As a pet owner, you likely worry about your four-legged companion undergoing anesthesia and surgery. However, although your pet will require anesthesia for their spay or neuter, these procedures provide you, your furry friend, and your relationship untold benefits. Here are the top 10 benefits you and your pet will enjoy after they are spayed or neutered.

#1: Spayed and neutered pets live longer

On average, spayed or neutered pets live longer than their intact counterparts. One study showed that sterilization increased life expectancy by 13.8% in male dogs and 26.3% in female dogs.

#2: Spaying female pets prevents uterine infections

Intact female pets are at risk for developing uterine infections (i.e., pyometra) a month or two after their heat cycle. Changes during the heat cycle make the uterus more susceptible to bacterial infections and, once the cervix closes at the end of the cycle, the infection can become trapped inside. This condition, called a closed pyometra, is a more significant threat than an open pyometra, and can quickly lead to sepsis and organ failure without treatment.

#3: Spaying female pets greatly reduces mammary tumor risk

While mammary tumors can develop in either sex pets, the risk is substantially lower for spayed females and males. A dog’s risk for developing a mammary tumor is 0.5% if spayed before her first heat cycle, 8% after her first heat, and 26% after her second heat. Cats spayed before 6 months of age are seven times less likely to develop mammary cancer, and spaying a cat at any age reduces their risk 40% to 60%.

Dogs have a 50-50 chance of a benign mammary tumor, but more than 85% of tumors in cats are malignant, and most aggressively invade local tissue and metastasize throughout the body.

#4: Spaying female pets prevents unwanted breeding-associated behaviors

If you’ve ever shared your home with a cat in heat, you likely couldn’t wait for her spay surgery. Female pets in heat can be incredibly vocal and demanding, behave erratically, and have vaginal discharge. They may also attempt to escape to find a mate or spray pheromone-infused urine to attract a male suitor.

#5: Spaying female pets prevents unplanned pregnancies

Although nothing is more adorable than a pile of puppies or kittens, an unplanned litter can take a huge emotional, physical, and financial toll on you and your pet. Caring for babies can be challenging for the mother and the pet owner, especially if any health issues arise before, during, or after delivery. Also, finding good homes for the babies can be a struggle, and you may end up with unplanned pets.

#6: Neutering male pets eliminates testicular problems

Without testicles, your male pet will never suffer from an excruciating testicular torsion or life-threatening testicular cancer.

#7: Neutering male pets reduces prostate problems

A neutered pet has a smaller prostate gland, which reduces the potential for several prostate problems. Neutered pets are less likely to develop benign prostatic hyperplasia, which can interfere with their ability to defecate, and prostate infections and other issues.

#8: Neutering male pets reduces unwanted behaviors

Neutering will sharply reduce and may eliminate those common, naughty, male pet behaviors. After the testosterone source that fuels these behaviors is removed, your male pet will less likely roam, display territorial aggression, urine mark, and mount items, people, and pets.

#9: Spaying and neutering pets reduces the homeless pet population

An estimated 70 million pets are looking for loving homes in the United States and, while almost half the dogs needing a new family are rehomed to a friend or family member, far too many pets end up in animal shelters or on the streets. If your pet is not part of a responsible breeding program, their spay or neuter can help reduce the homeless pet population.

#10: Spaying or neutering your pet saves money

If your pet has required emergency surgery, you know that a life-saving procedure can be costly. Pets who develop a pyometra, need a Cesarean section, or suffer from reproductive-tract cancer require extensive, specialized care that comes with a hefty price tag. A spay or neuter surgery is not only considerably more cost-effective than a reproductive-associated emergency, but your peace of mind, knowing your furry pal will not develop a multitude of serious health conditions, is priceless.

Determining the best age to spay or neuter your pet is based on many factors, and figuring out the perfect time can be challenging. Discuss the ideal timing for your furry pal’s surgery with our Kauai Veterinary Clinic team and then schedule an appointment.