Is Spaying/ Neutering Necessary for Your Pet?

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Do you have a dog or cat not spayed or neutered yet? You might wonder if spaying and neutering are necessary for your beloved pet and be concerned about potential risks. Read on to learn more as I answer many common questions about spaying and neutering.

Q. What is spaying/neutering?

Spaying is the common term to describe a surgical procedure of removing the ovaries or uterus to sterilize female animals. Neutering is similar to spaying but it is described to remove testicals to sterilize male animals.

Q. Why should I have my pet spayed or neutered?

You love your cat or dog and want to ensure it has a long healthy life. Spay/neuter is recommended to help your pet be less stressed and hyper in mating season and to prevent risks of many diseases. 

For example, spay/neuter can prevent female dogs or cats from diseases such as ovary or womb infection. Male dogs or cats will be less likely to fight with others. Male cat marking (spraying pee in the house on your furniture) will be eliminated or decreased.

Please be aware that your community already has many surrendered or abandoned pets filling shelters. Accidental pregnancies result in more unwanted births and add more pressure to an already overloaded system. Pets in shelters wait for many months or years for someone to adopt them. Some shelters have to resort to euthanasia due to lack of capacity problems. The punchline is – We already have many pets in the world. Please plan ahead for spaying and neutering to avoid adding more!

Q. What age should I spay/ neuter my dog or cat?

There are different recommendations when to spay or neuter your pet depending on cats or dogs.

  • Dogs: In general, the traditional age recommendation for spaying/neutering is six to nine months and likely even older for larger breeds. However, healthy puppies as young as eight weeks old can be neutered according to the ASPCA article. Adult dogs can be neutered although there are postoperative complications in older dogs, overweight dogs in overweight, and dogs with health problems.
  • Cats: According to OntarioSPCA and Humane Society, you can bring your eight week old kitty to be spayed or neutered. It is advised to spay/neuter before your cat reaches five months of age to prevent the start of males spraying urine and females risking the chance of pregnancy. It is possible to spay a female cat while she is in heat if that’s necessary, but your vet may advise against it. Read More.

Q. How much does spaying or neutering cost in Ontario?

Spaying/neutering costs vary depending on your pet’s species (dog spaying is more expensive than cat spaying in general), size (some places make estimates depending on your dog’s weight- the larger breed is more expensive), location, and veterinary clinic.

If you have access to a high volume, low cost local veterinarian such as East Village Animal Hospital (EVAH), prices in 2024 for qualified low income clients can be as low as:

  • Cat Spay: $160
  • Cat Neuter: $135
  • Dog Spay: $395~ $495
  • Dog neuter $375~ $475

The price of spay and neuter at a regular clinic will be more expensive than this guideline. You may consider reading PAW’s blog post “Need Help Finding Affordable Vet Care? Here’s Where To Start”, for further information about finding an affordable vet.

Q. Are there any programs for assisting with the cost of spay and neuter?

You can simply google low cost veterinary clinics or search for spay and neuter support programs. These types of programs quickly fill up, so plan ahead, apply and book well in advance. Some enlightened municipalities offer programs for feral cats (search for TNR trap, neuter, release). Many Humane Societies or SPCAs offer clinics or special programs across Canada. Here are a few examples: 

  • City of London– subsidized Spay/Neuter program: This program is intended to ease the financial burden some London households face when considering spaying or neutering their pet. Check details carefully. The dog program was not operational at the time of this posting.
  • Humane society (Kitchener Waterloo and Stratford): The Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) supports low-income households in Kitchener, Waterloo, and Stratford with low-cost spay neuter services.  
  • OntarioSPCA and Humane Society: On the first Month of every Month, they will open bookings for both Ontario SPCA (Stouffville, Barrie) and Humane Society spay/neuter locations. Age for dogs and cats should be between four months and five months with limited weight (dog should be less than 30kg) for this program.
  • PAWS: PAWS focuses on subsidizing vet costs for people with severely low income or experiencing a crisis. The serving area is limited to where there are donors and business partners to provide funds, so check their criteria before applying

Summary

We recommend spay/neuter early. “Fix by Five months”.

Do your own research, make a decision about timing, and plan ahead. Book your appointment well in advance.

You are making the right move to protect your animal companions’ health and avoid unwanted births!

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