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Q&A: What Is the Best Age to Neuter a Dog?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

If you plan on keeping your male dog indoors, wait until he is at least one year old to have him neutered.

If you plan on keeping your male dog indoors, wait until he is at least one year old to have him neutered.

When Should I Neuter My Puppy?

"What is the best age to neuter a Bull Terrier puppy? My vet has told me six months, but other sources say to wait until he is 12 months." —Karla

Benefits of Neutering Your Dog Early

If you want to have this done at six months, here are the advantages of neutering your dog that early:

  • Less expensive since he weighs less
  • No testicular cancer
  • Fewer behavioral problems like roaming
  • Dogs surrendered to animal shelters less often
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Benefits of Waiting to Neuter Your Dog

However, if you wait a year or two:

  • No testicular cancer
  • Less chance of developing hip dysplasia later on (1) (This depends on the weight of the adult dogs, so if you have a Miniature Bull Terrier, it is not much of a concern. If you have a full-size dog and the parents were large, it is more likely.)
  • Less chance of developing phobia (e.g., to noise) (2)
  • Less chance of developing cancer later in life (mast cell tumors, among others)

If you plan on letting your dog roam the neighborhood, then it is better to follow your veterinarian's advice and get this done when your puppy is young. If you are going to keep your dog inside and not let him roam, then it is better for your dog's health to wait until he is older, at least a year or more.

Sources

  1. Oberbauer AM, Belanger JM, Famula TR. A Review of the Impact of Neuter Status on Expression of Inherited Conditions in Dogs. Front Vet Sci. 2019 Nov 13;6:397. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6863800/
  2. Spain CV, Scarlett JM, Houpt KA. Long-term risks and benefits of early-age gonadectomy in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2004 Feb 1;224(3):380-7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14765797/

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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