Animal Welfare: Companion Animals

This page provides access to a variety of resources that can help you make a positive difference in the lives of companion animals.

Featured Topic: Gonadectomy in Dogs

Preventing pet reproduction is part of responsible pet ownership, and gonadectomy remains a vital component of pet population control.  Gonadectomy is the most common surgical procedure performed on pets and reduces undesirable mating behaviors. But research studies over the past few years have shown that the procedure is not as innocuous as it was believed to be; gonadectomy reduces the risk of some cancers and medical conditions, but increases the risk of others.

As our thinking on gonadectomy evolves, honest and transparent conversations must take place within the profession as well as between veterinarians and pet owners. The video shown here, “Canine Gonadectomy, A Roundtable Discussion,” is part of that discussion. Developed as a joint venture between the AVMA, AAHA, and Coral Spring Animal Hospital in Coral Springs, Fla., this May 2015 event brought together a primary care practitioner and board-certified veterinarians in behavior, internal medicine, surgery and oncology to discuss the benefits and risks of gonadectomy in dogs. View the discussion at your convenience; if you watch it in its entirety, you can earn 1.0 credit of AVMA CE by completing a short assessment survey at a link shown at the video’s end.

We view the roundtable discussion as a kickoff for a much larger conversation that we hope will be enriched by expertise from across the veterinary community. In support of this more comprehensive effort, we have created an opportunity for dialogue via The AVMA’s Animal Welfare Conversation group on LinkedIn. We also have initiated a systematic literature review and our Animal Welfare Committee has begun a careful examination of related AVMA policy.

Do you have specific suggestions for how to expand the conversation further? E-mail us at

Join the Conversation

Are you an AVMA or SAVMA member? We invite you to share your thoughts on canine gonadectomy—or any other animal welfare topic—by joining The Conversation on LinkedIn

See Also: Socialization

Our landing page on the socialization of puppies and kittens features a new literature review on this subject.  Please watch this space for more information on how to get young puppies and kittens of to the best possible start in life!





Literature Reviews




Animal Abuse:

Dog Bite Prevention:

Cosmetic Procedures:


Pet Selection:

The AVMA's Animal Welfare Conversation on LinkedIn