Is sterilization really necessary for cats and dogs?

The benefits of sterilization for both cats and dogs, and for animal lovers, far outweigh any negativity the operation may cause.


The definition of spaying is the sterilization procedure that female dogs undergo, where their uterus and ovaries are removed. The definition of neutering pertains to male dogs, in which sterilization is done through removal of the testicles

There is a common misconception that early sterilization of cats and dogs will cause a change in temperament. Since the character of cats does not fully develop until the age of 1 year and dogs until the age of 1-2 years, the operation does not cause a change in temperament. Animals sterilized at an early age live longer and healthier lives; life expectancy increases by 1-3 years for dogs and 3-5 years for cats.

In early neutered animals, there may be a delay in the closure of epiphyseal growth plates in long bones, and vaginitis and pyoderma may occur as a result of estrogen deficiency. In one study, it was also reported that there was no difference in bone length, thickness, and fracture and fracture rates over 15 months between prepuberty spayed, conventional spayed and non-spayed dogs.

Is sterilization really necessary for cats and dogs?

Spaying of female dogs and cats (ovario-hysterectomy)

is the surgical removal of both ovaries and uterus under general anesthesia and irreversible inhibition of reproductive ability. It is considered to be the most effective method especially in controlling the stray cat and dog population and is one of the operations routinely performed by veterinarians. Many animal lovers oppose sterilization, thinking that sterilization of cats and dogs is not a humane behavior and that they should also meet their reproductive desires and taste the feeling of motherhood.

Compared to human reproductive instincts

Do neutered cats still mate?

Although neutering greatly reduces sexual interest, some experienced males may continue to be attracted to, and mate with females. Male urine odor is particularly strong and pungent.

This rate is 15 times higher in dogs and 45 times higher in cats. In addition, unlike humans, cats and dogs show a desire to reproduce under the influence of sexual hormones and mate only to increase their numbers.

The mother takes care of her kittens and puppies until they are weaned and then she moves away from them. Instinctive motherhood ends with weaning. Weaned male kittens and the mother cat can mate, and female kittens and the mother cat are natural rivals! Therefore, even more important than the reproductive instinct for cats and dogs is the provision of a quality, safe and healthy living environment. For this purpose, the population growth rate of cats and dogs should be kept under control. The most effective method for this purpose is the sterilization of cats and dogs.

Is sterilization really necessary for cats and dogs?

Advantages of sterilization for pets and pet owners

Female dogs come into heat every 6 months on average, depending on the breed. The heat period can last up to 21 days on average and during this period, the dog shows behaviors such as bleeding, nervousness, desire to mate and fighting with other dogs.

Female cats, on the other hand, show heat behaviors every 2 weeks during the mating season until conception. The heat behaviors seen in this process include constant yelling, urinating in unwanted places, running away from home, and fighting with other cats. In neutered cats and dogs, unwanted heat behaviors and stress caused by hormones are prevented.

In addition, many studies have shown that the risk of mammary tumors in unspayed cats and dogs is 2.5-4 times higher than in spayed animals. The risk of pyometra (inflammation of the uterus), which occurs in female cats and dogs at an advanced age due to hormonal effects and can cause the death of the animal, is eliminated by removing the uterus and ovaries. In addition, it prevents the formation of ovarian tumors, placental subinvolution cases that do not respond to medical treatment, and vaginal hyperplasia cases. Sterilization eliminates the risk of uterine, ovarian and cervical cancer. Sterilization is also an option in the treatment of uterine torsion, hereditary anomalies, uterine prolapse and neoplasia.


Changes in hormones depending on the sexual cycle can prevent treatment in some diseases such as diabetes. Sterilization increases the success of treatment of these diseases. Spayed females are more benign and prone to education than unspayed females.

Although neutering surgeries are among the routine operations performed by veterinarians, since they are performed under general anesthesia, they are subject to the same risks as other operations. The patient owner should be informed about this. There are opinions that weight gain occurs in neutered dogs and cats. Dogs and cats in heat are sexually active. However, since their activities will decrease after surgery, they need less food.

Studies in cats have reported that neutered cats have higher body weight and adipose tissue than non-neutered cats. There is a decrease in the metabolic levels of neutered cats. In similar studies conducted in dogs, it was reported that there was no difference between neutered and non-neutered dogs in terms of food intake and weight gain.

Unfortunately, at this time, there is no safe, tested, and approved method of sterilizing cats without surgery. While there are some promising contraceptive drugs and vaccines, most of these developments are still experimental.

One of the most accessible forms of natural birth control for cats is avoiding male cats, as discussed above. Using wild carrot seeds is another common natural birth control for animals. These seeds have been used since time immemorial by cats without experiencing any adverse side effects.

Do you have to sterilize your dog?

Other possible situations in sterilization

Spaying and neutering do have some clear health benefits for dogs. Testicular and ovarian cancers are moot, and there’s evidence that spaying lowers the risk of mammary cancer and uterine infections. Fixed dogs also live longer on average

However, it should be kept in mind that obesity is a multifactorial condition and neutering may be only one of these factors. After the operation, the weight of the cat and dog can be kept under control with appropriate diet and exercise. Thinning of the urethral epithelium and decreased tone of the periurethral tissues may occur due to decreased estrogen hormone after neutering. Although it does not occur in all dogs, urinary incontinence may occur in 1.3-20% of neutered dogs due to this hormonal change.
The best time for spaying The best age for spay surgery in female cats and dogs varies regionally, but the general opinion is that it should be performed at the age of 6-9 months. The appropriate age for the operation may vary according to various scientific data and operational skills. Early neutering is the sterilization of kittens and puppies at the age of 6-14 weeks. Early neutering has been accepted in the USA and the UK and has been practiced for many years.

Sterilization procedures in countries

In Germany, neutering is performed between the 1st and 2nd heat. With recent studies, the accepted approach is that sterilization should be done before the first heat and that sterilization does not have a negative effect on growth. Since the fatty tissue is less and the blood vessels are smaller, the operation is easier and shorter in early neutering. Neutering operation; It is performed for protection against mammary tumor, which is encountered in cats and dogs at an advanced age. When performed before the first estrus cycle, the risk of mammary tumor that may occur at an advanced age is 0.5%, while this rate increases to 8% after the first estrus. In sterilizations performed between the second estrus and 2.5 years of age, the risk of mammary tumor is 26%. Therefore, the risk of mammary tumor increases depending on the number of estrus cycles.
shows. As a result, sterilization should be performed for the healthy and quality life of pets and it should be preferred to perform the operation before the first estrus against the risk of mammary tumor.