Choosing the Best Age to Spay or Neuter Your Dog

Choosing the best age to spay or neuter your dog. Regarding the optimal time to castrate dogs, a lot has happened in recent years and the pros and cons are being viewed more critically again.

But one after the other!


The castration of male and female dogs is considered a routine procedure in which the organs of the body that are responsible for reproduction are removed . In the male it is the testicles , in the female it is the ovaries . Once neutered, the animal remains permanently sterile!

The operation, which is always performed under general anesthesia , differs significantly between the sexes in terms of effort and costs. In the male, the scrotum is opened by a cut, the spermatic cords are tied off and the testicles are removed.

In the female dog, the procedure is more complex and therefore more expensive. In order to get to the ovaries, the vet opens the abdomen with a more or less large incision, depending on the surgical method and whether or not the uterus should also be removed. As a rule, the animals can be taken home by the owner after the procedure.

Sterilizations, i.e. interventions in which no organs are removed, but only the spermatic or fallopian tubes are severed, are almost no longer carried out nowadays.


The recommendation is now:  castration after reaching sexual maturity.

Exceptions would be certain illnesses or aggressive behavior caused by hormones. This can e.g. B. be triggered by testicles still lying in the abdomen (undescended testicles, cryptorchidism).

Dogs become sexually mature at five to twelve months, depending on their breed and gender. This tends to happen earlier in small breeds such as Chihuahua and French Bulldog than in large breeds such as Labrador and Doberman. 

In both sexes, the (approaching) sexual maturity can be recognized by pubertal behavior, interest in the opposite sex and, in the case of the female dog, also at the beginning of the first heat.

The early castration, which was still recommended a few years ago, was hoped for B. easier handling of the animal and the prevention of certain diseases, such as mammary tumors in female dog.


In the meantime, however, the disadvantages of early castration are assessed as too significant to be carried out, except in exceptional cases. There are also connections between neutering before sexual maturity and the more frequent occurrence of various diseases:

  •  Lack of physical and mental maturity
  •  Tendency to be overweight
  •  Keeping the puppy fur
  •  Spleen tumors
  •  Bone cancer
  •  Prostate cancer
  •  Orthopedic diseases (e.g. cruciate ligament tear, patella dislocation, hip dysplasia)
  •  Incontinence

It has been proven several times that the longer the sex hormones can develop their effect on the body, the lower the risk of the diseases mentioned above. In general, the risk of developing one of the diseases listed above is higher in neutered dogs. The risk of incontinence after neutering, regardless of the point in time, exists in males, although it occurs less frequently in males. The larger the breed of dog, the more common the phenomenon occurs.


With all possible disadvantages, castration also has advantages.

With a neutered animal you no longer have to worry about unwanted pregnancy . This is of course an important point in a multi-dog household where both sexes are kept. The effort to keep male and female dogs reliably separated during the critical phase of heat should not be underestimated.

In addition, there are actually diseases that can be prevented by castration. These include testicular cancer and some diseases of the prostate in males , as well as false pregnancy and uterine suppuration (pyometra) in females , a potentially life-threatening disease if recognized too late.

If you z. B. If you are dependent on dog sitters or boarding houses for professional reasons, it may be unavoidable to have your female dog neutered. Almost all dog sitters and boarding houses refuse to look after female dog in heat.

Attending the dog school and participating in sporting events is also generally prohibited for female dog in heat.

Many (not all!) Mark castrated males not significantly less or , also tend castrated males less to on a bride to go and strays .

In addition, castrated males often show less aggressiveness towards male conspecifics.


Spaying and neutering is neither behavior therapy nor a substitute for a good education of the dog.

Important : Established behaviors such as B. Aggressive behavior towards other members of the sexes, strays, marking and riding are in most cases not completely eliminated by castration, but require consistent training.


It should be weighed individually whether a castration of the respective dog is appropriate or not. Except in exceptional cases, neutering before sexual maturity should be avoided . In addition, there is now the possibility of chemical castration using castration chips . This method also has advantages and disadvantages, it is best to get advice from your vet!

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