The Best Age To Sterilize Your Dog

Thinking of neutering, spaying or sterilizing?

What is the Best Age to Sterilize Your Dog

The words altering, sterilizing, and neutering all refer to surgery performed by a veterinarian that removes the reproductive organs of either a male or female animal. Castration removes a boy dog’s testicles. An ovariohysterectomy—or spay—removes the girl dog’s ovaries and uterus.

In many parts of the world, there is trend that most of the bitches and dogs are not spayed or castrated unless they have developed some reproductive tract disease. However, in the United States, virtually all bitches and dogs are rendered sterile by surgery at some point in their life. This better allows for reproduction control in animals no longer capable of or not considered desirable for breeding, and eliminates behaviors and physical changes related to presence of reproductive hormones that dog owners find objectionable.

The surgeries most commonly performed are ovariohysterectomy (removal of the uterus and both ovaries), commonly called spaying, and castration (removal of both testes and the associated epididymis). Castration is commonly also called neutering, although that term most correctly can be used for surgery of either gender. Collectively, these surgeries can be referred to as gonadectomy, removal of the gonads or reproductive organs.

Elimination of these hormones obviously leads to decreases in behaviors and physical changes associated with their secretion, such as heat behavior, swelling of the vulva, and estrous bleeding in bitches. However, reproductive hormones have effects on other tissues in the body and removal of those hormones may inadvertently impact those systems negatively.

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Best Age

Adult dogs can be neutered at any age, but the best time is before sexual maturity. For many years, the recommended spay/neuter age was six to nine months. When a puppy’s future involves performance competition, you need to ask your veterinarian and breeder for advice. However, you can delay it by couple of months.

Since dogs can become pregnant prior to six months old, sterilizing at an earlier timeframe makes better sense. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that shelter pets be sterilized by four months.

Many shelters neuter puppies when they reach eight weeks of age—or two pounds in weight—before they are placed for adoption. These babies recover more quickly from the surgery than adult animals. They will grow just as much, and sometimes a bit taller than if they were fixed later in life.

Reasons To Sterilize

Spaying and neutering helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.

Spaying and neutering reduces, or can eliminate, a number of health problems that are difficult and/or expensive to treat.

Spaying greatly reduces the chance of mammary cancer, especially if your dog is spayed before her first estrous cycle, and also eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer.

Neutering will decrease the possibility of prostate disease and eliminates testicular cancer.

Spaying and neutering makes your dog a better, more affectionate companion.

Neutering dogs makes them less likely to spray and mark territory.

Spaying a dog eliminates her heat cycle, which lasts an average of six to 12 days, twice a year. Females in heat can get blood on your furniture, exhibit nervous behavior, and attract unwanted male dogs to your home.

Dogs that are not sterilized often have more behavior and temperament problems than dogs that have been spayed or neutered.

Spaying and neutering can make digs friendlier, less likely to bite.

Neutering makes dogs less likely to wander looking for females or get into fights.

 

One of the biggest reasons why true pet lovers should choose to spay and neuter their pet is due to their love of the breed. Most of us who have owned a pet like to think that our pet is the “best” there is; however, it takes much more than a personal opinion to make a dog that is a benefit to its breed.

Each specific breed of dog has particular standards set out by the American Kennel Club determining what makes a dog the best of its breed. These standards outline everything from height to color to markings and include health clearance of hips, eyes, elbows and heart health.  All of these characteristics come together to make a dog a healthy dog that is guaranteed to lead to an overall better breed.

Updated: September 21, 2017.

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