Early Spaying – Neutering in Cats and Dogs – Pet tip 158
Most pet owners are aware that they need to spay or neuter their cats and dogs. They are aware that there is no need for puppies or kittens to have even 1 litter because of the epidemic amounts of dogs and cats that are euthanized in shelters each year. So the question then turns from “if” to when should cats and dogs be neutered.
If the dog or cat is an adult cat then the answer is IMMEDIATELY. Many people adopt or find themselves caring for older pets for various good reasons and if that cat or dog hasn’t been spayed/neutered then the time is now. Spaying and neutering decreases the risks of getting different health problems. It also helps decrease many unwanted behavioural problems as well. Some of these behaviours will include marking behaviours where cats or dogs will urinate to mark their territory. Sometimes this territory includes the inside of your house. Cats and dogs will often try to flee during periods of ‘heat’. Ask any vet when they see the most traumatic car accidents involving pets and they will often tell you that it happens when pets chase each other for mating purposes. Many of these behaviours can be avoided or diminished by simply spaying and neutering pets. If by chance you are a pet owner that has chosen not to spay and neuter, then please speak to your vet about these risks. Aside from responsible professional breeders that know what they are doing, in this day and age, unless you are showing your dog or cat in professional shows, all cats and dogs should be neutered or spayed.
Traditionally cats and dogs were spayed and neutered at around 6 months of age. It was thought that before this period, there were risks of improper growth and possible risks from anesthesia that could harm them. This is older thinking however and in modern veterinary medicine vets have the equipment and know-how to administer anesthesia to very young cats and dogs. Nowadays research is showing that puppies and kittens can be spayed and neutered as young as 6-14 weeks of age with almost no long-term complications. This actually makes good sense since humane societies and shelters are full of these young pets, and spaying and neutering before they leave the shelter, leaves no chance for accidental pregnancy. Given that some cats can go into their first heat and become pregnant BEFORE 6 months of age, early spay/neuter makes good sense. Talk to your veterinarian about the pros (and possible cons) of early spay and neuter in cats and dogs.