Vet Blog

How Will Spaying or Neutering Affect Pet Behavior?

April 23, 2020

If you have recently adopted a puppy or kitten, you may be wondering whether or not to spay or neuter your pet.

Many new pet owners question whether neutering will affect their pet's personality, behavior, or well-being. There are a lot of myths circulating the internet, so if you have questions or concerns about the effects of spaying or neutering, it's best to consult an expert. The veterinarians at Animal Care Center of Castle Pines can go over all of the risks and benefits with you at your pet's next appointment.

How Will Spaying or Neutering Change My Pet's Behavior?

Neutering is the term for surgical removal of any animal's reproductive organs, although it more commonly refers to male animals. Spaying refers specifically to the removal of the ovaries and uterus in female pets; castration is the technical term for the removal of the testicles in male pets. Because the reproductive organs are removed, spaying or neutering changes a pet's hormones. Changes in hormone levels consequently affect some behavior patterns.

Female pets that have been spayed will no longer go into heat, so they will not display typical heat behaviors. Male pets will be less likely to hump or spray and may become more docile. However, neutering is never a "quick fix" for behavioral problems. Reducing an aggressive dog's testosterone levels will not automatically change his habits; he will still require behavior training.

What Happens During the Surgery?

Animal Care Center offers the most advanced surgical techniques, including laser surgery (laparoscopy). Laser surgery uses a highly focused beam to cut through tissue while simultaneously sealing capillaries, small blood vessels, lymphatics, and nerves. Laparoscopy allows the surgeon to spay or neuter your pet without a large incision, resulting in less pain and a much faster recovery. Studies have shown that laser surgery has major benefits for the patient, including reduced postoperative pain, shorter hospital stays, and a quicker return to normal activity.

Every Animal Care Center of Castle Pines patient receives pain medications before, during, and after surgery, along with local nerve blocks at the location of the incision to provide optimum pain relief. Our anesthesia protocol is tailored to each pet's specific requirements-there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to anesthetic safety.

When you arrive, a member of your pet's surgical team will go over all of the anesthetic and surgical options with you and discuss any concerns you might have. Your doctor and technician will contact you before and after the surgery, and will be available throughout the day to answer your questions. Your pet will stay with us during recovery, and our dedicated staff will monitor your pet's condition until they are ready to be discharged. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to care for the wound, and how to administer any necessary medications to speed your pet's full recovery.

Undergoing surgery can be a traumatic experience for anyone-pets and people alike. At Animal Care Center, we always provide the tender, loving care your pets deserve, but some animals may need additional time for emotional recovery after neutering. You can help by providing your pet with a safe, quiet place to rest and by offering extra affection and reassurance.

What Are the Reasons to Spay or Neuter a Pet?

The main reason to spay or neuter is to prevent pet overpopulation. Shelters and rescues routinely spay and neuter puppies and kittens to help control the crisis of homeless pets. An estimated 6 to 8 million homeless animals enter shelters every year. Sadly, when shelters are at capacity, many healthy pets must be euthanized if they are not adopted.

Spaying and neutering pets significantly reduce their risk for certain types of cancer. Female pets that have been spayed before their first heat have a very low chance of developing uterine or mammary cancer. Male pets that have been neutered have a much lower risk of testicular cancer and fewer prostate problems.

Spayed/neutered pets are less likely to roam and generally have a longer lifespan. Cats or dogs that roam in order to seek a mate are more likely to meet with injury or fatal accidents from encounters with automobiles or wild animals. It can increase a pet's life expectancy by as much as 25% or more.

At What Age Should a Pet Be Spayed/Neutered?

You should have your pet spayed or neutered at around 6-12 months of age, depending on gender and breed. It should take place around the time they first begin to exhibit signs of sexual maturity. Young pets usually have a faster recovery and quicker healing time for surgical incisions, but adult pets can be spayed or neutered as well.

Contact Us

Please feel free to bring up any concerns about the effects of spaying or neutering your pet at your next puppy or kitten visit. We'd be happy to go over the risks and benefits for your specific pet, given their age, breed, and gender. You can schedule an appointment if you would like to discuss the options we offer in more detail. Our phones are busier than usual at this time, so please send a message to unless it's an emergency.