When to spay or neuter a dog?

Both surgeries are very common and consist of the elimination of the sexual organs, and it rarely results in any issues. Neutering or spaying our pets is very important, not only to eliminate the possibility of unwanted pregnancies, but also to avoid health and behavioral problems in dogs. Calms the character, prevents cancer, urinary problems, lengthens life expectancy… But, once we make the wise decision to spay or neuter our dog, we may be assailed by doubts about what is the best age to do it.

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What is the best age to spay or neuter a dog?

Sex hormones play a fundamental role in the maturation of the organism and in the immune system. For this reason, sterilizing is a source of advantages but also has some drawbacks. Very early sterilizations, especially before 3 months, or before reaching sexual maturity, can affect the correct development of these systems.

Spaying or neutering is usually recommended between 6 and 12 months of age to avoid the negative effects of early spaying or neutering your dog. However, the best age to neuter a male dog or spay a female dog is still controversial, as it depends on several factors such as:

  • Breed
  • Size
  • Sex
  • Genes
  • Environment

In the case of female dogs, some veterinarians prefer to do it before the first heat and others prefer to wait until they fully mature and complete growth. Then depending on the size:

  • In small dogs, it is usually carried out after 6 months, since they usually complete growth and maturation before large dogs.
  • In large dogs, maturation is later, as is the appearance of the first heat in females, which usually appears around a year and sometimes even a year and a half.
  • In large breed dogs with a predisposition to joint diseases, it is recommended to wait until they are a year or a year and a half old to give the musculoskeletal system time to mature.

It should be noted that there is no maximum age to neuter a dog. But as they get older, the anesthetic risk increases. Therefore, surgery may be contraindicated.

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Advantages of neutering or spaying a dog

  • In males, castration decreases marking.
  • We avoid the female search instinct, fights and escapes.
  • We reduce problems of prostate hyperplasia or testicular tumors.
  • We avoid uterine infections and ovarian tumors.
  • In castrations of females before the first heat, we avoid 100% that they have mammary tumors in adulthood.
  • We reduce the level of dominance in males.

Disadvantages of neutering or spaying a dog

  • It increases the probability of suffering from hormonal diseases, such as hypothyroidism.
  • It increases the probability of suffering from some tumors, such as osteosarcoma.
  • In insecure males, behavioral problems may appear.
  • In aggressive females there may be worsening of this behavior.
  • Increased appetite and more tendency to be overweight and obesity.

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For more information, talk to one of our Pet Experts and get customized advice by submitting a request in our Mavyn website.