When Is It Too Late To Neuter A Dog: Finding (The Right Age)

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Veterniarian performing neuter operation on dog

All responsible dog owners are aware of the fact that dog neutering is essential unless they desire to use the pet for breeding. The term ‘neutering’ is used for male dogs, while ‘spaying’ is used for female dogs.

Thus, neutering for males and spaying for females are means of controlling the canine population. A dog owner should consider having its male dog neutered when it is conducive.

This may sound like an extreme step to take but doing so is believed to provide significant health benefits to your dogs and reduce the number of puppies entering shelter homes or staying without homes.

Further, by preventing our pets from unwanted mating, pet owners help in reducing the number of orphans on the streets. It becomes possible for the shelter pets to be a part of a loving home.

While most pet owners agree with neutering dogs, much confusion prevails regarding it. Many of us are not clear about the right time and safety. This results in different questions, such as when is it too late to neuter a dog or what is the right age for the same.

Spaying or neutering too late or too early is likely to be counter-productive due to which it is important to have this procedure performed when the age is right. This post reveals when it is late and what is the right time for neutering. To come to this reply, it is essential to start by comprehending what neutering is all about!

What Does It Mean to Neuter?

neuter a dog

For the sake of simplicity, these days, neutering is used to refer to both genders. It is a surgical procedure for sterilization, after which the pet is unable to generate sperm. While simple, the process is invasive. This means that only a licensed veterinarian proceeds by making incisions. Yes, only such vets are reliable for such a surgery.

Performed in a regulated and controlled environment, the process starts by administering anesthesia. Once the pet is asleep, the vet makes an incision along its scrotum. Through this incision, the vet takes away the testicles and stitches it.

Unlike human vasectomies that retain testicles, male dogs are totally castrated. In case of a female dog, the vet removes the ovaries and even the uterus. As a result, she becomes unable to reproduce. Even the heat cycles come to an end, which is equivalent to a woman’s menstruation cycle.

Whether male or female, your dog usually comes home with you on the same day, wearing the Elizabethan collar so that it does not start licking the operated region. After the surgery, this area may remain sore for some days. However, quick recovery is ensured with aftercare, which also keeps the risk of infections at bay.

Is Neutering Beneficial to Dogs?

According to the official website of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that is aspca.org, each year witnesses around 3.3 million dogs reaching shelters and around 670,000 dogs being euthanized. So, why contribute to this problem by not getting your dog neutered? Disabling your dog to reproduce not only benefits all furry pals but also benefits the dog’s health.

As per walkervillevet, the neutered male dogs also become least vulnerable to prostate cancer, perineal hernia, bladder stones, and testicular tumor.

Further, there is no need to bother about your male dog wandering outside. Roaming is usually an indicator to reproduce. As it now cannot reproduce, it is at less risk of leaving you alone for hours in search of a mate.

When a female one is neutered, her messy heat periods are stopped forever. Doing so prior to her first heat cycle reduces minimizes the risk of mammary cancer. Even if she has gone through a heat cycle, the probability of this disease is negligible. However, if she witnesses two cycles, it is likely to rise significantly.

Above all, neutered dogs, whether male or female, tend to live longer and healthier with improved temperament. However, this is still a topic of debate. Nevertheless, most experts think that castrated pets live longer.

Does Neutering a Dog Calm Them Down?

According to the Humane Society of Charlotte, neutered male dogs become less aggressive towards other companions and human owners. Yes, they are less likely to engage in combat with other dogs. They also become loyal and affectionate toward their owners. Thus, they remain calmer than before and give you peace of mind.

As there is no instinct to mate, some territorial behaviors of male dogs go away, which include marking lamp posts with urine. Other unwanted behaviors such as humping also reduce significantly.

You also experience peace of mind, as your pet is now free of many unwanted or problematic behaviors. Your home becomes more peaceful than before once your dog is neutered.

In short, neuter males for improving their behavior and females for boosting their health.

Now, that you know about the surgical procedure and the importance of neutering, it will be easy to understand the answer to the questions regarding neuter age.

What is the Right Age of Neutering?

Veterinary

The query confuses several pet owners. According to many vets, a minimum age limit should be considered for sterilization. They recommend getting your dog neutered only once they are six months old. This is applicable to both males and females.

Prior to the introduction of safe methods of surgery and anesthetics, there was a common belief to neuter only a nearly fully-grown dog, as that would help in better recovery and least discomfort.

However, today, vets now like to neuter dog breeds earlier, which is the period after eight weeks. While many believe that early sterilization brings different health benefits and develop them physically well, scientific evidence is still lacking.

When it comes to female dogs, many vets recommend sterilization prior to the first season. In case the season is gone, they suggest to wait for two to four months for performing the surgery. It is best to discuss this with your vet, though.

Logically speaking, a dog is supposed to be neutered when puberty starts. This is because prior to that, the testicles need physical development. In other words, you should wait until the commencement of testosterone production. Doing so also allows full development of strong bones and joints for good health.

Testosterone and T3 and T4 thyroid hormones are indispensable for normal development. Their production escorts the beginning of sexual maturity. Spaying or neutering prior to their production can negatively affect the ability to produce these hormones in the required quantities. The resulting dearth can affect the dog’s health and development.

Thus, it is wise to wait until your dog becomes at least six months old. In case of large and giant breeds and those with a more slow growth than usual, it is wise to wait for some more months.

This is because they cycle quite later than their smaller equivalents. Many of them will not have their first cycle even if they are about to become one year old.

In short, you should consider the surgery once the dog shows the signs of the beginning of the sexual maturity, such as meeting the opposite gender.

Some Faqs

Is 2 Years Old Too Late to Neuter a Dog? Is 8 Too Old to Neuter a Dog?

No, until your vet says YES.

Is It OK to Neuter an Older Dog?

Yes, it is ok to neuter older dogs as long as your licensed vet is ok. Most older dogs (those above the age of seven) can be spayed or neutered safely if the vet is sure about it. Dogs who are above seven are likely to go through a pre-surgical blood test to make sure that the kidney and liver are fine.

It is vital to keep in mind that the older the dog, the longer will be the recovery and less comfortable shall be the surgery. However, these issues can be minimized using pain medication as prescribed by your vet.

It is wiser to spay or neuter an old dog who is healthy rather than to do so with an old dog who is suffering from a uterine infection. In short, age alone, without the overall health checkup, should not be considered to choose or postpone the surgery.

So, When It Is Too Late to Neuter?

The reply is ‘NEVER’. It is never too late to neuter or spay. Technically, no upper limit prevails on the timeframe in which this procedure has to be performed. If your dog is healthy and is capable of going through the procedure, you can consult your vet regarding it and proceed.


Conclusion

It is never too late to sterilize dogs. This is because there is no universally-applicable age or time for all breeds. The best dog age to do so depends significantly on the breed, pet’s size, health, and lifestyle. The right time is best determined by your vet after examining your pet. So, always consult such a professional for which your pet will always be grateful to you and your family!

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