SPAYING AND NEUTERING
Arlington Animal Services, in order to better educate the public
regarding the importance of spaying and neutering pets, is displaying
a license plate cover on all Animal Services vehicles that reads,
"Prevent A Litter! Fix Your Critter!". The license plate
covers were donated by Mary Steffenhagen on behalf of Ahimsa of Texas,
an animal welfare and rescue organization.
Why is spaying and neutering such an important issue? Because in
seven years, one female cat and her offspring can theoretically
produce 420,000 cats; in six years, one female dog and her offspring
can theoretically produce 67,000 dogs. The Humane Society of the
United States estimates the number of cats and dogs entering shelters
each year to be between eight and ten million, with four to five
million of those animals being euthanized. There are too many pets and
not enough homes.
Arlington Animal Services
recommends that pet owners be responsible and have their family pet
spayed or neutered by their family pet veterinarian. Animal Services
does not provide spay and neuter procedures as a service, but does
ensure that alteration procedures are performed on all animals
adopted from the shelter.
Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Pet?
What do "spay" and "neuter" really mean?
Female dogs and cats are spayed by removing their reproductive
organs, and male dogs and cats are neutered by removing their
testicles. In both cases the operation is performed while the pet is
under anesthesia. Depending on your pet's age, size, and health, he or
she will stay at your veterinarian's office for a few hours or a few
days. Depending upon the procedure, your pet may need stitches removed
after a few days. Your veterinarian can fully explain spay and neuter
procedures to you and discuss with you the best age at which to
sterilize your pet.
Spaying or Neutering Is Good for Your Pet
- Spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier
- Spaying and neutering can eliminate or reduce the incidence of a
number of health problems that can be very difficult or expensive
- Spaying eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer
and greatly reduces the incidence of breast cancer, particularly
when your pet is spayed before her first estrous cycle.
- Neutering eliminates testicular cancer and decreases the
incidence of prostate disease.
Spaying or Neutering Is Good for You
- Spaying and neutering makes pets better, more affectionate
- Neutering cats makes them less likely to spray and mark
- Spaying a dog or cat eliminates her heat cycle. Estrus lasts an
average of six to 12 days, often twice a year, in dogs and an
average of six to seven days, three or more times a year, in cats.
Females in heat can cry incessantly, show nervous behavior, and
attract unwanted male animals.
- Unsterilized animals often exhibit more behavior and temperament
problems than do those who have been spayed or neutered.
- Spaying and neutering can make pets less likely to bite.
- Neutering makes pets less likely to roam the neighborhood, run
away, or get into fights.
Spaying and Neutering Fosters Livable Neighborhoods
- Communities spend millions of dollars to control unwanted
- Irresponsible breeding contributes to the problem of dog bites
- Animal shelters are overburdened with surplus animals.
- Stray pets and homeless animals get into trash containers,
defecate in public areas or on private lawns, and frighten or
anger people who have no understanding of their misery or needs.
- Some stray animals also scare away or kill birds and wildlife.
Spay or neuter surgery carries a one-time cost that is relatively
small when one considers its benefits. It's a small price to pay for
the health of your pet and the prevention of more unwanted animals.
Myths and Facts About Spaying and Neutering
MYTH: "My pet will get fat and lazy."
The truth is that most pets get fat and lazy because
their owners feed them too much and don't give them enough exercise.
MYTH: "It's better to have one litter first."
Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact,
the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are
typically healthier. Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as
young as eight weeks of age. Check with your veterinarian about the
appropriate time for these procedures.
MYTH: "But my pet is a purebred."
So is at least one out of every four pets brought to
animal shelters around the country. There are just too many dogs and
cats—mixed breed and purebred.
MYTH: "I want my dog to be protective."
Spaying or neutering does not affect a dog's natural
instinct to protect home and family. A dog's personality is formed
more by genetics and environment than by sex hormones.
MYTH: "I don't want my male dog or cat to feel like
less of a male."
Pets don't have any concept of sexual identity or ego.
Neutering will not change a pet's basic personality. He doesn't suffer
any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.
MYTH: "It's too expensive to have my pet spayed or
The cost of spaying or neutering depends on the sex,
size, and age of the pet, your veterinarian's fees, and a number of
other variables. But whatever the actual price, spay or neuter surgery
is a one-time cost—a relatively small cost when compared to all the
benefits. It's a bargain compared to the cost of having a litter and
ensuring the health of the mother and litter; two months of pregnancy
and another two months until the litter is weaned can add up to
significant veterinary bills and food costs if complications develop.
Most importantly, it's a very small price to pay for the health of
your pet and the prevention of the births of more unwanted pets.
MYTH: "I'll find good homes for all the puppies and
You may find homes for all of your pet's litter. But each
home you find means one less home for the dogs and cats in shelters
who need good homes. Also, in less than one year's time, each of your
pet's offspring may have his or her own litter, adding even more
animals to the population. The problem of pet overpopulation is
created and perpetuated one litter at a time.
Information provided is courtesy of the Humane Society of the