I was hoping to get some opinions on what age is best to neuter a large breed. I’ve searched thru this site & can not find this as a topic thread (if it is, I apologize for being redundant )
There are a zillion things about this on Google tho, so now it’s very confusing!
Everyone here seems pretty good at sourcing info so I thought I’d ask, even though it is not a direct dog food question.
Also, at what age should the calcium be less of a concern? My Loki is an almost 7 months old mixed breed intact male who really digs his rotational diet, but I was wondering when I could open more options.
Thanks everyone for this awesome resource!ElMember
That’s a handsome dog in your avatar!!!
I don’t see neutering as something that “must” be done to all male dogs. Neutering is a nice term for castration and castration is a serious thing to do to any male animal. I like to put the human test to things of this nature.
Would you consider castrating a male child or adult for the same reasons you are considering castrating your dog? If not, then what is the reason that it’s OK to castrate the dog and not the person?
I’m not saying you shouldn’t neuter your dog. I’m just saying you should think about why you’re considering it and see if there is a more humane alternative!PitloveMember
I have a little over 1 yr old intact pitbull, a breed that is stereotyped as being dog aggressive. He has yet to show any signs of aggression towards other intact males or dogs in general. In fact his best friend is an intact Rottweiler.
We have no plans to neuter him what so ever. I enjoy keeping him the way he was born and meant to be and we socalized him early in his life and he is a very dog loving and people loving dog. Neutering is often said to stop aggression, but since he’s not aggressive I see no reason to neuter him.
If you want to neuter him, talk to your vet about what age his body will be completely developed. That is the correct age to neuter him. Or you can be extra safe and wait til he’s maybe 3 years old.
Also, SO awesome that you are watching his calcium levels! You will need to worry about that and not overfeeding him til hes between 8-10 months old. You can always play it safe and even wait til he’s a year old and can 100% absorb calcium correctly. Love the rotational diet too! Sounds like your dog is very lucky to have such a responsible owner.C4DMember
I’ve had a bit of experience with this very issue. Growing up, dogs and cats were not neutered. None of the family dogs had issues. With our own dogs if they were neutered, it was in adulthood, over 2 years old. We had no issues. About 18 years ago, we got a puppy from a local shelter who was neutered @ 8 weeks old. He was a large breed male(80 lbs). He tore his first cruciate @ 2 years old when he was in fantastic shape and very active. He tore the second one a year later. We have another rescue that we found in a kill shelter (stray with no known history) that was about 8 months old, female, large breed who had been spayed at some point in her life prior to being in the kill shelter. She tore her cruciate @ 5 years old and on the other knee there a partial tear at some point after this.
As a result I’m strongly against pediatric neutering. I have a current dog that I foster failed who was at least 3 years old (maybe 5) that was intact male until I got him. He has great muscle and really solid bone structure. The problem is I foster and the groups are now doing pediatric neutering. I understand that they don’t want more unwanted puppies, but I feel the dogs and the owners (financially) often end up suffering because of this. On the flip side, many large dog breeders are no longer guaranteeing sound dogs if you neuter before 18 months. The research is also pointing to less of the early benefits regarding cancers, etc. that were originally touted. If I had the choice today I would do a sterilization, like a vasectomy in humans. Here are some links:
Good luck in your decision!
- This reply was modified 8 years, 7 months ago by C4D.
Very thoughtful replies. I had been leaning towards the 2 y/o mark, but now I may rethink even that. I never realized sterilization was an option either. The reason I had concerns to begin with was the loss of hormone production after neuter. And I had only stumbled upon that thru reading about it. Otherwise we were going to get him ‘fixed’ at 6 mos. until I poked around.
The vet we go to is a really nice gent, but I may talk to the exotics vet I went to when I had guinea pigs. She’s more up to date I believe on some of the more modern applications of pet care.
So Loki can keep his family jewels for a good long time, if not forever now. He’s sociable & a good sport when playing with other dogs, so aggression is not a factor. He doesn’t run loose, so he’d be hard pressed to find a a female. Not to mention he doesn’t even lift his leg to pee yet. LOL.
Thanks again for the advice. It’s appreciated.
“A one-size-fits-all policy about neutering can never be optimal as the particular risks and benefits of this procedure depend on many factors: the breed, age, size, health status, and purpose of the pet; the values, behaviors, and socioeconomic status of the owner; the independent risks for specific health problems that might also be associated with neuter status; the time and place in which the pet lives; and the availability and utilization of preventative and therapeutic veterinary care”
Above is an excerpt from: Benefits and Risks of Neutering–An Evidence-Based Approach
Posted on April 19, 2013 by skeptvet
I have heard of some joint health risks for large breed puppies if they are neutered before 6 months, but I don’t think I’ve heard of any after that. I know more about it for female dogs, but I’ve never heard of anything wrong with neutering after 6 months for LBPs.
However, as someone who has volunteered in animal rescue, I definitely think you should neuter your dog at some point. I have seen far too many cases of puppies ending up in shelters due to people not spaying and neutering. Yes, it is more of a problem with owners that are irresponsible, and you are certainly responsible if you are asking this question, but anything can happen to any dog.
