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When is a good time to get a pet spay/neutered?

Posted by Jennifer on April 10th, 2012

“Hi! I’ve got a question that I can’t seem to get answered. WHEN is a good time to get a pet spay/neutered? Speaking of an 8 month old female Boxer. Although she is too young to breed at this point, I don’t want her to have any puppies – EVER. So when (or how soon) should I look to get her fixed? Thanks for your help. Tim” This is a real email exactly as we received it last week, and Tim ask a very valid question! The answer is…

For Tim and his 8 month old female Boxer, the answer is RIGHT AWAY! She is not too young to breed. Puppies and kittens can go into heat and get pregnant at 5 months of age.  Over the past decade shelters and vets are seeing younger and younger pets coming in pregnant, most owners don’t realize their baby can have babies if they are not careful!

Spaying before a pet’s first heat is the most effective way of reducing hormone-related cancers later in life (like mammary cancer). Though Tim’s dog is more than likely past her first heat, she can still benefit from the many health and behavioral bonuses, which SpayUSA does a great job of describing on their Spay/Neuter Benefits page here.

SpayUSA also has a lot of helpful Q&A in their FAQ, including these two about the best age to get a pet fixed:

How old does my pet need to be in order to be spayed or neutered?
For many years, veterinarians were taught that cats and dogs had to be a year old to be spayed or neutered. Later, they were taught that six months was appropriate. Today we know that kittens and pups can be spayed or neutered at the age of two months (or two pounds). The American Veterinary Medical Association has endorsed this practice called Early Age Neutering; the animals recover more quickly from surgery when they are young. Today some vets will spay/neuter at eight weeks of age, while other adhere to the old practice of six months of age. The average age at which pets are spayed or neutered is four months.

How young can a female cat/dog get pregnant?
“Adolescent” cats and dogs as young as five months can get pregnant. For many reasons, it is important to spay or neuter BEFORE the first litter is born – before six months.

Here is our Adopt-a-Pet.com page about the benefits of spay/neuter too!

Need help finding a low-cost spay or neuter vet or clinic? First, ask you current vet, they may provide discounted low-cost days. If not, for a local referral, call (800) 248-SPAY (7729) or email SpayUSA@AnimalLeague.org

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