When To Spay And Neuter Your Pet

Feb 24, 2021 | Pet Health, Pets

Happy Wednesday everyone!  I was looking at Jake and Maggie today and thinking that in June they will be four years old.  I remember asking the vet when was the earliest I could get them fixed as they were brother and sister, as well as, never wanting to breed them separately of course.  When and why is the best age to Spay and Neuter Your Pet?  There is so much information out there on the why’s and the when’s so I thought I’d compile this info into my post and let you decided.  I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this by commenting below!

Some concerns you may have:
• Plans to breed the dog
• Lack of understanding as to what spaying or neutering your dog means
• Inability to afford the procedure
• Concerns about anesthesia/surgery
Interested in more pet related health topics and previous blog posts, check out my previous post here:
When to spay and neuter your pet | www.twoadorablelabs.com

When to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

• For dogs: While the traditional age for neutering is six to nine months, puppies as young as eight weeks old can be neutered as long as they’re healthy. Dogs can be neutered as adults as well, although there’s a slightly higher risk of post-operative complications in older dogs, dogs that are overweight or dogs that have health problems.
• For cats: It is generally considered safe for kittens as young as eight weeks old to be spayed or neutered. In animal shelters, surgery is often performed at this time so that kittens can be sterilized prior to adoption. In an effort to avoid the start of urine spraying and eliminate the chance for pregnancy, it’s advisable to schedule the surgery before your own cat reaches five months of age. It’s possible to spay a female cat while she’s in heat.

Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Your Dog


  • Significantly reduced risk of mammary cancer in females
  • Prevents future health complications like pyometra – a potentially fatal uterine infection in female dogs
  • Eliminates the risk of testicular cancer in males
  • Prevents heat cycles (menstruation) in females that can produce unwanted behaviors such as barking or howling, aggressive, attempts to escape
  • Prevents unwanted behaviors in male dogs such as humping, vocalization, aggression, escape attempts, and marking inside the home
  • Helps to control animal overpopulation by eliminating accidental pregnancies/litters

Debunking Spay/Neuter Myths and Misconceptions

  • Spaying or neutering will not cause your pet to become overweight.  Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering.
  • Neutering is not a quick fix for all behavior problems. Although neutering your pet often reduces undesirable behaviors caused by a higher level of testosterone, there’s no guarantee that your dog’s behavior will change after he’s neutered. Although the surgery will reduce the amount of testosterone in your dog’s system, it won’t eliminate the hormone completely. Neutering will also not reduce behaviors that your pet has learned or that have become habitual. The effects of neutering are largely dependent on your dog’s individual personality, physiology and history.

Unless you plan to responsibly breed your dog or your dog has health issues that would make the procedure more complicated, it’s always a good choice to spay or neuter your dog! The benefits outweigh any risks and can lead to a longer, healthier life for your pup to spend with you!

What are the options?

If you decide to spay or neuter your pet, you have options. Discuss the options with your veterinarian so you can make a decision that’s right for you, your family and your pet.

Surgical sterilization
During surgical sterilization, a veterinarian removes certain reproductive organs.

  • Ovariohysterectomy, or the typical “spay”: the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are removed from a female dog or cat. This makes her unable to reproduce and eliminates her heat cycle and breeding instinct-related behavior.
  • Orchiectomy, or the typical “neuter”: the testes are removed from a male dog or cat. This makes him unable to reproduce and reduces or eliminates male breeding behaviors.

Surgical alternatives to traditional spaying and neutering
The procedures described above are the surgical procedures routinely used to spay or neuter dogs, but some pet owners opt for one of these alternatives:

  • Hysterectomy: the uterus and part of the fallopian tubes are removed from a female dog or cat. This makes her unable to reproduce, but her ovaries remain and will produce hormones.  This may not eliminate the dog or cat’s behaviors associated with the breeding instinct.
  • Vasectomy: only the vas deferens, which conducts sperm from the testes, are removed. This procedure makes the dog or cat unable to reproduce, but his testes remain and will produce hormones. This may not eliminate the dog or cat’s behaviors associated with the breeding instinct.
  • Ovariectomy: the ovaries are removed from a female dog or cat, but the uterus remains. Similar to ovariohysterectomy, this makes her unable to reproduce and eliminates her heat cycle and breeding instinct-related behavior.

I love hearing from all of you and do my best to respond to each and every one of you.  I always enjoy your comments, feedback, and suggestions so keep them coming!  If I’ve posted a recipe (for our human and our furry friends) and you try it, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @twoadorablelabs and use #twoadorablelabs​Instagram.

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What Do You Think? Let Us Know!


  1. Sharon

    We always aimed for 6 months. Now the vets around here and many breeders are recommending 9-12 months. I believe there are some studies that base this recommendation on lowing the incidence of cancer. Big decision. I have to admit having had a dog and grand dog die of cancer at 9 years old, I would just about follow any reasonable recommendation to lesson the chance.

    • Bobbi

      Good to know. It is a big decision. We aimed for 6 months as well.


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