Why Spay or Neuter Your Pet?

Every year across the country and around the world, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are killed in shelters. Many of these are the result of unwanted, unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering. Here are some other great reasons to spay or neuter:

Spaying or Neutering Will Not Alter Your Pet’s Personality in a Negative Way

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.

Fewer Stray Animals Coming into the Shelter

Did you know an unaltered male can smell a female in heat from up to four miles away? And if they do, they’ll do just about anything they can to get to her. Spaying and neutering means fewer stray cats and dogs coming into the shelter because they got out of the house trying to find a mate.

Spay or Neuter ASAP!

The sooner you spay your pet, the better their health will be in the future. Many veterinarians and shelters use the safe practice of pediatric 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. Pediatric 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. As mentioned above, intact males will go to great lengths to get to a female in heat and can smell them from up to four miles away—dogs will dig their way out of yards, break fences and leashes; cats will break through screen doors and windows, and both will 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 and could even harm your pets.

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 & VACCINEs

HSHC does not offer any public veterinary services, but 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
Clinics in Baldwin, MD and Dundalk, MD
410-887-PAWS (7297)

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Baltimore Humane Society (see image at right)
Reisterstown, MD
410.833.8848 or [email protected]

Chesapeake Feline Association – cats only
Perryville, MD

Falls Road Animal Hospital
Baltimore, MD

Friends of Animals

Harford Hounds
[email protected]

Maryland SPCA Spay & Neuter Clinic
Baltimore, MD (Hampden)
410.889.SPAY(7729) or [email protected]

  • Cats must be 8 weeks to 7 years of age. Dogs must be 12 weeks to 7 years of age.
  • Only pets over 12 weeks of age are eligible for a rabies vaccination.
  • Dogs must weigh 5 to 85 pounds.
  • Some breed restrictions exist.
  • If your pet is cryptorchid, there is an additional fee of $20 per retained testicle.

Shadow Cats TNR
[email protected]


The Maryland Department of Agriculture website also has a list of FREE spay/neuter options.