Every pet owner should know about spay and neuter statistics to make the best decision.

Far too many animals are euthanized or live in horrific conditions. A lot of it has to do with misconceptions about what spaying and neutering is and how it can help. 

Let’s take a look at everything you should know. 

Little Known Spay and Neuter Facts

  • The life expectancy of a neutered male dog is 13.8% longer.
  • In six years, one female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies.
  • In seven years, one female cat and her babies can have a staggering 370,000 kittens. 
  • There are 70 million stray cats and dogs in the US.
  • 87% of animals in underserved communities aren’t spayed or neutered.
  • About 6.5 million US animals enter shelters every year.
  • TNR programs can reduce cat populations by 58%.
  • 80% of pups hit by a car are unneutered.
  • Male cat neuter can take just two minutes.
  • Shelter animals must be spayed and neutered before adoption in 26 states.

Spay and Neuter Definitions

Do you know what the terms spay and neuter actually mean? Here’s the main difference:

Spay: It’s a procedure for female cats and dogs where the vet removes the uterus and ovaries. 

Neuter: It’s a surgical procedure where the vet removes the testicles of male cats and dogs.

Keeping these definitions in mind, let’s jump right into some interesting stats. 

Spay and Neuter Statistics

Let’s have a look at the crucial facts you should know. 

1. Spayed and Neutered Animals Have Longer Lifespans.

(Source: Humane Society) 

  • The life expectancy of a neutered male dog is 13.8% longer. For spayed females, it’s even longer — 26.3%.
  • On average, the procedure adds over a year to the animal’s life. Dogs without it live about 7.9 years, whereas spayed and neutered ones live 9.4 years. 
  • The numbers are even more drastic for cats. Spayed females have a 39% longer lifespan, and neutered males — 62%. 

But that’s not all. Let’s check out more spay and neuter facts and statistics.

2. In Six Years, One Female Dog and Her Offspring Can Produce 67,000 Puppies. 

(Source: PETA)

  • Unfortunately, if you don’t spay or neuter your animals, you could add to the 70 million stray animals in the US. 
  • Cats are a more significant issue than dogs. In seven years, one female cat and her babies can produce a staggering 370,000 kittens
  • Don’t get us wrong — we love kittens. Who doesn’t? They’re adorable. But we know that shelters have to euthanize 70% of cats, so we can’t condone more kittens born without a home. 

To show you what happens to these poor animals, let’s check the abandoned ones. 

Black dog with a cone of shame, sitting, and looking up at the camera

Abandoned Pets Facts

What happens to animals that can’t find a home?

3. Animal Shelters Often Turn Abandoned Animals Away Due to Lack of Space.

(Source: PETA)

  • Animals that aren’t spayed or neutered have a much higher chance of being aggressive and volatile. They’re likely to attack other animals on the street. 
  • It can result in severe injury, infection, or transmitting diseases. Without treatment, these animals die a slow and painful death, including from rabies and parasites.
  • 87% of animals in underserved communities aren’t spayed or neutered. 77% of that 87% have never been to a vet. So, it’s easy to see how the vicious cycle continues. 

If that’s not bad enough, have you seen the animal overpopulation statistics?

4. About 6.5 Million Animals Enter Shelters Every Year.

(Source: ASPCA) 

  • Shelters euthanize around 1.5 million of them. While sometimes it’s for legitimate reasons like terminal illness, other times they fly under the radar. Euthanization is often the only option when overcrowding is an issue. 
  • 47% of dogs are rehomed because of behavioral issues. After all, owning a pet is a big responsibility, and putting the animal in a shelter because of its behavior isn’t right. 
  • If that’s not bad enough, behavioral issues account for 42% of rehomed cats.

Another effective method worldwide is the trap, neuter, release. 

Trap Neuter Release Statistics

While trap, neuter, release (TNR) doesn’t take animals off the street, it dramatically helps with populations. 

5. TNR Programs Can Reduce Cat Populations by 58%. 

(Source: Save a Cat)

  • After establishing a TNR program, a Virginia shelter saw a 58% decrease in cats entering their foster care system. 
  • There was a 41% decrease in bottle-fed kittens entering the shelter, too.
  • What’s more, there was an overall 9% decrease in kittens needing shelter. 

Spay and neuter program statistics show a noticeable difference in the number of animals needing help. We celebrate all this progress on the last Tuesday in February with World Spay Day

6. Alachua County TNR Program Saw a 70% Decline in Animal Control Intakes.

(Source: Save a Cat)

  • In only eight years, San Jose county reduced cat euthanasia rates from 66.6% to 34.9%
  • Amazingly, in an 11-year study, the University of Florida reduced campus cats by 66% using TNR. No kittens were born after four years.
  • Over 10 years, a TNR program at the Stanford University Cat Network reduced feral cats on campus from 1500 to 300.

U.S. spay and neuter statistics show a significant decrease in feral cats after applying TNR. But it’s not just about reducing the numbers. There are real health benefits, too. 

White and grey kitten looking up at the camera playfully

Spay and Neuter Health Facts and Statistics

Are you aware of the amazing health benefits?

7. Spayed and Neutered Animals Are Less Likely To Roam.

(Source: People for Animals)

  • 80% of pups hit by a car are un-neutered, which links to their desire to roam and mate. 
  • If a female is spayed before the first heat cycle, she has significantly decreased chances of mammary gland or ovarian cancer
  • Neutering also removes the risk of testicular cancer. 

But that’s not all. Prepare to find out more benefits of neutering and spaying. 

