If you have recently adopted a pet, or if you are considering adopting a pet, one of the most important decisions you will make is to spay or neuter your cat or dog. Spaying (removing the ovaries and uterus of a female pet) is a veterinary surgical procedure that requires minimal hospitalization and offers lifelong health benefits for your pet. Neutering (removing the testicles of your male dog or cat) will vastly improve your pet’s behavior and keep him close to home. There are a number of benefits (both for your pet and for you) that you will gain when you make the choice to spay or neuter your pet.

Spaying / neutering brings many health benefits to pets. When you choose to spay your female pet, you will guarantee that she will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying helps prevent uterine and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats. Spaying your pet before she goes into heat for the first time will offer her the best protection from these diseases. Neutering your male pet can also prevent cancer – if your male pet is neutered before six months of age, it can make him less susceptible to developing testicular cancer.

Spaying / neutering your pet will also improve his/her home life – and yours as well! Once you spay your pet, she won’t go into heat, which means that your house will have fewer messes to clean up, and you won’t have to deal with an anxious, whining, or yowling pet. Your neutered male pet will be less likely to try to escape from your yard, and he will be much less aggressive once he isn’t searching for a mate. Many aggression problems in male pets (problems such as spraying urine, destroying property, and fighting other males) can be avoided by early neutering.

Spaying / neutering your pet also brings benefits to the community. Stray animals cause problems in many parts of the country – they can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, and frighten children. Spaying / neutering can greatly reduce the number of feral animals on the streets because it controls pet overpopulation. Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented if the animals’ owners had chosen to have their pets spayed or neutered.

For the health and happiness of your pet, there is only one right decision to make: be responsible and choose to have your pet spayed or neutered.