If your pet has unresolved behavior issues, and nothing you have seemed to try has improved them, your veterinarian will almost certainly recommend that you consider spaying or neutering as your next course of action. While these procedures are primarily thought of as purely an effective way to help reduce population, studies have shown that animals that have their reproductive organs intact can behave very differently to those which have been spayed or neutered.
What is neutering and what does it involve?
Neutering is the medical term used to describe the removal of the reproductive organs of a male animal, known as the testes. You may also hear of the process referred to as castration. The process is performed under general anesthetic, so your pet will not be in any pain, nor have any awareness of the procedure being carried out.
Once he is under the effects of the anesthetic, your vet will make a small incision into his scrotum, the blood supply to each testicle and spermatic cord are tied off, and each testicle removed. The process is fairly straightforward, and complications are rare. Your pet should be able to return home as soon as the effects of the anesthetic have sufficiently worn off.
What is spaying and what does the procedure entail?
Spaying is the term used to describe the removal of the reproductive organs of a female animal. However, since a female animal’s reproductive organs – the ovaries and uterus - are inside her body, the spaying procedure is significantly more involved than the neutering process.
Again, your pet will be given suitable levels of anesthesia to ensure she is asleep and unaware of the procedure being carried out. An incision will be made into her abdomen which will be used to access the ovaries and uterus and remove them. The incision will then be sealed using sutures. Since spaying is more invasive, the recovery period will be longer and you may find she needs to be kept in the care of your vet for the initial 24 hours after her surgery.
At what age should my pet be spayed/neutered?
The exact age at which your pet should be spayed or neutered will depend on their species and general health, but most veterinarians recommend that it is done at a young age, usually between two and six months old. Some studies show that the health benefits associated with the process, such as reduced risk of female cancers in female pets, can be enhanced by having the procedure done before the animal enters their first season.
How does spaying/neutering affect the behavior of an animal?
In addition to the health benefits offered by spaying and neutering, the procedures have both been proven to have a distinctly beneficial effect on the way that animals that have had them behave. This is because removing the reproductive organs has an influence over your pet’s production of hormones, preventing the drastic spikes in different hormone levels that tends to incite unwanted behaviors.
Your pet is less likely to roam
Animals that still have their reproductive organs will have an overwhelming desire to mate, and this can cause them to run away in search of a partner fornicate with! Unfortunately, pets that follow these instincts often become lost or run the risk of being injured from being away from their home. However, the desire to roam is eliminated by removing the source driving the hormones – the ovaries and uterus or testes.
Lower levels of aggression
Both males and female can exhibit aggressive behaviors during heat cycles as the females compete for attention from males, and the males fight for the right to mate with their chosen female. Since females that have been spayed aren’t particularly interested in finding someone to mate with, aggression levels are diminished.
No messy periods
Female animals have periods too, each lasting between two and three weeks when she comes into heat. Needless to say, that this can be a messy business for owners, particularly as there are currently no pet sanitary products available! Removing her reproductive organs will stop her coming into heat and having a regular bleed.
Males are well known for wanting to mark their territory which they do by spraying urine on anything and everything that they can find. Neutering has been shown to help reduce or even eliminate urine marking.
It may be rather comical to watch at first, but when your male pet is mounting anything that he can get his hind legs around it can get rather annoying – particularly when it is your leg getting the brunt of his pent-up sexual energy! Fortunately, neutering has been shown to drastically reduce the amount of time a pet spends humping!
If your pet has not yet been spayed/neutered and you would like to find out more information about the process, or better yet, to book your beloved animal in for the procedure, our friendly and helpful team would be delighted to assist you. Please contact our offices to arrange your appointment.
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Lorenzo’s Dog Training Team has been focused on keeping dogs out of shelters and in happy homes since 1987. Lorenzo’s certified team trainers undergo a comprehensive training curriculum prior to certification to ensure an unwavering commitment to quality animal care and professional conduct.