The Truth About Spay and Neuter

Friday, June 28, 2013

veterinarian, dog, spay/neuterAs an animal welfare professional, I’ve heard several myths about how spay/neuter surgery can be bad for a pet.

The truth is, spaying or neutering can help your pet’s overall health and prevent unplanned litters. And an added bonus: If your pet is spayed or neutered early, it will benefit her more in the long run.

Early-age spay or neuter is ideal

Myth: Spay and neuter surgery is only available for pets 6 months of age and older.

Fact: Pets can become pregnant before they’re 6 months old. The American Veterinary Medical Association says spay/neuter surgery is acceptable for pets as young as 8-10 weeks of age.

Myth: My male pet will experience urinary incontinence if he’s neutered too young.

Fact: Neutering reduces the chances that your pet will develop prostate and testicular cancer later in his life. You can prevent urinary incontinence by making sure your pet is eating the best diet possible.

Budget-friendly and better for your pet

Myth: Spay/neuter surgeries are expensive.

Fact: It’s cheaper than you might think. PetSmart Charities supports non-profit spay/neuter clinics nationwide, many of which are qualified to perform spay/neuter surgeries for puppies and kittens under 6 months old. You can find a clinic near you using our online locator.

Myth: Spaying and neutering have a negative effect on my pet’s behavior.

Fact: Actually, a spay/neuter surgery might have a positive effect on your pet’s behavior. Spaying or neutering your pet is an important part of responsible pet ownership. Male unneutered dogs experience frustration because they can’t mate, which can lead to aggression. Unspayed female dogs attract unwanted attention every 6 months. From a psychological and biological point-of-view, spay/neuter surgery is the best thing for your pet.

Myth: Spay/neuter surgery is painful.

Fact: The mere thought of your pet getting surgery can be scary. Remember, this will help your pet live a happier, healthier life.

A licensed vet will perform your pet’s surgery while he’s under anesthesia. He may be in some pain after the surgery, but post-surgery pain medication provided by the vet will help. Ask your vet these important questions before the surgery.

Inspire the future generation (and the present one, too)

Myth: My own pet’s pregnancy is the only opportunity for me to talk to my kids about the miracle of birth.

Fact: Your local shelter might be looking for families to foster puppies and kittens. This is a great way to teach kids about responsible pet ownership and to talk about pregnancy and birth.

Ready to take the next step to keep your pet healthy and end overpopulation? Find a low-cost spay/neuter clinic near you.  





Many people think that spaying a bitch will make her fat. I haven't had this experience myself, but I would like to see it addressed by a professional.


Hi Cheryl, the truth is, pets gain weight because they are overfed and become inactive when they have busy owners. We can certainly address this the next time we discuss this topic. Thank you for your suggestion.


I'm surprised you didn't address the myth that pets get fat when they are altered or that selling puppies/kittens is a quick way to make large amounts of money. These are the two most common myths I came across during my years as a veterinary technician.


Hi Jenn, thanks for your suggestion. You are absolutely correct that weight gain is a spay/neuter myth. We can address this the next time we cover this topic.


I got my 13# girl spayed a couple weeks ago. Was told to bring back in 10 days to take out the stitches. I haven't been able to return due to the weather. I took the stitches out myself, just a couple were in there. Would the vet have done any thing else? She's fine, her suture looks good and the stitches were easy to take out. Thanks!


Hi Laura, we are not able to address specific medical questions about your pet. You may be able to speak with your veterinarian over the phone to see if she needs any further medical attention.


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