Are you wondering about whether or not you should have your pet spayed? What about how long the procedure itself takes? Getting your dog ot cat spayed is considered to be a safe and easy process with a whole host of potential benefits. Here, our New York vets help you to understand the basics of this reproductive procedure.
Big Picture Benefits to Spaying Your Pet
Spaying your pet, otherwise known as "fixing" your pet, is an elective surgery that involve the sterilization of a female animal.
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), around 6.5 million animals enter rescue systems or shelters across the United States each year. Of those animals, less than half are adopted as pets, meaning that millions of healthy dogs and cats are euthanized each year.
Spaying your pet is one of the best ways to do your part to reduce the number of unplanned puppies and kittens born each year and lighten the load of shelters and rescues.
Medical Benefits of Spaying Your Pet
Spaying your female cat or dog can help your pet live a longer, healthier life. Getting your cat or dog spayed reduces your pet's risk of developing a number of serious conditions including uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 90 percent of cats and 50 percent of dogs.
Behavioral Benefits of Getting Your Pet Spayed
Benefits of Spaying Female Cats
Getting your cat spayed will prevent your kitty from going into heat. When in season female cats typically go into heat for four or five days every three weeks. During breeding season, your unspayed female will yowl, try to escape your home and may urinate frequently outside of her litter box.
Benefits of Spaying Female Dogs
Spaying your female dog will drastically reduce their risk of developing mammary cancer and pyometra, two potentially life-threatening conditions. And while it is not always the case, generally being spayed will put a stop to your female pup's instinctive breeding behaviors.
When To Get Your Pet Spayed
- Dogs - Traditionally dogs are spayed while still young at about six to nine months of age, although puppies as young as eight weeks old can be spayed as long as they are in good health. Adult dogs can also be spayed although there’s a slightly higher risk of post-operative complications in adult dogs as well as dogs that are overweight and those that have health problems.
- Cats - Kittens as young as eight weeks old can be spayed. Even at this young age these operations are considered safe. Many animal shelters perform these operations early in order to ensure the kittens are 'fixed' before heading to their new homes. It is also best to have this operation performed while your cat is young in order to help prevent your cat from establishing bad habits such as spraying. It is also safe to spay adult cats.
Length of The Spay Procedure
Spaying your dog or cat can last anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on the condition, size and species of your pet. This includes preparatory work for your pet and administering anesthesia before the procedure itself begins.
In older dogs or cats - or in giant breed dogs - this procedure may take a bit longer and require two veterinarians to perform the procedure safely.
Helping Your Pet Recover from Spay or Neuter Surgery
Pets typically recover quickly from spay surgeries. Following your pet's surgery, your vet will provide you with detailed instruction on how best to care for your cat or dog.
Here are a few basic tips for helping your pet recover safely and comfortably:
- Do not bathe your pet for at least ten days after surgery, or allow them to swim.
- Try to prevent your pet from running and jumping for about two weeks following surgery, as per your vet's instructions.
- Make sure that your pet has a quiet place to recover indoors and away from small children and other pets.
- Check the incision site daily to ensure that your pet's incision is healing properly. If you notice any signs of redness, swelling or discharge at the surgery site, or if the incision is open, contact your vet.
- Prevent your pet from licking the incision site, which can lead to infections. Elizabethan collars work well to prevent licking but other options are available - speak to your vet for more options.
If your pet becomes lethargic, has a decreased appetite, or is vomiting or has diarrhea following surgery, contact your vet right away.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.