When should I neuter or spay my dog?

Podcast Transcript

Our client asked,” When should I spay or neuter my dog?”

I want to preface this by saying there are a multitude of factors on the when/why you should spay or neuter. Now we are sharing our opinions with some facts dotted into this episode and ultimately as I will say more than once medically if at any time or reason your vet recommends a neuter or spay be done or not follow that advice or seek a second medical opinion. Now as trainers and behaviorists we advocate for dogs to be neutered and spayed in a wide range of ages. It heavily depends on the dogs breed, size, and attitude. Some dogs have been researched to be healthier later in life not being neutered or spayed, things like cancer prevention and healthier hips can be attributed to not neutering or spaying at all.

However, it’s not 100% odds and there are plenty of dogs that have been neutered or spayed and still lived long healthy, active lives. Let’s focus on male dogs and neutering for a moment, it is a big deal for male dogs when their testosterone comes in. It can completely alter your dog’s personality, drives, and ability to work/train with you.

It important to let your dog get to at least six months of age prior to any neutering to ensure they do get full development even though it truly is up to two years of age for their bodies to grow/fill out/ and change. If there is no worry of full growth in muscles and joints for serious dog sports then an early neuter is just fine, however when you get into breeds who have genetic predispositions to hip/back/joint problems waiting longer to 12-24 months of age is more appropriate because they need that time to develop.

If you are waiting you must be educated and understanding that the pup you had at six months of age may change and they may become more obstinate towards you as the owner/handler. Males can become more assertive or reactive if you don’t continue healthy socialization.

You also must understand the risk of you intact male dog being able to smell and sense females in heat from miles away, this can also cause drastic attitude changes. Even a neuter at two years old can help calm down anxiety, reactivity, and energy levels in your male dogs. It is not a fix all solution but can assist in mellowing out your dog especially breeds prone to high energy, anxiety, and reactivity.

A lot of the same basic principles and ideas apply to female dogs.

There are some other factors, though; while a male dog can be considered for neutering as soon as their testicles come in, it’s important to allow your female dog to go through at least one heat cycle prior to a spay appointment. Most veterinarians want them to go through two heat cycles which is appropriate for their development. Female dogs have a different boost of estrogen and testosterone as well as organ development.

Going through a heat cycle really ranges in your dog’s age as some can go very early, I’ve heard of four months old and as late as twelve months of age. Be sure you are consulting with your vet and ensuring their thoughts on the age/time to spay. Robert is there anything to female dogs specifically on their development in an early or later spay?

(RF response—-) To wrap this up guys, there’s not a magic number, time, or age for a neuter or spay but hopefully this episode gives you all the information and factors to consider along with what your vet is advising as well.

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