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March 23, 2010 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Early spay/neuter for puppy at seven weeks old. OK or no?

So we're getting a dog this summer, which is awesome, and we're going to a reputable small breeder we don't have any concerns about. (We've visited her, seen all the certs, and met the mommy dog too. All is well.)

This breeder offers all her puppies pre-neutered at seven weeks old, delivered at eight weeks old. She believes that an early neuter makes for a happier dog in the long-term.

But we're worried that because early spay/neuter is a fairly new procedure, nobody knows if there are any long-term side-effects.

Are we fretting over nothing? The breeder will sell us the pooch fully intact, so we do have the option to have it neutered at a later date.

The pup will grow into a medium-sized (30lb) Australian labradoodle, if that makes any difference.

And yes, we're definitely neutering it: question is, when.
posted by randomination to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Early spay/neuter has been around for 25 years and the studies say it is fine. The American Humane Association endorses it, as do other reputable groups. Here's a couple of sources for that.
posted by bearwife at 8:58 AM on March 23, 2010

Alls I know is biscotti doesn't want our puppies' New People to spay/neuter until 6 months. I can't remember why.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:24 AM on March 23, 2010

I think the only risk is incontinence in female dogs, and it's recommended you wait in that case. If your puppy is male, there doesn't seem to be any reason to wait, and it seems fine in all kittens too, assuming in either case that the vet is experienced in early spay-neuter.
posted by jeather at 9:40 AM on March 23, 2010

I have spent untold hours researching the pros and cons of spay/neuter due to a health condition in one of my dogs that makes spaying risky. These are the most helpful resources I have found. Based on my reading, it appears to me that there are very few reasons to neuter a male dog before sexual maturity, and many strong reasons to wait. For females, there is a benefit in terms of reduction of mammary cancer risk in spaying prior to first heat, but there are many reasons to wait as long as possible up until that point. Those hormones are there for a reason.

Determining the Optimal Age for Gonadectomy of Dogs and Cats.

Pros and Cons of Neutering (also discusses early neutering)
posted by HotToddy at 9:48 AM on March 23, 2010

I don't agree with it but I have no scientific evidence to back it up, just anecdata from myself and a variety of friends that it can lead to urinary tract problems in later life in both males and females. I don't see any problem with waiting until they're about 4 months old, at which point their reproductive / urinary systems are more mature.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:46 AM on March 23, 2010

The breeder I work for part-time strongly encourages new owners to wait for at least a year to spay/neuter their pups. These are large breed dogs (Newfoundlands) and it's believed that early neutering can affect the growth of their long bones.

I haven't seen any science for or against that, nor have I researched it - just passing along the data point.
posted by ErikaB at 12:55 PM on March 23, 2010

Hmm. Pretty much a non-consensus, here.

We're going to go for the neutering at the normal time. Risks are pretty small, but not worth taking for the benefit.

Thanks, everyone, for your help.
posted by randomination at 11:15 AM on March 24, 2010

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