliminates her heat cycle.

Spaying and neutering your pets is good for the community

FewToManyCommunities spend millions of dollars to control unwanted animals. These unwanted animals come from pet animals that are NOT spayed or neutered. The graphic below shows how 2 cats or 2 dogs end up with 1,000s of kittens or puppies.

Let’s do the math: Suppose you have 1 male and 1 female dog, that are not spayed or neutered in January, 2000. In June, the female gives birth to 2 puppies (a low estimate), a male and a female. You now have 4 dogs. In December, the 2 female dogs each give birth to 2 more puppies of each sex, bringing your total to 8 dogs [(2×2)+(2×2) = 8]. Assume that each female dog gives birth to a puppy of each sex every six months. By January 2005, how many dogs will you have?

Mon/Yr # of Females # of Males # of Puppies Total # of Dogs
Jan 2000 1 1 2
Jun 2000 1 1 2 4
Dec 2000 2 2 4 8
Jun 2001 4 4 8 16
Dec 2001 8 8 16 32
Jun 2002 16 16 32 64
Dec 2002 32 32 64 128
Jun 2003 64 64 128 256
Dec 2003 128 128 256 512
Jun 2004 256 256 512 1024
Dec 2004 512 512 1024 2048

In five years, you’ve gone from 2 dogs to 2048 dogs!

These poor kittens and puppies will end up without homes and live on the streets or in animal shelters or simply die. In 2003, nearly 15,000 dogs and cats were euthanized (put to sleep) in the Triangle region of North Carolina.

IT’S UP TO YOU! For low cost spay neuter options in the Triangle, please contact:

Myths and Facts About Spaying and Neutering Your Pets

MYTH: My pet will get fat and lazy.
FACT: The truth is that most pets get fat and lazy because their owners feed them too much and don’t give them enough exercise.

MYTH:My pet is indoor only, so I don’t have to worry about it.
FACT: There is always the chance that your pet may get outside and procreate. Indoor pets are much healthier if sterilized and show less anxiety and interest in going outside in the first place.

MYTH: It’s better to have one litter first.
FACT: Medical evidence indicates just the opposite! In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier and have a much reduced risk of many cancers and tumors. Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age. Check with your veterinarian about the appropriate time for these procedures.

MYTH: My children should experience the miracle of birth.
FACT: Even if children are able to see a pet give birth – which is unlikely, since it usually occurs at night and in seclusion – the lesson they will really learn is that animals can be created and discarded as it suits adults. Instead, it should be explained to children that the real miracle is life and that preventing the birth of some pets can save the lives of others.

MYTH: But my pet is a purebred.
FACT: So is at least one out of every four pets brought to animal shelters around the country. There are just too many dogs and cats – mixed breed and purebred.

MYTH: I want my dog to be protective.
FACT: Spaying or neutering does not affect a dog’s natural instinct to protect home and family. A dog’s personality is formed more by genetics and environment than by sex hormones.

MYTH: I don’t want my male dog or cat to feel like less of a male.
FACT: Pets don’t have any concept of sexual identity or ego. Neutering will not change a pet’s basic personality. He doesn’t suffer any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.

MYTH: But my dog (or cat) is so special, I want a puppy (or kitten) just
like her.
FACT: A dog or cat may be a great pet, but that doesn’t mean her offspring will be a carbon copy. Professional animal breeders who follow generations of bloodlines can’t guarantee they will get just what they want out of a particular litter. A pet owner’s chances are even slimmer. In fact, an entire litter of puppies or kittens might receive all of a pet’s (and her mate’s) worst characteristics.

MYTH: It’s too expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered.
FACT: The cost of spaying or neutering depends on the sex, size, and age of the pet, your veterinarian’s fees, and a number of other variables. But whatever the actual price, spay or neuter surgery is a one-time cost – a relatively small cost when compared to all the benefits. It’s a bargain compared to the cost of having a litter and ensuring the health of the mother and litter; two months of pregnancy and another two months until the
litter is weaned can add up to significant veterinary bills and food costs if complications develop. Most importantly, it’s a very small price to pay for the health of your pet and the prevention of the births of more unwanted pets.

MYTH: I’ll find good homes for all the puppies and kittens.
FACT: You may find homes for all of your pet’s litter. But each home you find means one less home for the dogs and cats in shelters who need good homes. Also, in less than one year’s time, each of your pet’s offspring may have his or her own litter, adding even more animals to the population. The problem of pet overpopulation is created and perpetuated one litter at a time.

Every personal decision to spay or neuter a pet will prevent the death and suffering of thousands of unborn animals. Your actions make a difference!

Sources: Animalkind, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals, The Fund for Animals, The Humane Society of the United States.