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When is the Right Time to Spay or Neuter Your Pet?

Updated: Apr 29

Many pet owners decide to spay/neuter their four-legged friends, but before making that decision we should ask ourselves when is the right time to spay or neuter your pet.


What is the difference between spay and neutering?

Determining the difference between spaying and neutering depends entirely on your pet’s gender. 

  • Females get spayed, meaning their ovaries (and possibly their uterus) are removed. 

  • Males get neutered, meaning their testes are removed.

The process of spaying and neutering makes animals undergo a procedure that makes them unable to produce offspring. However, there are other reasons behind deciding to spay/neuter your pet.


What are the benefits of spaying or neutering your pet?

Some of the benefits of these producers include:

  • Decrease in the risk of possible reproductive illnesses and tumors

  • Decrease in aggressive behaviors

  • Eliminating heat periods

  • Decrease in the number of stray animals 

  • Decrease and even eliminate unwanted behaviors during the breeding season 


When to spay/neuter your pet?

Several factors may vary from pet to pet, so it is best to talk to your pet’s veterinarian before making any decisions, however here are the typical age ranges:

  • For female animals, it is typical to have them spayed before their first heat period, which is dependent on the type and size of the animal. 

  • For female kittens, this can be from 4-6 months old.

  • For small dogs, this can be from 5-6 months old.

  • For large male dogs, the decision to be spayed/neutered should be after their growth stops, which is around 9-15 months old. 


What could happen if you spay/neuter your pet too early?

Several health risks become more likely if you spay or neuter your pet too early. These risks include:

  • Lack of normal muscle and bone development 

  • Lack of important growth hormones

  • Increased risk of developing certain cancers

  • Increased risk of dysplasia and joint problems


So, now that you are a little bit more knowledgeable about spaying and neutering, you can not only make a more informed decision for your four-legged pal, but you can also impress your local vet with all your new knowledge ;). 

Small dog's face peering over an edge

Sources:

DVM, Chyrle Bonk. “When to Neuter or Spay a Dog: Spaying and Neutering Age Guidelines for Dogs.” Embrace Pet Insurance, 1 Nov. 2023, www.embracepetinsurance.com/waterbowl/article/pros-and-cons-of-early-spay-neuter.

“Spay vs Neuter: Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Your Pets.” Ross Vet, 1 Nov. 2023, veterinary.rossu.edu/about/blog/why-spay-and-neuter-pets#:~:text=Spaying%20is%20the%20removal%20of,render%20pets%20unable%20to%20reproduce.

“When Should I Spay or Neuter My Pet?” AAHA, www.aaha.org/your-pet/pet-owner-education/ask-aaha/spay-or-neuter/. Accessed 7 Mar. 2024.

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