Last Updated on August 26, 2021
If you’re a first-time Labrador dog owner, you may not know how important it is to get your dog fixed. It’s a serious part of being a responsible dog parent. So what is the best age to spay or neuter a Labrador?
Cats are always wandering, coming home pregnant, but dogs are smarter, right? Wrong. Dogs, especially scent dogs like Labs are prone to issues if they’re not spayed or neutered at the right time.
These issues can affect their health, safety, and even the way they act towards you and other dogs. Keep reading to learn why you need to fix your Lab and the best age to do it.
It’s important to understand why we need to spay and neuter in addition to knowing what age to do so.
Why You Should Spay Or Neuter Your Lab
There are numerous benefits to spaying or neutering your Labrador Retriever. Animal experts say it’s crucial for males, but don’t be fooled by gender. Females can be just as aggressive and even more territorial than male dogs.
Apart from safety, there are other benefits to spaying or neutering too. It can even extend their lifespan! Let’s talk about all the reasons why you need to fix your Labrador.
Most expert veterinarians recommend neutering a male Lab that won’t be used for showing or breeding. This is because, like humans, male dogs will produce testosterone, which can lead to behavioral issues. Intact male Labs can become territorial, whether it’s towards humans or other animals.
If this isn’t dealt with, your dog may try to dominate you as the alpha by using aggressive behavior. Intact males can also be very hard to control. This could lead to difficulty when attempting to train a male Lab.
Another common misbehavior is running off. An intact male is prone to wandering if he detects female pheromones. A female will also wander during her heat cycle.
Hormones Cause Safety Risks
During the months of February to April, a male dog that isn’t fixed is also much more susceptible to coyote attacks. This does happen more in rural areas, but coyotes are moving closer to cities every day.
Coyote packs send a female scout that is in heat to attract prey like your male dog. Your dog will find said scout and will then be unassumingly jumped by the rest of the pack. This is a common tactic that is the reason why so many dogs go missing during the first couple of months of the year and if they do come back, they come home with mange or rabies.
Risking Their Health
When you spay or neuter your Lab, you are actually helping to elongate their life as best as possible. By fixing, you’re cutting down the chances of certain cancers or other issues that Labrador Retrievers are prone to.
Here are some of the illnesses/diseases that fixing your Lab can prevent:
- Pyometra: an infection of the uterus.
- Testicular cancer or prostate cancer in males
- Uterine cancer, cervical cancer, and ovarian cancer in females
Not only can you prevent illness with the sterilization process, but it actually increases your dog’s lifespan in general. A male lab is said to have a longer life by 18% and a female’s life is extended by 26%.
Controlling The Pet Population
Bob Barker hasn’t been saying, “Spay and neuter your pets” for all these years without a good reason. An “intact” female dog can have over 70 puppies during her prime breeding years. This lasts for about 6 years.
What’s going to happen to all of your dog’s puppies? Sure, you might find homes for most of them. You may even choose to keep a few yourself. But, what about the rest?
The truth is that this exact problem is why the shelters and streets are full of homeless pets. Irresponsible and even accidental breeding can cause problems. Not only will you have more dogs to feed, but there could also be genetic issues.
What Is The Best Age to Spay or Neuter a Labrador?
You cannot spay or neuter a Labrador right away. Fixing your Lab too soon can cause more health risks than it can prevent. So, you will have to wait until they reach the right age.
This is usually around 9 months to 14 months.
Be aware that in all animals, males especially, that fixing may not solve any behavioral problems. And fixing too late will help with health risks, but not as much as fixing them in the prime time before they reach full adulthood.
Spaying or Neutering An Older Labrador
It’s always best to fix a Lab as soon as possible, but if you can’t, it’s not the end of the world. It’s still the right thing to do for the pet population and for health risks. However, fixing will not prevent these health risks if your Lab has already been bred once or twice.
Fixing an adult dog also may not solve the behavioral issues that fixing right away can. As soon as the hormones have started flowing through a male dog or a female that has had her first heat, being spayed or neutered will not make much of a difference.
Conclusion – What is the Best Age to Spay or Neuter A Labrador Retriever?
Spaying and neutering your pets isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the responsible action to take as a pet parent. Aggression, territorialism, and wandering are the top behavioral issues that an unfixed dog can have. This is no different than any other animal like a cat, horse, and even a rabbit.
Not getting your dog fixed can pose some health risks to your dogs like certain cancers and infections. However, you must fix them at the right time to avoid these health risks, and doing it too early can be even worse.
You are safe to make a spay or neuter appointment with your vet when your dog turns 9 months, and that timeframe lasts for about 5 more months until the dog is 14 months old. Doing it later than that may not be effective, except for the sole purpose of preventing breeding.
Always consult with your veterinarian and/or the adoption center about the recommendations. Not only can you extend your fur baby’s life, but you can help control the unwanted dog population.