Welcome to our guide on the spay and neuter of dogs! If you’re hoping to optimize your pet’s health, behavior, and longevity you need to consider having your pet sterilized. You will also help prevent unwanted puppy litters.

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends all dogs not intended for deliberate breeding be spayed or castrated. If you decide to use your dog for breeding, you should collaborate with research programs and national breed associations to work toward a healthier breed.

What are the benefits of spaying/neutering your dog?

  • Neutered dogs have longer average lifespans.
  • Female dogs spayed before their first heat cycle minimizes the risk of developing mammary neoplasia (breast cancer) and uterine infections.
  • Neutering male dogs prevents testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate gland enlargement.
  • Some pets have better behavior after surgical removal of ovaries or testes, making them better companions. Your male dog will be less likely to escape and roam away from home in search of a mate. He will be less likely to use urine marking indoors. Certain aggression problems may be avoided by early neutering, though neutering is not a simple solution to ongoing behavior problems.

spay neuterWhen should you spay/neuter your dog?

  • Female and male dogs expected to be under 45 pounds when fully grown should generally be neutered at 5-6 months of age.
  • For male dogs expected to be over 45 pounds, it may be beneficial to postpone neuter until growth is complete, usually between 9 to 15 months. This is due to possible orthopedic concerns and certain cancers in some breeds.
  • For female dogs expected to be over 45 pounds, there are competing risks and benefits of spaying at 5-6 months vs. waiting until fully grown. Work with a veterinarian to help determine the best time for your individual pup.


Spaying/neutering your dog can significantly benefit the community and your pet’s health and lifespan. As a responsible pet owner, you should consider the appropriate timing for your dog’s procedure, taking into account their breed, size, and overall health. By working with your veterinarian, you can best provide your dogs with the optimal care to help them live long and happy lives.

Additional Resources

AAHA: Reproductive Health

AVMA: Spaying & Neutering

ASPCA: Spay/Neuter Your Pet

Animal Care Clinic’s Anesthesia & Surgery Standards of Care