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The Importance of Spaying or Neutering

In 2020, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared February as Spay And Neuter Awareness Month. Pet overpopulation is a serious and expensive issue, costing the United States over $1 billion, annually. With nearly 13,000 homeless pets entering LifeLine’s shelters last year, we greatly need the community’s help addressing the pet overpopulation issue. Many of the pets entering our shelter are healthy and adoptable, so we make every effort to find these pets loving homes. Spaying and neutering your pet help prevents unwanted litters. And doing so allows us to find more homes for the homeless pets in our shelters!

We understand that spaying or neutering your pet is a big decision. So we’ve compiled some frequently asked questions below to help put your mind at ease.

What does "spay" and "neuter" mean?

The word “spay” means to sterilize female pets by removing their ovaries. The term “neuter” means to sterilize male pets by removing their testicles. These surgeries prevent pets from producing offspring.

What are the benefits of spaying and neutering?

Medical Benefits
  • Spaying before the first heat cycle reduces the risk of uterine infections and diseases, mammary tumors and breast cancer in females.
  • Neutering reduces the risk of prostate cancer in older males.
  • Ends the bleeding from females being in heat.
  • Lowers aggression and protects your pet from fight-related injuries and dangerous viruses spread through bite wounds.
  • Extends pets’ lives by reducing the risk of the infections, diseases and cancers mentioned above.
Behavioral Benefits
  • Helps prevent animals from trying to escape their yards or homes to find a mate to reproduce with.
  • Stops house soiling and spraying, which is the marking of objects with a spray of urine.
  • Eliminates continuous barking or meowing.
  • Reduces aggression such as fighting with other pets and biting humans or other pets.

    Can my one pet make that much of a difference?

    Yes! Unlike humans, dogs and cats give birth to 4-to-6 animals in one litter. Also, dogs can give birth up to twice a year and cats up to 5 times a year! Because they can produce so many offspring each year, it is important to spay/neuter your pet as soon as possible!

    Spay or neuter lowers the number of animals that lose their lives roaming the streets and in shelters. It also gives pets already in shelters a better chance of finding a home.

    Won’t female pets miss having puppies or kittens?

    Despite popular belief, they won’t! Female pets care for their young for a only few months until weaned and then usually have nothing to do with them. Also, pregnancy can be very dangerous. Pets can experience pregnancy complications that lead to death.

    Will neutering my pet take away his "manhood?"

    The truth is that your pet doesn’t become less-than because he is neutered. Your male pet’s psychology and biology are quite different than those of humans. His hormones make him want to produce as many offspring as possible so his species can survive. This only adds to the pet overpopulation crisis.

    How old does my pet need to be before getting spayed/neutered?

    We spay or neuter kittens when they weigh 2 lbs and dogs when they weigh 5 lbs. Young pets recover faster from the surgeries than older pets.

    Is spaying/neutering my pet expensive?

    The price of spaying or neutering your pet is determined by their species (dog or cat) and weight. At a private veterinarian, a spay or neuter surgery could cost $100 -$200 per pet. But LifeLine Animal Project practices high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter. This allows us to keep our costs low to keep our prices affordable. Learn more about our spay/neuter pricing.

    Is there any post-surgery care that I should be aware of?

    Yes. After having your pet spayed or neutered, there are a handful of post-surgery instructions that are important to follow. This will help ensure that your pet heals quickly and safely, preventing any post-surgery complications. Read our blog post on caring for your pet after surgery.

    There are outdoor cats in my community. Can they be fixed too?

    Absolutely! Community cats are free-roaming cats who live outdoors. It’s critical to spay and neuter these cats too to reduce pet overpopulation. LifeLine follows a Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR) protocol in which outdoor cats are brought to our shelters, spayed/neutered and vaccinated and brought back to the location at which they were found. Learn more about our SNR policy.

    What qualifications does the LifeLine staff have?

    LifeLine’s veterinarians and technicians all have many years of clinical experience. Our veterinarians are fully licensed and receive ongoing training in the latest surgical techniques. In 2022, LifeLine performed over 13,000 spay/neuter surgeries in our two clinics. We are the spay/neuter experts, and your pet’s care always comes first! You can learn more about our veterinary team here.

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