This is always a huge topic and one that deserves a lot of discussion and thought. There are way too many vets that recommend altering
a pet at too young of an age. Most have good intentions and see it as the best way to control the pet population.
I hope that if you have one of my puppies, it is because I have deemed you as a responsible pet owner who only wants the best
for their puppy; even if that means a little inconvenience is involved.
I do NOT make you sign a contract stating when you will spay or neuter your puppy. You have made a sizeable
investment in obtaining a healthy puppy and hope that you will do your own research that will enable you to make the
best choices for you and your puppy. YOU are the only VOICE that your puppy has, so make it count and do NOT
just go along with what the vet or someone else tells you. This is in all aspects of raising your puppy (altering, vaccinations, training, etc)
There are always Pros and Cons to Everything.
My Recommendation since you Asked, haha !!
In the perfect situation I would prefer for the Males not to be Neutered until at least a Year old.
For Females, it would be better health wise if she could go through a full heat cycle before being spayed.
I know that is a biggie, who wants to deal with what could be 3 weeks of Yuc, 3 weeks of passing dogs
stopping in to say hi. It is JUST 3 weeks (the longest 3 weeks), but they do make female diapers for them to wear and
any outside times will have to be monitored. If that 3 weeks might be the difference between future health problems,
that is a decision only you can be make. If you cannot watch her and make sure she is not bred, then by all means
have her spayed before a heat cycle. 9 months is usually the youngest age I have had females cycle and its usually closer to a year.
Just think when you have your pet altered it is an immediate change in hormones (comparable to overnight menopause)
Just as teenage children need hormones to grow and develop properly, the same holds true for our pets.
Hormones produced by reproductive organs are needed for:
role in the immune system
Regulating growth is very important. Altered too early, bones continue to grow longer than they should. Because different bones in the body stop growing at different times, some bones would wind up longer than they should be, and that causes problems.
According to Chris Zink, well known veterinarian and specialist in canine sports rehabilitation and medicine, if the dog is spayed/neutered
before the tibia has finished its growth, it will continue to grow longer than it should, altering the normal angle of the knee. It also puts
pressure on the hips and spine. Pets who were spayed/neutered early were twice as likely to tear their Cranial Cruciate Ligament,
and 3 times more likely to have luxating patellas.
Growth plates needs to close before the dog is allowed to jump above elbow level or trot long distances.
If unaltered those usually close by 12months, altered will take longer up to 18mos.
Early spay / neuter causes loss of Bone Mass
Before 6mos - 70% increase in Hip Dysplasia
Twice as Likely to develop Bone and Other Cancers
Increased Chance of Undesirable Behavior Issues
Triples the Risk of Obesity (Hypothyrodism)
This is not to say that we are against spay and neuter completely. There are certainly medical benefits to spaying and neutering. We just oppose it being done too early. There are alternatives to the complete removal of the reproductive organs and this might play a role in reducing the risk of cancer, joint disease and behavior issues.
So if you have a choice, think carefully about when to spay or neuter your dog. Ultimately, the decision is yours, not the vets. Do your research and make up your own mind.
Something else that was brought to my attention previously from another fur family was that many Puppy Daycare Facilities
require that the puppy be spayed or neutered by 6 months of age. I understand their thinking since smaller breed dogs mature
much faster and may actually have a heat by 6months and being that they let all the dogs run together, this could be a problem.
If this is the case.... I would ask myself how important is that Daycare in the scheme of things