I get asked at least once a week when should I fix my dog? My answer is always to wait until the dog grows up. Our puppy contract states our pups are not allowed to be fixed until they are at least 18 months old but we recommend waiting until at least 2 years old. Dogs are fully mature when they reach 2 years old.
I completely understand why vets push you to fix your dog at 5-6 months old because irresponsible pet owners leave their dogs outside when they are in heat and that’s where unwanted pups come from. Responsible pet owners should have no worries about a dog becoming pregnant as long as they are educated about a dogs heat cycle. A female can go into heat as early as 6 months but typically I see dogs coming into heat at 8-14 months. When a dog comes into heat you will see some blood, MARK that down on your calendar as Day 1. Females will typically start accepting a male at day 10-15 but keep your dog on lock down for at least 4 weeks, just because you don’t see blood doesn’t mean the dog is out of heat! If you have a male dog around then you need to lock your female in a crate behind strong doors. I have heard of a dog climbing a fence and busting through a window to get to a female so beware. Let your female out on lead and keep other dogs away. Females will typically come into heat every 6-8 months, so it’s not a once a month thing. Females will NOT get pregnant if they are NOT in heat so just because a dog humps your dog doesn’t mean she is pregnant. Please be aware fixing your dog will NOT magically prevent your dog from humping, marking their territory, becoming aggressive, running away, getting cancer, or calming them down. Taking away their hormones at such a young age isn’t going to stop these behaviors. Dogs humping is a form of dominance and dogs that are fixed will still do this. Dogs marking, becoming aggressive, and running away are problems fixed with training. I know all of this because my first dog Buck was fixed at 5 months old because the vet scaried me to death telling me poor buck was going to do all this so I fixed him the next day!!!!! I was terrified!!!!! Fixing Buck at such a young age has always been something I have regretted doing but I like that I can show people the size difference in him and his relatives because he wasn’t allowed to fully mature before I took away his hormones. Buck unfortunately has problems due to fixing him early-arthritis and he can’t hold his pee for very long. There are actually a lot of studies and a lot more vets not encouraging owners to fix their dogs early due to health problems down the road. I would recommend fixing your dog if it will be outside all the time unattended but I would wait as long as you can if possible. Before fixing your dog do some research and talk to your vet about different options.