Why Spay or Neuter Your Pet?


Pet overpopulation…the facts are simple.  There are just too many pets and not enough homes. The overpopulation problem has reached crisis levels, and the Sacramento SPCA is dedicated to helping end this crisis in our community by offering and promoting spaying and neutering.

Consider these statistics as to how just one litter can result in hundreds to thousands of unwanted pets:

The Prolific Cat The Prolific Dog
1st year 3 litters = 12 offspring 1st year 4 offspring with 2 females
2nd year 144 offspring 2nd year 12 offspring
3rd year 1,728 offspring 3rd year 36 offspring
4th year 10,736 offspring 5th year 324 offspring

What Is Spay/neuter?

The surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus of a female to prevent pregnancy or the removal of the testicles of males to prevent them from impregnating females.

Why Spay/Neuter?

It’s good for your pet…
Spaying/neutering helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by eliminating or reducing the incidence of a number of health problems that can be very difficult and/or expensive to treat.

  • It’s better to spay your female pet before she goes into heat for the first time. This reduces the risk of breast cancer and eliminates the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer in your dog.
  • Neutered males will not develop testicular cancer and their risk for developing prostate cancer is greatly reduced.

It’s good for you…

  • Spayed/neutered pets are, typically, better behaved and more calm and affectionate than those that are not spayed/neutered.
  • Male cats are less likely to spray urine and mark their territory, especially if neutered prior to developing this habit.
  • Spaying a dog or cat eliminates her heat cycle, thereby eliminating regular bleeding, and the incessant crying and nervous behavior that often accompanies the heat cycle.
  • Neutering decreases an animal’s desire to escape and wander the neighborhood in search of a mate. This decreases the risk of fights, death caused by getting hit by cars, and lost or stolen pets. You avoid the cost and sadness of a lost pet.
  • Spaying keeps unwelcome male animals away.

It’s good for the community…

  • Communities spend millions of dollars to control unwanted animals.
  • Spay/neuter decreases the homeless animal population. Shelters are full of homeless animals, and there are not enough homes for all of them.
  • Spay/neuter decreases the number of strays, which are often involved in dog bites and attacks, automobile accidents, defecation on and damage to private property, and more.
  • Stray animals can also scare away and kill wildlife and other domestic animals.

Myths & Facts

Myth: My pet will get fat and lazy.
Fact: The truth is that most pets get fat and lazy because their owners feed them too much and don’t give them enough exercise.

Myth: It’s better to have one litter first.
Fact: Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. Many veterinarians sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age.

Myth: My children should experience the miracle of birth.
Fact: Even if children are able to see a pet give birth – which is unlikely, since it usually occurs at night and in seclusion – the lesson they will really learn is that animals can be created and discarded as it suits adults. Instead, it should be explained to children that the real miracle is life and that preventing the birth of some pets can save the lives of others.

Myth: But my pet is a purebred.
Fact: So is at least one out of every four pets brought to animal shelters around the country. There are just too many dogs and cats – mixed and purebred alike.

Myth: I want my dog to be protective.
Fact: Spaying or neutering does not affect a dog’s natural instinct to protect home and family. A dog’s personality is formed more by genetics and environment than by sex hormones.

Myth: I don’t want my male dog or cat to feel like less of a male.
Fact: Pets don’t have any concept of sexual identity or ego. Neutering will not change a pet’s basic personality. He doesn’t suffer any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.

Myth: But my dog (or cat) is so special. I want a puppy (or kitten) just like him/her.
Fact: A dog or cat may be a great pet, but that doesn’t mean her offspring will be a carbon copy. In fact, an entire litter of puppies or kittens might receive all of a pet’s (and her mate’s) worst characteristics.

Myth: It’s too expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered.
Fact: There are many affordable spay/neuter options in our community. Please see the resources we have made available. Whatever the actual price, spay or neuter surgery is a one-time cost – a relatively small cost when compared to all the benefits. It’s a bargain compared to the cost of having a litter and ensuring the health of the mother and litter; two months of pregnancy and another two months until the litter is weaned can add up to significant veterinary bills and food costs; particularly if complications develop. Most importantly, it’s a very small price to pay for the health of your pet and the prevention of the births of more unwanted pets.

Myth: I’ll find good homes for all the puppies and kittens.
Fact: You may find good homes for all of your pet’s litter. But each home you find means one less home for the dogs and cats in shelters who need good homes. Also, in less than one year’s time, each of your pet’s offspring may have his or her own litter, adding even more animals to the population. The problem of pet overpopulation is created and perpetuated one litter at a time.


If you’d like to make an appointment to spay or neuter your pet, please visits sspca.org/clinicwaitlist