animal careBeing a responsible pet owner isn’t just best for your pets—it’s also helpful to domestic animals in general. By spaying or neutering your pet, you’re helping to decrease the overpopulation of cats and dogs and reduce the number of animals that wind up in shelters.

San Diego County offers many options to help pet owners spay or neuter their cats and dogs at low cost. There are almost 75 facilities throughout the entire county that offer reduced fee spay and neuter surgeries through the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services Spay/Neuter Program. For cats, the cost is currently $55 for a neuter surgery and $70 for spaying. Costs for dogs range from $85 to $145, depending on the dog’s size. That cost may still seem high, but it includes all aspects of the surgery itself as well as postoperative care—bear in mind that at normal fees for veterinary surgery, the anesthesia alone often costs more than the entire spay or neuter procedure through this program. You can find a list of participating veterinarians and clinics on the Department of Animal Services website, along with instructions on how to take advantage of this program.

If your veterinarian is not part of the program, you can still receive a discount on spaying or neutering your pet with the Spay/Neuter Rebate Coupon Program. (These coupons can also be used at the clinics offering reduced cost spay and neuter services, saving you even more money.) You can get a coupon worth up to $75 for female pets or $50 for male animals from County Animal Services, animal control officers, or any of the three San Diego County animal shelters. These coupons can also be used for pet rabbits. If for any reason your vet does not honor the coupon, you can mail the coupon along with certification that your animal has been altered to Animal Services, and they will refund you the value of the coupon. You can learn more about these coupons on the Animal Services website.

Some people are hesitant to spay or neuter their pets, but the arguments against spaying or neutering are weak at best. Altering your animal does not cause weight gain, and there is no benefit to “allowing” your pet to reproduce once before altering it. Neutering male animals can also help to alleviate aggressive or dominant behavior. Make the responsible choice and make an appointment to spay or neuter your pet!