Why Spay or Neuter Your Pet?

Across the country and around the world, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized annually or suffer as strays. Many of these are the result of unwanted, unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering. Rarely surviving for more than a few years on their own, strays die painfully by starvation, disease, freezing or being hit by cars.

Spaying or Neutering Will Not Alter Your Pet’s Personality

Regardless of the age when spayed or neutered, your pet will remain a caring, loving and protective companion. Any slight changes will be positive. Neutering will reduce the need to breed, which has a calming effect on many animals. Both neutered male canines and felines tend to stop roaming and fighting, and they also lose the desire to mark their territory with urine.

Spay or Neuter Early

The sooner you spay your female, the better her health will be in the future. Many veterinarians practice safe early sterilization. The longer a female goes unspayed, the greater the likelihood of developing mammary tumors or uterine infections. In fact, a female spayed before her first heat (six to nine months of age) has one-seventh the risk of developing mammary cancer as does an intact female. Early age spay/neuter is safe and effective. If you have a new puppy or kitten, talk with your veterinarian about when they recommend the surgery.

Pets Will Not Become Fat and Lazy if Spayed or Neutered

Your pet will not gain weight if you provide exercise and monitor food intake. Also, sterilized pets tend to live an average of 2-3 years longer than unsterilized pets.

Better Behavior

Male dogs that are neutered when young are much less likely to roam, mark their territory (and your belongings) with urine, and show aggression toward other male dogs. Intact (unneutered) male dogs will go to great lengths to get to a female dog in heat—they will dig their way out of yards, break fences and leashes, and cross streets in heavy traffic if a female in heat is in the area.

Easier Care

An unspayed female dog bleeds for about 10 straight days twice a year. She bleeds on your carpet, your furniture, the interior of your car and on the ground outside. As soon as she has marked your yard, you can anticipate a constant parade of male dogs who will pace your lawn, howl and bark. You have a fenced yard? They will dig their way in.

Other Important Facts

  • Spaying and neutering are the most common surgeries performed on animals. With a minimal amount of home care, your pet will resume normal behavior in a couple of days.
  • Spay/neuter decreases the homeless animal population. Shelters are full of homeless animals and there are not enough homes for all of them.
  • If your pet accidentally becomes pregnant, you will have to provide additional medical care — for her and the babies — and be responsible for finding good homes for half a dozen or more offspring.
  • Males neutered at a young age are far less likely to develop dominance or aggression-related behavior problems, including possession and food guarding, territory marking and aggression toward other dogs.

Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Options

Congratulations! By deciding to spay or neuter, you have made a very important and loving decision for your pet. If you adopt a pet from HSHC and it is not already spayed or neutered, we will collect a $50 deposit from you. In return you will get a HASP (Harford County Sterilization Program) certificate and a list of vets that accept the HASP certificate. The HASP certificate only covers the procedure. Discuss additional charges directly with the veterinarian you choose. You will have 60 days (or 60 days after your kitten or puppy reaches 6 months of age) to have your new pet spayed or neutered. Provide us with a receipt from your veterinarian and your $50 deposit will be refunded back to you.

If you have a pet at home that is not yet spayed or neutered, HSHC has resources for you. HSHC does not have the capability to perform spay/neuter surgery on-site, so we recommend you contact one of the agencies below. Many of these resources also provide low-cost vaccinations and veterinary care.

All Paws Animal Welfare Clinic
Perryville, MD

Animal Rescue, Inc. (cats only)
New Freedom, PA

Baltimore County Animal Services – Baltimore County residents only
410-887-PAWS (7297)
13800 Manor Road, Baldwin, MD and 7702 Dunmanway, Dundalk, MD

Baltimore Humane Society

Cat Crusaders, Inc.
Perryville, MD

Falls Road Animal Hospital

Friends of Animals

Maryland SPCA

SNAP (Spay & Neuter All Pets)