Sunday, June 13, 2021

At what age to neuter a dog?

What is the best age to sterilize my dog? There are several options and opinions on the subject as we will see in this article. A dog can be neutered at different ages, and in each case there are advantages and disadvantages.

Sterilization of the adult dog after sexual maturity

The most traditional idea was to sterilize sexually mature animals at the age of one year and, in the case of females, after they had their first heat.

Advantages :

This option has the advantage that the animal has already developed physically. This means that the dog has grown, its muscles, joints and bones are already formed, strong and have their adult shape.

Also that the dog or bitch has been able to produce sex hormones, thus avoiding some possible risks that we will mention in the following points.

Disadvantages :

The disadvantage is that if you take a long time to sterilize your dog and she is negligent, she can get pregnant at the first heat.

For some males that have already developed sex hormone behaviours (such as aggressive attitudes towards other males or territoriality), even when you spay them, these behaviours may not go away because the dog has already learned or “internalized” them.

In any case, it is not necessary to wait until the female dog has puppies before spaying or neutering her, as this will not prolong her life or improve her health, or purify her blood or anything else that has been said in the past.

Sterilization of a 6 month or 8 month old dog

Today, the general opinion is that the best age to sterilize a dog would be about 6 months (between 6 and 8 months) just before he reaches sexual maturity.


On the one hand, you will avoid any possibility of unwanted pregnancy in your dog. Thus, the risk of having puppies that no one would want to have disappears completely.

But it also has other concrete advantages depending on whether you have a dog or a bitch. In the case of males, it prevents them from developing testosterone-related behaviours such as territoriality, aggression towards other males, or escaping to look for females in heat.

In the case of females, the risk of breast lumps is almost completely eliminated.

Castrated puppy dog less than 5 months old

Can younger puppies be spayed or neutered? If, for a reason or an emergency, you need to sterilize a puppy under 5 months of age, this is also possible. There is a limit before which neutering is not recommended at all, and the limit is usually set at two months.

In other words, if a very young dog needs to be spayed or neutered for any reason, the minimum age would be 8 weeks. Spaying or neutering very young puppies is a trend that is gaining popularity, especially in countries such as Australia and the United States, although the practice is less widespread in Europe. In fact, it is a practice that has many detractors, who see too many risks and disadvantages in neutering puppies of 2 months, 3 months and 4 months.

Disadvantages :

Does the sterilization of these young puppies present any contraindications or disadvantages? Yes, the puppy can have problems in adulthood if it has been spayed or neutered too early, for example, there are cases of some females that have been neutered too young and the lack of hormones such as estrogen during their development leads them to suffer from urinary incontinence for life.

Best age to neuter large male dogs (working or large breeds) :

When spaying or neutering a male dog that has not yet reached sexual maturity, he may be slightly less “male” than another dog that is whole or has been spayed or neutered at a later age.

The reason for this is that the dog may not have produced hormones such as testosterone, and may have a less muscular physique, i.e. his muscles may be slightly less marked or have slightly less volume. In this case, he would appear a little thinner or longer than a whole male.

If your dog is a male of a working breed or a particularly muscular breed and you don’t want him to lose this characteristic, you should wait until he is about a year and a half to two years old before spaying or neutering him, at which time he will have had time to develop all his muscles. For example, if you have a male German Shepherd or Rottweiler and you want him to develop the full potential of his muscles.

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