At what age can a dog be spayed?
At White Cross Vets, our team are always happy to offer help and advice on any and all aspects of pet care, but one question they hear more often than most, is ‘At what age can a dog be spayed?’ The most general answer is that around six months old is the best age to spay a dog. *There are certain large dog breeds where this may be different.
In the case of male dogs, this is the age puppies reach puberty and are prone to becoming possessive of their toys and/or food, which can also lead to aggressive behaviour towards other dogs and/or people. Neutering your dog can help to avoid those problems. Where female dogs are concerned, six months is the ideal age because it’s usually before their first season. If your dog has already had her first season, you should wait until two or three months after. Of course each dog is unique, so the best answer is always to have a chat with your vet in person to discuss the way forward for your own pet.
A related question our vets are often asked is ‘Why should I neuter my dog?’ or ‘Why spay a dog?’ in the case of females. In both cases, the primary reason is to avoid unwanted litters of puppies. With so many dogs across the country already in shelters and in need of homes, it really is the job of all responsible pet owners to help address the problem. That said, there are other benefits to consider too.
As we’ve already mentioned, behavioural issues can arise when a male puppy reaches puberty. These issues could be displayed as possessiveness over their food or toys, territorial behaviour towards visit or aggressiveness towards other dogs. Neutering your dog can help prevent or subdue this sort of anti-social behaviour, and combined with good training; your furry friend should be on their best behaviour in no time.
Male dogs who haven’t been neutered can also be prone to roaming – and many can get up to some very creative escape plans to allow them to go off in search of female friends! Roaming and lost dogs cause stress and worry to you as an owner, but neutering your dog should put an end to him being a Houdini-Hound! Male dogs have many medical benefits from neutering as well – prostate disease is as common in dogs as it is in people and is much reduced by castration. Testicular cancer is also very common and prevented by this surgery as are other tumours in this area and perineal hernias.
Where female dogs are concerned, spayed bitches will have fewer health problems such as pyometra (a life threatening infection of the womb), false pregnancies, mammary tumours and so on, than an un-spayed dog. Spaying also means that you’ll be able to let her exercise and run around freely in the park, whereas unsprayed females need to kept on a lead at all times to avoid attracting male dogs in the area.
Both neutering and spaying are classed as routine operations – most patients arrive in the morning and go home the same day and our vets are dedicated to making your pets feel safe and at ease throughout. (They’re very good at calming owners’ nerves too!) Your furry friend will be home the same day and fully recovered in no time – and having the operation sooner rather than later means it’ll be a distant memory before you know it!
If your puppy is approaching six months old and you’d like to find out about spaying or neutering please do get in touch with your local White Cross Vets clinic for more information.
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