National Prevent A Litter Month

Love is often the unofficial theme for February. As Valentine’s Day approaches, stores fill with romantic trappings, such as flowers and candies. However, when it comes to pets, the focus is the opposite: it’s Prevent A Litter Month, Spay/Neuter Month, and Feline Fix By Five Month. All three of these awareness events share the same focus: reducing the number of unwanted litters of puppies and kittens. A local Hutchinson Island, FL vet offers some insight into this topic below.

What Is The Best Age To Spay/Neuter A Kitten?

Ideally, little Fluffy should be fixed before she goes into her first heat, which is around five months. (This is the thinking behind the Feline Fix By Five Month awareness event.) Our feline friends can become pregnant at just four months old, when they are really still babies themselves. Cats can be fixed at just eight weeks old, though many veterinarians now prefer to wait a little longer than that. Talk to your Hutchinson Island, FL veterinarian, and follow their advice.

Can I Still Get An Adult Pet Fixed?

Yes! The procedures can still safely be done on adults, though in some cases, it may not be recommended for a senior or a pet with serious medical issues. Talk to your veterinarian.

What’s The Best Age To Spay/Neuter A Dog?

There’s some gray areas here, as Fido’s size will factor in. Currently, the AKC recommends fixing small dogs around the age of six to nine months. For large breeds, you may need to wait longer. Some giant dogs shouldn’t have the surgery until they are 18 months old. Your Hutchinson Island, FL veterinarian will be able to recommend a time frame, based on your furry pal’s size and health.

Are Male Pets More Affectionate After Neutering?

Your furry pal may very well be lovable and cuddly before they are fixed, but don’t be surprised if they’re even more so after. Removing that hormonal urge to reproduce just naturally results in a calmer pet, which can greatly help with behavioral issues. Dogs and cats that have been fixed are no longer interested in marking their territory or trying to find a mate, so they usually turn their focus on playing, cuddling, and collecting belly rubs.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Getting My Pet Fixed?

While we definitely would put curbing animal overpopulation as the greater, underlying reason for getting this procedure, there are also some key benefits for your pet.

Here are a few key ones: 

Lower Cancer Risk: Getting your four-legged friend fixed will reduce the likelihood of them developing certain cancers. Males, for instance, have drastically reduced risks of testicular cancer, while females will have lower risk of ovarian, uterine, and mammary gland tumors.

Longer Lifespan: Did you know that pets who have been fixed tend to live longer? For girls, the dangers caused by potential complications from pregnancy and/or delivering are eliminated. There’s also the reduced cancer risk we mentioned above. Plus, pets are less likely to roam.

Reduce Unwanted Behaviors: Those heat cycles and hormonal urges can come with some pretty messy side effects. For instance, intact male pets are much more likely to spray. They’re also more aggressive, and more prone to destructive behaviors. 

Will Getting My Pet Fixed Really Help Curb Overpopulation?

While getting your furry pal spayed or neutered won’t magically solve this problem, it definitely helps. This is definitely a case of a collective effort. Every pet counts!

Let’s look at Fluffy and Fido’s reproductive statistics. The numbers get pretty mind-boggling here.

How Fast Do Dogs Reproduce?

Our canine pals can have about two litters per year, with the average litter size being about six to ten. That means a single pair of dogs can have as many as 67,000 descendants in just six years! 

Of course, that’s just an average. Some pooches have way more babies than that. The world record goes to Tia, a Neapolitan Mastiff who had a whopping 24 puppies in a 2004 litter. That very tired mama made the Guinness Book Of World Records for her litter. More recently, an Australian pooch named Honey broke the country’s record. Honey had 22 pups after three days of labor.

How Fast Do Cats Reproduce?

As for Fluffy, kitties can have three litters a year, which would normally be about 4-6 kittens each. That means a pair of kitties can have as many as 2, 072, 514 descendants in just eight! 

A few of our feline pals can give Honey and Tia a run for their money. The record for the biggest litter of kittens was set back in 1970, when a Burmese/Siamese cat had 19 kittens. Though four were stillborn, even the 15 surviving kittens would have made for a newsworthy litter. However, the ultimate lifetime record goes to a Texas kitty named Dusty, who had a whopping 420 kittens over the course of her life.

Too many puppies and kittens may sound like a pretty adorable problem, but those numbers tie into some much more sobering statistics. Roughly 7.6 million animals enter American shelters every year. Of those, about 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats will be euthanized. 

That’s even not counting the millions of homeless pets that are out there fending for themselves. It’s a rough life for animals on the street: many live very short, very hard lives. Stopping your furry friend from adding to those numbers is a small act that can and will make a difference for the greater good.

How Do I Help My Pet Recover From Spay/Neuter Surgery?

Your veterinary clinic will give you aftercare instructions, often in the form of a care sheet. Follow those instructions to the letter.

Generally, you’ll want to give your furry friend a clean, quiet, comfy place to recover. (If you have been considering getting a new bed, this is a great time to do it.) If you have other pets, keep them in a separate area for the first few days, and just let your furry patient rest and heal. You will want to keep an eye on the surgical area.

Pets do have a tendency to try to scratch or nibble stitches. Your vet may recommend an inflatable collar or lampshade collar (aka the Cone Of Shame) to prevent them from opening the stitches. Your veterinary clinic will give you information on this.

Boys heal faster from the procedure than girls will. Males will be over the healing ‘hump’ in a few days, while females may not be fully healed for a few weeks. 

Generally, just watch for any signs of infection or complications. These include the following:

  • Redness
  • Pus
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Torn Stitches
  • Foul Odor
  • Lethargy
  • Lack Of Appetite

Contact your veterinary clinic right away if you notice anything amiss.

Bonus: Additional Reason To Get Your Cat Fixed

We can’t really talk about spaying or neutering pets without at least touching on one of the less-talked about benefits of getting Fluffy fixed: the fact that you’ll be spared your pet’s horrific kitty love songs. Fluffy is a wonderful pet, but her musical capacities definitely leave a lot to be desired. When cats go into heat, they try to attract mates by singing. Or, what they seem to consider singing. Apparently, other felines find this ‘caterwauling’ appealing. To our human ears, however, it’s more like a low-key torture. This may be reason enough to have your pet fixed in and of itself!

Do you need to schedule spay/neuter surgery for your pet? Do you have questions about getting your furry buddy fixed? Contact us, your local Hutchinson Island, FL pet hospital, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs.

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