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The SPCA of Northern Nevada recommends spaying or neutering your pets to keep them healthy, to save money, and to do your part in preventing pet homelessness. We encourage you to learn more about the benefits of spaying and neutering here, and to do your own research by speaking with your veterinarian about the best options for your pets.

What is spaying and neutering?

Also known as “fixing” or “sterilizing,” spay and neuter surgeries are routine procedures that are performed to keep your pet from having a litter. At the SPCA of Northern Nevada, we fix every pet that comes into our adoption center before placing them in loving homes, as part of our mission to mitigate pet overpopulation and homelessness. We also offer affordable spay and neuter surgeries through our clinic, learn more and schedule an appointment here. 

Why should you spay or neuter your pet?

Reduced costs. A fixed, or altered, dog costs only $8 to license yearly in Washoe County, while an unaltered dog costs $20. The cost of a spay or neuter surgery is significantly less than the cost of your pet having a litter, or the cost of treating the illnesses or injuries unaltered pets can incur. 

Health benefits. Fixing your pet reduces her risk of developing certain reproductive-system-related cancers and infections, such as breast or ovarian cancer or a uterine infection. In male animals, fixing reduces the risk of testicular or prostate cancer.

Longer lives. Studies have shown that the life expectancy of altered dogs and cats, both male and female, is significantly higher than that of unaltered pets. A Banfield Pet Hospital study showed male dogs lived 18% longer, female dogs 23% longer, male cats 62% longer, and female cats 39%. This can be attributed to the reduced health risks, as well as the reduced risks of accidents occurring when pets roam to mate.

Behavioral effects. Undesirable hormone-related behaviors like spraying, urine marking, or going into heat are eliminated with neuters and spays. Neutering early can also prevent the development of aggressive and mounting behaviors in male cats and dogs. 

Prevent pet overpopulation. According to Shelter Animals Count, about 2.7 million pets entered shelters and rescues last year, with over 33,000 in Nevada alone. Although you may want to see your pets have babies, please consider the amount of pets already looking for homes in your community.

What are the risks of spaying and neutering?

With any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with the surgery itself and undergoing anesthesia. However, this is a routine procedure performed by veterinarians every day and overall risk is low. Of course, risks increase if your pet is older, overweight, or has any other health concerns. Discuss any concerns you have with your vet, so she can determine what is best for your pet.

You may have heard of the concern that a fixed pet is more likely to become overweight, but fortunately this is not true. Your pet’s weight is determined by diet and exercise, and as long as you are mindful of these, your pet’s weight will not increase after the procedure.

Caring for you pet after a spay or neuter surgery.

Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions post surgery, and give any medication as prescribed. Your pet will need some time to recover from the surgery, but you should contact your clinic with any concerns. 

If you have already gotten your pet fixed, you can help pets in your community by encouraging your friends and family to do the same. Spread the word about our and other local organization’s spay and neuter programs, you can find more information at


Written by Brenna McCuistion