What is the right age to neuter\spay dogs

Last Updated on 2021-05-03 by Admin

wound from spaying

For some breeds, getting fixed at six months old creates a higher risk of cancer, joint disorders and other health issues. But don’t expect Your veterinarian to be up to date on the latest research. Old habit die hard, and that is especially true when it also involves money.

I got Annie spayed at four years old. I found the research article that I reference in this article only after the surgery. It would have been a tremendous help to me if I could have read the report beforehand. As it turned out, I did the right thing to get her spayed after age two. You can read the article on my experience with Annie getting spayed here.

Researching spaying and neutering

Most dog owners will be familiar with all the supposed benefits of getting the dog spayed\neutered at six months old. As with most things, the facts are not always that straight forward.

Doing a little digging and looking for science to get all the facts showed a very different picture. Here is the link to an older article https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/spaying-neutering-risks-large-breed-dogs/.

German Shepard’s, Golden Retrievers and other larger dogs are at a higher risk of later in life developing joint problems when getting fixed to Young. For small breeds, this seems to be less of an issue.

As a dog owner, I have a great interest in the health of my dog. I want to be able to enjoy my Boxer girl Annie for as long as possible. And a good quality of life is essential. The question now becomes, what is the right age to neuter\spay dogs? And to answer that, we need to use the latest research. As most Veterinarians are busy, don’t expect them to be aware of the latest research.

When to Neuter or Spay

After reading the article above, I was interested in finding the research article regarding the study done on 35 breeds of dogs it mentions. My internet search did not show the desired result, probably because I did not know the tile of the study.

I emailed Benjamin Hart a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He was kind enough to send me the link to the study I was looking for. Mr.Hart provided a second link to a similar study on mixed breed dogs. Both studies were published around 2020-07-07. These studies provide a wealth of information.

In the resource section at the end of this article are many links to this and other research related to spaying and neutering. I find it rather interesting that the right age to get fixed is age two or even older for some dogs. That is many time older than the currently recommended age for dogs to get spayed or neutered. The current standard also does not consider the breed.

Boxer breed findings

It was natural for me to read what the study published on 2020-07-07 has to say about Boxers as a Boxer owner. Lets see what the study has to say.

Before the age of two, neutered males had a much higher occurrence of certain cancers (32%) than those neutered after the age of 2 (17%). For females, spaying before the age of 2, the rate of certain cancers was 20%. For females, spayed after two years of age was 11%.

Boxers are a breed of dog with a cancer risk of over 40%. Having the information from this new study gives dog owners the ability to make a much better decision. And hopefully extent the quality and length of life for Boxers and all other dogs.

What about other Breeds

The study has different numbers of males and females for each bread. It is best to search the article for the breed interested and read the recommendations for each breed. Overall, smaller dogs showed fewer differences between early or late neutering\spaying. Other breeds like Golden Retrievers and German Sheppard’s, among others, show increased rates of cancers, joint, and other problems.


Until now, there was no study that I’m aware of that has broken down the data to specific breeds. Dog owners now have data to help them determine the right time to spay or neuter dogs. And by doing so, provide them with a healthier and possibly longer life. I assume that it will take some time before the findings will be mainstream.

Asking what is the right age to neuter\spay dogs might add years to Your dog’s life. It could dramatically reduce the vet bills as the costs of treating Cancer or dealing with Joint issues are not cheap. There is no guarantee to avoid those issues, but putting the odds in one’s favour is a prudent step.


Assisting Decision-Making on Age of Neutering for 35 Breeds of Dogs https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2020.00388/full

Assisting Decision-Making on Age of Neutering for Mixed Breed Dogs of Five Weight Categories https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2020.00472/full

Spaying/neutering risks in large-breed dogs https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/spaying-neutering-risks-large-breed-dogs/

Study shines a spotlight on neutering https://www.avma.org/javma-news/2013-11-01/study-shines-spotlight-neutering

Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Cancers in Golden Retrievers https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0055937

Neutering of German Shepherd Dogs: associated joint disorders, cancers and urinary incontinence https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/vms3.34

Behavioural risks in female dogs with minimal lifetime exposure to gonadal hormones https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0223709

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