2001-Wed Jan 18 05:06:55 EST 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
You know that I am a big proponent of
spaying and neutering for pet
dogs; it offers a variety of benefits for our pets. Among other things, it can reduce roaming and help prevent serious conditions such as
uterine infections. And there's no doubt that it has helped to dramatically reduce the number of animals euthanized in shelters for lack of homes.
We veterinarians used to recommend that young animals be spayed or neutered at about 6 months of age. And we learned that pups could be altered as early as 8 weeks of age and bounce back quickly from the surgery, making it easier for shelters to adopt them out knowing they wouldn’t reproduce.
But we’ve also learned some new things about spay/neuter surgery that can affect the
age at which we recommend it. Some large and giant breeds who are surgically altered at an early age appear to be more prone to certain types of cancer as well as orthopedic problems such as
hip dysplasia and
canine cruciate ligament tears.
Pet owners may also choose to keep dogs intact (not neutered) because they are
working dogs or canine athletes for whom the presence of testosterone contributes to better muscle tone. Females spayed too early may develop urinary incontinence.
For these reasons and others, I am seeing more pet owners who consult with their veterinarian and decide to wait until full physical maturity (anywhere from 14 to 24 months) to
neuter their dogs.
If you and your veterinarian decide that waiting to
neuter your dog is right for his health, you may have questions about what it’s like to live with an intact dog. For starters, you’ll need to take steps to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Here’s what else you need to know.
Female dogs have a “season,” when they smell ripe and delicious and irresistible to male dogs. Sometimes referred to as being “in heat,” this period occurs twice a year in most dogs, usually every five to nine months. At what age this first occurs and how often it occurs depends on the size or breed of the dog. Small
dogs tend to have their first season as early as six months of age, while large or giant breeds may not reach sexual maturity until 1 to 2 years of age. But it does vary. Many
Basenjis are known for coming into season only once a year, and the same may be true for some giant breeds.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Electronic cigarettes may be growing in
popularity, but their higher concentrations
of nicotine can poison cats and…
Are you handling your pet the right way?
Our vet shares five things your pup wishes
you knew about picking him up.
We combed through 505,270 kitten
names to determine the hottest male
and female monikers of the year.
We scoured our database of 1.1 million
dogs to find out which male and female
monikers reigned supreme this past…
The laid-back American Wirehair’s crimped, coarse coat requires almost no brushing or combing.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.