Spaying and neutering

Let’s talk about spaying and neutering your puppy!

Most veterinarians recommend spaying and neutering of puppies between six to eight months of age. That would likely be around or before a female’s first “heat”.

Because there are so many pets in shelters and rescues, vets are worried about irresponsible owners, unwanted litters and pet overpopulation and rightly so.

But current research shows that it is best to wait until a dog is mature before altering it. For smaller breeds like the Cavapoo this would be around a year of age. (Larger breeds, for instance like a German Shepherd would not be mature until around two years of age).

All dogs (male and female) need those hormones for proper growth and development of bones and joints.

So we recommend that you wait to have your puppy spayed or neutered when it is around a year of age.

With male pups it’s pretty easy as there is not chance for an unexpected litter, unless your boy’s hormones kick in extra hard and he goes looking for a “wife”. If you have an extra hormonal boy that starts hiking his leg in inappropriate places, starts using pillows and stuff animals for improper behavior or tends to sneak out the door or yard looking for a girlfriend, then go ahead and get him neutered. But if you can wait, please wait.

With girls, you are looking at likely going through her first heat cycle with her. It’s not that big of deal, but you definitely have to be more careful and not leave her unattended even for a minute outside.

She may come in season as early as six months or closer to nine months or anywhere in between. You will likely notice her licking and cleaning herself more. Her vulva will be more pronounced and swollen. Or you may notice drops of blood on your clean floor. When you first notice a discharge, mark that date on your calendar. Now you’re looking at three weeks of “lockdown”.

Buy some little doggie “pants” so your carpet and furniture doesn’t get stained. The bloody discharge will lighten up as time goes by though. Some dogs are meticulous about keeping themselves clean and others are messy.

There are about three weeks to the heat cycle. The first week in layman’s terms, we say they’re “coming into heat”, the second week is “standing heat”(when they are likely ovulating and receptive to a male) and the three week they are “going out of heat”.

BUT, every female is different and we don’t actually know when they ovulate unless we are doing progesterone testing (which isn’t necessary for a dog we are not breeding). Some females are ready for a male as early as let’s say day five or as late as day nineteen! And that’s why I say you are in lockdown for three weeks just to be on the safe side.

And don’t think that girl will be safe out in the yard by herself. (And please don’t take her for walks during her cycle). When a female dog is in season you will have every unaltered boy in the neighborhood (that you didn’t even know about) showing up on your doorstep, trying to climb over your fence or dig under it! Trust me, those hormonal driven boys can get very creative.

So there you have it! Wait until a year if you can, but if you really don’t think you can handle your hormonal pup then get them spayed or neutered earlier. But those healthier joints will “thank you” for waiting.