The Best Age for Desexing Dogs and Puppies

Having a pet is so much fun and it has lots of physical and mental benefits. Playing with a pet can reduce your stress, decrease blood pressure and make you feel more cheerful in general. If you own a puppy, you will also get a chance to get some physical activity as well. We are fully responsible for their well-being and have to be careful and precise about their dietary needs and medical therapies. One of the most common concerns of pet owners is desexing their animals and more specifically, the most appropriate time for it.

It is important to note that desexing your pet is a must. Researchers suggest that animals that have been desexed at the right time suffer from fewer health problems. Therefore, it can prevent your pet from serious illnesses. However, if you wonder about the appropriate time, you must know that desexing too early or late can cause problems, so we decided to help you with making the right decision. Firstly, we will discuss the problems your puppies can face if they are desexed too early or too late and continue with ways to find the best age for desexing.

Desexing Dogs Too Early

A lot of dog owners (especially those who have more than one dog) prefer to sterilize their puppies as soon as possible which can sometimes be too early. It is also true about animal camps where dogs are kept in large groups mainly to prevent an unwanted increase in their number. However, researchers have found that desexing your dog at a very young age (which can be defined as under 4 months) can have some negative mental and physical effects. It is said that dogs that have been sterilized before the age of puberty might suffer from behavioural problems such as depression or aggression.

On the other hand, dogs that are neutered too early might face growth problems as well. It is said that small breed dogs’ growth process can stop at 6-month age while medium and large size dogs’ growth might continue until they are 12 months old and even older than a year. Dogs that have been sterilized before their growth process is complete have faced problems such as immature kidney and liver, retained baby teeth, and urinary incontinence, especially in female dogs. Researchers also believe that sterilizing too early can increase the risk of obesity, too.

Desexing Dogs Too Late

While we mentioned some of the disadvantages of desexing dogs too early, it never means postponing sterilization until it is too late is a good idea. Some pet owners may not take desexing seriously or feel hesitant about the right time until their dogs start misbehaving or facing medical conditions. It seems that the disadvantages of desexing dogs late can sometimes be more serious than doing it too early.

While some risks are higher in special breeds, it has been shown that late sterilization increases the risk of various cancers and tumours in both sexes, especially mammary and pyometra tumours in female dogs. In male dogs, late sterilization can lead to prostate disease and cancer. On the other hand, late desexing can end up in unwanted pregnancies and undesirable behaviours, especially in male dogs such as indoor urinating and dominant behaviours. These annoying behaviours might then turn into learned habits which will be difficult to break for dogs in the future and even after sterilization. In other words, just like early desexing, if your dog is sterilized too late, you have to face several mental and physical problems.

The Appropriate Time To Desex Your Dog

Generally speaking, the best age for sterilizing dogs is around five to six months. It is believed that at this time, most dogs have completed their growth process and are ready to be desexed. However, some researchers do not believe you can say this about all dogs and there are several factors to consider. The most important one is the dogs’ breed and gender. It is because different dog breeds might grow faster or later and this can affect the appropriate time for sterilization. For example, a Pomeranian dog has to be desexed for around after 6 months while a German Shepard can be sterilized after a year. Dogs’ gender can also make slight changes since an Australian male Shepard dog should be desexed after 9 months while an Australian female Shepard dog cannot be sterilized until she’s one year old.

Another important factor is their weight and the surgery complications it can make. If your dog is among breeds that tend to gain weight as growing older, the doctor might suggest even a bit early desexing due to the difficulties layers of fat can make during surgery. The final point to consider is that no dogs are the same and they are all unique with different conditions. Therefore, it is not possible to suggest a specific time for all dog breeds. That is exactly why you have to get the final confirmation from the vets who examine their health condition, and weight carefully and consider their breed and gender before making the decision. So, the best way is to visit a veterinarian as soon as your dog is around 6 months old and see what the best time for desexing can be.

One of the important medical treatments dogs will need is sterilization. As pet owners, it is our responsibility to be aware of its necessity and take required action on time. Timing, on the other hand, is very important, and desexing our dogs too early or too late can also cause various behavioural and physical problems. To find out the best time we cannot make the final decision and each dog might need to be desexed at a different age. This is because we have to make sure if their growth process is completed as well as their breed, gender, and weight. So, it is safe to say that the appropriate time for sterilization is a time range that can vary for each dog and need close observation by a veterinarian.


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