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The Importance of Spaying/Neutering Your Pet

Every year in Ontario, tens of thousands of dogs and cats, are euthanized (put down) because homes cannot be found for them.

Pet owners must take responsibility for their companion animals by having them spayed or neutered.

Spaying and neutering are safe surgical operations that prevent animals from reproducing. Spaying is the removal of a female animal's ovaries and uterus; neutering is the removal of a male's testicles. These procedures generally do not even require an overnight stay in a veterinary clinic, and can eliminate or significantly reduce the risk of an animal developing numerous health problems, some of which may shorten their lives. These include reproductive cancers and infections, as well as behaviour problems such as territorial marking, destructiveness and aggression. Animals who have been spayed or neutered are much less likely to roam in search of mates. When female dogs and cats are not spayed, they go into heat and this can attract males. While searching for mates, animals can get hit by cars, injured in fights, or lost and even stolen. Others end up in animal pounds. Keeping animals inside doesn't guarantee safety, as they may escape by accident.

The safety of both male and female animals is dramatically increased if they are spayed or neutered.

Common Questions

Will neutering my cat make him fat and lazy?
Neutering might reduce an animal's activity level, but this need not result in weight gain. A healthy diet and sufficient exercise can help your pet maintain a healthy weight.

Don't spaying and neutering interfere with nature?
Domesticated dogs and cats are completely dependent on humans. It's our responsibility as their guardians to make sure the number of companion animals born doesn't exceed the number of available homes.

What about other animals?
For health and behavioural reasons, spaying and neutering are also recommended for rabbits. Female ferrets should also be spayed. If they go into heat and don't mate, they can become anemic and die. Veterinarians recommend spaying and neutering guinea pigs but consider surgery unsafe for small rodents such as hamsters because of their size. Separating males from females is the best way to prevent small rodents from reproducing.

Should my female dog be allowed to have one litter?
There's no reason for a female dog to have even one litter. It won't make her a better companion, and it will increase the likelihood that she will develop mammary cancer. Spaying a dog before she goes into heat even once greatly reduces the risk of her developing mammary cancer.

For more information about the importance of spaying or neutering your pet, please contact your veterinarian.