When to spay?


New Member
Molly our 8 month old wirehair dachshund is experiencing her first heat. Is she old enough to spay? Her companion Rusty is now 15 months old and was neutered at about 10 months, but he's still going a little crazy with Molly being in heat.


New Member
I have done some looking into this subject because as a former large breed owner, I heard that spay/neuter at the age vet's recommend caused growing problems with the growth plates in the dog's bones. So I never had my big girls spayed before a year/ year and a half. Apparently, there are studies coming out of the woodwork on spay/neutering too early, this is just one article I found in my search...

Spaying and Castration (Neutering) Dogs | Doglistener

Keep in mind that this one is from the UK, but there are others in the US and Canada. I just haven't been able to find them again :S They all have pretty much the same information in them though.


Alberta Region Moderator
I wont spay or neuter ever again before full emotional and mental maturity. Besides, if she's in heat right now, then it's too late. You have to finish this heat and preferably wait for 3 months. Otherwise, her hormones will be out of whack, and you risk her life alot more with spaying her during her heat.

Steph, the UK is way ahead in all dog-related things :) I like them better than North Americans when it comes to dog health, training and breeding :) I'd be way more inclined to believe them than anything out of the US or Canada.


New Member
For the average owner, I would say 6 months. That is because the average owner is irresponsible with intact dogs.

For the responsible owner, I would say spay females after full maturity at around 2 years. It is always best to wait unless you would rather not have an intact bitch in your home. Also, it is best to spay females to avoid pyometra (sp?). With males, I would never neuter unless temperament issues call for it.


"With males, I would never neuter unless temperament issues call for it."

Guess I'm going to do more research into this. My new boy is seven months old...


New Member
I have four Dachshunds, 3 of which are altered (the other's only 9 weeks). My oldest female I had spayed at 18 months, my male at 13 months, and my middle female at almost 7 months. My middle girl is the healthiest, best tempered and has the least issues with behavior. She also had the easiest surgery and quickest recovery (minus the issue of chewing out her IV and the reaction to the pain meds). My new puppy will be spayed at 6 months.
With a large dog, I would wait till at least 12 months. But with a dog under 30lbs, I see no issues with 6 months.


Alberta Region Moderator
I do, I see lots of issues with 6 months. you are taking formative hormones away from the dog when s/he needs it most. It affects personality, growth, and health. you have anecdotal evidence with your 3, but I also have it with my 5, my prev 2, and my sister's 2.

Mouse is not yet spayed (she's 3.5 years old but is allergic to metal and I am terrified that I'll lose her... she nearly lost her foot after we lanced an abscess with a stainless steel scalpel)
Scout was spayed at 4 (when I adopted her),
Zoe was spayed at 2.5 (when she trusted us enough to recover from the trauma of the vets we'd had her a year at that point),
Annabelle, my sister's Westie, was 14 months when she was spayed (3 months after her first heat),
Boo was castrated at 6.5 (when he was rescued from being a stud dog),
Riley, my sister's terrier x, we have no idea when he was castrated, (he came to the shelter already done and has some behavioural issues),
Benji, our little terrier x was somewhere between 1 and 3 when he was castrated (when we rescued him). He died if intestinal cancer 13 years later, but I attribute that to the Purina we fed the dogs... besides, he could very well have been 16 years old. he was perfectly healthy until he developed the cancer, and wasn't sick a day in his life and hadn't changed from the day we got him until he got sick. he was an extremely confident dog, who was well versed in dog language :)

Patches, my Springer x Cocker and Oliver, my Terrier x are/were the only dogs neutered at 6 months. Patchie went into heat young (5 months) and my mom didn't want to go through another one. She developed hypothyroidism (which has been proven to affect females spayed young at a higher rate than intact or spayed at or after maturity), had joint issues and was generally not a healthy dog. she also didn't tolerate other dogs much and was short and snippy with them. Oliver was the other, and he was only neutered at 6 months because the vet in Texas thought he was a year old, but he was just 6 months, so he got neutered accidentally young. He had major fear issues crop up that likely wouldn't have if he'd had the testosterone levels he should have had at 9 months old, he became afraid and aggressive with people, and he became very hard to handle. He's 4 now, and slowly getting better, but I really wish he hadn't been neutered! There are alot of studies out there to support this theory. Patches died at 14, very sick, hardly able to walk, deaf, blind, and with some unknown cancer (we weren't going to do diagnostics on her at that point)

as to female spay, the optimum time for the health and wellness for the dog is between the 2nd and 3rd heat. Now, this does not take into consideration irresponsible people that will let their dog get pregnant, which is by far a higher health risk than early spay :)

