Neutering Male Pets

Most male dogs and cats should be neutered (castrated) unless they will be professionally bred or shown. Besides taking away his ability to impregnate a female, neutering can benefit your pet's physical health and can help avoid behavioral problems that can damage the human-pet relationship.

Males may be spayed when they are as young as 2 to 4 months old, although many veterinarians still choose to perform the procedure when pets are 5 to 6 months old. All animals are individuals, so talk with your veterinarian about the best time to spay your particular pet.

Physical Benefits of an Early Neuter
Male dogs and cats usually become sexually mature between 4 and 7 months of age. Neutering substantially reduces the chance of males developing testicular cancer and can help prevent development of perianal tumors and some diseases of the prostate.

Behavioral Benefits of an Early Neuter
As males mature, they become increasingly protective of their territory. Undesirable behaviors associated with territorial protection include aggression toward other animals (particularly males) that enter a male's self-established territorial boundaries and urine marking of those boundaries. Fights caused by territorial aggression often result in severe injury to one or both animals involved. Stains and odors resulting from urine sprayed on walls, carpets, and furniture can be difficult to impossible to remove.

Intact (unneutered) males will also actively seek out receptive females, which means that roaming and escape are potential problems. Males that roam may be injured by other animals, be hit by cars, consume garbage or contaminated water, or become lost. Roaming animals also cause problems for communities by getting into trash containers, defecating in public areas or on private lawns, ruining shrubbery, creating noise and other disturbances, and posing a risk of injury and disease to themselves and to community residents.

Research has shown that neutering may prevent or effect positive changes in all of these behaviors. The behavior most consistently impacted by neutering is roaming behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pets 911 is a free public service consisting of and a bilingual, toll-free hotline, 1-888-PETS-911. Pets 911 is the nationwide network of animal welfare organizations working together to make it easy to return your lost pet home, as well as provide you with the community-specific information needed to better care for your pets. Information and advice contained on this site is for your consideration only. Please consult your veterinarian for specific advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet.

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