When to Spay or Neuter

This is one of our most frequently asked questions that is a personal “soap box” for us. To get right to the point, in our contract we state:

Buyer agrees not to spay or neuter this puppy until he/she is fully grown (8-12 months for small breed dog under 25lbs and 15-24 months for larger breeds). Puppies need these important hormones for healthy growth mentally and structurally.   It is our belief that spaying and neutering at too young an age is not good for building a strong foundation and giving your pup the best chance possible to grow a strong and stable structure.

When we asked a local vet what percentage of dogs he had performed ACL surgeries on had been spayed or neutered at an early age, he said: 90%.

What we ask our clients considering early “altering” to think about is:  If we gave hysterectomies to 12 year old human girls and made 12 year old boys Unics.  Then, ask them to grow up being “sound” athletes, both mentally and physically……………you would know that would be ridiculous!  If we know how our kids would turn out with this procedure being done to them before they are fully grown, why then are we doing it to our dogs?   There are other issues that come up as well like the newer trend in animal shelters that we are seeing.  Puppies are being spayed and neutered as young as 8 weeks of age, leaving many of them with incontinence issues for life.  We know of some who “dribble continuously” and have to wear a diaper in the house.

So as you have probably guessed, we believe you should wait until your dog is fully grown before you take out his/her sex organs.  Some good studies have been done on this topic and the links to them are below.

Remember:  Responsible dog ownership is a process of learning all you can to make life better for you and your wonderful companion.  We hope this month’s tip is informative and helpful.

Here are some of the links to the early spay/neuter info:
http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/longtermhealtheffectsofspayneuterindogs.pdf
http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/cgi/content/full/11/11/1434http://showdogsupersite.com/kenlclub/breedvet/neutr.html
http://www.littleriverlabs.com/neuter.htm
http://www.royalair.org/spayingearly.htm

In the above, pay attention to Chris Zink’s commentary as it affects canine athletes
and I would be remiss not to include Dr. Milani’s commentary.
http://www.mmilani.com/commentary-200509.html

and attention seems to even be reaching the popular areas.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24597888/

“Many of us have always been more than aware of the physical differences in neutered animals and those of us that work with large numbers of dogs have noticed that the mental maturity seems to be missing in early de-sexed animals as well.  six year old silly bitches and dorky males might seem charming to some, but where responsible behavior might be desired they can become tiring.“  (Quote from a local dog trainer/breeder.)