There is no greater joy one can experience than bringing a pet into your home and heart. With this joy comes the obligation to provide your new family member with all the comforts and necessities it needs to go on living this healthy and content life while overwhelming you every minute of the way. As pet owners, one of the major decisions we have to take for our pet’s health and long-term well-being is whether to get them spayed or neutered or not?
To lay out the definition of Neutering and Spaying in basic terms, it most closely refers to the removal -partially or wholly – of an animal’s reproductive organs. Spaying, however, is generally used when referring to the neutering of female animals.
This is quite a complex decision for us pet owners to undergo. At times, people put off this decision thinking it isn’t as necessary as it sounds and put forward a number of excuses to counter their arguments. However, little do they know that neutering is a not just a veterinary procedure that requires hospitalization at a minimum amount but also brings forth with it eternal health benefits.
There are a number of questions that arise in our mind concerning our pet’s safety and welfare as it goes through this procedure. Keeping this in mind we’ve compiled the answers to all your queries in a comprehensive and informative way, all under one blog post. By the end of this article, your thoughts about neutering will unquestionably be changed for the positive.
Why should I get my pet neutered? What are the Benefits of doing so?
The first question that probably came to your mind is why? Why undergo the procedure and what benefits does it hold for my pet? Neutering, in fact, carries multiple advantages for our pets. Spayed and neutered pets are better, more demonstrative, companions and not only this but they tend to live longer, healthier lives as well.
1. Spay or Neuter your Pet – give it the chance to live a longer and healthier life
Spaying female pets eliminates the chances of the occurrence of uterine or ovarian cancer and breast cancer in them. Neutering male pets diminishes the prevalence of prostate or testicular cancer. Spaying your female pet before her first heat allows for the best chances of protection from these diseases.
2. Spaying your female pet eliminates the heat cycle and mess!
Spaying a female pet helps get rid of its heat cycle, which can last twenty-one days twice a year, in dogs. The cycle lasts from three to fifteen days, three or more times a year, in cats. Female pets in heat, in an effort to advertise for mates, yowl and urinate more regularly- sometimes creating a mess all over the house!
3. Your pet won’t roam away from home.
Neutering and spaying your pets at a young age reduces their desire to roam around and breed. Therefore, your worrying days are over. You don’t have to worry about your male pets crossing dangerous and busy streets searching for mates nor do you have to worry about any stray male animals camping in your yard for your female pet. Male pets are also less violent towards other male animals so you don’t have to worry about them picking fights with any animal.
4. Your neutered/spayed pet will be much better behaved.
Neutered or spayed pets tend to be much better behaved. They are also much more affectionate and compassionate towards their human families. Neutered and spayed pets are less likely to spray and mark territory through urination around the house. They are also less likely to bite. Un-neutered animals often show more behavioral and aggression problems than those that have been through the process of being spayed or neutered.
5. Your pet will not become overweight after being neutered or spayed.
A misconception many of us hold is that our pet will gain weight after being neutered or spayed. Your pet will not put on weight after undergoing the procedure of neutering or spaying it. That fella will remain fit as long as you provide him/her with the right amount of food and exercise needed to stay fit. Lack of exercise and overfeeding your pet or adding junk foods to his/her diet will cause your pet to put on the extra pounds – not neutering.
6. Neutering/spaying your pet is highly cost-effective.
The cost of getting your pet spayed/neutered is comparatively cheaper than the cost of owning and taking care of a litter of them. It also outweighs the cost and injuries you and your beloved pet would have to suffer respectively if the fella decided to pick a fight with a neighboring puppy, whilst being unneutered. Hey, it’s not his fault! The aggressive emotions overcame him anyways, right?
7. Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community.
Neutered animals are less likely to roam around and pick fights with other animals. Neutering and spaying these animals reduces the number of stray animals on the street which are in turn responsible for damaging the local Fauna, scaring children and at times even causing car accidents. Yikes!
8. Spaying and neutering help beat the problem of pet overpopulation.
With the problem of pet overpopulation being at a rise, each year, millions of unwanted pets end up at shelters. Those that are not adopted soon are euthanized when the shelter runs out of space to accommodate them. Others are left alone to suffer on the streets as strays. Unplanned litters and free-roaming of un-neutered pets are the reasons for the overpopulation in the first place. These issues could be controlled and prevented if pets get spayed and neutered. Now that could end up saving a number of precious lives.
At what age should my pet be neutered? When is it too late to get it neutered?
Puppies and kittens of both genders should be spayed or neutered by the age of 6 months. Female cats can go into their heat cycle at an age as young as 4 months. Healthy dogs and cats can be sterilized if they are over two pounds in body weight. The younger the age of undergoing this process, the quicker the healing period and the less the amount of discomfort the pets will have to face.
