The Right Time to Spay or Neuter Your Dog

DukeWhen Should I Fix My Dog?

There is no question that spaying and neutering your dog is the right choice. There are hundreds of thousands of unwanted dogs who have been abandoned in shelters all over the world. Most of these dogs are wonderful animals who would make great pets and companions in the right homes. Unless you are showing and breeding your dog to continue a line of healthy, registered animals with a responsible breeding program and strict placement/homing policies, spaying and neutering your dog does a big part in reducing the number of unwanted dogs found in shelters. Additionally, having your dog fixed decreases their desire to roam in order to find a mate, which also decreases their risk of being lost or hit by a car. Unwanted sexual behaviors such as marking, humping and some dominance aggression can also be greatly reduced or eliminated by having your dog surgically altered.

Although River Road Veterinary Clinic recommends spaying or neutering your dog, our new recommendations advise that this surgery take place at 1 year old, instead of 6 months. There are numerous reasons for advising our clients to wait until their dog is at least 1 year old before having them surgically altered.

One extremely important reason to wait is that dogs who are spayed and neutered at a very young age have a much higher risk of developing orthopedic problems as they mature. These problems include cruciate tears, hip dysplasia and other knee/joint injuries. Additionally, recent studies have indicated that lymphosarcomas, hemangiosarcomas and mast cell tumors occur much less frequently in dogs who have been fixed later in life. Although these certain types of cancers are less prevalent in animals who remain intact or who are altered later in life it is important to remember that intact females almost exclusively develop mammary chain cancers and intact males can develop prostate cancer as well as perianal adenomas.

Waiting until your dog is 1 year old to have them spayed or neutered strikes the best balance between the benefits of having a fixed animal and the benefits of allowing your pet’s hormones to contribute positively to their growth and development. If you have any questions about having your dog spayed or neutered please do not hesitate to call River Road Veterinary Clinic at (802)649-3877.

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