Best Age to Neuter a Pet



Technically, a dog or cat can be neutered even in old age!  The best age to neuter a pet is around 6 months.  By that age the dog or cat has grown enough to make the anesthetic risk safer.  Growth means larger lung capacity compared to a 8 week old animal.  However, I have done work for numerous shelters where animals have been 12 weeks or so.  The fear is that even though a prospective owner says they will have the animal neutered they do not.  Instead they leave same animal with her litter of puppies at the shelter door!  So before anything goes out the door, it gets neutered.  Still, the best age to neuter any pet is around 6 months.


Spaying a 6 month old or younger dog or cat is also much easier than doing surgery on an older dog.  Everything, from an anatomical perspective, is immature and small hence taking less time to perform surgery compared to a dog with huge numbers of ovarian cysts and layers of abdominal fat wrapped around the entire reproductive tract.


Dogs do not menstruate or go into menopause.  Unfortunately, in my career I have seen senior citizen dogs carry a pregnancy and having to nurse a whole litter of puppies.  This is not the best age to neuter a pet but in medicine every case is different and neutering an old female still is a good thing if she is healthy to go under a general anesthetic.  This is tough because in the older dog arthritis is more common and the uterus has lost much of its tone so increasing the risk of a Cesarean Section.  Remember, each cycle a female dog or cat goes through increases the risk of breast cancer.




Surgery is done on older animals all the time.  Many animals are spayed because they have developed pyometra or breast cancer and part of the therapy in both conditions is spaying them!  Older male dogs have testicle issues called Sertoli TumorsSertoli Tumors are common testicular tumors found on one or both testicles. It is characterized by an increased estrogen level in the male dog which lead to feminization traits such as breast enlargement and the like. and that treatment requires that they be castrated.  Plus at the same time that will help any enlarged prostate issues in the dog.

The best age to neuter a pet is just at 6 months of age.
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