Perhaps you are considering bringing a new pet into the family? We don’t need to remind our friends in The Ralph Site community about responsible behaviour when it comes to welcoming new pets – you already know that a pet is for life, and beyond.
But please forgive us for taking this opportunity to reiterate our belief in neutering. If you are rehoming an animal in need, or your family is about to expand with the patter of tiny paws, you might like to remember that The Ralph Site, along with countless animal welfare organisations and charities, strongly recommends that you have your pet neutered as soon as possible.
Rescue centres and animal shelters are typically fully to capacity. With so many dogs, cats and other pets already looking for forever homes, it is in everybody’s interests to keep the numbers of unwanted pets as low as possible – and to adopt, not shop or breed.
There is also evidence that neutering may have some health benefits in dogs, cats and rabbits.
Both spaying (removal of the female reproductive organs) and castration (in males) are routine and straightforward procedures, and your vet will carry out hundreds of them every year. Both operations are generally done as day cases, so your beloved pet will be home with you the same day for treats and plenty of TLC. Increasing numbers of practices are now carrying out keyhole spays on their female patients; the smaller incision required means a quicker and more comfortable recovery for your little lady, as well as reducing the risk of post-operative infections.
The British Small Animal Veterinary Association recommends that as a rule, cats be neutered from four months old, and rabbits and dogs at around six months. It’s always best to discuss the options with your own vet as he/she will be able to give specific advice that’s best suited to your pet’s individual circumstances.
If the cost of the neutering procedure is an issue, you might like to know that several organisations are able to provide subsidised rates for carers wishing to neuter their pets. You can find plenty more information about such schemes, as well as a whole host of advice on the following websites:
- Dogs Trust
- Cats Protection
- Mayhew offers a range of free and reduced-cost neutering initiatives for those in the London area
Some people are reluctant to neuter their pets because they believe that it causes them to gain weight. Whilst not strictly true, neutering does slow down the metabolism of many animals and therefore you may find that your pet is prone to weight gain after having the procedure. With this in mind, you may wish to consider transitioning your pet onto a food that is designed to provide the correct blend of calories and nutrients for neutered pets – the nursing team at your veterinary practice will be more than happy to advise you further here and many practices now offer free weight management clinics.
So please, don’t be neutral about neutering!
Until next time, best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support