When (not if) should I spay my female golden retriever?

I am in a quandry as to when I should have my large-breed pup (golden retreiver) spayed. My breeder tells me there is a lot of controversy since spaying affects the growth of the bone plates. He suggests I wait until the plates close normally but don't wait too long afterwards, between 12-18 months of age. My vet is telling me it's important to have her spayed before her 1st heat to reduce the risk of cancer.

I intend to spay her, no question there, but should I wait until she is at least one year old? This link seems to support waiting.

Asked by Ginger on Jun 5th 2009 Tagged spay, risksofearlyspay in Spaying & Neutering
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Hi Ginger!

Thanks for sharing that link - it's a very interesting research paper! Of course, it's looking at the spay/neuter question purely in a medical context, without considering the benefits of reducing the unwanted puppy population, but it's good to see a scientific look at medical benefits vs. risks. I was glad to read that for females, there seems to be a huge reduction in risk of mammary cancer when they're spayed before their first heat. This is consistent with what I read on, , "The risk of breast cancer is almost eliminated in dogs that are spayed before their first heat."

I was adopted from the county pound at 4 months of age, and was spayed before I could come home to my new family. My height and weight are perfectly within the breed standard for female German Shepherds, and I have a well-balanced gait and healthy hips and elbows.

Hope this helps with your decision - good luck!

Katie answered on Jun 5th.

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Cookies 'n' Creme (1998-2011)

Can of worms. Nuff said. XD
I'd personally wait. For large breeds, spaying too early can cause growth issues. So far as I know, however, it wouldn't hurt to have her spayed at six months either.

Cookies 'n' Creme (1998-2011) answered on 6/5/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


6 months in my opinion is a good time. My vet recommends a spay before the first heat cycle as well and he is a VERY good vet with experience with large and giant breed dogs.

Member 827031 answered on 6/5/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


maybe contact someone at a local university to see what kind of case studies have been done.
I have waited til they were adults. But, there was no real reason.
But, if studies show proof of such foundation of it affecting the growth of a dog I would wait, but it would have to be proven.
Other than that a safe time to do it is 6 months to prevent an accident.

Member 783537 answered on 6/5/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


This website has a lot of information on spaying and neutering... including age and early spaying:


Sunny answered on 6/5/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


With my males I don't intend to leave intact, I wait till they are at least a year. My females I usually spay between 6 to 7 months.

Kayak answered on 6/5/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


There are some literature searches that suggest there are some advantages to later spaying. The benefits are neither large, or well proven. While a breeder should be experienced in coping with females in season. many dog owners aren't. Accidental breedings aren't the worst thing that can happen to a female whose unexpected creative, strenous effort allowed her to give her owner the slip. I have been around the net a long tome and have read many horror stories. Oh, the boys can jump 6' fences or work through chain link fences.

Save yourself some hassle and risks, and have it done by 6 months, nearly always soon enough to head off her coming into season.

Aster answered on 6/5/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


At 6-7 months is right and another good thing at this age is also that all baby teeth should have fallen out and if not then have them pulled while she is under for the spay. This will prevent later problems with her dental hygiene and won't have any infections. It is also cheaper to do it this way rather than when a problem does occur.

Member 843368 answered on 6/5/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer