Adding a new puppy to your family has all kinds of wonderful aspects. The sweet smell of puppy breath and puppy feet, the cute head tilts as adults speak in baby-speak, the pure joy and excitement of seeing you come through the door, the chewed shoes, magazines, toilet paper and anything else that is at a puppies reach. The word NO becomes a mainstream part of your vocabulary uttered so many times during the day that you are yelling it in your sleep. And just when you think things are settling down and you have everything under control….your friendly neighborhood veterinarian suggests it is time to do “the surgery”. And all you can utter is NOOOOOOOO. Having your sweet cuddly baby spayed or neutered is a necessity and a requirement of responsible pet ownership.

The surgery itself is relatively easy and not only prevents pet overpopulation but also prevents health issues later in life.

Through neutering, you can help your dog or cat live a happier, healthier, longer life. Spaying eliminates the constant crying and nervous pacing of a female cat in heat. Spaying a female dog also eliminates the messiness associated with the heat cycle.

Neutering of male dogs and cats can prevent certain undesirable sexual behaviors, such as urine marking, humping, male aggression and the urge to roam. If you have more than one pet in your household, all the pets will generally get along better if they are neutered.

A long-term benefit of spaying and neutering is improved health for both cats and dogs. Spaying females prior to their first heat cycle nearly eliminates the risk of breast cancer and totally prevents uterine infections and uterine cancer. Neutering males prevents testicular cancer and enlargement of the prostate gland, and greatly reduces their risk for perianal tumors.

So when your vet says it is time for “the surgery” know that it is a relatively simple procedure and it will positively impact your pet’s overall health for years to come. Spaying/neutering can safely be performed at as early as 8 weeks of age. The American Humane Association is a strong proponent of juvenile or pediatric spay/neuter since it is both healthy for pets and effectively reduces pet overpopulation. And no it will not change your puppy or kitten’s personality. Once they are home after the surgery  they will still be the terror of the household they were before. Trust me, I know this as we just experienced “the surgery” last week. Whoops…gotta go…our sweet puppy is dragging the roll of toilet paper through the living room and down the hall…..Noooooooooooo