I will never neuter another dog early, I've had nothing but problems with the 2 neutered early, but the other 6 that weren't are/were perfectly healthy, normal, well adjusted dogs! The one we dont know about has behavioural problems and is dog aggressive, but we cant attribute it to anything because we have no idea when he was castrated, and no idea what his first 3 years were like.

BTW, Neutered is the umbrella term for Spayed and Castrated. It's technically for both male and female, but for some reason people normally use the term for male only. Possibly because it doesn't sound as bad as castrated LOL


New Member
I did my reaserch, read multiple studies, talked with vets and my dogs' breeders and made the right choice for my situation and my dogs, being a responsible pet owner :).
Simply put, the difference between having a 10lb dog spayed at 6mo and a 130lb spayed at 6mo is enormous. The smaller dog has a signifigantly lower chance of developing issues because of an early spay than the big dog does.

In my life I've had 9 spayed females, most of which were spayed at the 6-8 month mark. No issues at all, and they all lived long and healthy lives.

Even the most careful of intact dog owners can have a slip up (ie while traveling with your dog, kid lets dog outside and neighbor's male jumps the fence). I live next to a scumbag who has 9 intact, out of control dogs. Even though my fence is 6ft high, I'm not willing to take chances.

My dog is not going to be some sickly, miserably creature because she was spayed at 6 mos.:)
Are there risks with early spaying? Absolutely. Are there risks with late spaying? You betcha. You weigh the pros and cons and make the best choice for your dog.
The fact of the matter is that most dog owners cannot handle an intact animal responsibly (I have, and it was a very long and stressful experience), and the benefits of spaying early far out weigh the risks of potentially having your dog
get pregnant when you probably don't have the time or resources to deal with that or the means to place the resulting puppies in a forever home.

Just my (very long) two cents :)
Ps I apologize for any misspellings and typos, I'm on my phone


Alberta Region Moderator
Phones are awful for that LOL

Well, out of 2 early neutered dogs I've had, both have had serious issues attributed with early neuter (again, using neuter as the all encompassing term it's supposed to be used as) So who's right? neither. I have an intact female that wont be spayed any time soon (if at all) not because I'm going to breed her (heaven forbid!) but because she will quite likely die from an OP. She is not difficult. she goes into heat every 8 months (instead of 6 months which makes it easier!) she wears a diaper and goes out on leash, but is otherwise in the house. there is a large number of loose dogs (I live in a small town) but none will ever catch Mouse due to me being out there with her. It's not a long, difficult process at all, and people who spay just cuz it's easier need to be more concerned for their dog's health. People who do the research (and dont just listen to vets who still say it's healthier, even though there's been sooooooooo sooooooooo sooooooooooo many scientific studies saying otherwise. I actually got a vet's adds off the radio because of false advertising :) they were saying it's healthier... it's not, and they quit running the adds) and decide to take the risks and do it anyway, well that's fine, however people who just neuter because it's what people say to do? that's wrong.

Yes it's easier to spay, yes it's better for the average person to spay, because you are so right that the average dog owner is too irresponsible, however, it is NOT what's best for the dog, in any way shape or form.

Oh and a small dog is still a puppy at 6 months, I dont care if they aren't 130 lbs, they are still babies, their growth plates haven't fused and they haven't matured emotionally. they are still babies!
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New Member
I'm sorry, but there is absolutely no difference between the early altering of a small breed dog and a large breed dog. They develop towards maturity at the same rate, and carry the same hormones and growth plates. Altering a small dog too early effects it just as much as it would a large dog. They're the same species, with the same development and the same rate of growth. One doesn't grow faster or slower than the other. It is absolutely equal.

