Neutering (sometimes referred to as sterilization or “fixing”) is the surgical removal, by a licensed veterinarian, of an animal's reproductive organ — either all of it or a considerably large part — in order to prevent the births of unwanted litters (baby animals). Castration is the male-specific term while spaying is the female-specific term.

Spaying/neutering prevents overpopulation

Failure to spay/neuter pets contributes to the overpopulation of unwanted animals in the rescue system. It leads to shelter overpopulation and to the needless suffering of thousands of stray animals, who in turn give birth to even more animals during their short, sad lives, resulting in a never-ending cycle of pain, homelessness and a lifetime wait in a shelter kennel for a family who never comes to adopt.

Some stats: One unspayed female dog, her mate and all their puppies, and their puppies’ puppies, if none are ever neutered or spayed, add up to:

  • 1 year: 16
  • 2 years: 128
  • 3 years: 512
  • 4 years: 2,048
  • 5 years: 12,288
  • 6 years: 67,000

Spaying/neutering has health benefits

Besides being a birth control method, castrating and spaying have valuable health benefits for dogs:

  1. Behaviors such as mounting and urine spraying are reduced due to the decrease in hormone levels brought about by neutering.
  2. Neutering male dogs protects them from prostatic hypertrophy and infections.
  3. Early spaying significantly reduces the risk of development of mammary tumors in female dogs.
  4. Without the ability to reproduce, a female has zero risk of pregnancy complications.
  5. Spaying/neutering eliminates the risk of health conditions such as Pyometra (a pus-filled womb in a female dog), uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and testicular cancer.

Spaying/neutering resources

Humane Society's page on spaying & neutering

PETA resources on spaying & neutering

ASPCA resources on spaying & neutering

Spaying & neutering infographic

Spaying & neutering stats

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