Spaying and Neutering: When Should it Be Done?

Spaying and NeuteringWhen you are adding a pet to the family, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your new puppy has all of the medical care that they need, from regular checkups at the vet to prevent long-term problems, to routine vaccinations and having your pet spayed or neutered at the right time. A lot of pet owners think it’s important to spay and neuter their new pup as soon as he or she comes home, but some research suggests that it might be better to wait a while before you fix your pet to prevent possible issues later in life.

Some researchers have suggested that there are correlations between spaying and neutering your pet very early in life, and certain health issues later on, like cancer, abnormal bone growth, joint issues, risk of infectious disease, and more. Similar studies have shown that neutering your dog may not actually decrease his likelihood of developing prostate cancer, says the National Institutes of Health, following research that goes contrary to popular belief.

A study done by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2004 showed that male and female dogs that were spayed and neutered at an early age showed increased risks for hip dysplasia. This may be due to a lack of hormones in the body that would have aided in normal joint growth. The study concluded that it would be beneficial to delay the spaying and neutering of female dogs until at least 3 months of age.

Dr. Christine Zink suggests that even more time is needed. She recommends that pet owners wait until pups are at least 12 to 14 months old before spaying or neutering. A big part of this is the development of puppies’ tibia bones, which generally don’t finish growing until pups are about a year of age. Stunted development can occur in puppies spayed or neutered at an earlier age, which can lead to ACL problems and other health issues.

You should discuss this issue with your vet, since the ideal time to have your pet spayed and neutered may differ from breed to breed or in your specific circumstance. For instance, if you’re unable to keep your pet away from other dogs that are intact due to your living situation or some other circumstance, then it’s important to fix your dog right away to prevent unwanted puppies.

The most important thing to remember is that the decision to spay and neuter your pet must be focused on what’s best for your dog. Avoid making the decision blindly, based on what you may have heard about the process. While spaying and neutering goes a long way towards preventing overpopulation of dogs and cats, it may not be the best choice for your pet and your family, and it may be a good idea to delay the process to decrease risks to your dog. The American Animal Hospital Association discussed this in a recent blog, as well, and offers additional tips, research and considerations to keep in mind.

Adding a puppy is an exciting and fun time in anyone’s life, and at KT British Labradors we can help connect you with a beautiful new British lab. To learn more about our available pups, check out our Puppies page or give us a call at 218-685-5103 today,