Spaying your female dog helps control the pet population; it also eliminates risk of mammary tumors and other reproductive diseases. Though there is great debate in the veterinary world about the ideal age to spay your pup, on average most veterinarians recommend spaying a puppy before sexual maturity.
The female spay surgery is a method of sterilization that removes the uterus and both ovaries. Veterinarian recommendations vary, but a consensus is before 6 months of age or shortly before she goes into her first heat. This accepted but loose standard is in place to prevent breeding, eliminate the messiness involved with the heat cycle and reduce the risk of mammary tumors -- cancer of the breast tissue.
Though between 4 and 6 months old is the average age female dogs undergo spay surgery, it does not necessarily mean it's the right age for your dog. Females can safely undergo the spay procedure as early as 6 to 8 weeks of age. Your veterinarian can recommend the appropriate time for surgery based on your dog's size, breed, genetic predisposition to disease and individual needs.
By Christina Stephens
About the Author
Christina Stephens is a writer from Portland, Ore. whose main areas of focus are pets and animals, travel and literature. A veterinary assistant, she taught English in South Korea and holds a BA in English with cum laude honors from Portland State University.