If you have a large breed dog and you want to get it neutered, it might be a good idea to avoid getting it fixed while it is a puppy. Even though most vets recommend that you get your dog fixed as early as possible, it is not the case for large breed dogs.
Instead, waiting a bit can be better for their overall health. So, if waiting is better, it means that large breed dogs can’t be neutered as puppies. So, what is the best age to neuter a large breed dog?
Veterinary experts recommend that for larger breeds, it is better to wait until they have achieved full-skeletal maturity. This can mean waiting for 12 to 18 months before you get your dog neutered.
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Why Should You Wait to Neuter Your Dog?
Many people might find that this advice contradicts what different organizations advocate. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends that all dogs should be spayed, either at the age of 2 months old or when they are 2 pounds in weight.
However, this does not take into account that young puppies can face risk from the anesthetic used. Additionally, different dog breeds reach maturity differently. Smaller dog breeds can reach skeletal maturity within 2 to 4 months, and by six months, they might be fully grown.
With larger breeds, this is not the case. At six months, they have only hit half of their growth milestones and maturity. The hormones produced by their reproductive organs are needed to help with the healthy development of their bodies. By removing them too early, it can cause serious developmental issues.
Early neutering and spaying of large breed dogs have also been connected with causing future health complications. It’s not just large dogs that are at risk – medium-sized dogs like Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds can also suffer from health issues caused by early neutering and spaying.
Health Complications Caused by Early Neutering
Data and studies have shown that health complications caused by early neutering of large breeds commonly affect four areas of a dog’s health. The following are those four core areas and the issues that dogs face:
1. Obesity and Weight Gain
Spaying and neutering have been known to decrease the metabolic rate of a dog. It has long been linked with causing weight gain and can lead to obesity. It should be noted that while early neutering can affect the metabolism of the dog, environmental factors can also increase or decrease the chances of obesity.
Poor diet, no exercise, and limited physical activity can increase the risk of obesity and weight gain in large breed dogs. Dogs that are neutered and spayed will need to be adequately fed, exercised, and given activities that will help to maintain their weight.
2. Orthopedic Diseases
One of the most significant risks that larger dog breeds experience with early neutering and spaying is more exposure to orthopedic diseases. As dogs grow, their growth plates need time to close naturally. Early spaying and neutering can delay this process, meaning that they can experience abnormal skeletal growth and disproportionate bone development.
This will mean that given the slightest amount of stress, your large dog is more likely to experience hip dysplasia or suffer from cranial cruciate rupture. It should also be noted that large breeds are typically more at risk of orthopedic diseases. By neutering them too early, you can be jeopardizing their health further. This is one of the main reasons why it is recommended that you wait for 12 to 18 months before you neuter a large breed dog.
Early neutering is recommended for all dogs to avoid the risk of ovarian, testicular, and vaginal cancer. Data shows that dogs that are neutered and spayed before their first heat cycle can lower their risk to the cancer types, as mentioned earlier, by 99.5%. If you wait to neuter them after their first heat cycle, you only lower their risk by 92.5%.
However, dogs that are not allowed to mature before getting spayed or neutered have a higher incidence of different types of cancer, such as:
- Hemangiosarcoma- Cancer in the blood vessels in the spleen and liver
- Osteosarcoma – Cancer in the bones and bone marrow
- Lymphoma – Cancer in the lymph nodes
Again, by choosing to wait, you can help your pet develop a healthier immune system and safeguard them from these types of cancers.
Dogs that get neutered and spayed early show an increase in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). They also experience more bladder inflammation, and can even experience urinary incontinence. The hormones in their reproductive system play a role in the healthy development of their urinary system as well. Neutering too early means that their urinary systems do not get a chance to develop properly.
Looking at these issues, it is clear that for larger dog breeds, it is better for their health to wait until they are 12 to 18 months old before you get them neutered or spayed.
Preparing for Neutering
If you are thinking of neutering an older dog, it is a good idea to get a medical checkup by your vet. They will be able to guide you better about neutering your dog and the health complications they may or may not face.
Additionally, if you are getting your dog neutered, it’s a good idea to get products that will help to speed up recovery and ensure that your pet heals properly.
Our Recommendation –The Suitical Recovery Suits
Dogs don’t always like wearing a cone after they get operated. To protect their incision completely, you can get the Suitical recovery suits. These are made from lycra and cotton, are extremely comfortable, and have an easy snap opening at the back. The suits are useful not just for post-operation recovery but also to help keep wounds, bandages, stitches safe and help with hot spots and other skin conditions.
Our Recommendation – The Comfy Cone
If you like using the cone, opt for the Comfy Cone. It is made with foam-backed nylon pads that are waterproof, easy to clean, and comfortable for your dog. The cones are comfortable enough to ensure that your pet can even sleep with this dog cone on!
With these products, you can ensure that whenever you get your dog spayed or neutered, they can recover as quickly as possible.