How Old Should My Pet Be When They Get Spayed/Neutered?

How Old Should My Pet Be When They Get Spayed/Neutered?

How Old Should My Pet Be When They Get Spayed/Neutered?

How Old Should My Pet Be When They Get Spayed/Neutered?

Having pets spayed or neutered is a common and routine practice around the world. Animals that are not for breeding get the procedure to prevent reproduction. Almost 80 percent of pet owners in the country have their canine companions spayed or neutered. 


When they get a new puppy, many pet owners want to know when the new pooch should get the procedure. In the past, veterinarians suggested that six months was the ideal age. 



What Spaying or Neutering Entails



Spaying or an ovariohysterectomy is a surgical procedure removing the ovaries and uterus in female animals. Sometimes, the vet may perform an ovariectomy before removing the ovaries but leaving the uterus intact. 


Neutering or castration involves the removal of the testicles from male animals. While both procedures are considered major surgery, spaying is more complex as it involves accessing the abdominal cavity. 



When to Get Your Pet Spayed/Neutered



Spaying or neutering is ideal when the pet is between four to six months. Recent studies have shown that this may not be the best time for all pets. There is a vital relationship between canine health and sex hormones. 


It means that for some dog breeds, the risk of suffering from health conditions can increase after spaying or neutering. The best time to get your pet spayed or neutered will depend on the dog’s size or breed.  



Breed or Size of the Pet 



Many vets are concerned about the use of anesthesia for very small pets. It is a reason they recommend waiting until the pet is at least six months old. Conversely, spaying very large dogs can be more complicated as the abdominal cavity is deeper and larger. 


The fat and large blood supply can make the procedure more difficult, increasing the risk of complications. Different dog breeds reach maturity at different times. 



Benefits of Removing Hormones



Removing the hormones responsible for reproduction can be beneficial for the pet. Spaying your pet before she gets into the first heat cycle can reduce her risk of developing mammary cancer. Intact pets are more likely to develop an infection of the uterus. 


Neutering dogs makes them less aggressive from reduced testosterone levels. They are less likely to exhibit behaviors like roaming, humping, and getting into frequent fights. Undergoing the procedure is safe unless the animal has an underlying health issue. 



The Problem of Pet Overpopulation 



Pet overpopulation is a serious issue in animal shelters. Many stray animals are often unwanted pets abandoned by owners who did not plan for them. Many strays end up euthanized. 


Getting “fixed” can help prevent pet overpopulation. Pet owners who do not intend to breed their animals should have them spayed or neutered. Dogs can get into their first heat cycle at six months old. If the dog is intact, she will attract males from far and wide during her cycle. 


It is essential to realize that some daycare and boarding facilities do not accept pets that are not “fixed.” Talk to your vet about the best time to have your pet spayed or neutered. 


For more on spaying or neutering, visit Madison Animal Care Hospital at our Madison, Alabama office. Call 256-461-7575 today to schedule an appointment. For emergencies, you can call (256) 715-8389.