As a pet owner, your dog or cat's safety is entirely your responsibility, so it's important that you do all you can to protect them and keep them healthy. In that spirit, one of the most important things you can do for them is get them fixed. In addition, it's important that you understand when the right time is and just what you need to do in order to ensure a speedy recovery.
When is the Time Right?
For dogs, traditional wisdom suggests that any time between six and nine months is an appropriate age to spay or neuter them. More recent information indicates that healthy puppies can be fixed as young as 8 weeks, and the same goes for cats. Older animals can be spayed or neutered, too, but run greater risks of surgical complications as they age.
Not only will this help avoid potential behavior issues tied to the hormones being produced by the reproductive organs, but getting your pet fixed early can also prevent health issues, too. The arguments in favor of spaying or neutering your animal are well-documented, so the only real decision you have to make is when to do it. To make the most informed choice, speak to your veterinarian like one from Norwin Veterinary Hospital during your pet's next check-up to determine whether or not they're healthy enough to undergo the procedure.
Neutering a male animal is widely considered a minor surgery due to the external nature of the operation. Even so, it's a good idea to keep an eye on the surgical site, and discourage them from attempting to clean it directly. Female animals will have a harder time getting around, so make sure you have the time to devote the extra attention necessary while they heal.
Regardless of your pet's gender, the first 24 hours can be the hardest as they recover from anesthesia and regain their appetite. Avoid vigorous activity with your pet for at least 7 days, check on the surgical site daily for signs of infection, such as redness or weeping, and continue monitoring for at least two weeks post surgery. You should also keep your pet inside as much as possible during recovery, to avoid the risk of infection or re-opening the incision.
There's strong evidence in favor of spaying or neutering your pet, so unless you plan to breed your animal in the future, it's better to take care of it as soon as possible. Between your pet's health and the cost of raising an unexpected litter of puppies or kittens, there's no reason to put it off any longer than you can help.