By Team Introverts The need to sterilise our pets is an ongoing issue. Many fur-parents feel that making their pets go through such surgery might scar the pet’s mental wellness, making their furbabies lose trust on their owners. Pet owners tend to feel that pets being in their own natural state is the best and healthiest option, not risking their lives going under the knife, unless an emergency calls for it. The idea to sterilise is then thrown to the back of their minds. Believe it or not, studies have shown that spaying or neutering our pets can be beneficial. A study by the University of Georgia on 70,000 animals found that the life expectancy of neutered male dogs was 13.8% higher and spayed female dogs lived 26.3% longer. Another study by Banfield Pets Hospital on a larger database of 2.2 million dogs and 460,000 cats shows that the life expectancy for neutered male dogs was 18% longer and spayed female dogs was 23% longer. Spayed female cats in the same study concluded 39% longer life expectancy, and neutered male cats showed a shocking 62% longer life expectancy. The lifespan of cats and dogs are usually shortened by infections or cancer. Spaying female pets can prevent ovarian and/or uterine cancer besides decreasing the incidence of breast tumours which are malignant or cancerous in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats, especially when it is done before their first heat (sexual maturity). On the other hand, neutering male pets eliminates their risk of testicular cancer and the possibility of developing benign prostatichyperplasia which can affect the ability to defecate. Therefore, spaying and neutering our pets actually bring more health benefits compared to no procedures done. Millions of strays are euthanized every year and by just doing this one deed by pet owners, which is sterilising their pets, they can make a change to stop the birth of unwanted litters. Spaying female pets can stop their heat cycles while neutering male pets can decrease aggressive behaviour and generally lessen their breeding instinct, which makes them less likely to roam and more willing to stay inside. Subsequently, there are multiple options of sterilisation procedure for pet owners to choose from. The first option would be via surgical sterilisation where certain reproductive organs of the pet will be removed. Ovariohysterectomy, also known as spaying will remove the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus from a female dog or cat which makes her unable to reproduce, eliminates her heat cycle and breeding instinct-related behaviour. Conversely, male pets will go through Orchiectomy that is typically known as neutering where the testes are removed making them unable to reproduce, and reduces or eliminates male breeding behaviours. While both spaying and neutering are major surgical procedures, they are also the most common surgeries performed by veterinarians on cats and dogs. Sterilisation is associated with some anaesthetic and surgical risk like any surgical operation, although the general incidence of complications is quite low. Before the procedure, the veterinarian will make a thorough physical examination prior to the procedure to check if the pet is in good health. The surgery will be performed under general anaesthesia with supplies to painkillers. After the surgery, pet owners will have to keep their pet calm with enough rest while the incision heals for speedy recovery. Post-op observation by pet owners is crucial to prevent possible infections to the surgical wounds or other concerns. Alternatively, pet owners can opt for non-surgical sterilisation that is inexpensive, effective and non-invasive if they have doubts or concerns for the traditional method. This method would involve a single intratesticular injection of a solution of calcium chloride dihydrate that can chemically neuter male animals. However, it requires proper technique and follow-up to avoid complications later. As research continues, additional products for nonsurgical sterilisation may be developed and pet owners can balance the pros and cons of each method. Puppies as young as eight weeks old can be neutered contrary to the traditional age of six to nine months. Despite this, matured dogs could still be neutered but there will be higher risk of post-operative complications especially dogs that are overweight or have health problems. Additionally, kittens can also be spayed or neutered as young as eight weeks old and potentially before 5 months old to potentially avoid urinary tract problems and eliminate the chance for pregnancy. All in all, it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian first to decide the best time to neuter or spay furbabies, and to discuss which procedure would be best for both the pet and owner. There are more pros than cons for neutering or spaying our pets. One small step by pet owners can drastically reduce further overpopulation in the long run and less strays will be left on the streets with lack of food and shelter. It is already a sad fact that countless animals are living in shelters and foster accommodation. This is a heavy burden on local authorities and NGOs due to overpopulation. This simple act by pet owners out of responsibility to society can help make the world a less cruel place for these animals.