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Spaying or Neutering Your Dog or Cat

Spaying or Neutering Your Dog or Cat

What do I need to know about spaying or neutering my dog or cat?

Spaying or neutering your pet can help minimize behavior problems and control the population of unwanted pets.

Spaying and Neutering Summary

Why should I spay or neuter my cat or dog?
Spaying or neutering your pet can help minimize behavior problems and control the population of unwanted pets. Below are some of the benefits to consider:



Neutering male pets decreases their chances of developing prostatic enlargement and disease and eliminates the risk of testicular cancer. Spaying female pets eliminates the risk of pyometra, a life-threatening infection of the uterus. If your pet is spayed before her first heat cycle, her chances of developing breast cancer drop dramatically as well.


Behavior problems are the primary reason pet owners take their pets to shelters, and pets that haven’t been spayed or neutered are more likely to exhibit undesirable behaviors. For example, female cats can be very disruptive and vocal during their heat cycle, and male pets may roam, mark, sexually mount and become aggressive. By neutering your puppy or kitten at six months or younger, you’ve taken the first step toward preventing aggression. The next step is puppy socialization training. Ask your veterinary team for more information on puppy training classes at PetSmart®

Birth Control

The drive to reproduce is strong in dogs and cats that haven’t been spayed or neutered and can lead to unwanted reproduction. By spaying or neutering your pet when you have decided not to raise puppies or kittens (a very big job), you can do your part to limit the chances of pet overpopulation and avoid dealing with a surprise pregnancy. More than 1 million stray dogs and 500,000 stray cats live in the New York City metropolitan area alone. Spaying or neutering your pet eliminates unwanted litters, which contribute to thousands of owner-requested euthanasias and millions of stray animals. PetSmart also does its part: The PetSmart Charities’ Adoption Center helps find families for thousands of homeless pets each year.

Is spaying or neutering safe for my pet?

Even though there is some risk with any anesthetic procedure or surgery, we’re committed to providing the highest quality surgical care, made as painless as possible, and we follow up with the finest postoperative care anywhere. We use the following methods to ensure a safe procedure and a quick recovery for your pet:

Complete Examinations
We’ll examine your pet from nose to tail before surgery upon recovering from anesthesia and two weeks after the operation to be sure your pet is in good health going in to the procedure and healing properly afterward.

Comprehensive Laboratory Analysis
Our lab analysis includes an internal organ function screen and a complete blood count, which help us find any preexisting conditions that could cause complications during anesthesia, surgery or recovery.

General Anesthesia
We use the anesthetic agents approved for veterinary care, sevoflurane and propofol. These agents, combined with a thorough assessment of your pet’s individual needs allow us to provide your pet with the safe anesthesia and a shorter recovery. During the procedure, we use sterile instruments, drapes and surgical gowns while paying careful attention to sterility to limit the possibility of infection.

Continual Cardiac and Blood Oxygen Monitoring
During surgery and recovery your pets oxygen levels, blood pressure, heart rhythm, heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature will be monitored with specialized equipment and by a trained team member to help detect potential problems before they become serious.

Intravenous Catheter
An intravenous catheter allows safe, easy administration of any necessary medications or fluids.

Intravenous Fluid Therapy
Intravenous fluid therapy helps ensure your pet’s blood pressure remains within its normal range during anesthesia.

Pain Medication
Pain treatment speeds recovery and keeps your pet as comfortable as possible during this stressful time.

All-Day Stay
During this time, the hospital team monitors your pet’s recovery, performs postoperative exams and removes the IV catheter.

Risk Assessment
We recommend spaying or neutering before six months of age because pets that are older, in heat, pregnant or overweight are at higher risk.

When should I have my pet spayed or neutered?

At Banfield, we like to give your pet time to grow and become a healthy young member of the family before spaying or neutering, and we recommend that your pet be fully vaccinated. Our veterinary team generally recommends surgery when the pet is between 4 and 6 months old. If you participate in the Banfield Optimum Wellness Plans® for puppies and kittens, we automatically plan the surgery at the best time for your pet.

If you want to breed or show your pet, you may want to delay spaying or neutering. If that’s the case, we can help you decide when the time is right and even help you raise a litter. As godparents to thousands of puppies and kittens, we encourage you to find adoptive parents for them before the breeding takes place. Be sure to provide breeding and prenatal care for your pet.

Consult your local Banfield veterinarian for help with these important issues.

Did you know?

The Early Care Plus Kitten Optimum Wellness Plan and the Early Care Plus Puppy Optimum Wellness Plan both include a spaying and neutering kittens and puppies under 6 months. Owners with older pets also have the option of adding an adult spay or neuter surgery when they purchase an Optimum Wellness Plan.

Learn more about how you can give your pet the preventive care she deserves by choosing a personalized Optimum Wellness Plan today.