Spay & Neuter Questions

Spay & Neuter Questions

For new pet owners, there is often confusion surrounding the decision to spay or neuter your pet. Here, we discuss some of the most popular questions asked by pet owners.

As the Southeast’s first low-cost clinic, the Humane Society of Charlotte has continued its mission to offer affordable and high-quality pet services. If you are ready to spay or neuter your pet, you can schedule an appointment online or by calling us at 704-333-4130.

Jump to Question


General Questions

What’s the difference between spay and neuter surgery?

Spaying and neutering are two types of surgery that veterinarians perform to prevent animals from reproducing. Spaying is the process of removing the ovaries or uterus from female cats and dogs. For male cats and dogs, neutering removes the testicles. The goal of both these surgeries is the same: to prevent unwanted litters from crowding shelters. Another commonly used term to describe these surgeries is “fixing” your pet.

Why should I spay or neuter my pet?

By not spaying or neutering your pet, you risk them producing offspring you cannot take care of. Overpopulation is a problem for many animal shelters and is perpetuated by each new litter of puppies and kittens. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that one un-spayed female dog and her offspring can produce 11,167 puppies per year. One un-spayed female cat and her offspring can produce 60,000+ in their lifetime.

Some families want to share the miracle of birth with their children, but it’s still our recommendation to schedule your pet’s surgery if you are not equipped to take care of a potential litter.

A primary reason for these surgeries is that preventing the birth of some pets saves the lives of others. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 6 to 8 million companion animals end up in shelters nationwide. Of that number, 3 to 4 million will be euthanized, simply because they do not have a home. Cats and dogs should not be allowed to breed with little regard for the availability of homes for their litters. Instead, use spaying or neutering your pet as a way to teach your children about responsible pet ownership.

How much does it cost to spay or neuter my pet?

The Humane Society is committed to making pet ownership accessible to all owners. We offer low-cost spay and neuter services – view our pricing here.

Will the spay or neuter surgery be painful for my animal? Will it cause harm to my dog or cat?
During a spay or neuter surgery, dogs and cats are fully anesthetized and feel no pain. Some animals may experience discomfort after the surgery. With pain management medication, they may not experience pain at all. Serious harm resulting from spaying or neutering surgery is extremely rare.

Will the spay or neuter surgery cause my pet to become overweight?

Some dogs and cats see a decrease in their metabolism after their spaying or neutering surgery.
As long as they are fed the appropriate amount of food and exercised sufficiently, spayed or neutered dogs and cats are unlikely to become overweight.

At what age should I spay or neuter my pet?

In general, your male and female pets can safely undergo surgery after 8 weeks of age. However, some veterinarians prefer to wait until your young pet has had all of its vaccines.

At what age is my cat or dog considered too old to be spayed or neutered?

In most cases, spaying and neutering are safe and healthy for pets of all ages. Dogs and cats over 7 years of age are required to have pre-surgical blood work performed to check liver and kidney function before administering anesthesia. This blood work can be done at our clinic for an additional $55.

How long is the recovery time for my pet after getting spayed or neutered?

The recovery time for every pet is different, so your vet will provide more specific information about what it may look like for your pet. In general, pets need constant supervision during the first 12-24 hours and should fully recover in 10-14 days. If after 14 days you notice your pet is still not completely healed, call your veterinarian.

Are spay and neuter services covered by pet insurance?

While coverage varies from plan to plan, pet insurance providers generally do not cover the cost of spaying or neutering.


When should I spay my female pet?

Medical evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat tend to be healthier. Females that are not spayed before their first heat have a much higher risk of mammary cancer and infections of the uterus. Males neutered early in life have a lower risk of prostate infections. Dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age can be safely sterilized.

Can I spay my female dog or cat in heat?

Yes, your female cat can undergo surgery even while in heat, but the surgery might require an extra 15-30 minutes.

Can I spay my pet while pregnant?

Many dogs and cats are spayed while pregnant to prevent the birth of puppies or kittens. A veterinarian will examine the pregnant dog or cat and the stage of pregnancy, before deciding whether she can be safely spayed.


Will neutering my male dog or cat will make him feel less like a male?

Neutering will not change a pet’s basic personality or prompt any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis.

Will spaying or neutering make dogs and cats less affectionate?

Freed from the urge to mate, dogs and cats tend to be calmer and more content after spaying or neutering. Spayed or neutered dogs and cats are more, not less, likely to show affection toward their human companions.

Does neutering my male pet make them less aggressive?

There is little evidence that indicates a dog’s behavior will become less aggressive after neutering surgery.

Will my dog become less protective after neuter surgery?

Spaying or neutering doesn’t affect a dog’s natural instinct to protect its home and family. A dog’s personality is formed more by genetics and environment than by hormones.

Related Pages:

Schedule an appointment

Questions about surgery and other services