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At what age can a dog be neutered?

Updated on June 25, 2009

The decision to neuter the pet dog can be difficult considering the many conflicting views surrounding this procedure. Even vets have different opinions on the benefits and the disadvantages of neutering the dog.  Moreover, myths regarding neutering have confounded pet owners further. It is believed that growth of a neutered dog is stunted. The dog became lazy thus it develops into a less affectionate and less playful companion. But really…what is neutering and why would an owner subject the dog to this procedure?

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Neutering or castration is a surgical procedure that involves the total removal of the testes through a small surgical incision. Because this is an irreversible procedure, the dog owner has to be very sure of the decision to neuter the dog.  Of course there would be several disadvantages to this surgical procedure. Owners of neutered dogs would attest that their pet have gained weight after undergoing the procedure. An undesirable weight gain could result to health concerns like diabetes, arthritis and heart ailments. Although the risk is very low, infection, internal bleeding and anesthetic risks would still be possible. And let us not forget the cost of the neutering procedure.

The benefits of neutering however would far outweigh the disadvantages. Neutering is noted to deal with behavioral problems of the pet. The territorial behavior of urine marking and aggression are lessened to almost 90%. The roaming tendencies and the sexual behavior like humping are eliminated. Neutered dogs are healthier dogs…healthy dogs are happy dogs. With this procedure, the probability of testicle cancer will be eliminated. Because the hormone level is controlled, the mood swings that make the dog aggressive or moody will be lessened as well. However, the most important reason for neutering is to avoid unwanted breeding. Neutering reduces the number of stray dogs, of adorable puppies that need to be euthanized.

What concern most owners would be the right time to have the dog neutered given that a too early or too late neutering can have adverse effects on the dog. Dog experts tell us that the right time would be before the dog enters puberty. Also the dog should have almost attained skeletal maturity, meaning that the bones are almost fully grown. The right neutering time would vary depending on the breed of the dog. Small breeds are fully grown at about 6 months of age. Larger breeds would take longer to mature thus; neutering can be done when the dog is about 1 year of age. However, neutering can be done earlier is the objective is to address a behavioral concern.

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      abbeyhouse 5 years ago

      Mike, I agree with you. Our four year old Golden Lab has just been diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his right hip. The Golden Retriever Rescue of North Texas insisted that we neuter him before 6 months of age. We are heartbroken. We also despise Planned Parenthood.

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      Mike 8 years ago

      Neutering a dog too young (before 3 - 4 years of age) can lead to hip dysplasia, the early on set of arthritis, hormonal imbalances, cancer and many other health risks for your pet. Your pet (much like a human being) needs to have all of their hormones to develop fully (mentally and physically) into a well balanced, loving animal. Those animals neutered too early go through as many problems as those not neutered. Such problems as being stunted physiologically (mental maturity and insecurity issues i.e. separation anxiety, nervousness, excessive chewing and grooming etc.), physically (improper hormonal balance due to the lack of testosterone causes immune deficiencies, bone loss, arthritis, prostate problems, cancer and mental issues normally not found in the canine world such as depression and extreme separation anxiety which creates various physical ailments more common to humans.

      I have seen his evidence first hand as a canine handler and trainer (and as a dog owner) and I would never do this to any dog until they at least have a chance to fully develop mentally and physically to receive the full benefit of a natural, healthy development of mind and body. It only makes sense and if this were not true then humans would have no problems with losing their reproductive glands and women going through hysterectomies wouldn’t need hormonal replacements to keep them from balanced and men losing their testicles wouldn’t need testosterone therapy to keep them healthy as well.

      Do not let your veterinarian B.S. you because the rich so called liberals believe neutering early this is the best way to cut down on the pet population problem. This is the same mentality as Planned Parenthood which was designed to keep the minority population down by neutering/spaying the populace or by offering quick no questions asked abortions. Check your history facts to verify this one since none of you are probably old enough to remember what it was really about and check your human health facts to verify the rest of my statement.

      Just because they are dogs it doesn’t mean they are void of the basic rights to develop normally and be healthy, after all you wouldn’t have your child fixed or even think about letting them chose to be sterilized until after they are consenting adults because you know it would ruin their health mentally and physically!