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For the last quarter of a century (can you believe it’s been that long?)...
Okay, y’all might find this to be a slightly awkward conversation, but it’s one that we need to have. Whether you’ve had your dog or cat from a puppy or kitten or if you’ve adopted them from a rescue, I want to know: Have you spayed or neutered your pets?
Common euphemisms are “getting them fixed,” and “having them done,” or even “altered.” It brings to mind that terrible joke, “We’re taking the dog to be fixed.” “I didn’t know he was broken!” You might even hear the more clinical term of “sterilization.”
Why am I bringing this up? Well, February is National Spay or Neuter your Pet month, and it is an important step in curbing unwanted and unplanned litters of kittens and puppies. These unplanned litters are the main cause for the overpopulation of companion animals. Are you doing your part to help lower the unwanted pet population?
Every pet (dogs and cats) I have ever owned has been spayed or neutered, from our very earliest family dog that I don’t remember (a lovely Doberman named Brandy) to my current dogs (sighthounds Mylo and Lily). Whether you have them fixed early or if you wait until they are through their growth, spaying and neutering has MANY health benefits as well as curbing the unwanted pet population.
What age should they have surgery?
Well, this varies greatly between dogs and cats and it’s also a subject that’s up for hot debate. You’ll hear a lot of different suggestions depending on who you talk to and we suggest you look into this, it’s best to take the advice of your breeder, your vet or the rescue (though most pets from a rescue are already spayed or neutered). We had Mylo done at 20 months after he was done growing. My corgi boy Gaelen was done at 6 months, that was nearly 14 years ago.
General ballpark though? As young as 8 weeks for cats and dogs can vary from 6 months to nearly 2 years. Again, this will vary depending on who you talk to.
What are the benefits?
There are many benefits to have your pet spayed or neutered and I am happy to share them with you! They are similar between the two, I still put them in two lists.
The surgery is expensive, is there anyone who can help me with the costs?
Just as a heads up. Spays are generally more expensive then neutering, this is because a spay is a more invasive surgery. Spay and neuter programs are available across the nation through shelters, vet’s offices and other charity organizations and they want what’s best for your pet! My family has used them in the past, especially when we adopted two stray cats around the same time, both girls!
What’s recovery like after the surgery?
For dogs: They will get to wear the “cone of shame.” Be prepared for some interesting days. Poor Mylo was constantly running the cone into things… furniture, door frames, my legs. It was quite funny. You’ll need to keep them as quiet as possible, no off-leash time for them, for as long as your vet suggests. We could take Mylo on short walks after a few days healing.
For cats: Keep them indoors and as quiet as possible after surgery. Your vet might suggest a cone or “buster collar” but we’ve never had any luck with those on the cats. Keep an eye on them and make sure that they aren’t spending too much time grooming the surgery site or attempting to remove their stitches!
Spaying or neutering your pets is one of the best things for them in the long run. The health and behavioral benefits alone are worth it. And lowering the unwanted pet population? Well, that’s just dandy. You don’t have to believe me, just ask your vet.
February 27 is World Spay Day
This year is the 24th annual campaign that the Humane Society of the United States holds every last Tuesday in February. What can you do as an individual? Well, firstly make sure your own pets are spayed or neutered. If you’ve already done that you can always donate to your local shelter/rescue or help sponsor a spay or neuter with your vets. Contact your local vet or shelter and see what you can do to help.
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