Spay Aware News | June 2023
The ISPCA is urging pet owners to spay or neuter their pets as early as possible to reduce the high number of unwanted cats and dogs. The charity is asking the public to consider the positive benefits encouraging pet owners to talk to their vet as soon as possible.


ISPCA launches SpayAware campaign encouraging pet owners to do what's best for their pet(s).

The ISPCA is appealing to pet owners to spay or neuter their pets as early as possible, emphasising the positive benefits and the most effective way to help control pet overpopulation. The charity is asking the public to talk to their vet as soon as possible.

Dr Pete Wedderburn, ISPCA director, veterinary surgeon and journalist said: "It is so important we prevent family pets from having accidental litters of puppies and kittens and if young adult animals are spayed or neutered before they can breed, surprise pregnancies won't happen. Generally, kittens should be neutered or spayed when they're four months old and puppies before they're six months old, but its important pet owners contact their vet for advice, to discuss dog breed specific recommendations and the positive impact this small operation will have on individual animal behaviour and health. The SpayAware campaign is a great time to encourage pet owners to get the procedure done and don't wait to do what's best for your pet" said Pete.

Best-selling author and model Rosanna Davison along with comedian and radio presenter PJ Gallagher is supporting the ISPCAs message highlighting the benefits of neutering and spaying. "We can all make a difference by being responsible and doing the right thing for our pets by getting them spayed or neutered as early as possible. You will be giving your pet(s) the best chance of a longer, healthier, and happier life."

Pete added:"SpayAware has the continued support of Veterinary Ireland, with many veterinary practices providing fact sheets in animal clinics and surgeries across the country. The over-riding message is simple. When you get a young dog or cat, be sure to discuss spaying or neutering with your vet. Your male pet may be less aggressive towards other cats and dogs and less likely to try and wander. Spaying or Neutering is important for two reasons: first, for the sake of your pet's health and behaviour, and second, to help combat Ireland's resurgence in overpopulation of cats and dogs."

ISPCA CEO, Dr Cyril Sullivan said: "In nearly every case, spaying and neutering has overwhelmingly positive benefits for pets, but it also prevents accidental litters of unwanted kittens or puppies, that places a significant drain on the charity's resources, when trying to source responsible new homes. We have a serious canine overpopulation situation, as many people who got a dog or a puppy during the pandemic, now have found their circumstances have changed and sadly, are looking to surrender their pets for various reasons, but mostly due to the cost-of-living crisis." Cyril added, "one solution to the dog over population is to ensure pets are spayed or neutered which will go a long way from unwanted litters of puppies and kittens from being born in the first place. If anyone is considering getting a dog or puppy, please consider adopting one."

The ISPCA is also recommends anyone thinking about getting a new pet to give a rescued animal a chance by adopting a dog or cat from the ISPCA or another animal welfare charity. All ISPCA rescued cats and dogs will already be spayed or neutered and puppies/kittens will be when they are old enough. For more information about adopting a dog from the ISPCA, visit

Some facts about the benefits of spaying and neutering your pet:

  • Reduces the risk of certain cancers
  • Positive effect on health and lifespan
  • Curbs unwanted behaviour and marking
  • Your pet will be less aggressive towards other cats and dogs and less likely to try and wander
  • Prevents unwanted litters of kittens and puppies
  • Spaying reduces the risk of mammary cancers in female dogs from 70% to 0.5% if they are spayed before first heat
  • -spayed cats are seven times more likely to develop mammary cancers than those spayed at puberty. 80% of feline mammary tumours are malignant.
  • Testicular cancer is the second most common cancer among male dogs. Neutering eliminates that risk.
  • Neutering reduces fighting and unwanted territorial behaviour in male cats by over 80%.
  • Spaying/Neutering is a very simple procedure completed under anaesthetic and the recovery time is usually very quick. Your cat or dog will need to be dropped off at the vets, and picked up again later that same day.
  • Puppies should be neutered or spayed at five to six months of age, though large or giant dog breeds require more time to develop so you should always seek advice from your vet.
  • Kittens should be neutered or spayed at four months of age.

Spaying and neutering your pet is an effective way to help control pet overpopulation. By preventing animals from reproducing, it decreases the number of unwanted pets that end up abandoned or in animal shelters. Additionally, spaying and neutering can have health benefits for your pet, such as reducing the risk of certain cancers and behavioural issues.

Spaying (for females) and neutering (for males) pets, such as cats and dogs, offer several benefits for both the animals and their owners. Here are some of the key advantages:

Prevents unwanted litters: Spaying or neutering your pet helps control the population of stray and unwanted animals. By doing so, you reduce the number of animals that end up in shelters or suffer as strays on the streets.

Health benefits for females: Spaying female pets before their first heat cycle significantly reduces the risk of developing uterine infections (such as pyometra) and mammary tumours, including malignant forms that can be life-threatening. Some female dogs experience false pregnancies after their heat cycles. This condition can cause behavioural and physical changes, including nesting behaviour, milk production, and maternal instincts without an actual pregnancy. Spaying prevents false pregnancies from occurring.

Health benefits for males: Neutering male pets eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and significantly reduces the incidence of prostate problems, such as enlargement and infections.

Decreased roaming and aggression: Neutered males are generally less likely to exhibit aggressive behaviours and are less prone to roaming in search of a mate. This can help reduce the risk of fights with other animals and decrease the chances of accidents or injuries.

Behavioural improvements: Spaying or neutering can lead to positive behavioural changes in pets. It can help reduce or eliminate certain undesirable behaviours, including excessive vocalisation, marking territory with urine, aggression, and roaming behaviours.

Longer lifespan: The combination of reduced risks of reproductive system diseases and behavioural changes can contribute to a longer and healthier life for spayed or neutered pets.

Cost-effective: Although there is an upfront cost associated with spaying or neutering, it is generally more affordable than the expenses related to caring for a litter of puppies or kittens. Additionally, the cost of veterinary care for reproductive system diseases and certain behavioural issues can be avoided or minimised by spaying or neutering.

It's important to note that the timing of the procedure is crucial. It is generally recommended to spay or neuter pets at a young age, before they reach maturity. Your vet can advise you on the most appropriate time based on your dog's individual needs.

Speak to your vet about what is best for your pet.