What is the Best Age to Neuter or Spay My Dog?

June 11, 2019 at 11:00 AM by Nikki Wardle

Nikki Wardle

Puppy with head cone You’re a new pet owner and want to be responsible for helping control the pet population. Since you already know that your new furry family member will not be used for any breeding purposes, he or she will need to get fixed.

But when should you get them fixed? To find some answers, you do what every second person in the northern hemisphere does and asks Google. What you see is a myriad of different opinions and scientific data suggesting to get them fixed at 6 months of age to up to 2 years of age. What do you do now?

The answer up to you, the love pet parent. With some educated guidance from your veterinarian.

Spay or Neuter at 6-9 months of age

Spaying –Studies have shown that spaying a female before her first heat cycle can almost eliminate her chances of developing mammary cancer. It is worth noting that 90% of mammary tumors found in females are benign. Spaying this early has been associated with preventing uterine infections in both cats and dogs.

Neutering – Getting a jump on neutering your male canine will help you get a jump on curbing undesirable behaviors like humping, roaming around for females, marking territory, and aggressiveness. Your canine will also be less likely to develop testicular cancer.

Spay or Neuter at 12-18 months of age

Spaying - Waiting until your female has gone through her first heat cycle (once she has hit puberty) has become the recommended time frame for most female dogs. Studies have shown that spaying after puberty will decrease:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Torn ligaments
  • Bone cancer
  • Urinary incontinence
While letting your female go through her first heat cycle is messy, letting those hormones run through her system can be a very good thing.

Side note, an Ovary Sparring Spay is an excellent option for females. The procedure allows them to retain normal amounts of hormones but does not experience bleeding

Every breed is different, so it’s best to work closely with a veterinarian to determine when is the right time is to spay your girl.

Neutering – Recent research over the past few decades has shown that letting your male reach puberty before neutering is an excellent thing for most breeds. Studies suggest that when a male’s body has received the reproductive hormones and a significant boost of testosterone at puberty, they have a decreased chance of developing:
  • Cardiac tumors
  • Bone cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Abnormal bone growth and development
  • ACL ruptures
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Behavioral issues such as noise phobias, fearful

Another point to consider is certain breeds like Pitt Bulls who get bigger heads and broader shoulders after they’ve gone through puberty. Individuals who want to show their dogs in competition will want to take this into consideration.

The choice is up to you, the loving pet parent, on when you want to get you pooch fixed. Talk to your veterinarian about all the pros and cons of waiting to spay or neuter your pet because every breed is unique. Please feel free to make an appointment to talk to any of our amazing doctors.

Topics: Neutering Pets, Pet Spay

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki is the marketing manager for IPH and has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.