When should I Spay or Neuter my Puppy?

We believe that part of being an ethical breeder is protecting your breed. Here at Recherche Kennels, we sell almost every one of our pups with a spay/neuter contract because we simply do not have the time or energy to fully vet potential breeders. Because of our rules in this area, we are quite often asked the question; “When should I spay or neuter my puppy?”

The Controversy over when to Spay And Neuter

We have personally worked with over 20 veterinarians in several different states, and through our clients we have worked with hundreds of veterinarians in almost every state and several countries. There is one consistent truth we have learned: there is no black and white answer.

It seems that the more research we do, the more confused we become. Some veterinarians believe that there are many health problems associated withneutering/spaying too early, while many other veterinarians believe just the opposite. It is very controversial. The biggest problem we run into is that most veterinarians are very strong on their stance and unwavering in their opinion.

What we are writing below is our opinion based on years of research. We don’t believe that we are infallible and incapable of being wrong. Because of this, we put a lot of freedom in our warranty. We allow for a pup to be up to 2 1/2 years old before being spayed or neutered. It’s not that we think you should wait that long, but just in case you are strongly opposed to doing it earlier, we do leave that judgment call to my clients.

The Gap between Genders in a Pup

Our opinion does vary on the gender of most puppies. We personally have a much stronger opinion on when to spay a female than when to neuter a male. From most veterinarians and multiple websites, I believe that a female should be spayed prior to having her first heat. Again, some veterinarians believe you should wait until the first heat, but the majority of theriogenologists (reproductive veterinarians) and practicing veterinarians agree that it should be done before the first heat.

The reason for this is that studies have shown that females who are spayed prior to a heat have almost little to no chance of many types of reproductive cancers. For example, breast cancer (Mammary neoplasia) can be common in females. Female dogs that are spayed prior to going into their first heat have less than a 1% chance of getting mammary neoplasia. Female dogs that are spayed after going through one heat have an 8% chance, and females getting spayed after going through 3 heat cycles have a 26% chance of having tumors sometime in their life (Click here for 1 out of many studies).

These are astounding facts. Because of this we highly recommend spaying a female before they go into their first heat. Most female dogs typically go into their first heat between 8-14 months old. Our recommendation is to have a female spayed between 7-8 months of age.

When to Neuter your Male Puppy

When it comes to neutering your male puppy timing can be a lot more flexible. There is information that supports neutering them around the same time as a female to keep them from becoming dominant. There is also opinions that you should wait until they mature fully or they will have behavior or health problems after neutering them. Because of this extreme controversy, we really don’t have a strong suggestion either way.

We would more than likely suggest to neuter him somewhere in the middle, around 1 – 1 1/2 years of age. The main danger in waiting until your male is fully grown to neuter him is that he may be prone to “find a soul mate.” Whenever a female goes into heat here, our wonderful, sweet, obedient and loving boys become obsessed and even seemingly possessed. They are not themselves. They will do whatever they can do to get to the female, even if that means breaking out of their enclosure.

If there is an intact female anywhere near where you live and she goes into full estrus, then beware because your male will do whatever he can to get to her. That could obviously be very dangerous to your pup.

To Wrap it Up

Find a seasoned veterinarian that has years of experience with spaying/neutering. Again, our warranty does require both boys and girls to be spayed/neutered by 2 1/2 years of age, so don’t put it off.

Many owners worry about recovery time and try to wait until the “right time”, which can lead to waiting TOO long. But most clients are actually quite surprised at how fast their dog recovers from the surgery. Every dog we have had spayed and neutered has had to be crated and wear the “cone of shame” to keep them from ripping their stitches out, but it is generally very short term. We are always amazed by how tough pups can be. Usually they recover in a few short days. Don’t delay, get it done!