Neutering your dog is part of responsible pet ownership. If your dog is a mixed breed, doesn't have any conformation or performance titles, or has not been tested and cleared of genetic flaws, he should not be bred. Neutering reduces the stress your dog experiences around intact (unspayed) females in heat and can reduce his risk for certain cancers. Under most circumstances, neutering has no negative effects and will not affect his growth.
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When dogs are neutered before puberty, it's called pediatric neutering. This procedure has become increasingly popular due to pet overpopulation, because surgery is faster to perform and because younger animals recover more quickly from surgery. At one time, veterinarians were concerned that dogs neutered before puberty would have stunted growth. In reality, dogs neutered before puberty experienced delayed closing of the growth plates due to hormonal loss. The failure of these growth plates to close results in longer legs and a slight increase in height.
Neutering after Puberty
It is traditional to neuter dogs between the ages of 6 and 9 months. No height changes have been seen to occur when dogs are neutered at this time. Research done using more than 750 golden retrievers suggests that dogs of that breed that are neutered before a year in age may experience the delayed growth plate closing and other orthopedic issues associated with pediatric neutering.
By Jo Chester
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: How Will Neutering Change my Dog?
dvm360: An Overview of Pediatric Spay and Neuter Benefits and Techniques
UC Davis News and Information: Golden Retriever Study Suggests Neutering Affects Dog Health
About the Author
Jo Chester holds a certificate in pet dog training from Triple Crown Academy for Dog Trainers. She has trained dogs for competition in conformation, Rally and traditional obedience and agility. Chester has two goats, chickens, rabbits, a collie and a pet rat, in addition to several much-loved Toy Fox Terriers.