When should I spay or neuter my puppy?

Sweetie Doodles does not require spaying/neutering your puppy until 8 months of age.
However we recommend spaying/neutering at 4-5 months old, (before the first heat cycle for females.)

 

The difference between what we require and what we recommend is because of the health risks that are being discovered that are associated with early spay/neuter. There is a lot of controversy about spaying/neutering early or late. We want to make sure you understand the risks involved with paying/neutering early and later before choosing which you will do. The decision comes down to the immediate health risk versus the long term health risks, which is a personal choice.

 

Reasons to spay your female as a puppy before her first heat cycle:

  • Every heat cycle a female goes through can result in a pyometra, and every heat cycles a female goes though without getting pregnant increases that chance of getting a pyometra. Pyometra kills FAST, with little to no warning, and is an emergency. Risk of pyometra is reason enough to spay by itself.

  • Female dogs in heat go through emotional changes while in heat. (Dog dependent, some are needy, some are crabby, some are aloof. Sort of like doggy PMS.)

  • Once a female goes into heat once, there is permanent personality changes. Most will no longer be as friendly to new dogs or other females. They also tend to be more short tempered with their previous dog friends.

  • Female dogs in heat must be leashed at all times, even in your yard. A female will go through a fence to get to a male. A male will go through a fence to get to a female and if she is not leashed, you will have no way of pulling her into your house.

  • Walks aren’t safe with a female dog in heat, as any male in the area that approaches her will not care that you are there.

 

Reasons to neuter your male as a puppy:

  • A dog that is allowed to go through puberty will have some permanent personality changes. Male dogs that are allowed to reach maturity before neutering have a good chance of being aggressive to dogs that he doesn’t know, as well as being short tempered, humping, and easily distracted by scents.

  • Male dogs that get into a fight have a higher chance of that escalating into a serious fight that can’t be broken up safely.

  • An intact male dog can find a way to get out if there is a female dog in heat in the area, even if they hurt themselves in the process. A screened window or a fence are just obstacles to get through. Nothing exists to them except the female. Many intact males are hit by a car because they are not aware of their surroundings.

  

Reasons not to spay/neuter your puppy until maturity:

  • If a dog is spayed/neutered before the growth plates close, that dog will get taller than expected as the sex hormones during puberty trigger the growth plates to start to close.

  • Spay/neuter before the growth plate closes increases the rate of hip dysplasia.

  • Other bone/joint disease thought to be increased from early spay/neuter are arthritis, cranial cruciate ligament tears, and patellar luxation.

  • Opponents of early spay/neuter list a range of diseases that they believe are increased with early spay/neuter, some may be valid, some are definitely not, but actual studies have not been done to prove/disprove them.

 

A note on cancers: Puppy spay/neuter, adult spay/neuter, and leaving animals intact their entire life all increase or decrease different types of cancer. Each has their own cancer risk, so I do not include any here.

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