8. Spaying Eliminates Heat Pain Symptoms.

(Source: People for Animals)

  • If a cat doesn’t go into heat, males won’t be attracted, making it much safer for your pet. Feral cats and dogs carry diseases you don’t want anywhere near your furry best friend. 
  • 90% of cats killed on US roads aren’t neutered or spayed. When it comes to hormonal urges, animals do what their bodies tell them. And they tell them to find a mate come hell or high water. 
  • Spaying and neutering can reduce unwanted behaviors like weeing, spraying, and aggressive tendencies.

Do you see why you should spay and neuter your pets? It’s a quick fix to a massive problem. Let’s look at what’s involved in the procedure.

Spay and Neuter Procedures

Before you decide on any procedure for your animals, it’s good to understand what it entails. That way, you can prepare mentally and proof your home, too. 

9. Male Cat Neuter Can Take Just Two Minutes.

(Source: MSPCA)

  • Male dog neuters take anywhere between 5–20 minutes
  • The incisions are very small and closed with self-absorbing stitches.
  • Pups only take between 15–30 minutes to wake up after surgery. Depending on their age and health, they might be more groggy, but it’s nothing to worry about. 

The importance of spaying and neutering far outweighs any procedure risks. But what about the kitties?

 10. A Female Cat Spay Takes Between 15–20 Minutes.

(Source: MSPCA)

  • Female dogs take the longest in surgery, between 20–90 minutes. But if it’s longer, that doesn’t mean anything is wrong. It all depends on the size and what’s her heat cycle, so don’t panic.
  • Cats can get a reverse anesthetic drug, which wakes them up 15 minutes post-surgery. They’re usually awake after 20 minutes.
  • The incision takes the longest to heal — 10–14 days. If you know your pet likes to lick, get a dog cone alternative to prevent that.

Unfortunately, despite all the spay and neuter statistics, there are still common misconceptions about the procedures.

Two Rottweiler puppies looking at the camera through a wooden fence

Misconceptions of Spaying and Neutering

We’ve been in procedure rooms and know how these surgeries work. We also know what happens when people don’t spay and neuter their pets. Let’s debunk some rumors.

11. Spaying and Neutering Don’t Change Your Pet’s Personality.

(Source: Shallowford Animal Hospital)

  • Hormone levels will indeed change when your pet gets neutered. But that only eliminates bad behaviors like spraying, roaming, and aggression.
  • Historic spay and neuter facts and statistics show that the procedure won’t make your pet overweight. Pets get fat from incorrect diets and no exercise. So you should always select high-quality kibble for your pet’s specific needs. For example, large breeds need the best food for their bodies. Feeding a Chihuahua and a Great Dane the same food doesn’t work.
  • Some vets do the procedure on feral animals as early as six weeks of age. You shouldn’t wait either. Spay and neuter your animals before they reach sexual maturity. 

These procedures are incredibly safe and common for vets to perform. Don’t overthink it. It’s the responsible thing to do as an owner.

Facts About Spaying and Neutering Your Pets — Laws

Ultimately, the decision falls on the owner. But there are some laws in place.

 12. Shelter Animals Must Be Spayed and Neutered Before Adoption in 26 States

(Source: PETA) 

  • But there are no state laws requiring owners to have their pets spayed and neutered if privately owned.
  • In 2008, Los Angeles County signed a law that all cats and dogs must be spayed or neutered by four months of age, with some exceptions for medical reasons, breeders, and police dogs. It’s one of the strictest US pet laws. You’ll be fined even if you’re just visiting. 
  • The importance of spaying and neutering cannot be stressed enough. While it’s not a national requirement, some areas have laws for it. So, always double-check before visiting. 

Wrap Up

Spaying and neutering is truly a personal decision of a pet owner for their animals. But we believe in researching all the essential information that can help you in the process. So you might want to take a look at the animals shelter statistics, too. 

We understand that no pet owner wants their animal to suffer. But, if we weigh the pros and cons, neutering and spaying provide a much healthier and longer life for a small amount of pain. 

Spay and neuter statistics show the difference these procedures make for animals that would otherwise suffer. We support TNR and spaying and neutering your animals. 

FAQ

Is neutering cruel?

The short answer is no. And you can find countless arguments against spaying and neutering, but as we said, the pros outweigh them.

We understand that everyone wants the best for their animals. But if you cannot take care of all the babies, you should spay and neuter your animal.

Do vets recommend neutering?

Absolutely! But we can’t put a blanket statement on all animals. Always speak with your vet about the best possible treatment for your pets. Still, most do recommend spaying and neutering. They’re on the frontline and see how animals suffer on the street. 

What is the best age to neuter a dog?

You should neuter small breeds before five months. For bigger breeds, the recommended period is between 12–15 months. But spay and neuter statistics show some pup procedures are done as early as 12 weeks if they live on the street. So, it’s up to you and your vet. 

  1. Humane Society
  2. PETA
  3. PETA
  4. ASPCA
  5. Save a Cat
  6. People for Animals
  7. MSPCA
  8. Shallowford Animal Hospital
  9. PETA
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Emma is a lover of all animals. Her cat Pumpkin enjoys stretching out in the office while mom researches the best information on how to care for their fellow furry friends. Emma’s passion for animals started at a young age. Back then, she dedicated her time to shelters and vet clinics in South Africa. Her enthusiasm for writing and research is behind the most reliable information for pet lovers. She believes in treating animals with the devotion and respect they deserve.