One of the biggest responsibilities of being a pet owner is desexing your pet. Whether you have a dog, a cat, or a pet such as a rabbit, guinea pig, or ferret, desexing is one of the most important things you will do, both for your pet and for the wider domestic animal community.
Australians have a well known love of companion animals, with strong bonds between humans and our furry family members, and well over sixty percent of Australian households are home to pets numbering an estimated thirty-three million across the nation. We spend eight million dollars per week as a nation in looking after our pets.
Sadly, however, far too few pet owners bother desexing, spaying (female), or neutering (male) their pets. Yet even a pet that is exclusively kept inside should be desexed.
(Source: Darwin My Vet Service)
Many of these pets end up homeless, in pounds, shelters, or dumped. Many are mistreated by humans and many become strays. A huge number of healthy animals must be euthanized. Too many puppies and kittens are unwanted and have miserable lives.
What are the Health Benefits of Desexing?
- Desexing eliminates the natural instinct for roaming and wandering looking for a mate – stopping male dogs in particular from trying to escape, as well as getting lost or hit by cars
- A desexed pet won’t attract other undexed pets to your property
- Desexing female pets eliminates messy bleeding that occurs while in heat
- Desexing male cats and dogs eliminates malodorous spraying and marking
- Desexing male pets reduces aggression
- Desexing female pets prevents mating behaviours as well as false pregnancy
- Desexing female cats eliminates crying while they are in heat
- Desexing eliminates stress in pets as well as exhaustion from breeding
- Desexing a male cat or dog reduces the risk of developing prostate disease and testicular cancer
- Desexing a female cat or dog reduces the risk of developing uttering infections and cancers as well as mammary cancers
- A desexed pet will usually live a longer and healthier life, as well as being calmer and more affectionate
Most importantly, desexing alleviates pressure on pet overpopulation, which causes pet homelessness and the unnecessary euthanasia of countless cats and dogs every year. RSPCA shelters alone take in more than one hundred and sixty thousand unwanted animals across Australia every year, and many of these are the result of unplanned breeding. Desexing prevents unwanted pet pregnancies.
Will Desexing Alter my Pet’s Personality?
No. Your pet’s personality will remain the same; however their behaviour, focus, and levels of happiness and playfulness may improve.
When Should My Pet be Desexed?
The younger the pet, the less stressful the procedure will be. Many vets recommend desexing at five or six months of age. Ideally, however, desexing for both cats and dogs should be carried out by about age four months (or sixteen weeks). Organisations such as the RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League regularly desex pets at just eight weeks of age, when surgery is very simple and the recovery process is very fast. This is called Early Age Desexing. Cats can breed from as young as just four months of age, so it really is important to get it done earlier.
A male pet will usually be desexed and sent home the same day; a female pet will usually stay overnight in the vet hospital as the procedure is a little more complicated. Older pets often require more complex surgeries and recovery will take longer.
Desexing is part of your responsibility as a pet owner – every bit as important as feeding, shelter, grooming, and dog walking. It is a loving act towards your pet. Contact your vet today to learn more about desexing your pet as soon as possible.