Spaying or neutering your pet can help them stay healthy and eliminate some common health and behavior risks. The exact timing of the procedure can depend on several factors, ranging from the health and even the breed of your pet. Spaying or neutering won’t alter your pet’s intelligence or personality but could help curb risky behaviors like wandering and even aggression towards other animals.
Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
When a male dog or cat is neutered, you are likely to see less territorial behavior. Most of us view territorial behavior as negative – a male cat marking your furniture with spray is a typical behavior that can be resolved by neutering. For dogs, the desire to challenge or fight other males can be dangerous; both cats and dogs will roam far from home in search of a mate if left un-neutered, increasing their risk of loss or injury.
Females don’t have the same behavioral issues as males, but many of the health risks associated with the female reproductive tract are eliminated when the dog or cat is spayed. You do not have to wait for a female dog or cat to have a heat cycle before spaying; for most pets, spaying early avoids unwanted pregnancy and health risks later in life.
While most vets agree pets should be spayed and neutered early (around 6 months of age), some breeds, including German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers, benefit from a delay. Recent research suggests that neutering these breeds before the age of two can contribute to joint problems later. Other breeds can safely be neutered in puppyhood.
Shelter Pets and Neutering
If you save a life and adopt a pet, you may have to agree to have your new pal neutered by a certain age; some shelters spay and neuter at a very early age to combat population growth.
Your vet can help you determine the right age for neutering or spaying your pet, based on his condition, age and breed. Taking steps to spay or neuter your pet can provide him with clear health benefits, protect him from harm and ensure you avoid unwanted puppies or kittens, too.