At what age can a dog be neutered?

April 13, 2012

Owning a dog can be a simple task. However, making decisions on what is good and bad for them or in other words building a compatible environment is a difficult job. Again, the contradicting views of pet professionals and veterinarians on the subject of neutering them can only worsen your situation. We build affection towards our pet and that emotional attachment leads to growing concern towards their welfare.

Male Neutering: Castration

When a male dog undergoes neutering, the procedure is recognized as castration. It involves total elimination of testes through little surgical incisions that are applied between the scrotum and penis. They are without any vasectomies (dissimilar to humans) and the process is not usually applied only for birth control. In numerous cases, owners are unaware of this fact. After the operation only, they come across it and might have resentment.

Female Neutering: Spaying

Female dog neutering is recognized as spaying. The procedure generally involves ovariohysterectomy. It means removal of the uterus and ovaries through surgical incisions over their belly buttons. In case of human (hysterectomy), it is different. There, only the removal of uterus takes place. The reason is similar to the male dogs, i.e. birth control is not the only reason why female dogs are neutered.

FAQ on Dog Neutering

A question that bothers every owner prior to the decision on neutering their pet is that “at what age can a dog be neutered”? Some professionals believe that it might have adverse effect if applied on the wrong time. Let us check what the perfect time is:

When should a male dog be castrated?

Experts believe that age can vary with breeds under consideration. In case of male pets, the optimal time is the one where maturity of their skeletal muscle is visible. In terriers (or other similar smaller breeds), it takes place generally about the time when they approach six months. However, maturity is slow in larger breeds and it should be avoided till the dog is about a year old. If you are applying castration for altering your dog behavior, it should be implied as early as possible giving little opportunity for the behavior to engrain.

When should a female dog be spayed?

Spaying in bitches is done within three months of their first season. By applying the procedure at such an early stage, their chances of acquiring mammary tumors in the later part of their life are minimal. If you leave the procedure for a period of two seasons, you might loose the opportunity to completely avoid the disease. Similar to their male counterparts, a smaller breed bitch matures quicker than larger ones and has its first season taking place sooner (only half-a-year in most cases).

Precautions

If you spay bitches during their season, chances are that they will bleed more. Vets usually delay the procedure to 3 months after their season for safer surgery. Again, allowing your bitch to litter prior to spaying might leave you missing the opportunity of doing it in the optimal window. You might also loose the option of preventing breast cancers in the later part of their life.

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