Why You Should Desex Your Pet

There are more animals than the number of responsible homes available at any one time.
Last year the RSPCA alone received over 90, 000 unwanted dogs and cats.

What are the benefits?

  • Reduces the number of unwanted puppies and kittens
  • Behaviour management –
    • Desexed dogs are more likely to stay at home and less likely to fight.  If they’re scared, they might growl or bite (fear aggression), but they are less likely to pick a fight.
    • Urine spraying and mounting are associated with the sex hormones, and so occur less commonly in desexed animals.
  • Health benefits
    • Pyometra, a disease of the uterus, can occur in female dogs after heat when no pregnancy results.  The uterus is usually removed at time of desexing, and so pyometra isn’t seen in desexed female dogs.
    • Cancers of the prostate, anal region and mammary tissue are often associated with the sex hormones.  Desexing reduces the risk of these cancers.
  • Desexed dogs and cats have a longer, happier life.

What age should my dog/cat be desexed?

For optimum growth and strong healthy joints, we advise male dogs to be desexed at 10 – 14 months after they have reached puberty.  It can be done earlier if they start showing sexual behaviour.
Female dogs are generally desexed at 6 – 7 months, before their first heat. There’s no benefit to a female dog having a heat before desexing and being on heat is a messy process.
Male and female cats are usually desexed between 5-6 months age. But in the warmer months, females can be pregnant at 4 months of age.
Keep your undesexed kittens inside especially in spring/summer – girls fall pregnant, boys get caught up in fights!

I’ve heard otherwise…

  • Some pet owners believe that an inside dog or cat doesn’t require desexing.
    • We commonly encounter unexpected litters from unplanned matings.
  • Some owners are worried that desexing will change their pet’s personality.
    • It won’t. The pet will be the same animal, just a bit calmer.
  • Some pet owners are concerned that their pet will gain weight after desexing.
    • Animals that are desexed may have slightly lower calorie requirements than undesexed animals but
      weight can be managed by controlling the quantity and quality of food offered, and ensuring adequate exercise.


What about older dogs, is it too late?

It’s rarely too late to have your animal desexed.  Modern anaesthetics are safe for most older animals and behaviour and health benefits will be gained with desexing.

What happens when an animal is desexed?

Desexing is routinely done as a surgery day procedure. In males, the testicles are removed, in females the uterus and ovaries are removed.   Animals recover from the surgery quickly. With good pain relief in the 3-4 days after surgery, owners often comment that their pet didn’t really notice that they’d had an operation.

What about medical desexing?

A non-surgical implant is available that temporarily and reversibly prevents reproduction for male dogs.
It gives them the health and behaviour benefits of desexing for up to 18 months, without having to have ‘the snip’.
It’s a good option for old male dogs if desexing has been advised for health reasons, and for younger ones when you only want a temporary stop on fertility.