Neuter Awareness Month | Why Neuter Your Pet?
February marks Neuter Awareness Month and so we wanted to take this op-paw-tunity to share with you the facts around neutering. We will go through the benefits of getting your pet neutered and explain just how to book in that all important appointment!
What is neutering?
To put it simply, neutering is a term used to describe the surgical procedure that prevents pets from reproducing. These surgeries are performed whilst the animal is under general anaesthesia, so they won't feel a thing. In most cases, you will be asked to take your pet to the vet practice in the morning for the operation and will be reunited with them later that day, after they have been monitored. Neutering is a very routine procedure for vets, with over 75% of them recommending the procedure for all cats and dogs.
What are the benefits of neutering?
There are significant health benefits for neutering your pet. For females, neutering can significantly reduce the risk of reproductive organ cancers such as ovarian cancer. It can also decrease breast cancer and eliminate the chance of them developing pyometra (a serious and potentially fatal, womb infection common in unneutered, female dogs).
Similarly, neutering a male animal can prevent and reduce the risk of both pancreatic cancer and prostatic disease. It also eliminates the chances of them developing testicular cancer or non-cancerous testicular tumours.
Neutering can also increase the life expectancy of your pet. Results from the Banfield Pet Hospital’s State of Pet Health 2013 Report found a positive correlation between neutering pets and their life span. The study indicated that neutered cats lived up to 39% longer and neutered dogs live 23% longer than their unneutered counterparts.
Having your pet neutered at an early age can also prevent them from developing certain behaviours and habits as it helps to stabilise their hormone levels.
Male animals that are neutered are less likely to be dominating and aggressive to other animals or people. They will also be less likely to ‘mark their territory' by going to the toilet indoors. Male cats especially will be less likely to roam around, seeking out females and getting into fights.
Neutering can also help females behaviour as it stops them from being in season. Quite often female animals are stressed when in season, which can be for several months out of the year, so being neutered can alleviate this feeling for them.
Neutering also reduces the chances of females having phantom pregnancies which can be very stressful for them and cause many negative effects including lethargy, depression, anxiety, clinginess and a loss of appetite. Studies have found that around half of all female dogs will have a phantom pregnancy unless they are neutered.
And most importantly, the biggest benefit from neutering your pet is the fact it prevents unwanted litters which in turn helps alleviate the dog and cat overpopulation problem. Did you know that there are an estimated 50,000 stray dogs in the UK as well as up to 9 million stray cats? Plus hundreds of thousands of pets in rescue centres and shelters every year. It is very important not to allow your pet to have puppies or kittens, especially if you have no idea where they would end up.
When to neuter my pet?
Your vet will be able to offer you the best advice on the right time to neuter your pet, but here are some guidelines.
Typically speaking for male dogs, the operation can be carried out from six to nine months. For bigger breeds, it is recommended that they should finish growing completely before being neutered - this can be up to 15 months old.
For female dogs, the ideal time to neuter will be based on their breed and size and is best to be determined by your vet who can discuss this with you.
For cats, it's recommended that they are neutered at around four to six months old after completing their first round of vaccinations.
How to get my pet neutered?
If you want to get your pet neutered, the best thing to do is speak to your vet. They'll be able to advise you about the cost and the best time to neuter your pet.
If you are struggling financially, there are lots of initiatives both local and nationwide that can help with low-cost or even free neutering. Some of these services include Cats Protection £10 neutering, The Mayhew free neutering programme, The RSPCA low-cost vet care & many more. You can speak to your vet or the dog warden for advice on charities in your local area that may be able to help you.
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