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When is the best time to desex your dog?

May 21, 2023

Duncan Houston

The best time to desex (also known as spay/neuter) your dog can depend on several factors, such as their breed, size, and specific health considerations. It's crucial to consult with your veterinarian to discuss your individual pet's needs, but here are some general guidelines for different dog sizes:

1. *Small Breeds:* Small breed dogs, such as Chihuahuas or Shih Tzus, usually mature more quickly than larger breeds. Most small breeds can be desexed as early as 6 months of age, but some veterinarians may recommend waiting until they are 5-6 months old.

2. *Medium Breeds:* Medium breed dogs, such as Labradors or Boxers, can typically be desexed between 6 and 9 months of age.

3. *Large and Giant Breeds:* Large breed dogs, like Great Danes or Bernese Mountain dogs, and giant breeds, such as Saint Bernards or Newfoundlands, often require a longer time to mature. Some studies suggest delaying desexing in these breeds until they are fully grown, which can be anywhere between 12-18 months or even up to 2 years old in some cases. This is to allow their bones and joints to fully develop and may help prevent certain orthopedic and health issues.

These recommendations may vary based on your dog's health, lifestyle, and risk of accidental breeding. For instance, if there's a risk your female dog might accidentally get pregnant, it might be best to desex her earlier.

If you decide to desex your dog after they are 6 months old, it's important to get a note from your veterinarian to avoid late desexing fees from your local council, as you mentioned. It's advisable to plan ahead to ensure you're in line with local regulations and to help manage any potential costs.

Always consult with your vet for the best individual advice for your pet, as they will be able to assess your dog's specific needs and health condition, and guide you in making the best decision.