How are spay and neuter surgeries implemented?
These two procedures are done under special care making sure your pet does not feel any sort of pain at all. General anesthesia is given to your pet and they are put to sleep with a breathing tube in his or her throat. To make sure there is absolutely no irritation of any sort, your pet is given a shot to make it sleepy before being given the Anesthesia. Your pet’s oxygen level and heart rate are monitored with a machine constantly as they undergo this procedure. Dogs and female cats are kept on a heating blanket during surgery to make them feel comfortable. Since the Surgery for male cats is so quick they are not put on a heating blanket for the surgery, but they are put on one instantly subsequently their surgery.
The Female animals that undergo the Spay process have an incision made just below the belly button in the abdomen. The reproductive area – both the ovaries and the uterus – are completely removed through this incision. Specifically for Male Dogs that undergo the Neuter process, they have an incision made in the skin at the base of the penis closest to the scrotum. Both of the testicles are removed through this incision. After the removal of the reproductive organs in these pets, the incisions are fastened with two layers of stitches under the skin that will soon dissolve and be absorbed by the body. The skin is closed with skin glue, skin staples, or stitches. Male cats go through a different and quicker form of Neutering than Male dogs. They have an incision made in the skin of the scrotum, and the testicles are detached. The incision is not sealed but heals on its own as time passes by.
What’s the recovery like? Are there any precautions or extra care to be taken for our pets?
After the surgeries have been completed successfully, the pets are good to go back home once they have been awakened from the anesthesia effect. The healing process usually takes up to 7-10 days. It is important for you to allow your pet to rest as much as possible during these few days and limit its activity to allow for quick healing. Your pet must be kept indoors, so that their hygiene may be maintained as you will not be allowed to bathe or groom your pet until the recovery period is complete.
If dogs are taken outdoors within this period, care must be taken to ensure they have a leash on at all times and the time period for the walk should be minimized.
On the day of the surgery : Your pet may end up sleeping much more than they normally do, for up to 18-24 hours following the surgery. This is nothing to worry about; this is usually due to the hangover effect they are recovering from after the anesthesia they had been given. It is quite normal for all pets to experience this following the surgery. For up to 36 hours following the surgery, your pet may feel agitated or aggressive so it is best to keep other animals and children away from your pet for the time being. We highly recommend you keep your pet curbed in a crate or small room the night after surgery. Your pet may also have poor balance. This will make climbing stairs or get in and out of the car more difficult than usual for them, so be ready to assist.
The incision spot : On the day of the surgery, the incision spot may have a small amount of redness or swelling. This is absolutely normal. Do not clean or apply any sort of ointment or cream to this incision site. What you see on the day of surgery is what we consider normal. There should be no drainage. A minor amount of redness/swelling at incision may occur. All pets except male cats receive a small green tattoo on the incision line. Universally, this is a recognized tattoo that identifies that your pet has been spayed or neutered.
What to feed your pet after the surgery : When your pet gets home after the surgery it may not want to eat. This should not worry you. The Anesthesia given to the animals at the time of surgery tends to make them feel nauseous, which is why they may not feel like eating. Your pet’s appetite should return gradually. Try re-introducing food slowly, Offer a small amount of food and water as soon as the animal is completely awake. If vomiting occurs, wait until the next day to give more food. Provide your pet with the normal amount of food and water that they usually take on the day after the surgery.
In heat : if your female pet was undergoing her heat cycle at the time of surgery, you must keep her away from un-neutered males for at least two weeks. Although she is unable to become pregnant, she will still attract male animals for a short period of time.
How much will get my Pet Neutered/Spayed cost me?
This is something you must discuss with your veterinary surgeon. The cost depends mainly on the size of your pet and its gender.
Subsidized Neutering and Microchipping Campaigns in Ireland
Listed below are a few Subsidized Neutering and microchipping campaigns set up in Ireland for the benefit of the general public. These can be easily availed, however, both of these campaigns have inadequate spaces, and so are accessible on a first come, first serve basis.
The Dogs Trust : The Dogs Trust is an international charity which is currently handling a Subsidized Neutering Scheme with the view of spreading it throughout the rest of Ireland. The scheme authorizes people who are currently receiving social welfare payments or pensions to have their dog neutered for a full cost of 20 euros by any participating vet.
Farm Dog neutering campaign : The Farm Dogs Neutering and Microchipping campaign is a new campaign that was launched by Dogs Trust in 2015. If you are a farmer with an effective herd or flock number, through this campaign, you get the chance to have your dog neutered and microchipped for free.