What is spay and what is neuter?
Spaying and neutering renders the dog unable to have puppies, either by getting pregnant or by inseminating a female. Spaying refers to making it so a female dog cannot get pregnant.
Neutering is for male dogs and usually involves the removal of testicles. These procedures are very common and relatively straight forward surgeries. It is easier on the dog and the owner if the surgery is done when the dog is still a puppy.
Opinions vary on what exactly is the best age, but most agree the puppy should be older than 6 weeks and less than one year. As the dog gets older, the surgery becomes more and more involved. For older female dogs, getting spayed can be life threatening.
Why is it important?
It’s very important to spay and/or neuter your dog to prevent them from breeding. There are already millions of extra dogs in this world, so many dogs that there are not enough homes for all of them.
When dogs breed uncontrollably, the puppies are likely not going to get the care they need and deserve. These puppies are destined for difficult lives, seeking out a life on the edge of society. For some, they are lucky.
They get picked up by a rescue and homes are found. But for millions of dogs around the world, they are resigned to a short and tortured life.
Where can you get these procedures?
Most veterinarians offer spay and neuter services. Since it is a surgery, the procedure must be performed by a licensed veterinarian. Some vets offer free or low cost spay and neutering services to try and encourage more people to do the procedure.
Many dog rescues will not allow a dog to be adopted out without either spaying or neutering the dog themselves or by requiring the adopting family to commit to spaying or neutering the dog as soon as they are able.