Neutering and spaying: what you need to know Understand the fundamentals

Key factors to consider before getting your dog or cat neutered or spayed - the pros and cons, when can they be neutered, what's involved? Find out here.

14th February 2019

You might be considering getting your pet spayed or neutered, especially if they’ve reached puberty. There are quite a lot of things to consider before going ahead with it, as once it’s done you won’t be able to reverse the procedure.

What is neutering?

Your cat or dog will undergo different operations when they are neutered, depending on whether they’re male or female.

  • Males are castrated, which means their testicles are removed.
  • Females are spayed, where the ovaries and uterus (womb) is removed.

As the male’s testicles are removed it takes away the main source of testosterone, which means the effects of the hormone are also reduced whereas removing a female’s uterus means she unable to become pregnant.

These operations are performed under general anaesthesia and pets will be carefully monitored after surgery. Dogs and cats might experience some discomfort following the surgery, but they will be giving painkillers to control this, and they’ll be back to normal in no time at all.

Why should I get my pet neutered?

There are quite a lot of reasons why getting your pet neutering is a good idea. Here’s just a few:

  • It can prevent your pet from developing serious health issues in the future, like certain cancers of pyometra, a serious infection in the uterus.
  • It’s quite cost-effective as paying for their surgery will work out cheaper than having and caring for a litter and everything that comes with it.
  • Neutering your pet helps reduce the drive to roam, this drive can lead to road traffic accidents and missing pets so this can help protect your pet.
  • In cats, neutering greatly reduces the risk of mammary (breast) cancers occurring.
  • Female pets won’t have seasons which means you don’t have to worry about the mess and annoying behaviour that come with it.

When should I get my pet neutered?

Dogs can be neutered from six months old, and some vets recommend letting a female dog have their first season before neutering. This is something you can discuss with your vet and they will be able to come up with the best neutering plan for your pet.

Cats can be neutered from four months old and it’s important to consider getting your cat neutered early though you can get them neutered at any age. It’s recommended not to let your cats outside until they’re neutered as one female cat and her offspring can produce 370,000 kittens in just seven years.

What happens to my pet after they’re neutered?

Some people worry that getting their dog neutered will change their personality or help resolve some behavioural issues, this isn’t true. There might be a change in some extreme behaviours that are hormone-fuelled, like roaming, mounting, fighting or spraying urine.

People think that having your cat or dog neutered will get fat following recovery from the surgery, this isn’t true. Your pet’s calorie needs will fall after being neutered so it’s important to make sure you change their diet accordingly, otherwise you might see some weight gain.

You will be able to speak to your vet about their diet and daily calories after surgery so that your cat or dog can remain healthy and slim.

How much does neutering cost?

The cost of neutering will vary depending on whether you have a cat or a dog, and their gender. The size of your dog is also a factor considered in pricing the procedure for dogs.

You will be able to check with your vet beforehand and if it’s a bit too expensive most vets now offer payment plans. Different vets will charge different prices so it might be beneficial for you to ask for quotes from all local veterinary practices.

Is neutering covered by pet insurance?

Routine, preventative or elective procedures aren’t usually covered by pet insurance policies as they can be budgeted for and are all part of being a responsible pet owner. If you have any concerns about the costs, speak to your vet about setting up a payment plan.

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