Spay or Neuter your Pet?


Dear Dr. Jackson,
We live in a neighborhood with nice neighbors, except for one surprising fact:
Some of them don’t believe in spaying or neutering their pets. For various reasons,
including some do not feel they can’t afford it, they just let their pets roam and breed at
will. Would you please address the fact that spaying the females and neutering the males
would not harm their pet, but actually benefit them and the community? A. P. and R.P., Naples

Dear A.P. and R.P.,
This is a very common concern and one which I would be very happy to answer.
Fortunately, a growing number of pet owners realize that unless you’re planning to breed
purebred kittens or puppies as a hobby or commercially, spaying or neutering makes
sense for various reasons, including these:

  1. Spaying or neutering makes it possible for you to provide a good home for
    your pet or pets without worrying about winding up with an offspring you may not want
    or can’t afford.
  2. Often, a male pet will become easier to live with after he has become neutered.
    His days of wandering away from your home, engaging in wild battles with other dogs or
    cats that cross his path, or producing offensive urine odors can become a thing of the
  3. If your pet is a female, spaying early (ideally, before her first heat) will reduce
    her chances of getting breast cancer-especially after she reaches maturity and beyond.
    Also, spaying can prevent the necessity of a costly emergency hysterectomy during her
    middle age years when it may be riskier.
  4. It is false that behavior problems or ‘personalities turn negative’ happen due to
    the operation. Also, the idea that a pet should live through a heat cycle before being
    spayed to protect its emotional state simply is not valid. Normal maturing, socialization,
    and lots of TLC contribute to the calming process, not the surgical procedure.
  5. If a pet gains weight after this surgery, that is due primarily to its quantity of
    food intake and to its activity level and metabolism.

I know that these answers are very general, but perhaps if you show them to some
of your neighbors, they might overcome some of their apprehension

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Medical Director
Veterinarian, UC Davis graduate, emphasis in Surgery, Internal Medicine, and Pain Control
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