The subject of spaying puppies has turned out to be a rather controversial one. Unfortunately, unlike the rest of the world, in the United States, many puppy owners spay their puppies as early as possible. Fortunately for the puppy, emerging research from U.C. Davis seems to suggest that responsible puppy ownership may mean we should be delaying spaying until the puppy has matured. That is, the recent research is suggesting that puppy owners of small breed dogs should delay spaying for at least a year. Large breed dogs should not be spayed until they are at least 2 to 3 years of age to allow their hormones to fully distribute. This contradicting research has created a rift between veterinary medicine practitioners as well as animal rights activists who want to spay the puppy as soon as she can survive the surgery . Before deciding to spay your puppy, it is important that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of spaying in the first place.
What Are the Pros and Cons Of Early Spaying?
To the consternation of new puppy owners, it has been the norm for many vets specializing in small animals to recommend spaying of puppies below the age of one – some at the tender age of only 4-6 weeks. They based this decision on early twentieth century science suggesting that there are various health and behavioral benefits that were associated with early spaying. Recently, however, scientist at U.C. Davis that responsible puppy ownership may mean that we should delay spaying until the puppy is mature. Still, most will agree that by far the largest benefit of early spaying is the ability to control the population of pets within a region. This benefit has since been wholeheartedly accepted by a majority of animal welfare organizations and has been the driving force behind the spaying campaign.
Emerging research is, however, proving contradictory to the well-known practice of early spaying. For example, the scientist at U.C. Davis has reported a negative correlation between early spaying and prevalence of hip dysplasia, tumors, and cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) tears in golden retrievers. While early spaying is not solely responsible for these conditions, it predisposes young animals to them. By interrupting normal hormone production in the body (an effect of removing the ovaries of the puppies), we consequently affect other physiological processes such as bone formation. Puppies are also predisposed to excessive weight gain if not properly cared for after early spaying which could add unnecessary pressure to the joints.
What Are The Benefits Of Early Spaying?
The benefits realized from spaying can broadly be categorized into health or behavioral benefits. The health benefits include the reduced risk of complications and problems with the urinary system, uncontrolled population as well as cancer. From a behavioral standpoint, spaying helps to keep aggression and roaming in check. To control these issues, it may be advisable to delay spaying until the puppy is matured.
So Should You Spay Your Puppies At the Earliest Possible Stage?
While most puppy owners are accustomed to spaying as soon as the puppy can survive the surgery and not when it is best for the dogs health, it is advisable to have a sober conversation with your vet when considering the option of spaying your pets whether for health or behavior related concerns. Aside from the behavior and health benefits of this process, you end up saving money in averted medical fees when you spay your pets at the right time.
You also save yourself the heartache of having to euthanize your pet much later in life due to uncontrolled aggression towards humans and other dogs. Sit down with your vet and have him or her walk you through the pros and cons of early spaying before you can decide for or against the process.
Additional Information on Delaying Spaying for the Health of Your Dog and the Pet Anti-Breeding System:
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Also published on Medium.