What’s the Best Age to Neuter a Dog?

Deciding whether to neuter your dog (also known as castration for male dogs and spaying for female dogs) is a big decision that every dog parent will face, and it’s not a decision to be taken lightly!

When it comes to neutering your dog, there are a number of factors to consider first, like what the best age is to neuter a dog, knowing if there are any health risks involved, and whether having the procedure done is in the best interest for you and your pooch.

While you should always speak with your vet for guidance regarding your dog’s health, we’ve gathered some information on neutering that we hope you’ll find helpful.

Keep reading as we cover:

  • What is neutering?

  • What are the benefits of neutering?

  • Things to consider before getting your dog neutered

  • Will my dog’s personality change after being neutered?

  • When should I get my dog neutered?

  • Can you neuter your dog too late or early?

  • How much does it cost to neuter a dog?

  • In conclusion…

What is neutering?

Neutering is a common surgical procedure where a dog’s sex organs are removed to prevent them from having puppies, as well as prevent pregnancy-related illnesses, and conditions such as testicular, ovarian, and mammary cancers.

For male dogs, neutering is called castration. A vet removes the dog’s testicles, which takes away the main source of the male hormone, testosterone.

In female dogs, neutering is called spaying. A vet removes the dog’s ovaries and usually the uterus too – which means they’ll be unable to become pregnant. Pregnancy can also be prevented by giving a female dog injections and tablets, but this means an ongoing cost and the risk of side effects.

What are the benefits of neutering?

It’s no wonder that neutering is one of the most common routine operations performed in UK veterinary clinics, as it has several benefits.

The benefits of neutering a female dog include:

  • Prevents unwanted pregnancy

  • Prevents phantom pregnancies

  • Prevents ovarian or uterine cancer

  • Prevents womb infections (pyometra)

  • Reduces the risk of breast/mammary cancer

  • Prevents inherited diseases from being passed on

  • Stops their seasons

The benefits of neutering a male dog include:

  • Prevents unwanted pregnancy

  • Prevents testicular cancer

  • Reduces the chance of prostate problems

  • Reduces their urge to seek out a female dog to mate with (and therefore they’re less likely to run off)

  • Prevents inherited diseases from being passed on

  • Reduces behaviours commonly influenced by testosterone, such as trying to mount things, marking territory, and running off to find a female in heat

Things to consider before getting your dog neutered  

While we’ve listed the benefits of having your dog neutered, it may not be suitable for every dog out there.

Here are some things to consider if you’re thinking about neutering your dog:

It’s permanent. If you’re unsure about breeding your dog in the future and filling your home with puppies, then neutering won’t be appropriate.

Possible links to other health issues. While there are lots of health benefits to neutering, some research has found links between neutering/early neutering and back issues, joint issues and some cancers with certain breeds. The age you get your dog neutered will also play a part in this. If you have any worries, speak to your vet, who can inform you of specific health risks linked with neutering and your dog’s breed.

Weight gain. Having your dog neutered can make their metabolism slower, which means they’ll put on weight more easily. If your dog has a slower metabolism, you may need to change their food type or reduce their daily calories.

Urinary incontinence. In the UK, it’s believed urinary incontinence affects around 0.7 – 3% of female dogs. Once spayed, research has found that females are two to three times more likely to experience a loss of bladder control.

Possible changes to your dog’s coat. Depending on your dog’s breed, neutering can change the texture and even the colour of their coat! This may be a result of changes in hormone levels. However, this may not play a big part in your decision to neuter your dog or not.

Will my dog’s personality change after being neutered?  

If your dog is generally happy and outgoing, it’s not likely that their personality will be affected by being neutered. However, their behaviour might! For example, for male dogs, being neutered has been proven to remove undesirable sexual and dominant behaviours.

However, while some argue that neutering your dog will make them less aggressive, there are many factors that influence how a dog behaves, so having them neutered may not change how they act. In some cases, it can even make behaviours like nervousness and aggression worse, therefore it’s never recommended for your pup to undergo this procedure as a “quick fix”.

If you’re concerned about your best bud’s behaviour, always ask your vet and/or a qualified animal behaviourist for professional advice.

When should I get my dog neutered?

While the “best age” is often debated, most dogs are usually neutered around six months to two years old.

However, deciding on the right age to neuter your dog will depend on their breed, size, and gender as these factors affect when your dog reaches physical and sexual maturity. Generally, smaller dogs reach sexual maturity earlier than larger breeds and so they tend to be neutered at a younger age.

If you’re considering having your dog neutered, speak with your vet, as they can provide you with the latest research and guidelines around neutering.  

Can you neuter your dog too late or early?

If you neuter your dog too early, you risk them experiencing a few health and behavioural issues. Your dog may develop phobias and hostility, they may also become obese and develop hypothyroidism. As well as this, neutering too early can increase bone growth, resulting in increased height.

But what about getting your dog neutered too late? While there’s no specific age limit, as your dog gets older, the benefits linked to neutering will decrease.

How much does it cost to neuter a dog?

Depending on your dog’s breed and size, neutering usually costs between £100 and £400. Generally, spaying tends to cost more than castration because the surgery involves internal organs.

The cost of neutering may be higher if the operation is more complicated than usual – like if your dog has a retained testicle (when the testicle fails to drop down into the scrotum). The price may also be higher for larger dogs as the operation may take longer or they may need more anaesthetic due to their size.

In conclusion…

If you’re debating whether to get your dog neutered, it’s always best to discuss this with your vet. Every dog is unique, and your vet can give you the most reliable information relevant to your pooch – like the possible pros and cons, how much the procedure will cost and roughly how long it’ll take for your dog to recover.

Yappy to Help

We hope you found this blog post helpful! If you have any questions relating to this article or need any support with a Yappy gift order, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Contact us at help@yappy.com for all queries and we’ll be more than happy to help.

For more guidance on caring for your dog, check out our blog post on how often to flea and worm your dog and tips for exercising your dog in warm weather.

Find the pawfect gifts for pet lovers

And, if you’re searching for pawfect gifts, we’ve got you covered! Whether you’re looking for gifts for dog dads or dog mums, and even gifts for movie lovers, find everything you need and more at Yappy!


Share this article


The Dangers of Blue-Green Algae to Dogs


How Much Water Should My Dog Drink?