Pet Spaying and Neutering

One of pet owners’ most critical decisions is whether to spay or neuter their pets. While many owners are hesitant due to costs or medical concerns, these simple procedures benefit your pet, your wallet and the overall dog and cat population.

Spaying is an ovariohysterectomy that removes a female cat or dog’s uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. The procedure prevents pregnancy. Neutering removes the testicles to prevent your male pet from impregnating other cats or dogs.

At Safe Harbor Rescue, we offer spay and neuter services for cats and dogs of any breed and size. We encourage you to schedule an appointment for your pet!

Why Are Spaying and Neutering Important?

Spaying or neutering your cat or dog is an excellent way to reduce the number of stray animals on the streets and in shelters. Spaying and neutering also cost less than caring for a pregnant pet and their litter — or multiple. Spaying or neutering has other medical and behavioral benefits for:

  • Female cats and dogs: Female pets who undergo a spaying procedure live longer and healthier lives. Beyond preventing pregnancy, spaying helps to prevent uterine infection and decreases the risk of reproductive cancers in cats and dogs.
  • Male cats and dogs: Neutering also has medical benefits for your male pet. When you neuter dogs or cats as soon as possible, you can prevent testicular cancer and eliminate the risk of many common prostate issues.

Spaying and neutering also provide behavioral benefits, such as eliminating the risk of your female pet going into heat. Heats often cause animals to act more aggressively and roam, putting them at risk. Dogs and cats that undergo spaying or neutering are less likely to mark their territory or show aggression toward other pets and people.

What You Should Know Before Spay and Neuter Surgeries

Despite how common spaying and neutering are and the many benefits these procedures provide, there are still some misconceptions surrounding these surgeries:

  • Your pet can maintain a healthy weight after spaying or neutering: Many people associate weight gain with spaying and neutering because it decreases your cat or dog’s metabolism. As long as you exercise your pet and provide a healthy, balanced diet, they will remain at a healthy weight.
  • Your pet may still have behavior issues: While neutering can reduce aggression, roaming or other problems, there is no guarantee that your pet’s behavior will improve after the neutering process. Neutering will also not eliminate learned or habitual behaviors, and the procedure’s effects largely depend on your dog’s temperament and history.
  • It’s best to choose a veterinary clinic for spaying and neutering: Many owners often look for a low-cost facility to provide their pet’s spaying or neutering. When you bring your pet to a full-service veterinary clinic like Safe Harbor Rescue, you will have access to our expert team and pre and post-surgery care.

When Should You Spay or Neuter Your Pet?

The exact timeframe for spaying or neutering your pet will vary depending on your pet’s breed and other factors. We recommend discussing spaying or neutering with one of our veterinarians for advice tailored to your dog or cat. However, these general recommendations can help you plan for the procedure.

In most cases, your cats and dogs should undergo spaying or neutering before 5 months of age. Most female cats and dogs can experience their first heat around this time, making it essential to prevent pregnancy. However, large-breed male dogs should be neutered after they finish growing — usually around 12 to 15 months of age — to avoid orthopedic concerns. If your large breed dog roams, he should be altered before he is 5 months old. 

If you adopt an animal from a shelter, they should be spayed or neutered before adoption. Stray or community animals can be altered anytime after 6 or 8 weeks of age, depending on state laws. 

Having your pet undergo the neutering or spaying process as soon as possible benefits your pets and any animals and humans around them. For example, an unspayed or unneutered cat or dog may have a higher desire to roam, causing them to fight with other animals, receive an injury or infection or wander into the road. 

What to Expect Before and After Surgery

Before surgery, our team will discuss the procedure with you and provide advice. Generally, it’s best to avoid having your pet eat any food anytime after midnight the night before their surgery, as eating beforehand is an aspiration risk.

We will also offer post-operative instructions to help your pet recover. You will receive an Elizabethan collar to keep your pet from easily accessing and disturbing their stitches. Based on the procedure performed, you may also receive pain medication to give your pet while they heal. Some top tips to ensure your pet has a safe and comfortable recovery include:

  • Inspect the incision site daily. Confirm that the incision is healing and the stitches are intact.
  • Ensure your pet has a comfortable indoor place to recover. This space should be away from other pets that may interfere with their recovery.
  • Confirm your pet’s collar fits correctly and keep them from licking at their stitches. You should also refrain from giving your pet a bath for at least 10 days.
  • Monitor your pet’s behavior. We recommend keeping them from jumping and running for about two weeks for the best recovery.

Spaying is a major surgery, generally requiring two weeks for female dogs and cats to fully recover. Neutering is less invasive, though your pet will still need a recovery period. 

When to Call Your Vet

Contact our team if you notice the incision open or see issues like discharge, swelling and redness, as these could be signs of infection. You should also call us if your pet stops eating or drinking,  experiences vomiting or diarrhea or appears lethargic.

Keep Your Pet Healthy With Safe Harbor Rescue

Spaying or neutering your pet is the best way to keep your dog or cat and those around them safe. To learn more about our spaying and neutering services in Glendale Heights or to schedule an appointment, we encourage you to contact our team at 630-943-0248 today!