As a pet owner, one of the things you’ll have to think about at some point is whether to neuter your pet. But why does it need to be done? And what does it involve? We’ve put together a quick guide to getting your pet neutered that will hopefully make the whole process a bit more straightforward.
What Is It?
The term neutering refers to when the reproductive organs are surgically removed. For male pets, this means the testicles will be removed, and is also referred to as castration. Female pets have either their ovaries and womb removed, or just their ovaries, which is also known as being spayed.
Benefits Of Neutering
Neutering is mainly done to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but it has many other benefits:
- It helps reduce the risk of certain cancers; testicular cancer in males, and uterine and breast cancer in females.
- It can minimise the risk of prostate problems in male dogs.
- Having your male cat neutered could protect him from FIV, which can be spread through bites, often when males are fighting over a female.
- It can prevent females from coming into season, which not only attracts unwanted male attention but also reduces mess; some female animals can bleed for up to three weeks.
- It can stop male cats from spraying to mark their territory.
- It can stop cats from roaming too far, which reduces the chances of getting lost/stolen/involved in an accident.
- It can reduce the risk of birth defects; sibling animals will mate, which increases the likelihood of deformities at birth.
- It can lessen the risk of theft; neutering a pet means they are less likely to be stolen for breeding purposes.
- You could save money as neutering takes away the risk of unplanned pregnancies, as well as helping to avoid expensive vet bills that can arise from problems associated with pregnancy/birth/offspring.
- You could also save time; pregnant and nursing animals need a lot of care, and newborn animals are very demanding.
- You could help with population management; a recent study, the first of its kind, estimated that there are a quarter of a million stray cats in the UK.
When To Neuter Your Pet
When thinking about the right time to get your pet neutered it can depend on the species, the breed as well as your circumstances; the best thing to do is talk to your vet. But generally, the recommendations are:
Cats – from around 16 weeks, particularly for females as this is when they reach sexual maturity. For male cats, neutering is recommended around 5 to 6 months old.
Dogs – It’s recommended that bitches are neutered before their first season, around 6 months old. Male dogs can vary; for most breeds it’s recommended at 6 or 7 months, although larger breeds are often neutered later. Certain conditions, such as Cryptorchidism, for example (undescended testicles) could affect the timescale; your vet will advise you on the best time to neuter your pet.
What Does It Involve?
Are There Any Risks?
Any surgical procedure carries risks, but the risks associated with not getting your pet neutered are much greater, and neutering is one of the most common operations carried out on dogs.
Will My Pet Put Weight On?
The procedure itself won’t cause weight gain, but it can slow down their metabolism, so you may need to adjust their diet.
Is It Expensive?
The cost will vary depending on the type of animal you have, and their sex, so this is something to talk to your vet about. Bear in mind that the alternative – caring for a pregnant pet, with all the accompanying complications, and bringing up a litter of puppies/kittens, will be much more expensive and time-consuming.
Will Their Behaviour Change?
Neutering will not change their personality, it may even reduce some unwanted behaviours such as fighting, spraying, and humping furniture/house guests.
Should My Pet Have A Litter First?
This is a common myth; there is no evidence that there is any benefit to having a litter before being neutered.
Can My Dog Still Take Part In Competitions?
Your dog can still compete, but you need to let The Kennel Club know that they have been neutered.
Your vet can go through the pros and cons of whether neutering is appropriate for your particular pet, so you can make a well-informed decision, but hopefully, our guide has made it all a bit more straightforward.
Whatever you decide to do we know that your pet is part of your family, and their well-being is important to you and this is where Pet Insurance comes in; our range of policies means you can experience all the fun of being a pet owner, while also taking away some of the worries that come with it.
Take a look at the policies we offer, and get a free, no-strings quote today.
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