Frequently Asked Questions
• Why should I get my pet spayed or neutered?
• When should I get my pet spayed or neutered?
• Do you spay and neuter rabbits?
• I have a senior pet, should they still get spayed or neutered?
• My pet has another medical condition needing surgery, can this be done at the same time as the spay/neuter?
• Will getting my pet spayed/neutered make them gain weight or change their personality?
• I have a friendly outdoor cat, can I still get the ‘Feral Cat Package’?
• What is an ‘ear tip’ and what’s it for?
• Do you have to ear tip a cat getting the “Feral Cat Package”?
• How do I schedule?
• How can I pay?
• Do I need to be a resident of Pittsburgh or Allegheny County to use your program?
• Is there a discount if I am on Social Security/ Unemployment/ Senior Citizen, etc?
• I have called multiple times, why didn’t I receive a return call?
• My pet is pregnant (or in heat), can she still be spayed?
• My pet is urinating in the house, will spaying or neutering stop this?
• If I get my male cat/dog neutered, will he stop running away?
• Why are pit bulls able to be fixed for $30?
• What if I am unable to make my appointment?
• What if I can't make my appointment due to bad weather?
• How long will it take my pet to recover?
• Why do the animals get tattooed?
• My pet had surgery and isn’t acting normal, what should I do?
• My pet is fixed but still humps things!
• What if my pet just needs vaccines?
• How do I know what vaccines my pet needs?
• How can I get a 3 year rabies vaccine?
• Can I get my pets nails trimmed or have fecal/blood test done?
Why should I get my pet spayed or neutered?
Getting your pet fixed has a multitude of benefits. The obvious pro is it prevents unwanted litters and helps to end overpopulation. It also can prevent unwanted behaviors from developing including marking, aggression, and running away. Fixed animals can also live longer lives with the risk of certain cancers and diseases lowered by being spayed or neutered.
When should I get my pet spayed or neutered?
The ideal time to get a dog spayed or neutered is after 6 months and a female has her first heat cycle. Cats can be fixed at 2 months of age if they weigh at least 2 lbs, and you want to get them fix before their first birthday as well.
Do you spay and neuter rabbits?
Yes! We offer rabbit spay and neuter surgeries on-site and through our community program.
I have a senior pet, should they still get spayed/neutered?
Yes! The major risk with senior pets is cancer. Spaying and neutering drastically cuts down the risk of cancer, giving your pet the chance at a longer life. Pets over a certain age will require pre surgical blood work to ensure they are well enough for surgery.
My pet has another medical condition needing surgery, can this be done at the same time as the spay/neuter?
Pets that have a pre-existing conditions or need additional surgical services can be schedule with one of our participating community vets to receive the extra services not available at our high volume clinics.
Will getting my pet spayed/neutered make them gain weight or change their personality?
Sometimes the surgery can slightly lower an animal’s metabolism. If you notice your pet gaining weight, discuss changing their diet and exercise routine with your veterinarian. The only behavior spaying/neutering affects are those related to hormones. Your dog will not stop being affectionate toward you, but will stop feeling the need to chase after girls.
I have a friendly outdoor cat, can I still get the ‘Feral Cat Package’?
Yes! While called the ‘feral’ package, it is offered to any outdoor cat that is not a house pet. This includes true feral cats, barn cats, and that friendly stray that just started visiting your porch. This package does not apply to stray cats that are taken in as pets.
What is an ‘ear tip’ and what’s it for?
Ear tips are a means for identifying feral cats from a distance. During surgery, the top third of one ear is removed or "tipped" (commonly the left ear, but sometimes the right instead). This allows animal control officers and colony care givers keep track of what cats have been vetted.
Do you have to ear tip a cat getting the “Feral Cat Package”?
Yes. Any cat receiving this package must receive the standard 1/3 ear tip. Those who are adamant about not getting the ear tip will be asked to pay the itemized pricing for an owned cat.
How do I schedule?
Prepayment is required to be placed on the schedule. If you have a credit or debit card, you can call a LCSN Program Assistant and pay over the phone. A money order can be mailed and a Program Assistant will call when it has been received. You can also stop by the shelter on weekdays between 11am and 5pm and schedule in person at the LCSN office.
How can I pay?
