When to Spay or Neuter Your Dog


Mary Margaret (Meg) Penrose has spent the last six years as a law professor at the Texas A&M University School of Law in Fort Worth. Mary Margaret Penrose previously spent a decade with the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Beyond her activities as a professor, she enjoys spending time as a pet rescue volunteer.

There are a number of advantages to spaying or neutering a dog, though perhaps the most compelling reason is to help control the surplus pet population. Today millions of dogs roam the streets or fill animal shelters, the result of unchecked animal breeding. Individuals interested in pursuing a spay or neuter procedure should have a conversation with a trusted veterinarian regarding the many health benefits.

A female dog can be spayed any time after eight weeks of age. Considering most breeders do not allow puppies to be separated from their pack before eight weeks, most puppies will be eligible for a spay procedure from day one. Owners are encouraged to spay before a female dog’s first heat cycle, which generally occurs around six months old.

Similarly, male dogs can be neutered any time after eight weeks. When it comes to growth, some veterinarians suggest waiting to neuter until the onset of puberty, at about six months of age. Others see no issue in neutering early. Dog owners should discuss the matter with their veterinarian before making a decision.