Merritt Milam | March 1, 2021

Being a responsible pet parent is more than just making sure your furry friend has food, water, and a place to sleep. Responsible parents make sure their pets are provided the same attention and care any human family member would receive. Whether it’s a trip to the park or a trip to the veterinarian, pets depend on their parents to make sure they are happy and healthy.


One of the most important health issues pet parents will face is whether to spay or neuter their pets. Is it necessary? Will it provide health benefits? Is it safe? These are all valid questions any pet parent would be expected to ask their vet. To help answer these questions about this simple medical procedure we’ve provided the following information.


Did You Know?

According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)1

Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life. 
Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.

Neutering provides major health benefits for your male. 
Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer.

Your spayed female won’t go into heat. 
While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they’ll yowl and urinate more frequently-sometimes all over the house!

Your neutered male will be much better behaved. 
Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.

Spaying/neutering your pets is also highly cost-effective.
The cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is far less than the cost of having and caring for a litter.

When Should You Spay or Neuter Your Pet?

For dogs: While the typical age for neutering is six to nine months, puppies as young as eight weeks old can be neutered as long as they are healthy. Adult dogs can be neutered, although there’s a slightly higher risk of post-operative complications in older dogs, dogs that are overweight, or dogs that have health problems.

For Cats: It is usually considered safe for kittens as young as eight weeks old to be spayed or neutered. In animal shelters, surgery is often performed at this time so that kittens can be sterilized prior to adoption. In an effort to avoid the start of urine spraying and eliminate the chance for pregnancy, it’s advisable to schedule the surgery before your own cat reaches five months of age.


In a study of over 70,000 pet patient medical records, the University of Georgia concluded, “neutered male dogs lived 18% longer and spayed female dogs lived 23% longer. Spayed female cats in the study lived 39% longer and neutered male cats lived 62% longer.”2  In a separate study conducted by Banfield Pet Hospitals3 (on a database of 2.2 million dogs and 460,000 cats) similar findings concluded that neutered male dogs lived 18% longer and spayed female dogs lived 23% longer. Spayed female cats in the study lived 39% longer and neutered male cats lived 62% longer.


Aside from the significant increase in longevity as a result of spay and neuter surgery, curbing the unwanted pet population from the streets and shelters is important. Every year millions of unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized. Thankfully, responsible pet parents do their part to reduce unwanted litters by spaying and neutering their pets. These simple, effective procedures will help your pets live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Now those are benefits everyone can be excited about!


2. Reproductive Capability Is Associated with Lifespan and Cause of Death in Companion Dogs, Jessica M. Hoffman, Kate E. Creevy, Daniel E. L. Promislow, Published: April 17, 2013, Website.
3. Banfield Pet Hospital’s State of Pet Health 2013 Report