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How Old is Too Old to Spay or Neuter my Dog or Cat?

Wondering when to spay or neuter your dog or cat. Worried if they are too young or too old? Today our Lexington vets explain more about these common reproductive procedures.

Spaying or Neutering Your Pet

Spaying or neutering your pet is the best measure you can take to prevent unplanned puppies/kittens each year, and reduce the strain on the overwhelmed shelters and rescues. The procedure may also improve your pet’s behavior and reduce their risk of developing numerous serious health conditions.

What is the difference between spaying and neutering?

Let’s first establish what 'fixing your dog' means. ‘Fixing’ is a popular term used to describe spaying or neutering a dog.


Spaying involves removing a female pet’s reproductive organs via either an ovariectomy (removing only the ovaries) or an ovariohysterectomy (removing both uterus and ovaries.

After your female pet has been spayed her heat cycle will be eliminated and she will not be able to have puppies/kittens.


Neutering involves a vet removing both testicles, along with their associated structures. After being neutered dogs or cats will be unable to reproduce.

Benefits to Spaying or Neutering my Pet?

There are many benefits to consider when it comes to spaying or neutering your dog.

Spayed Pets face a lower risk of serious health problems such as mammary cancer and pyometra (a potentially life-threatening uterine infection).

Neuters helps prevent him from developing testicular cancer.

Not only that, neutered cats and dogs may not display unwanted behavioral issues such as aggression and straying as frequently as dogs or cats that have not been fixed. This helps keep them from such tragedies as getting into fights with other animals or getting hit by a car because they escaped to look for a mate.

When Should You Get Your Cat Fixed?

Typically kittens can be spayed or neutered at about four months old but, adult cats can be also be spayed or neutered. However, every pet is unique and your vet will be able to advise you on when you should get your cat spayed or neutered.

When Should You Get Your Dog Fixed?

The procedure can be performed on puppies as young as a few months old. Traditionally, puppies have been fixed when they have reached between 4 and 6 months old.

Most vets would recommend having your female dog spayed before she enters her first heat cycle to reduce her risk for developing dog breast (mammary) cancer. Generally this happens somewhere between 5 to 10 months of age.

If you are adopting a male and female from the same age range you should have them spayed and neutered earlier, before the female goes into heat. 

The breeds size is an important factor for male dogs.

Small and medium male dogs can generally be neutered earlier (at about 6 months old), your vet may recommend waiting until your giant breed puppy matures to a year or older before having him neutered.

Ask your vet about when the best time would be to spay or neuter your dog.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Contact our vets in Lexington today to learn more having your pet spayed or neutered.

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Bluegrass Veterinary Specialists + Animal Emergency is open 24/7 for emergencies and is accepting patients for advanced diagnostic appointments. Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Lexington companion animals. 

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