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The benefits of spaying or neutering your pet

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Whether your pet is a cat or a dog, a male or a female, sterilization has many benefits. This is especially true when our furry friends are spayed or neutered at a young age. Nonetheless, many owners hesitate when making this decision. As you read this article, you will learn that it is important to know the benefits of sterilizing your pet, and be able to make an informed decision!

Why should I spay or neuter my pet?

To control overpopulation among cats and dogs

First general interest question: Is there an overpopulation of cats and dogs in Canada? The answer is yes! By “overpopulation,” we mean the number of cats and dogs living on Canadian soil that exceeds the number of families willing to give them a home. This situation has a tremendous downside, resulting in an increased number of stray and shelter dogs, euthanasia of a large number of healthy animals, and precarious living conditions for many animals. Also, animal overpopulation has a snowball effect because a large population inevitably means a higher risk of reproduction.

Sterilization is the only solution that is 100% effective in controlling animal reproduction, thereby helping to reduce overpopulation.

To reduce the risk of disease

Not only is sterilization the most effective way of eliminating overpopulation, it is also a way to reduce and even prevent certain health problems. But how? A few examples are provided below. Consult your veterinarian to learn more about the benefits of spaying or neutering your pet.

Health benefits for cats

Research suggests that sterilization in cats can reduce the risk of, or even prevent, the following feline disorders:

  • Feline asthma in males and females
  • Mammary tumours in females
  • Pyometra (uterine infection) in females
  • Ovarian and uterine tumours in females;
  • Abscesses and injuries associated with fighting
  • Strong smelling urine (although this is normal) in males.

Health benefits for dogs

Research suggests that sterilization in dogs can reduce the risk of, or even prevent, the following canine disorders:

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia in males
  • Testicular tumours in males
  • Mammary tumours in females
  • Pyometra (uterine infection) in females
  • Ovarian and uterine tumours in females.

Improved behaviour

Sterilization can help improve your pet’s behaviour in many ways. Of course, we are not saying that it will change your pet’s personality but sterilization will have an effect on certain undesirable behaviours directly related to reproduction and sexual behaviour.

Behavioural improvements most frequently observed in sterilized cats and dogs include:

  • Less urinary marking
  • Less tendency to run away (among males)
  • Reduced aggression associated with reproduction (among males)
  • Less mounting by males;
  • Reduced hyperactivity (more prevalent in cats).

Eliminating the physical and behavioural displays of young female cats and dogs “in heat” will make many of you much happier!

When is the best time to get my pet fixed?

Sterilization is generally recommended before puberty, which occurs at approximately 5 to 9 months of age, depending on the species and breed. It should be noted that the minimum age for a sterilization procedure is 6 weeks for both cats and dogs.

Who do I consult about spaying or neutering my pet?

The answer to that question is simple! As you have probably already guessed, your veterinarian is the qualified resource for this procedure. Veterinarians are also the only people who are authorized to spay and neuter pets in Canada. Ask your animal health professional to learn the steps to follow to have your pet spayed or neutered.

Lastly, experts agree that sterilization is beneficial for pets. However, it would be wrong to think that all these benefits come without drawbacks. To find out what they are, ask your veterinarian. A consultation with a professional will provide you with the information you need to proceed to the next step. Take the time to carefully consider your decision and weigh the pros and cons, because after all, it will be you and you alone who will decide whether or not to sterilize your pet!

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