Especially with large breeds, neutering early, before the growth plates close, can cause joint issues. Neutering slows down the closure of growth plates and depending on the age you neuter, some growth plates will already be close, as is natural, but others will stay open abnormally long, causing those bones to grow to a longer length than they were supposed to, which puts stress on the joints.
Citing a decrease in testicular cancer from neutering before a certain age strikes me as funny, since neutering at any age, as long as it is before the dog gets testicular cancer (which isn’t all that common anyway), completely removes the risk of testicular cancer, since the testicles are completely removed.
I have read a lot of research recently reporting that neutering may actually cause more behavior problems than it prevents, other than the desire to breed and those related behaviors. Neutered males are often cited as the aggressors in dog fights. Neutering seems to remove some caution as well as removing body parts.
If you are prepared to be a responsible owner, then neutering may be unnecessary. However, if you doubt your ability to keep your dog at home, under control, then neutering is better done early, before the dog gets to breeding age, regardless of other issues.
I didn’t neuter my small breed dog due to an undescended testicle, I was concerned that the surgery would be complicated.
Guess what? At the age of 11 he developed a tumor in his testicle and had to be neutered, the surgery was very hard on him, he had a difficult recovery.
The older they are, the harder it is on the dog. Find a vet that you trust and listen to him, see what he advises.
Undescended testicles are a known high cancer risk.
That depends on what vet you talk to, I was advised to leave things alone.
No guarantees on anything.
PS: The cancer was in his descended testicle, the other one was atrophied but cancer free.
No, it doesn’t depend on the vet. The vet doesn’t cause or stop the cancer. Scientific studies help us to understand the prevalence of cancer and what health issues raise the risk of cancer. Sorry your vet didn’t let you know…
The undescended testicle was deeply imbedded in his abdomen, all the digging to get it out nearly killed him. So, at the time the vet advised me accordingly. He is still going strong by the way, at age 15.ElMember
Here are some of the more humane ways of dealing with the issues that are given for castrating dogs and cats.
Population control – Vasectomy (male), Tubal ligation (female).
Behavior issues – Training and understanding.
Cancer – Healthy lifestyle, observation, and a fresh food species appropriate diet.
Are these answers perfect? No, but they are a humane way of dealing with the reasons our culture gives for castrating dogs (male or female). Dogs and cats deserve to be given the same consideration and respect that people are given in similar situations.
Dog Obsessed, that was foremost in my mind, accidental pups. Lokis mom & dads owner for some reason decided to let the the pregnancy occur of 2 mixed breeds just for the sake of having puppies, which kind of made me shake my head. But I’m glad because I have such a wonderful pet. I can only hope his 10 siblings found forever homes.
That said, this really seems to be a very personalized choice per each animal.PitloveMember
BCnut literally couldnt have said it more perfectly. But she does have a way with words 🙂 I firmly believe that the responsiblity lies within the pet partner to be the voice of reason that your dog can not be for himself. If you have a secure fenced in yard, your dog is properly socialized, healthy, and you have complete control over him I see no reason to neuter him. Dog Obsessed mention her experience in the shelters and while that is sad and true, those are the people who are not responsible dog owners and allow their dogs to breed just because they “want cute puppies” and forget how many there will be and what will happen to the others they don’t want.
It took me a long time to decide not to neuter my dog and I am very happy with my decision. Ultimately it comes down to what you feel is best for your dog and your situation (and your partner if you have one). My boyfriend was against it from the start but would have neutered him if I had wanted to. Eventually we both decided it wasnt right for our dog.
- This reply was modified 8 years, 7 months ago by Pitlove.
My Golden was cryptorchid and as a result, at just 10 months, I ended up having to have him neutered far earlier than I intended. My integrative vet recommended not waiting due to the increased risk of cancer. The undescended testicle was in the worst possible place, but he came home with just a tiny incision. At the hands on a skilled surgeon, Sam’s surgery and recovery went very smoothly.aquariangtMember
I didn’t read every word here so I may be repeating, but a few things-all of which are behavior related as there is plenty of information out there regarding the health reasons:
Before 6 months is what I would consider pediatric altering, and that can cause a lot of behavior issues. You aren’t letting your dog get to any level of maturity and then messing with their hormones. This is an issue. I often find it interesting when clients come in with a rescue 2 month old, and I watch them interact with 2 month olds from breeders who are unaltered…there is absolutely a difference.
In my opinion, if you are going to alter, 2 is good, 3 is better. If you are a responsible owner and keep tabs on him (keep in mind an unaltered sexually mature male shouldn’t really be left out to roam on his own) you really are going to be fine. I also have worked with rescues and I understand their desire to curb overpopulation, but you can’t really equate that to responsible dog owners. I want to let them reach full on maturity before I even consider altering, male or female. Even comparing my current two even though Dani is 4 years younger than Liesl, she is already maturing much faster than Liesl because Liesl I believe was altered too early (I didn’t have her during her puppyhood)ed sMember
Never unless you have a female.
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