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Information on Spaying and Neutering Your Pet

Dog and cat asleep

What do "spay" and "neuter" really mean?

Female dogs and cats are spayed by removing their reproductive organs, and male dogs and cats are neutered by removing their testicles.  In both cases the operation is performed while the pet is under anesthesia.  Depending on the pet's age, size, and health, it will stay at the veterinarian's office for a few hours or a few days. Depending upon the procedure, the pet may need stitches removed after a few days. Contact (202) 723-5730, extension 205, to fully discuss the best age at which to sterilize your pet.

Spaying or Neutering Is Good for Your Pet

  • Spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives.
  • Spaying and neutering can eliminate or reduce the incidence of a number of health problems that can be very difficult or expensive to treat.
  • Spaying eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer and greatly reduces the incidence of breast cancer, particularly when females are spayed before the first heat cycle.
  • Neutering eliminates testicular cancer and decreases the incidence of prostate disease in males.

Spaying or Neutering Is Good for You

  • Spaying and neutering makes pets better, more affectionate companions, but leaves the animal’s natural guarding behavior.
  • Neutering cats makes them less likely to spray and mark territory.
  • Spaying a dog or cat eliminates her heat cycle. Heat cycles last an average of six to twelve days, often twice a year, in dogs and an average of six to seven days, three or more times a year, in cats. Females in heat can cry incessantly, show nervous behavior, and attract unwanted male animals.
  • Unsterilized animals often exhibit more behavior and temperament problems than do those who have been spayed or neutered.
  • Spaying and neutering can make pets less likely to bite.
  • Neutering makes pets less likely to roam the neighborhood, run away, or get into fights.

Spaying and Neutering Are Good for the Community

  • Communities spend millions of dollars to control unwanted animals.
  • Irresponsible breeding contributes to the problem of dog bites and attacks.
  • Animal shelters are overburdened with surplus animals. Spaying and neutering can help reduce animal control facilities' euthanasia rate.
  • Stray pets and homeless animals get into trash containers, defecate in public areas or on private lawns, and frighten or anger people.
  • Some stray animals also scare away or kill birds and wildlife.

Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinics in our Area

If you have made the decision to spay or neuter your pet, there are low cost clinics that can be utilized in the DC/MD/VA area.
Humane Rescue Alliance Medical Center
       71 Oglethorpe Street NW
       Washington, DC 20009
       (202) 723-5730, extension 205
       or email [email protected]

Spay Now Animal Surgery Clinic - Laurel
       7401 Van Dusen Rd
       Laurel, MD 20707
       (301) 483-7080 

Spay Spot
       3750 Brown Station Rd
       Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
       (301) 780-7203






Contact Phone: 
(877) 672-2174
Contact Fax: 
(202) 727-8471
Contact TTY: 
Office Hours: 
Monday to Friday 8:15 am to 4:45 pm
Service Location: 

Health, Department of

GIS Address: 
2201 Shannon Place SE