Neutering or spaying is the process of surgically removing a dog’s reproductive organs to prevent them from reproducing. This procedure, sometimes referred to as ‘fixing’ can have various implications on a dog’s health, behavior, and development. Most shelters often perform neutering to help reduce the number of dogs that end up homeless. Although the procedure is common, it comes with a certain level of risk when done at the wrong time. In this article, we will be discussing the factors of the best time to fix your Golden Retriever, the reasons, and the risks of fixing too soon.
The Optimal Timing for Neutering your Golden Retriever
The short answer to this question is that you should have your Golden Retriever fixed when they are at least one year old. Doing it earlier cuts off access to hormones that your dog needs for healthy development. This could lead to hypothyroidism and joint problems in both male and female Golden Retrievers. Although this goes against the advice you will hear that most dogs should be fixed before they are six months old. The reason behind this was to reduce the chances of developing uterine infections.
Reasons to get your golden retriever spayed/neutered
However, new research suggests that fixing operations should be delayed for some dog breeds because doing it too soon could cause other health issues. Many vets are not spaying female Golden Retrievers unless necessary.
Reasons to Fix Your Golden Retriever
One of the reasons for fixing your Golden Retriever after a year is that it helps to protect against unwanted pregnancy on a specific level and overpopulation. The neutering or spaying process can help reduce behavioral issues such as humping and being territorial. Studies also show that fixing your Golden Retriever at a certain age can help protect against some common health problems. For instance, it can help minimize the risk of pancreatic and testicular cancer in male dogs. Speaking to your vet about neutering or spaying your dog can help you come to a better conclusion on why you should do it and at what stage.
The dangers of fixing your Golden Retriever sooner
- Joint issues
Neutering or spaying your Golden Retriever before the age of 6 months old can lead to serious joint issues. Some of the joint problems they might develop include cranial cruciate ligament tears and hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia occurs when the thigh bone (femur) doesn’t fit perfectly together with the pelvis. It can cause pain and moving difficulties which tend to increase over time. The main ligaments that are active in the knee joint are referred to as cranial cruciate ligaments and can tear after a while when neutering is done sooner. The theory behind joint issues is that sex hormones play a crucial role in developing healthy joints. This means cutting them off too soon undermines the healthy development of joints.
The development of hypothyroidism is another potential issue for dogs that are fixed too soon. It occurs when the thyroid is underactive which, in turn, slows down bodily functions. Hypothyroidism in Golden Retrievers can be seen or determined by their unhealthy skin and coat, weight gain, and lethargy. When your dog develops this condition, he might need an operation as well as ongoing medication to manage it. The risk of hypothyroidism is highly marked in Golden Retrievers as they are more likely to develop this condition by up to 80% if the procedure is done too soon.
Neutering male dogs reduces their risk of pancreatic and testicular cancer while spaying female dogs creates the opposite effect. According to several studies, spayed female dogs are more likely to develop a form of cancer such as hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, mammary cancer, and mast cell tumor. The risks tend to be high regardless of what age you fit your female dog. This is one of the reasons why many vets now recommend spaying only if necessary and not mandatory. If the spaying process is necessary, then it is advisable to delay the procedure a bit longer to reduce the risks slightly.
The decision to neuter or fix a Golden Retriever involves a thoughtful evaluation of various factors including health considerations, physical development, and behavioral changes. It is strongly recommended to fix your Golden Retriever at least after a year to reduce overpopulation and enhance other health benefits. However, consulting a professional veterinarian and weighing the potential benefits and risks of neutering can help you make an informed decision that prioritizes the health and well-being of your Golden Retriever.