What is Spay/Neuter?

Spaying or neutering is one of the greatest gifts you can provide your pet, your family, and your community. The word "spay" refers to the sterilization of female pets. The term "neuter," while more commonly used to refer to the castration of male pets, can be used to describe the sterilization of either female or male pets. These routine medical procedures not only help control pet overpopulation, but they may also prevent medical and behavioral problems from developing, allowing your pet to lead a longer, healthier and happier life.

What are some benefits of spay/neuter?

Healthy Pets. Spay/neuter improves your pet's health, reducing or eliminating the risk of certain cancers and other diseases. Because spay/neuter often reduces the tendency to fight with other animals, it also protects your pet from fight-related injuries and from dangerous viruses spread through bite wounds. Spayed/neutered animals wander less and stay closer to home. As a result, they are less likely to be lost or hit by cars.

Happy Families. Spay/neuter reduces or eliminates spraying (marking objects with a spray of urine), yowling/howling, escaping, and other troublesome behaviors. You won't have to deal with the mess or the inconvenience of a pet in heat (or a male pet reacting to a female in heat). You'll be saved the considerable amount of time, money, and hassle (not to mention property damage!) involved in raising litters of puppies or kittens.

Healthy Communities. Spay/neuter has a direct impact on the incidence of dog bites in a community. The majority of dog bites (60-80 percent) are caused by intact male dogs. Pregnant or nursing female dogs are more likely to bite as well. Reducing your pet's likelihood of biting or fighting may also help protect you from potential legal action. Spayed/neutered pets are less likely to engage in behaviors that could cause problems with neighbors.

No More Homeless Pets. Spay/neuter directly impacts the number of animals that lose their lives in our shelters and on our streets. Having your pet spayed or neutered frees up homes for homeless pets that are already born. By getting your pet fixed, you are part of the campaign to reach the day when there are truly no more homeless pets!

Will my pet's behavior change after the surgery?

Spay/neuter can result in some behavior changes - for the better! Spayed or neutered pets are often less aggressive, more relaxed, and even more affectionate. Contrary to what some people fear, pets show no signs of "missing" mating or breeding. Rather, they are more content without those raging hormones!

Will my pet become fat?

Just like people, pets become overweight when they eat too much and/or exercise too little. An appropriate diet and sufficient activity will keep your pet slender and healthy.

How young can a dog or cat be spayed/neutered?

Puppies and kittens can now be spayed very early - as young as eight weeks. Though they may seem fragile at that age, healthy puppies and kittens are actually quite strong and recover quickly from the surgery. If your veterinarian is trained in early spay/neuter, the procedures are fast and easy. In addition, the cost for spaying or neutering a dog is often based on the weight of the animal and increases along with the dog's weight. Spaying or neutering early can save you money!

The benefits of spay/neuter: healthy pets, happy families, healthy communities, No More Homeless Pets!

Courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society

Hope's spay/neuter program is made possible by a generous grant from the ASPCA.

Common Myths About Spay/Neuter

Myth: Spaying and neutering is too expensive.
Fact: Altering your pet is cheaper than caring for the litters, and financial assistance is available for those who qualify.

Myth: If I neuter my dog he will become less protective.
Fact: Your dog's instinct to defend his turf won't be affected, and he'll be less likely to wander off.

Myth: Spaying/neutering makes pets fat.
Fact: Overfeeding and lack of exercise are responsible for weight gain in pets.

Myth: My pet should have one litter to experience the miracle of childbirth.
Fact: Many pets hide when giving birth, so you won't get to enjoy the miracle of birth with your pet. And having a litter won't improve your pet's health or personality, though she may be tired or irritable when nursing. And if you find homes for the litter, other animals already born are denied those homes.

Myth: Only females need to be fixed.
Fact: A male can father hundreds of offspring in his lifetime, and seriously upset your neighbors if he impregnates their unaltered female. Your male pet's instinctual hormonal responses are not the same as human emotional needs. When you alter your male, he won't notice a change that affects his fulfillment.

Myth: Spaying/neutering pets interferes with nature.
Fact: We've already interfered, since domesticating animals has led to greater and larger litters that cannot survive on their own like their ancestors or wild animals.

To learn more about our low-cost spay/neuter and vaccine clinics, click here.