For many years, veterinarians have spayed and neutered dogs between 6 months to 1 year of age, and sometimes sooner depending on the situation. However, recent studies have shown that it may be time to change things around when it comes to altering our furry little friends.
As for most every situation in life, the decision of when to spay or neuter your pet is not an easy one. There are advantages and disadvantages to both sides of the research.
So how do you determine what choice is best for you and your pet?
The truth is, there is no right answer. At least not one that answers the question for every single patient.
Making the verdict of when to spay/neuter your pet should be based on the patient’s individual well-being and lifestyle. Not to mention the circumstances of the owner.
Discussing any concerns with your veterinarian is crucial. After all, they have spent years studying and treating the many conditions and diseases surrounding the decision.
Benefits of Spaying/Neutering Before 1 Year of Age
- Prevents pyometra (females)
- Eliminates the risk of testicular cancer (males)
- Decreases the chances of prostate enlargement/infection (males)
- Lessens the chance of hormone-related behaviors (leg lifting, marking, humping, male-on-male aggression)
- Prevents mammary cancer (females)
Disadvantages of Spaying/Neutering Before 1 Year of Age
- Possible greater risk of**
- Mast Cell Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Urinary incontinence (mostly females, rarely males)
- Prostate cancer (males)
- Possible greater incidence of**
- Hip Dysplasia (especially large breed dogs)
- Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injuries (especially large breed dogs)
- Infectious Diseases (in dogs spayed/neutered before 24 weeks)
- Adverse reactions of vaccines
**According to some studies
Keep in mind that this is a list of possible health concerns. At this time, there is no right or wrong answer of when to spay/neuter. The veterinary world still does not fully understand all of the consequences of spaying/neutering before OR after 1 year of age.
Every dog is unique in their own way. From that wierd dance Lucy does in the yard every morning, to the slightest heart murmur Zeus has had since he was a 12 week-old puppy. Only you and your veterinarian understand that uniqueness. The decision of when to spay/neuter them should be no different!
Please leave any thoughts or comments below! We’d love to hear them!