Some people say it is interfering with nature to spay or neuter an animal, but what is to become of all their babies? There are just not enough caring homes available for them all. All too often they are treated cruelly, abandoned or drowned. There are animal welfare organisations all around the country literally bursting at the seams with adorable dogs, cats and rabbits looking for caring homes, so please don’t make the situation worse by bringing more into the world.

The DSPCA strongly recommend that you get your pet spayed if it is female and neutered if it is male. As well as preventing unwanted offspring there are medical benefits, cancer is less likely to occur in older animals. We know it is lovely to see a litter of pups or kittens but spare a thought for their future.

The DSPCA rehomes thousands of unwanted dogs, cats, rabbits, etc every year. Neutering is a good way to help solve this problem.

What is neutering?

Neutering or ‘spaying’ a female animal involves removing the womb and ovaries (an ovaro-hysterectomy). Males are castrated – the testicles are removed. Both operations are straightforward – they are carried out under general anaesthetic and the animals recover quickly.

When should an animal be neutered?

Thousands of unwanted puppies, kittens, etc are born every year, and the DSPCA strongly advises neutering at an early age, usually around 5-6 months old. This is a straightforward operation that can be arranged with a vet.

Unneutered females come into season several times a year. Dogs may have up to 12 puppies in each litter twice a year, an unneutered female cat can have three pregnancies a year and five or six kittens per litter, you do the math!

Will my pet behave or look differently afterwards?

It may, but most owners think any changes are for the better. Unneutered males tend to be more aggressive than their neutered counterparts – they get into fights with other animals; they often escape from their owners in an attempt to find a female in season and are sometimes injured or cause traffic accidents as a result. Male animals, which are kept indoors, may turn their amorous attentions to pieces of furniture or even people. In dogs barking and ill temper are other symptoms of frustration. Tom-cats can be great wanderers and fighters which can lead to injury and infected wounds, they also mark their territory by urinating – this is called ‘spraying’. The smell is difficult to eliminate.

Unneutered female dogs come into heat twice yearly for about three weeks each time and female cats come into heat three to four times a year. A bitch in heat usually attracts scores of visiting males to her owner’s front door and windows. She will also be quite anxious to escape and, as a result, may be difficult to control. Females who have shown no interest in other animals before will have a change of mind when in heat. Unneutered females can also go through phantom pregnancies which can lead to all sorts of odd behaviour and may even require veterinary attention to sort it out. They are also more prone to tumours of their breasts in later life and a serious disease of the womb called pyometra.

Will neutering make my pet fat?

No, it shouldn’t. Animals generally only get fat from overeating. But a neutered animal may not need as much food as before and you should keep an eye on what you are giving it. Ask your vet for advise

Is it best to let my pet have one litter first?

No, this is a myth. There is no good reason for letting a dog or cat produce a litter and the normal health risks associated with birth and pregnancy can actually be harmful.

How much will neutering cost?

This is a matter that you must discuss with your veterinary surgeon. Cost depends on the size of your pet and whether it is male or female.

Neutering a female dog can cost from 140 Euro – 260 Euro depending on the size.  Check out our Vet Hospital here.

All cats, rabbits & dogs adopted from the DSPCA are spayed or neutered. If you adopt an animal that is too young the DSPCA will organise for you to come back when the animal is old enough to be spayed or neutered as part of your adoption fee.

f you are in receipt of Social Welfare you can use our Subsidised Mobile Clinic service. Find out more here.

Feral Wild Cats

Each Spring, uncontrolled breeding means that hundreds of litters of feral kittens are born, prey to disease and sickness. We collect thousands of abused, injured and sick cats and kittens each year.

Neutering your pet cat, both the males and females, will go a long way towards reducing the numbers of feral kittens being born each year.

In the DSPCA we have a Trap Neuter Return (TNR) program where we neuter feral cats Monday to Thursday (drop off before 11am and collection before 11am the following day). We charge €25 per cat.

All feral cats must arrive at the shelter in a cat trap NOT a pet carrier. We can provide cat traps but we do require a €100 cash deposit for the trap which is returned to you when you return the trap to us.

To check the availability of a cat trap please email