There are many medical and behavioral benefits to neutering your dog. But, how old should your dog be to undergo the surgery? Most veterinarians recommend puppies be neutered at a standard age, but the procedure can successfully be completed at various stages of life. Here you will learn what to consider regarding when you should get your puppy neutered.
Common Practice Among Veterinarians
Dogs are typically castrated in the United States between the age of six and nine months. The procedure to remove the reproductive organs is called a gonadectomy. Extensive studies have not been completed on dogs that have had the surgery at different ages to track if any abnormalities can be attributed to the age at the time of the procedure.
Determining Appropriate Age To Neuter
So how did veterinarians decide on the standard recommend age range? It is purposed that this age range dates back to the post World War II era when Americans were first allowed to accept dogs as household pets. This new trend created the necessity for the behavioral and reproductive control of dogs and the need to ensure the animal would survive the medical procedure. The available surgical and anesthetic methods at that time required veterinarians to wait until dogs were six months or older.
Modern-day advances in the anesthetics used, how they are monitored during the procedure and improved surgical techniques make it possible to perform the surgery on puppies as young as six weeks old. There is no difference in the rate of complications arising from the surgery in younger puppies or those of the traditional age.
Neutering Dogs Younger Versus Older
Although surgeries can be successful at different ages, there are some things to consider when deciding which is best for your puppy. Neutering dogs before they achieve puberty can cause them to grow bigger than those completed later because bone growth is affected by testosterone. Typically, dogs reach sexual maturity by the time they are five or six months old. Adult, overweight and dogs with health issues undergoing a gonadectomy have a slight increase in the risk of experiencing complications after the procedure.
Both male and female dogs can expect medical benefits from the removal of their reproductive organs. Females are shown to have healthier and longer lives. It is recommended to complete the surgery before their first heat to increase the prevention of developing breast tumors and uterine infections. Male dogs that are neutered can avoid prostate issues and testicular cancer.
Neutering is often recommended to correct behavioral issues, such as, mounting people, other dogs or your child’s stuffed animal and aggressiveness. An unneutered dog will mark his territory by spraying urine, producing a strong and offensive odor, inside and outside your home. While in search of a mate they will try to escape the house and roam. This increases his risk of injury from traffic and fighting other male dogs (the competition).