Traditional Spay/Neuter Practices
If you’ve recently adopted a puppy, you may be starting to think about when and if you should have your dog neutered or spayed. Whether you’re a first-time dog owner, or you’ve had dogs as pets all your life, it is important to be informed and up to date on the latest research regarding the care of your pup. Interestingly, the traditional practice of spaying/neutering dogs at an early age, between four and six months of age, has come under question in light of recent research.
New Research Suggestions
Traditionally, most veterinarians advise dog owners to spay/neuter their pets at around six months of age; however, there is some evidence that this may not be the best time for the procedure. Specifically with larger working breeds, some owners opt to wait until the dog has fully matured before having them spayed or neutered. With this extra developmental time, the dogs become more muscular in comparison with those of the same breed that are neutered at the traditional age, allowing them to perform work more efficiently. Additionally, in the case of breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Rottweilers, Vizslas, and German Shepherds, recent studies suggest that spaying/neutering before one year of age may actually contribute to several behavioral problems and health issues that can ruin a dog’s quality of life.
Potential Benefits of Spaying/Neutering
- Decreases the issue of overpopulation
- May decrease aggression toward other dogs and humans
- Lessens “roaming” tendencies in males
- Reduces occurrence of tumors, hernias, and prostate issues in males
- Reduces occurrence of mammary tumors in females
- Eliminates nearly all risk of Pyometra in females
Potential Drawbacks of Spaying/Neutering Before One Year
- Spaying may increase aggression toward owners
- May increase the risk of orthopedic issues such as torn ligaments or hip dysplasia
- Is connected to increased risk of urinary incontinence
- May increase risk of certain cancers
Questions to Ask Yourself
Before deciding if and when you should spay/neuter your dog, in addition to seeking the advice of your veterinarian, there are a few questions you should ask yourself:
- Will I be able to manage my dog so as to prevent overpopulation? If not, then spaying/neutering is a definite must.
- What is my dog’s purpose? Is he a house pet? A breeding dog? A hunter? A show dog? When deciding whether or not to spay/neuter, your dog’s purpose must be considered. If you intend to breed, then your answer may be different than someone who just wants a companion around the house.
- What have I observed with previous dogs? If you’ve owned dogs before and you have/have not had them spayed/neutered, what is the medical and behavioral history of those dogs? This history may impact your decision.
Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro
At Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro, our goal is to provide care that aligns with current veterinary research and practices. We routinely spay and neuter dogs, and we are happy to provide excellent, individualized care to each and every one of our patients. We would be glad to speak with you about options for spaying/neutering your dog and what is best for your specific situation. Give us a call at 330-626-4935.