To alter or not to alter . . .

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

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Winnie Mae

Just let me jump- it!
Barked: Wed Sep 29, '10 11:18am PST 
Soooo, because I'm bored, lol, what is everyone's opinion on altering?

If you altered, why did you do it? What circumstances would make you alter?

If you left your dog intact, why? Under what circumstances would you leave a dog intact?

When would you say the best time is to alter a dog? After first heat? After all the baby teeth fall out?

Thanks for satisfying my curiosity!

Winnie Mae

I have just met- you and I LOVE- you!
Barked: Wed Sep 29, '10 11:25am PST 
Unless you plan on breeding responsibly, with all health test done, I don't think there is really any good reason to keep a dog intact. There are enough unwanted dogs in the world. All of mine were neutered at 6 months, I know now that I should have waited until they were a year, but that's all hindsight. I think a uear is good for most dogs, giant breeds should wait until closer to 2. Coming froma rescue background, spaying and neutering is one of the easiest ways to prevent pet overpopulation. I don't have an issue with truly responsible breeders, but they're hard to come by.

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Wed Sep 29, '10 11:31am PST 
Agreed with Quincy. There is no reason to leave a house pet unaltered. What I am more undecided on, is WHEN to alter. I have heard large/giant breeds should not be altered too young as it can mess with the growth plates closing or something along those lines.
Farley was neutered at 4 months old (by the vet's recommendation) and he always peed like a female dog. When he turned about 2, he started marking like a male and he got more dominant and super confident around other males. I often wonder if the early neutering had anything to do with that or if it's just pure coincidence. shrug

Edited by author Wed Sep 29, '10 11:32am PST


Delta Force- CGC RN NA- RL1

Raw Fed and- Happy
Barked: Wed Sep 29, '10 11:53am PST 
Delta was altered at six months, which I severely regret now. I truly believe you should wait until growth is over because hormones are so important to growth, especially for performance or working breeds.
Winnie Mae

Just let me jump- it!
Barked: Wed Sep 29, '10 12:06pm PST 
Winnie was 8 months, or possibly 9, and it was after her first heat. Purely by accident, as we had been told to spay before first heat. Now I would never spay before first heat wink

In my opinion, if someone has a very nice dog, from a very nice breeder, that they're using for extensive showing, whether it's conformation or Schutzhund or tracking, leaving intact is OK. As for just a house pet, I think altering is a good idea.

One of a kind,- that dog of- mine!
Barked: Wed Sep 29, '10 12:10pm PST 
Angel was spayed at about 9 months, before her first heat. The vet recommended that.

I agree with you Winnie Mae-if a dog is going to be bred responsibly, or showed intensively in conformation, then leaving them intact is fine. Anything else, though-definitely get them spayed and neutered.
Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
Barked: Wed Sep 29, '10 12:44pm PST 
Addy was spayed at fourteen months.

Spay/neuter isn't the sole measure of responsible dog ownership, but most people will be better off spaying/neutering their pets. The evidence is mounting that waiting for full adulthood is best, with the proviso that if your circumstances or inexperience mean you are not comfortable handling an intact female in heat, it may still be better to spay before the first heat.

But "full adulthood" varies a lot depending on breed. For most toy breeds, spay/neuter at seven or eight months is just fine, while for giant breed dogs, it might be as late as three years. And for giant breed dogs, or dogs who will be athletically active, waiting for full maturity is even more important, for ensuring correct growth of the long bones and the joints.

Mexican- Mutt-a-roonie
Barked: Wed Sep 29, '10 12:55pm PST 
Also agreed with Quincy, there are way to many dogs in the world at the expense of people to not alter your dog. Even though breeding may be responsible, I still personally don't agree with it. Dog's aren't a novelty.

I am the- Chocolate boy!
Barked: Wed Sep 29, '10 1:11pm PST 
Some breeds you have to wait longer. I believe it is Rottweilers who have an increased risk of getting OSteracoma if altered before they are done growing. One breeder reccomended getting an alter done after the rottie turned a year.

There is now research saying early spaying/neutering in golden retrievers also will increase risks of osteracoma and other things.

Belgian was supposed to be a show dog however he had a genetic defect (it was like a canine form of ingrown hair) which required surgery and scarred which ended his show career. We decided to get Belgian neutered when he waasd 5. We didn't get him neutered because we thought it was the right thing to do because we never had problems with him at all. One of the reasons we actually got him neutered was because the licensing fees were getting really expensive for unneutered dogs. The year the city decided to bump up fees was the year we decided to get Belgian snipped. I am glad we got it done however I honestly do not think it would have mattered either way. One thing I am not happy about was Belgian had complications from the neuter and his recovery was really painful for him because of this and he had to be put on different antibiotics.

I believe spay/neuter should be an owner's right and their decision. It is their dog after all. However it also takes alot of responsibility to own a dog that is not neutered/spayed because there is a chance that they can get another dog pregnant. Raising a litter is also a lot of money and these are things people must consider when they choose not to fix their dogs. However an alter is still a surgery and with that you got to think of the pros and cons. The next big dog I have, I will probably wait again until they are fully mature before I alter them.

That being said, I believe dogs who are not contributing to bettering a breed should be spayed/neutered. However, I also believe it is the owner's choice. There are many people who take very good care of their dogs but don't have them altered.

Whippy- The- Whipador
Barked: Wed Sep 29, '10 1:21pm PST 
Why is the general opinion that house "pets" should be neutered/spayed? Because they're adding to the pet population? Because of all the so called unwanted behaviours associated with intact animals?

Ty is intact, very well mannered and has not added to the pet population, so what are the next bunch of reasons i should have him neutered? I don't believe the health benefits ( at least in male dogs ) is so significant that it drives me to having him neutered. For a bitch it';s a bit different, but again, there is no real reason why a "pet" bitch should have to be spayed.

It all comes down to responsibility on the owners part. If owners feel they can't responsibly own an intact dog, if there is any threat of the said dog roaming/getting loose then i believe for the dogs and owners best interest that dog should be neutered/spayed.

My own decision had very little to do with health. It was purely down to the fact there was and still is no reason to have him neutered. He has never humped other dogs, never shown any "dominance" towards other male dogs either intact or neutered and he is just an all round good dog. When Ty was 8/9 months i successfully managed both Tyler and an intact Missy at the time. She was in season and Ty was a sexually mature teenager with one thing on his mind. But supervision and careful management prevented any accidents. It's not all that hard to us responsible dog owners. Obviously, i wouldn't advocate just anyone dealing with this set up but it's not all black and white.

Personally for me, i don't believe in neutering/spaying ANY dog under a year old. For larger breeds i would want to wait until at least 2 years old and depending on temperament and other factors that dog may never be neutered/spayed.
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