Pros and Cons of neutering/spaying your pet

One of the most common questions that new pet owners ask me is should I spay/neuter my new pet? The answer, is well, complicated.

“Intact” animals were the norm for a long time, but in the 1970s animal shelters began euthanizing millions of homeless animals annually and the solution that we came to was to spay/neuter these animals. As time went on states began requiring that animals become spayed/neutered before being adopted for population and behavior control. Listed below are some pros and cons of neutering/spaying your pet:

Pros of neutering/spaying your pet -

  1. Less desire to roam in females and males;

  2. Reduces or eliminates risk of spraying and marking in males;

  3. There is thought that any aggressive behavior is decreased;

  4. Ability to board at various pet daycares or boarding facilities;

  5. Thought to prevent uterine infection and breast cancer in females and testicular cancer in males;

  6. Reduces overpopulation.

Cons of neutering/spaying your pet -

  1. Pets neutered prior to their first year of age can disrupt hormonal processes;

  2. Hormonal disruption in neutered male animals increase the risk of other growth centers;

  3. Research has shown that those fixed before they were 6 months old have higher rates of orthopedic injuries even when kept lean;

  4. The 2013 study revealed that Golden Retrievers that were spayed/neutered were three to four times more likely to develop certain cancers and develop join problems;

  5. The 2014 study looked at the long-term health effects of neutering dogs comparing Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers;

  6. The 2016 study looked at neutering German Shepard's and the possibility of joint disorders, cancers and urinary incontinence that may occur with early neutering.

There are so many long term effects that we don't know when it comes to neutering/spaying your animals. It truly depends on the breed of pet you have, and what the major health concerns are for that particular breed(s). It comes to the ownership accountability entailing - ample research on their pet breed(s) and ensuring that there is no reckless or negligent breeding.

For years we have treated the question of whether we should spay or neuter our animals with a blanket rule about their reproductive organs. Until more research on spay-neuter is done pet owners will need to research their animal breed(s), ensure their lifestyle fits the chosen breed, and present to their veterinarian the information they've come across in order to benefit from their consultation regarding what is best for their animal.

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