Many pet owners are unaware about the importance and benefits of sterilizing their pet. If you are a new pet owner looking for more information on pet sterilization, then you are in the right place.
What is Sterilization?
Pet sterilization is a surgical procedure that is commonly performed on both male and female dogs, cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs. It removes a part of the animal’s reproductive organs to prevent it from reproducing permanently. Male animals will have their testicles removed while female animals have their ovaries and uterus removed. Sterilization must be performed under strict sterile conditions at a licensed vet clinic while the pet is under general anesthesia.
While sterilizing your pet is not mandatory, it is highly recommended if you wish to give your pet a much healthier life. Here’s why.
Benefits of Sterilization
1. Increases Your Pet’s Chance of a Longer and Healthier Life
According to a study1 based on the medical records of over 70,000 animal patients, it is found that the life expectancy of sterilized male dogs and sterilized female dogs increased by 13.8% and 26.3% respectively. Another study2 conducted based on 2.2 million dogs and 460,000 cats reflected similar results. Male and female dogs that were sterilized lived 18% and 23% longer respectively while sterilized male and female cats lived 62% and 39% longer respectively. One of the main reasons for the increase in longevity of neutered pets is their reduced risk of health problems.
2. Reduces the Risk of Cancers and Diseases Linked to their Reproductive Organs
Intact pets are more likely to develop cancers and diseases of the reproductive system. Female pets that have not been sterilized are at risk of developing pyometra, which is a fatal uterine infection, mammary gland tumors, and ovarian and/or uterine cancer. Male pets that are not sterilized may develop testicular cancer and prostate diseases such as prostatic hyperplasia, which is an enlargement of the prostate gland that can affect their ability to defecate.
3. Eliminates Risk of Unwanted Pregnancy in Female Pets
Pets need a lot of tender loving care, and preventing an unwanted pregnancy in your female pets can lower the likelihood of you having to split your attention between multiple pets, allowing you to focus your energy on just one. It also reduces the associated costs that may be incurred should you need to care for several other pets, pay for licenses, and other expenses related to training and rehoming.
Non-sterilized dogs will cost $90 per dog for a one-year license, while sterilized dogs will cost $15 per dog for a one-year license. Any subsequent dogs will cost $180 each for a one-year license, or $460 each for a one-time license.
4. Decreases Aggressive Behavior in Male Pets
Sterilized male pets are less aggressive towards other males and rarely distracted by other females in heat. If you sterilize your male pet, it reduces the likelihood of him leaving your property or rushing dangerously to another female pet in search of a mate. Neutered male dogs are also less likely to “mark” their territory by urinating in different spots.
When Should Your Pet Be Sterilized?
Although there has been little research into the best time for pet sterilization, the general rule of thumb for pets is anywhere after sexual maturity, commonly between five and eight months old.
However, the time of sterilization also depends on the size and breed of your pet as it affects their growth rate and development stage, as well as the type of lifestyle you want for your pet. For example, some pet owners may choose to spay their female pets after they get their first heat. This is because it is believed that allowing their body to mature naturally reduces the pet’s risk of injury in the future when participating in high-intensity activities.
Before you decide to sterilize your pet, do ample research and consult with a trusted veterinarian to learn more about the procedure and what would be best for your pet.
Looking for a veterinary clinic near you? My Family Vet Clinic and Surgery is a vet clinic in Singapore that provides comprehensive, high-quality, ethical, and personalized care for house pets. From dog vaccination to cat sterilization, we have the expertise to handle all of your pet’s health related needs and issues. We operate as a walk-in clinic and our operating hours can be found here.
 Hoffman, J. M., Creevy, K. E., & Promislow, D. E. (2013). Reproductive capability is associated with lifespan and cause of death in companion dogs. PLoS ONE, 8(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0061082
 State of Pet Health 2013 report – humane society of the United States. (n.d.). Retrieved September 2, 2022, from https://www.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/docs/Banfield-State-of-Pet-Health-Report_2013.pdf