Will Spaying, Neutering Make Your Pet Depressed?

Perhaps, but it may be worth the risk
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2011 6:56 AM CDT
Do spaying and neutering make animals depressed?   (©Effervescing Elephant)

(Newser) – Pretty much everyone—even the notoriously contrary PETA—agrees that spaying and neutering companion animals is the responsible thing to do. But could cutting off your dog’s testicles or removing your cat’s ovaries cause them to become depressed? Do the equivalent to humans, and their risk of anxiety and depression or mood disorders increases thanks to a decrease in hormone levels. Studies have also shown that a similar phenomenon occurs in rodents and monkeys.

Not as many studies have been done on dogs and cats, but at least one showed that spayed female dogs were more likely to bark and growl when another dog walked by. Others have shown that spaying and neutering, particularly at an early age, can lead to an increase in separation anxiety, noise phobias, and shyness. But we must remember, writes Madeleine Johnson in Slate, that spaying and neutering are done in order to decrease unwanted behaviors, unintended pregnancies, and certain diseases. “Already millions of strays are euthanized every year, and sex-specific behaviors of pets are too much for most owners to live with,” she writes. Click for the full article. (Read more spaying stories.)

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