If you’re a new dog owner, then chances are your veterinarian, as well as other dog owners, have probably already recommended spaying or neutering your furry friend as soon as possible.
Whether it be for health or ethical reasons, spaying/neutering is a standard procedure that most pet parents opt for. Rescues have been known to "speuter" pups as early as 6 weeks of age to discourage backyard breeders from adopting pups, and to prevent any oops litters. Many old school vets also encourage speutering to prevent health conditions like pyometra, and cancer.
Well, new research suggests that altering your pup before they hit sexual maturity is actually really bad for their health.
Here are 10 reasons why you shouldn't be opting for a speuter before your dog has reached sexual maturity.
10 There’s A High Rate Of Hip Dysplasia In Altered Dogs
One study showed that dogs that were altered at least six months prior to a diagnosis of hip dysplasia were 1.5 times more likely to develop hip dysplasia than their intact buddies.
Given the fact that some breeds, such as German Shepherd Dogs, are prone to hip dysplasia, it might be better to let your dog hit sexual maturity before you take them in to be fixed.
9 Altering A Dog Doesn’t Fix Their Behavior
Among dog owners, there is a stereotype that intact male dogs are more aggressive and more likely to start fights. In fact, some veterinarians recommend neutering male dogs when they’re six-months-old in order to stave off any aggressive behavior.
However, a study that looked at the relationship between aggression and spaying/neutering showed that there is little to support this old wives' tale. Aggression is more likely influenced by the dog's genetics and upbringing.
8 Altered Dogs Are More Prone To Getting Cancer
We’ve always heard that spaying or neutering our furry friend is a good way to decrease their chance of getting cancer.
Unfortunately, a study, performed by Dr. Benjamin L. Hart at the University of California, suggests that altered pooches have an increased chance of getting cancers such as hemanigosarcoma, lymphoma, osteosarcoma and mast cell tumors. The Whole Dog Journal adds that male dogs who are neutered are also more prone to developing prostate cancer too.
7 They Are Also More Likely To Develop Joint Issues
Dogs who have been fixed at a young age are more likely to have a higher occurrence of patellar luxation and CCL rupture.
If your puppy is active, whether he/she enjoys romping with friends at the dog park or is currently enrolled in an agility class, it might be best to hold off on altering them until they are fully mature.
6 Altered Dogs Often Gain Weight
Altered dogs often struggle with weight problems and being pudgy could make joint issues or hip dysplasia even worse.
Plus, having joint issues while trying to lose weight is difficult for both dog and owner. Not only do you want to make sure your pooch loses a few pounds, but you also have to make sure not to aggravate their joints by going jogging or jumping over an agility hurdle as well.
5 They Are More Likely To Be Fearful
Premature speuter has been linked to an increased incidence of noise phobias. There is also some evidence that suggests that spayed female dogs are more likely to be fearful while neutered dogs are more likely to be aggressive.
There was even a study that examined German Shepherd Dogs who were spayed between the ages of 5 to 10 months, which concluded that there was a significant amount of leash reactivity when compared to their intact/mature neuter counterparts.
4 Many Female Dogs Develop Urinary Incontinence
Female dogs who are spayed before they hit puberty have an increased risk of developing urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence in prematurely spayed bitches is also more likely to be more severe.
If your furry friend had a pediatric spay, then it is a good idea to research the symptoms of urinary incontinence just to be on the safe side. She might never develop it, but it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our pets.
3 They Also Have A Chance Of Developing Hypothyroidism
Dogs who are spayed and neutered before they hit sexual maturity are also prone to developing hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid doesn’t make enough thyroxine, a hormone that controls the dog’s metabolism. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs include hair loss, weight gain, ear infections and being intolerant to the cold.
Thankfully, veterinarians are able to treat the disease by prescribing an oral medication, but your pooch will have to take it every single day for the rest of their life.
2 There’s An Increased Risk Of Your Dog Developing Pancreatitis
Spayed females are 22 times more likely to develop fatal acute pancreatitis when compared to their intact friends. Acute pancreatitis is usually more severe to its chronic form, and if the inflammation spreads, your furry pal might have to stay over at the vet in order to receive intensive treatment. In some cases when the pancreas has abscessed or when the pancreatic duct is blocked, your poor pooch will have to undergo surgery.
If your pup is displaying symptoms of acute pancreatitis, take them to the vet ASAP. These symptoms include: not eating, vomiting, lethargy, and abdominal pain.
1 They Could Catch An Infectious Disease
If you opt for a pediatric spay, there is a higher chance of your pup catching an infectious disease. Studies have shown that puppies fixed at 24-weeks-old or less are especially at risk.
New research has shown it is better to either keep your pet intact or to wait until they have hit puberty to alter them. Of course, the risks sometimes outweigh the consequences (re: fixing rescue/shelter dogs). Please consult your veterinarian if you are struggling with the decision. There is no "one size fits all" approach when it comes to your dog's health.