Spaying / Neutering
Neutering in Males and Spaying in Females.
In my 32+ years of experience, the best window to spay/neuter has always been around 6-7 months of age. We do require this done by 2 years of age at the latest. In my experience, The best window to spay/neuter is 6-9 months. If you wait later then you may be facing behavior issues, marking, destruction, escaping etc...
Occasionally I get someone whose vet recommends waiting until 1-2 years. However if you wait until later then you may be facing behavior issues, marking, destruction, escaping etc... Some vets say you need to wait longer for growth plates to close and for some breeds its true but for Siberian Huskies their growth plates close by 1 year and waiting is not recommended. Most vets have limited experience with each breed and we have had this breed since 1992 and keep in contact with our buyers and have yet to have any issues with dogs spayed/neutered at 6-9 months. However dogs neutered later have allot of destructible behavior and escaping problems.
I would continue by saying that there are many different vets with as many different experiences and opinions. I try to express my personal experiences as well as current research. No research is perfect, and no experience is absolute. Some vets and books are saying that now there is a higher chance of joint issues and bone cancer if dog is neutered before dog reaches full maturity, but none can offer definitive proof of this and most believe its due to spayed/neutered dogs living longer and reaching the age where cancer becomes more of a possibility.
Here are some things to consider
What age to spay/neuter?
Most vets recommend a female be spayed before her first season (around 6-9 months of age), and a male also around
6-8 months of age. Neutering, however, can be performed at any age, although the procedure is an easier recovery at a younger age.
Spaying/Neutering reduces leg-lifting and marking territory.
Both Intact males and females, driven by hormones, usually lift their leg when they pee. This is called "marking" their territory. The higher they spray their urine, the more impressive they appear to other dogs. Some intact dogs become obsessed with marking territory. Most dogs will even mark inside your house. Are you prepared to have this as a behavior issue? Many dogs, once they start this behavior don’t stop. Even when spayed/neutered, will still continue to lift their leg. So when you wait to neuter at 1-2 years and expect neutering will fix this behavior it usually doesn't. Yes females are known to lift legs to mark as well. Many vets will tell you they will stop marking once spayed/neutered, however between myself and my customers I have rarely seen this to be the case.
Spaying/Neutering reduces dominance and aggression.
Un -fixed dogs tend to be allot more dominant and aggressive towards other dogs and allot more obnoxious because they are driven by hormones. They will drag you on walks to mark territory or challenge another dog and can and do get destructive in your home and have even been known to go through windows, and doors to get out to breed. A male can smell a female in heat within a 5 mile radius and a female will do anything to escape to breed. Bottom line is it creates allot of destructive behavior habits.
Spaying/Neutering reduces the risk of your dog being attacked by other male dogs.
Even if your dog isn't aggressive, being intact makes it a target for other intact dogs who might see them as a potential rival.
Spaying/Neutering helps re-focus your dog's attention.
Intact dogs often pay too much attention to other dogs, as they may be on the lookout for potential mates and rivals. Spaying/Neutering can break your dog's over-focus on other dogs and re-focus’s his attention on you and being the family pet you adopted them for.
Spaying/Neutering reduces sexual behaviors.
Intact dogs are more likely to hump other dogs, pillows, stuffed animals, and people's legs. Yes both males and females do this.
Neutering keeps your dog from chasing females in heat.
A female in heat gives off a pheromone smell that can be scented from up to 5 miles away. An intact male or female can become very agitated – whining, pacing, biting and sometimes escaping his house or yard to go out and breed, sometimes getting hit by a car in the process. Spaying/Neutering puts an end to all that.
Spaying/Neutering reduces the risk of health problems.
Enlarged prostate occurs in 80% of intact male dogs. Affected dogs have difficulty with urination or bowel movements. Risk of prostate cysts and prostate infections, all can be dramatically reduced by neutering at the proper age.
Mammary tumors and cancer from uterine, cervical, and ovarian tumors occur in 65% of intact female dogs. Affected dogs have difficulty with urination or bowel movements. Risk can be dramatically reduced by spaying at the proper age.
Side effects from spaying/neutering before 1 year of age.
The only issues we have heard are possible from spaying/neutering at this age is the growth plates take longer to close so your dog may be a little bigger in size/weight.
Side effects from spaying/neutering after 1 year of age.
We have heard of many issues including some to all of the problems listed above, what you have to keep in mind is are you willing to deal with the behavior issues, aggression, lifting, leg all over the house, or running away among other things? If you elect to wait and your dog develops these issues are you still going got keep him? The rescues are full of dogs that developed these issues and then were dumped because the owners were unwilling to deal with these issues.
To own an intact dog is a big responsibility you must be extra careful to keep them away from intact dogs, not only to prevent breeding but to protect them from attack that other dogs may see as a potential threat.
Are you prepared deal with all the health and behavior issues (urinating in the house, aggression etc...) that are now very hard to reverse because you did not get the dog spayed/neutered at the proper age? Are you prepared to do this for an extra 5- 10 months and accept the consequences if spaying/neutering does not fix behavior issues?
Example: My son has a dog that by contract he could not fix till 1 year of age, now that dog even though he is fixed and never bred, marks all over the house and I mean all over he pees on everything and training has not worked.
If the dog does breed (any dog even a mutt) How about those pups? Are you going to take responsibility and help find them homes and cover the cost and time of there care? Whether your dog is the mom or dad?
If your dog does develop behavior issues, are you willing to still keep them and work on the retraining, even though it may not work? If your not and you place the dog its most likely it will get euthanized. This is a common reason pets are dumped at shelters and most get euthanized because the problems are never really fixed.
Fixing a dog prevents: marking, the desire to run away, aggression and refocuses his attention on to you, he will be better with other animals, and avoids certain health risks and spaying/neutering drastically lowers cancers & tumors.
Here is our proof of spay/neuter form.