When to Spay and Neuter

a dachshund wearing a cone so he wont scratch or lick his surgery site

Pet owners have many important decisions to make regarding the health of their furry family members. One of the earliest and most universal decisions is when or if to spay/neuter your pet. We always respect owners’ rights to make their own choices for their pets, and we hope that this guide can help you to make the most informed decision that best suits you and your dog’s needs, and sets them up for the healthiest and most successful future possible. 

To start, you should first decide if you are going to spay or neuter your pet at all. There are, of course, pros and cons to either decision. 

Studies point towards positive health benefits to both options, and temperament is affected as well. It’s important to consider your dog’s size, breed, and known medical history before making a decision. Always keep an open dialogue with your veterinarian and/or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer to help you make the best choice for your particular pup.

Neutering can offer many benefits. Of course, many male dogs, once neutered, will exhibit more mild mannerisms. A female dog that is spayed and no longer has a heat cycle will be more consistent in their temperaments, not to mention cleaner. However, keeping your dog intact can also offer many benefits. 

There’s also research that points to non-neutered dogs having considerably lower odds of encountering certain medical issues later in life, like Mast Cell Tumors and cranial cruciate ligament tears. 

So let’s say you have decided to spay/neuter your pet. You’ve taken your time deciding, and the benefits of the spay/neuter provide are what you need, but, when should you perform the operation? While there is some debate on the “proper” timeline for spaying and neutering, you should never spay/neuter your pet before they reach at least six months old. 

Smaller dogs can be fixed younger, but larger dogs need to wait until they are fully grown, which can be between 12 and 15 months of age. Hormones are an important part of physical development, and it’s important that your dog is fully developed before removing those hormones. Certain research has found that neutering too early can increase the odds of certain conditions, such as Hip Dysplasia and Lymphosarcoma.

Many daycare and boarding facilities will not allow non-neutered male or unspayed female guests to use their spaces. Bark U respects the choices of all of our clients and provides all of our staff with the training required to know how to best meet the needs of each individual dog. Many of our sweetest and most obedient guests are non-neutered males! 

If there are any behaviors that are consistently problematic that could be curbed with neutering, one of our trainers will bring those up with the parents on a case-by-case basis and discuss options- whether it is neutering or simply taking a break for a few months until those hormones settle down. 

We also monitor unspayed females closely and move them into safe and appropriate groups, as needed, depending on their heat cycles. Suitability in a group play environment at Bark U is always based on temperament rather than reproductive status. 

The decision to spay or neuter your pet is complex, and there are many conflicting resources. Ultimately, the needs of each dog and their human families are unique. We will always be happy to provide additional resources to help set you on the right course for all your family members, furry or otherwise! 

If you’re interested in having your dog enroll in Bark U – Register here and request a temperament assessment. To learn more about our other services, visit us online or call us at 215-486-2200 today!