5 Common Spay and Neuter Myths Debunked

Myth: My pet will get fat.

Truth: Maybe, but whether your pet puts on the pounds is strictly up to you. The age at which pets are spayed or neutered is typically the time their growth slows and they would normally begin to put on weight anyway. The good news is that weight gain is not inevitable after spay or neuter surgery. Managing your dog’s diet and exercise is the key to keeping him slim and trim. In most cases, it's best to measure his food instead of free feeding, don’t feed high-calorie puppy food beyond 5 or 6 months of age, and experiment to determine the best amount for him instead of going by the one-size-fits-all recommendation on the bag or can. It’s okay to give more or less depending on your dog’s individual needs, which are based on his breed, activity level and size. When in doubt, ask your veterinarian to recommend a food and feeding amount that are appropriate for your pet.

Myth: My pet is too young to be spayed or neutered.

Truth: In many cases, younger is better. Some young animals can reach sexual maturity as early as 4 months of age. With cats, especially, spaying or neutering sooner can prevent unwanted litters. Young dogs and cats can be better able to handle the surgery. Younger pets may come out of anesthesia more smoothly and recover more quickly with less bleeding and pain. That said, some large and giant breeds can benefit from a longer wait before spay or neuter surgery. Talk to your veterinarian about the best age for your particular breed.

Myth: Spay or neuter surgery is expensive.

Truth: Not necessarily. The cost varies depending on where you live and whether your pet is a cat or a dog, small or large, young or old. The surgery is usually less expensive for smaller and younger animals. It’s a lot less expensive when you compare it to the cost (think a couple thousand dollars) of a potential Caesarean section if your pet has trouble delivering a litter, or the cost of feeding and caring for pups or kittens and paying for their veterinary checkups, vaccines and deworming before they can be placed in new homes. If money is an issue, plenty of low-cost or free programs are available to help you get your pet altered before the two of you face a surprise litter. Talk with your vet about the options.

More on Vetstreet: