Will Spay Neuter Calm My Pet?
I love my new puppy or kitten, but…I just wish he or she would calm down.
Most of the time, owners have a new puppy or kitten that they adore, but they just can’t match their pet’s energy level. That’s because while you are away, they are saving up all their energy for when you return. So what can you do? Spay Neuter? Professional Training? Treadmill or Lap Pool?
Let me start with Spay Neuter:
Will spay or neuter help to calm them down?
- Spay Neuter will not change their personality. This would require brain surgery (I hope you catch the humor). Every pet, like every person, has some positive social habits and some negative ones. These tend not to be of hormonal origins, thus spay neuter does not change these behaviors.
- Spay Neuter does greatly reduce or eliminate hormone driven behavior, such as dominance aggression, territorial marking, roaming to find a mate, heat cycles in females. It reduces overall aggressiveness or the intensity with which they do what they do.
- It is important to note that when your pet has already learned an undesired behavior, the impact of Spay Neuter is less since the testicles or ovaries are quite a ways from the brain.
- Professional training can be very beneficial depending on your commitment to it. It is essentially you spending time with your pet in a structured environment with clear boundaries where desired behavior is rewarded and undesired behavior is ignored or left unrewarded. You can mimmic this at home too.
Treadmill or Lap Pool:
- Seriously, while this does address the excess physical energy, it does not address the attention deficit that your dog or cat feels. Now, a walk around the block or some exercise at the dog park for dogs, a laser light chase or fishing pole and lure for cats would address both. If you can find a way to give your pet attention while they are spending some of that stored up energy, you will likely have a positive interaction with your pet.
Let me give you a time line for puppy and kitten growth compared to humans which may help you understand pet behavior.
When puppies and kittens are around three to four months old, they are like toddlers exploring the world around them with curiosity. They get overly excited (that’s what makes them so much fun), and they have trouble finding constructive things to do with their energy (that’s why we get so frustrated with them).
When they reach six to seven months of age, they are in their pre-teen to teen age years and begin to go through puberty. They demonstrate hormone driven behavior, and begin to learn how to fit into the social world around them. Getting them spayed or neutered before this stage really helps with behavior modification as well as the health benefits.
By 12-18 months of age, most breeds are fully developed physically similar to an eighteen year old person. However, just as in people social maturity lags behind physical maturity, the same is true for pets. Most dogs and cats don’t act like the mature pet we expected until 2-3 years old.
Puppies and kittens, like children, require a lot of love, time, and diligence. While spaying or neutering before six months of age can help with behavior modification, there is no substitute for the time and energy required to raise a puppy or kitten.
Thanks for following our blog. We’ll be back soon with more tips and trends for pets.
Dr. Jake Boyer, SpayXperts Spay Neuter Specialty Clinic, Norman, Oklahoma