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I Don’t Wish to Breed My Pet. Should I Still Spay/Neuter Them?

Here's why spaying or neutering your pet, even if you never wish to mate them, should be the universal option for every pet parent!

Being a pet parent comes with its challenges. One of the biggest challenges is the responsibility involved around taking the right calls that ultimately are for your pet’s benefit. If your motive behind rearing a pet is for the sake of companionship, that is a personal choice for you. However, spaying or neutering your animal, even if you never wish to mate them, must be the universal option, not even a choice, for each and every pet parent. There are several reasons why spaying and neutering are beneficial, not only to your pet but also to you. 

Firstly, accidental pregnancies can be avoided. This may be an issue with pets that are more or less free to roam between their home and the outside environment, like cats for example. Or an animal could escape their house by accident and end up on the street because of casual negligence on the human’s part like forgetting to close a gate or door. 

Accidental pregnancies result in the birth of unwanted puppies or kittens which people do not have the resources to look after. These animals end up being abandoned, subjecting them to a cruel fate on the streets. But besides this moral issue, there are also several medical and behavioural benefits to spaying and neutering your pets.

Neutering significantly reduces fatal risks your pet could be vulnerable to. (Image Courtesy- christinarosepix-Shutterstock)

Spaying reduces the chances of incidences of uterine and mammary tumours in female pets. These tumours have been found to be malignant or cancerous in 50% of dogs and 90% of cats. The treatment or cure for these tumours is often painful for your pet, and if the cancer has spread to vital organs, it is even fatal. Choosing to spay your female pet at the first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. A silent but often deadly infection known as Pyometra or pus in the uterus, seen in older, intact females, can also be avoided by preemptively choosing to spay. Neutering your male pets reduces the risk of prostate and testicular cancer.

A chance mating with unknown street dogs during an escape attempt from your home could also lead to your pet contracting a sexually transmitted illness like a venereal granuloma, also known as a transmissible venereal tumour, which is a cancer of the genitals and spreads through contact with contaminated urine or sexual contact.

Let us now talk about the behavioural benefits. Spaying your female pets ensures that they won’t go into heat. This is particularly beneficial for cats as a female cat can go into heat every 4-5 days every 3 weeks during the breeding season. In an attempt to look for mates, they will vocalize incessantly and also urinate frequently, all over the house, which is frustrating for a pet parent.

Intact male dogs often come up with creative ways to escape their homes to seek out females in heat. Not only can this lead to accidental pregnancies, but your male dog could also end up injuring himself in trying to get out, or could get into a fight with other dogs, over the right to mate with a female. 

Neutering a male dog or cat also cuts down on territorial behaviour such as spraying strong-smelling urine around the house. There are also fewer chances of humping or mounting other animals, people and inanimate objects, leading to more social acceptability.

Choosing to spay and neuter your pets is a one-time investment and would cost you far less than having to take care of an accidental litter of babies or foot the cost of medical treatment for any of the illnesses or infections described previously that they could be at risk of contracting. A common myth surrounding the issue of spaying and neutering is that it may lead to obesity in dogs and cats; this is not true at all. If you continue a regular regimen of exercising your pet and not overfeeding them, they will remain fit and trim. 

Remember to be a conscientious pet parent and opt to spay and neuter your animals. With female dogs and cats, spaying can be done after their first heat, which is around the age of eight months. Males can be neutered as soon as you observe that their testicles have descended. The decision to spay or neuter is the right one. So choose today, to be a responsible pet parent.

Indrakshi Banerji

Indrakshi Banerji

Jeevoka member since Sep 2019

As a senior vet at RESQ Charitable Trust, I am fulfilling my childhood dream of healing animals in distress. When my schedule permits, I try my hand at writing given my long found inspiration in James Herriot. I am obsessed with the colour purple and I enjoy hiking and baking on my rare days off. Last but definitely not the least, I am Mom to a grumpy tripod cat named Akhrot.
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