Will my pet be different after neutering or spaying? 

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by Dr. Michael Shaff

Many people are afraid that their dog or cat will be a different "person" after spaying or neutering. 

Other people worry that their pet will miss out on having a "love life". Still others have heard from friends that a female animal should not be spayed until after the first litter, or that early spaying and neutering can cause diseases later in life.    

We can reassure you that both medical and scientific studies show that none of these stories are true.

The truth about spaying and neutering – no personality change: Your dog or cat will not undergo a personality change due to spaying or neutering. Personality is an intrinsic part of every creature's essential makeup, it is not located in their glands and cannot be removed. 

Neutering and spaying reduces the hormonal stresses pets feel that drive them to claim large territories, seek out mates, and fight. Removing these urges helps animals adjust to living at home with people and other animals, and greatly reduces the chances of aggression and fighting. 

Your dog or cat will be happier, and they will not miss having a "love life". Pets do not have a concept of falling in love in the way that humans do, their mating drives are entirely driven by hormones and scents. Spayed and neutered animals will still form enduring friendships with people and with other pets, without the uncontrollable urge to mate. 

siamese-cat

Most spayed and neutered pets also feel much less need to mark their territory – including your carpets and furniture – with urine.  

Better quality of life for your pet: Neutered and spayed pets tend to live longer, are more companionable – not less – and are able to remain happier in the small territories found in suburban areas like ours. 

Neutering can reduce the chances of your male pet developing testicular and prostate diseases as he gets older, and spaying your female pets may also reduce their chances of getting many cancers.  Early spaying and neutering is actually easier on your pet than waiting until they are adults!

Population control is a major concern: About 4 million cats and dogs are euthanized at shelters in the U.S. each year because of uncontrolled breeding. While shelters would prefer to focus on finding homes for pets, the sheer numbers of animals force them to euthanize tens of thousands of pets every year. Every animal that is spayed or neutered reduces the number of unwanted litters.  

Make sure you monitor diet: Spaying and neutering can cause some (not all) pets to be prone to weight gain. You and your veterinarian can monitor them to ensure they have a high quality diet in the proper amounts to maintain their best weight and feel their happiest. 

Spaying and neutering is part of the responsiblity of pet ownership. Please call us with your questions, or to set an appointment for your pet. Our goal is to partner with you to help your pet live a long, happy and healthy life. 

Photo credit dog: me'nthedogs / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit cat: Viola & CatsFoter / CC BY-NC-SA

Phone: 954-421-2244   Serving Deerfield Beach, Coconut Creek, and Boca Raton from our offices at Hillsboro Blvd and  Powerline Road in the Dunkin' Donuts plaza.    © Deer Run Animal Hospital 2017