Should I get my pet desexed?
There are numerous health and social benefits to having your pet desexed, but you'll also decrease the number of unwanted puppies and kittens that find themselves homeless or in shelters across Australia, millions of which are euthanised each year.
The appropraite age for desexing can vary depending on the breed and size of your pet and your lifestyle. The current recommended age for desexing a dog or cat is six months, however at Greencross Vets we believe that each of our patients is unique and the decision of when to desex your pet should be made in partnership with your veterinary team.
Help your pet live a full, happy life
One reasoning you commonly hear from owners who decide against desexing is that they want their pet to live life to the full. But according to Dr Daniel van Geuns of Greencross Vets Paradise, the opposite is more often the case.
“Male pets are no longer at risk of testicular cancer, and are much less likely to develop prostate disease,” he says.
“Female pets have an increase in risk of mammary cancer with each season they have. They are also much less likely to develop an infection in the uterus.”
Dr Van Geuns adds that desexing also reduces flight risk .
“Both males and females are less likely to try and escape from the yard when desexed, and as such less likely to become lost, hit by a car, or get into a fight with another pet,” he says.
A few more reasons:
- Desexing is important for female cats as you can't always tell when they're in season, which can result in irresponsible breeding
- In female dogs, desexing stops their cycles , and thus, unwanted attention from male dogs
- Male cats and dogs that are not desexed may upset your neighbours when they roam and fight
- Unwanted stray animals are a public health risk as diseases are more easily spread through their droppings.
Common desexing myths:
- ‘My pet will become fat’ – Overfeeding and lack of exercise makes pets fat, not desexing.
- ‘A trained guard dog will lose its effectiveness' – Guarding results from instinctive territorial behaviour and this does not change when a dog is desexed
- ‘It makes pets lazy' – There are generally no changes in the character of pets after desexing. Young male dogs however will be less inclined to mount objects and jump fences.
- ‘Females should have a litter first' – Spaying a dog before her first heat will greatly reduce the risk of mammary cancer.