Can You Harm Your Pet by Neutering/Spaying Too Young?

World Spay Day was earlier this week. While spaying and neutering will help reduce the 2.7 million shelter pets killed every year, recent research shows that shelters and veterinarians often spay and neuter pets at such a young age that it can affect their lifespan, overall health and their behavior.

For good reason, many shelters won’t adopt out pets until they are neutered or spayed, even if they are kittens and puppies eight-weeks-old who haven’t yet reached sexual maturity. That way, it’s a guarantee that their adopted animal won’t be contributing to the over-population crises. However, after reading studies showing the effects of the long term skeletal, physical and behavior effect on dogs and cats desexed at a premature age, it made me question whether I even made the best choices for my own dogs. Sanchez was neutered at 7-months of age, and Gina at 6 months (although I didn’t adopt her until she was over a year).

A study published in the UN National Library of Medicine found dogs spayed and neutered at less than a year of age were significantly taller than those desexed after age 1. Furthermore, the bones of pups spayed and neutered before puberty continue to grow. Dogs spayed or neutered at a younger age often have longer limbs, lighter bone structure, narrow chests and narrow skulls. This results in altered body proportions of certain bones relative to others. But, it isn’t just a cosmetic issue.

This disproportion often results in increased stress on ligaments, which can later easily cause injury. Another study published in the UN National Library of Medicine found that dogs spayed or neutered before 5 1/2 months of age were much more likely to develop hip dysplasia than those spayed or neutered older than 5 1/2 months. Also, dogs spayed or neutered younger than 24 weeks were more likely to develop infectious diseases than dogs older than 24 weeks. As for female dogs, there has been an increase in urinary incontinence in those spayed too early.

Another study published in the National Library of Medicine showed that dogs neutered before 5 1/2 months had an increased incidence of noise phobias and unwanted sexual behaviors. Also, recent research by the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation found that when females were spayed too young, they were more likely to develop fearful behaviors while their male counterparts were more likely to show aggression

Obviously, if you decide to delay your spay and neutering of your newly adopted pup or kitty, please be responsible if they have reached sexual maturity and are able to reproduce. Make sure they are under your control at all times and don’t breed. I am in huge support of not contributing to the pet over-population crises. I’m just suggesting you do your research before you decide what age is best for your Buster or Kitty.

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290 comments

hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN h1 days ago

tyfs

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michela c
michela c2 days ago

(that's to say NOT to early!)

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michela c
michela c2 days ago

Thanks (always with a careful eye)

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Peggy B
Peggy B6 days ago

TYFS

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Peggy B
Peggy B6 days ago

TYFS

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Marie W
Marie W26 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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Renata B
Renata Babout a month ago

I am strongly against sterilisation performed too early. Obviously you need to be responsible not to allow them to have sex in the meantime, but shelters seem to sterilise cats and dogs even before they develop. That is soooo wrong.

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hELEN h
hELEN habout a month ago

tyfs

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hELEN h
hELEN h1 months ago

tyfs

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Shirley Plowman
Shirley Plowman1 months ago

THANK YOU, WE CAN ALWAYS LEARN BETTER WAYS TO PARENT OUR SWEET PETS.

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