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Spaying a Dog or Puppy: What’s the Best Age?

May 6th, 2016 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

Riley's pet parents are waiting to bring her in to get spayed until she's five months old.

With the birds chirping and the bees buzzing in Castle Rock, it’s the perfect time to talk about spaying your female dog or puppy.

You may be wondering, when’s the best age to spay a female dog? Is it okay to spay a dog in heat?

Great questions! Let’s jump right in.

The best ages to spay a dog or puppy

To explain the best ages to spay your furry friend, it’s helpful to understand your pup’s heat cycle — the times of the year when she’s ready to breed.

Typically, female dogs that haven’t been spayed go into heat twice a year. Often, this takes place in the spring and in the fall. In our experience, most dogs go into their first heat cycle around seven months of age (or even later). The heat cycle lasts about three weeks.

With this in mind, we suggest the best age to spay a dog is around six months of age or earlier — before your dog’s first heat cycle.

Daisy, the puppy, plays in the grass. She'll get spayed in a month or two.

Spaying a dog in heat

Generally speaking, we don’t recommend spaying a dog or puppy in heat.

When your dog is in heat, there’s a lot more blood flowing to her surgery area. It becomes a more serious surgery for your pup.

If your dog has gone into heat, we usually suggest waiting to spay her until two to three months after her heat cycle is completely finished. That gives you plenty of time before her next heat cycle.

Abby holds Biscuit before the pup goes to the vet for her spay.

Deciding when to spay your dog

There are some old wives’ tales that a dog should go through at least one heat cycle before she’s spayed.

This just isn’t the case.

Studies have shown that the risks of mammary cancer and urinary incontinence are higher if you wait to spay your dog after she’s gone through one or more heat cycles. (Urinary incontinence is a fancy way of saying your dog has a hard time holding her pee.)

If you choose not to spay your dog at all, she also may be prone to a uterine infection — quite simply, a very serious infection in the uterus. In Dr. Melanie’s 29 years as a veterinarian, she’s only seen one case of an unspayed dog making it through its whole life without a uterine infection.

As for mammary cancer, one in four unspayed dogs over the age of four gets mammary cancer!

Spaying your dog or puppy at our Castle Rock veterinary clinic

When you come into our veterinary clinic, you can expect us to make sure your dog is comfortable. We’ll also tailor care to your pup’s unique needs.

Read all about our Castle Rock dog spaying services.

Is it time to spay your dog or puppy?

If you live around Castle Rock, please call us at 303-688-3757 or:

Request Appointment

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on spaying a dog. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call.)

© 2016, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

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