Spring is now underway – the season of regrowth and a time when many animals naturally produce their young; indeed, the number of new puppies and kittens often peaks at this time of year. Sadly not all of these new arrivals will be planned and welcome. Moreover thousands, indeed millions, of companion animals are put to sleep every year in ‘kill’ shelters as there are not enough homes for them all. This is why The Ralph Site strongly recommends that you have your pet neutered as soon as possible.
Aside from the oversupply of companion animals in the world, neutering may also have other potential benefits, including for the health of domesticated animals. It can also adjust the behaviour of domesticated animals allowing them to live more comfortably alongside us, for example by helping to reduce aggression, straying, spraying, calling and other anti-social behaviour.
Both spaying (removal of the female reproductive organs) and castration (in males) are routine and straightforward procedures in dogs and cats, and your vet will likely 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 some 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. It’s widely acknowledged that neutered rabbits of both sexes enjoy improved health (uterine cancers are very common) and happiness (lower testosterone means a calmer male!), and for obvious reasons, un-neutered rabbits would have to live alone, which isn’t fair on an animal that needs company.
It is in everybody’s interests to keep the numbers of unwanted pets as low as possible. 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 responsible carers wishing to neuter their pets, and 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
- THE 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 offer free weight management clinics.
Until next time, best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support
Please note: The Ralph Site is not affiliated with the third-party organisations in any of the links shared here, and the views, ideas and suggestions expressed in this and other blogs are simply shared with the intention of helping you, our friends, take care of the special animals in your lives.