When you first get a new pet, there are so many questions! To crate train or not? Who should be your Veterinarian? Where and when should you start puppy classes? Even what will be his name? The last thing you may be thinking about is your pet’s reproductive health—but you should keep this in mind.

Neutering can be a dilemma for pet owners, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few facts about neutering which might help you make up your mind about neutering your dog or cat.

1.Neutering will not change your pet’s personality. By the time we neuter animals, testosterone has already created permanent changes in your pet’s brain structure. Your pet’s identity as a male is firmly established. No matter what happens to his sexual organs, your pet can be equally affectionate, engaged, laid-back, or aggressive (except for dog-on-dog aggression, which neutering does lower).

2. Neutering may improve your pet’s health in the long term. Many genital and urinary system diseases are practically unheard of in neutered males. The primary example of this is testicular tumors—you can’t have a tumor in a testicle that has been long-removed! It’s also unlikely that a neutered male would develop prostatic hyperplasia (enlargement), prostatic infections, perianal tumors, perineal hernias, and prostatic cysts. For all of these diseases (which tend to occur later in life), the first treatment is neutering.

3. Neutering can help keep your pet alive. Neutering vastly reduces the likelihood that your pet will wander or show dog-on-dog aggression (and therefore avoid dogfights). Free-roaming dogs in this day and age are simply not safe. From being hit by a car to being poisoned or abused, it’s not an easy life for dogs who escape their human companions. Even ending up in a shelter is stressful and potentially fatal! Furthermore, in cats, early neutering lowers the likelihood of spraying urine to mark their territory. Many cats are relinquished to shelters for such behavioral problems.

4. Neutering can help end overpopulation!
Finally, unneutered dogs and cats contribute to the overpopulation problem! 2.4 million healthy, adoptable dogs and cats are put down in American shelters annually. There are litters of puppies and kittens born in/brought to shelters and rescue organizations across the United States. Before you think about breeding your pet, consider the risk factors of not neutering and the bounty of puppies and kittens already available in neighborhoods across the country.

Don’t fail to protect your pet—consider neutering to help ensure your pet and community’s well-being!