We accept credit and debit cards over the phone, money orders, and cash. We do not accept personal checks. Please speak with a Program Assistant before mailing a money order to calculate the correct price. Money orders should be mailed to Animal Friends with attention to LCSN and include a phone number that you can be reached at to schedule. Cash can be used if you visit our office any weekday between 11am -5pm. Please DO NOT mail cash or personal checks.
Do I need to be a resident of Pittsburgh or Allegheny County to use your program?
No. We offer our services to anyone with low income that wants to be a responsible owner and fix their animal.
Is there a discount if I am on Social Security/ Unemployment/ Senior Citizen, etc?
No. Our pricing is the lowest in the greater Pittsburgh area and we are able to offer this service thanks to generous donations and a dedicated staff.
I have called multiple times, why didn’t I receive a return call?
We return all messages that are left on our voice mail, but we receive roughly 100 calls a day and may need a few days to return your call. If you have left a message and not heard from us in 3 business days, be sure your own voice mail is properly set up and not full, then call us back. Calling multiple times does not result in your call being returned faster.
My pet is pregnant (or in heat), can she still be spayed?
Yes! While we all love kittens, the sad truth is many litters do not find forever homes. We will terminate the pregnancy painlessly for both the mother and kittens, freeing the mother from any future litters and preventing future suffering for her kittens.
My pet is urinating in the house, will spaying or neutering stop this?
Possibly. If your pet is young and has just begun ‘spraying’ (marking their territory with urine) getting them fixed can stop this behavior. If you have a pet that is older and has been marking for a while, removing the hormones from their system is not likely to stop the behavior because it has become a learned habit. You will still want to get your animal fixed, as it can prevent other health issues down the road.
If I get my male neutered, will he stop running away?
Some dogs are driven by hormones to run away and surgery can stop this behavior. Certain dogs may also need additional training to learn proper manners.
Why are Pit Bulls able to be fixed for a discounted rate?
Sadly, the majority of dogs in shelters are pit bulls or pit bull mixes. Pit bulls also have larger litters than most breeds. Animal Friends is working to make the majority of the pit bull population reside in loving homes instead of the street or shelters.
What if I am unable to make my appointment?
If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please call us 48 hours before your scheduled surgery and we can save your deposit or refund it. Excluding unforeseen circumstances (family emergency, car trouble), deposits will not be refunded or transferred for cancelations or rescheduling without 48 hours notice.
What if I can't make my appointment because of bad weather?
We completely understand bad weather happens. We want you and your pets to be safe first and foremost. There is no charge to reschedule if you miss an appointment due to extreme weather.
How long will it take my pet to recover?
We recommend keeping your animal quiet and the surgery site clean and dry for 7 to 10 days. Sometimes this is easier said than done as not all animals act as though they just had surgery!
Why do the animals get tattooed?
At the time of surgery, we give each animal a small, teal-colored tattoo that is a universal symbol for an animal being altered. Spay scars can fade and at times be hard to see or a neutered male could be mistaken for a female. This ensure your pet would not be unnecessarily operated on a second time. Few owners ever notice the tiny mark once the pet's fur has grown back.
My pet had surgery and isn’t acting normal, what should I do?
Read over the post surgical instructions that were given to you when you picked up your animal. If your questions are still not answered, contact our tech line at 412.865.9831 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please leave a message if your call is not answered. If you feel your pet needs immediate veterinarian attention, visit your local vet or emergency vet, but also leave us a message on our tech line.
My pet is fixed but still humps things!
Humping is not strictly a sexual behavior for animals. Even fixed animals will hump other animals or objects out of excitement or dominance.
What if my pet just needs vaccines?
We have low cost vaccine clinics here at the shelter on a regular basis. For more information and dates visit our Low-Cost Vaccine Clinic page.
How do I know what vaccines my pet needs?
For information on vaccines, please read this handout.
How can I get a 3 year rabies vaccine?
For your pet to get a 3 year rabies vaccination, they must have a current 1 year rabies vaccination. You must bring proof of your pet’s current vaccination, a vaccine certificate (tags are not enough proof).
Can I get my pets nails trimmed or have fecal/blood test done?
Nails can be trimmed when animals come in for surgery, but nail trims are not offered at our Low-Cost Vaccine Clinics. Fecal and blood tests are not offered due to the high-volume nature of our program.