Spay Aware News | June 2018
cuter to neuter


2018 SpayAware campaign urges owners to ‘do what’s best for your pet’

The ISPCA is urging the public to help reduce the high number of unwanted cats and dogs in Ireland by spaying and neutering their pets as early as possible.

The SpayAware 2018 awareness campaign launched today [30th May 2018] outlines the positive benefits of pet neutering encouraging owners to talk to their vet today.

ISPCA CEO Dr Andrew Kelly said: “Don’t wait. Do what’s best for your pet. In nearly all cases, spaying and neutering has overwhelmingly positive benefits. It reduces the risk of certain cancers, curbs behavioural issues and prevents you having a surprise litter of kittens or puppies on your hands. We are urging pet owners to contact their local vets and get it done now. Although the numbers of dogs entering dog pounds in Ireland has reduced significantly over the last few years, in 2017 over 11,000 stray and unwanted dogs were admitted to dog pounds in Ireland. This can be reduced still further by neutering dogs and avoiding unwanted litters of puppies.”

Dr Kelly added: “As a direct result of unwanted dogs and cats, animal shelter resources are already over stretched. Last year the ISPCA handled over 16,000 calls to our helpline with 3,300 allegations of animal cruelty by our 9 Inspectors and over 1200 animals were seized by or surrendered to the ISPCA. Our Centres are consistently full of dogs and cats so its vital pet owners play their part in tackling this issue by spaying or neutering their pets. This will go a long way in preventing accidental and unwanted litters of puppies or kittens from being born in the first place therefore curbing the number of unwanted pets that we see every single day.”

Best-selling author and model Rosanna Davison along with vet, broadcaster and author Pete Wedderburn joined the charity to support the annual message highlighting the benefits of neutering and spaying. Rosanna said: “Each and every one of us can make a difference by being responsible and doing the right thing for our pets by getting them neutered as early as possible”.

Fitness guru Rob Lipsett also joined the charity to lend his support asking pet owners to talk to their vet today and get their pets neutered to prevent unwelcome consequences.

SpayAware has the continued support of Veterinary Ireland, with member vets displaying posters and fact sheets in animal clinics and surgeries across the country. Posters are also being displayed in animal welfare centres, local authority offices, dog pounds, pet stores and other community venues and are available for download on

The ISPCA is also asking people who are thinking about getting a pet to give a rescued animal a new life by adopting a cat or dog from a rescue shelter run by the ISPCA or another animal welfare charity. ISPCA rescued dogs and cats will already be spayed or neutered and puppies/kittens will be neutered when old enough. For more information about adopting a dog from the ISPCA, visit here

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

  • Spaying reduces the risk of mammary cancers in female dogs from 70% to 0.5% if they are spayed before first heat.
  • Un-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.

SpayAware QA and Posters can be found here for downloading.

Research was carried out by the ISPCA on the Perceptions of Responsible Dog Ownership in Ireland*. Respondents were asked to indicate a list of scenarios on the necessity and health impacts of neutering, and the appropriate age and here are the findings.

  • Over 60% agreed with the statement that neutering is necessary even “when the dog is confined to the home/is always supervised”.

Non-dog owners (potential dog owners) expressed uncertainty regarding some aspects of neutering, such as:

  • Whether or not neutering is appropriate when the dog is younger than six months (males = 52%, females = 56%).
  • Whether or not neutering is necessary when the dog is confined to the home/is always supervised (males = 52%, females = 56%).
  • Approximately 40% of dog owners felt that neutering puppies (less than six months old) was inappropriate.

*The report was compiled by Catherine Devitt, Locksley Messam, Andrew Kelly & Alison Hanlon in May 2016 and based on a study funded by the Irish Research Council’s New Foundation Scheme. The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Irish Research Council. The authors express their gratitude to those who contributed to piloting the survey, and all respondents who took the time to commence and complete the survey.