This is the best evidence I can find on it, as most articles I would like to reference, you must pay to see and simply copy paying can get me into a lot of trouble.


In the long run, most owners should alter their dogs at 6 months. Most owners are not responsible enough to keep an intact dog in check and prevent it from breeding.

From a scientific standpoint, these are the facts:

Altering any dog before 6 months of age causes in dramatic increase in the chance for bone cancer later in life, and often permanently effects growth, physical and hormonal development. It also causes incontinence regularly in female dogs.

For a female, it is always best to spay at least eventually. The risk of pyometra and mammary rumors (malignant and benign) in unaltered, never bred bitches is extremely high. The chance is less if they are bred, but still significant. The chance of pyometra doubles in females that have undergone a puppy abort and were not spayed during the procedure. One of the only negatives is altering can sometimes increase aggression in a bitch, but this is not always the case and isn't extremely common.

For a male, there aren't much benefits to altering. Sometimes dominance issues arise, and they may need those hormones removed. Also, it is harder to keep weight on an unaltered male than it is to keep weight on an altered one. However, the risks are higher than the benefits, for me, personally. The risk of testicular cancer in an unaltered, never bred male is just not high enough for me to want to put them under surgery to fix that.

All in all, it is your decision to make after being given the facts. Good luck.


New Member
Like I said, I've already made my Choice. My dogs are all fine and will all be fine.
I'm not saying that every single dog Should be spayed. Of course I'm not that pig headed ;)! If your dog has reactions to metal, anesthesia ect then yes it is better to leave them intact.

Of my dogs, the two who were older (male and female) have both healthy and behavioral issues including marking, same sex aggression (older female) reactivity and dog aggression (male). The female who was spayed at 6mos has no behavior issues at all, and minus food allergies is completely healthy. There is no difference in the training and socialization between the 3 of them.

You make the best choice for your situation and your dogs. I would never ever do anything to hurt one of my dogs. I do not wish to argue with anyone :)


Alberta Region Moderator
I do like a good debate (when it's actually a debate, NOT an argument :) ) You can learn so much from a proper debate, as there's usually sooo much information offered for both sides :)

I hate arguments, and will always quit reading threads that turn into them.

I spent an evening in a debate about whether or not Double Merle dogs are at a higher risk for epilepsy... talk about a ton of info! and it was alot of fun, and very informative! (we eventually came to the conclusion that they are at a higher risk for Photo-Induced Epilepsy, due to eye defects common to MM dogs LOL so we were both right :) ) But I want to know everything about dogs! so I spend a ton of time learning through internet forum debates (Some I'm involved in, some I just read :) ) It's a great way to learn. I've completely changed my training philosophy, my position on neutering, my feeding practices, and the way I generally am with my dogs, all because of the last 5 or so years on internet forums :)

So if I seem argumentative, it's because I like a good debate, and like learning... and I expect studies and scientific info from the people I'm debating with! LOL


New Member
No harm no foul :)
This is completely off topic, but how do you train a deaf and visually impaired dog? I saw the video of Mouse doing her tricks and I was so impressed!


Alberta Region Moderator
No harm no foul :)
This is completely off topic, but how do you train a deaf and visually impaired dog? I saw the video of Mouse doing her tricks and I was so impressed!
Clicker training :) (with a really bright LED light instead of a clicker) Works wonders with every dog!
Milo had his surgery at around 8 months and I don't know how different he would be if we had waited.

It really wasn't my decision but I didn't object. I hear the boys will mark and hump everything. Not true? The little guy across the street ran away, maybe having smelled love in the wind. He got busted and the fine for having an intact male running around was large.

At least in my area the pressure to have dogs neutered is huge. The license fee is around $75 instead of $29. And then on top of that there is a required certificate from a vet that's another $100. Intact dogs are banned from some doggie resorts (boarding facilities) and cost extra in others. Some dog parks may have rules...

Just like smokers, intact pups are increasingly excluded and politically incorrect. I'm not advocating right or wrong, it's just the way our society is heading.
Oh, that reminds me: a friend had a couple of unaltered small dogs (male and female) that she always kept in a secure yard. The male had a vasectomy! What do you think?