So you have purchased a puppy and is looking to get him fixed because you have heard that neutering a male will not only calm him down but also help him in training?
So what is the best age to neuter a Labradoodle? You should not neuter or spay your dog before he or she is one year old.
But let’s take a little more in-depth look at this subject.
How Do You Neuter or Spay a Dog?
First, we should be aware that there is a difference between the terms neuter and spay.
The term neuter is used when we’re talking about a surgical procedure where the male dog’s testicles are removed and thereby removing their ability to reproduce.
And we use the term spay to describe the surgical procedure for a female dog.
This procedure is a lot more complicated than removing a male’s testicles, as in this kind of procedure, a vet will remove her ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus.
When you remove a male’s testicles, it doesn’t necessarily remove his instincts for breeding like humping.
A friend of mine has a male that was neutered at a quite young age. This dog never tried to breed a female. And yet, anytime he gets around any female dog, he will attempt to mount her.
This was when I started thinking that perhaps the logic of the past wasn’t necessarily correct with regards to the pros and cons and what is the best age to neuter a Labradoodle or Goldendoodle.
Contradicting the Past
You will notice that my answer will go against a lot of the answers you will normally hear when this topic is brought up. Usually, people simply go off from older explanations rather than seeking out new information.
And the truth actually is that newer studies in the world of veterinary science are proving that past explanations were incorrect. We are learning a new best age to neuter a Labradoodle or Goldendoodle.
But before we go more in detail with the new studies and what researchers now are saying about spaying and neutering dogs, let’s quickly take a look at why people have previously fixed their dogs.
For a long time, there have been four typical reasons why people have neutered their dogs.
And those reasons are:
- Birth control
- Behavioral issues (especially in males)
- Health concerns.
And while there are other reasons that certain groups have kept perpetuating, those reasons are mostly just all hot air and antics.
Lately, a lot of things have been changing when it comes to taking care of your Labradoodle. And that includes everything from health concerns to training practices.
Typical Reasons to Spay or Neuter your Labradoodle
There are numerous reasons why you should neuter or spay your dog. But some of the most common reasons that people mention as their reasons, however, don’t hold true.
Let’s take a look at what neutering a dog actually accomplishes and what it doesn’t.
Of the four most common reasons to fix your pet, that I mentioned above, only two of them seem legitimate.
- Birth control
A while ago I saw an advertisement that said:
“Puppies for sale. ½ Labradoodle and ½ tricky neighborhood stray”
One thing you wouldn’t want to happen is having your trained, healthy female get pregnant and risk the predicaments that can be linked with pregnancy.
Even if there are no immediate health complications, you wouldn’t want an unplanned pregnancy to ruin the hunting season if you’re into that.
The positive things about having your female dog come into season are extremely limited.
For the next four weeks or so, it’s impossible for you to go out into public without having to worry about other male dogs.
And as an added bonus to those limitations, vaginal discharge can easily stain your carpets and furniture.
You can always choose the option of diapers, but it wasn’t exactly what I loved the most when my kid used them, and I wouldn’t look forward to doing it with a dog either.
While it is only a very small percentage of people that are using service dogs, but if you have a female one and it goes into heat, her ability to do her job as a service dog (guiding the blind or comfort someone with anxiety attacks) will most likely be hindered for a long time during the animal’s life.
For some people, this single issue makes all the other problems seem minuscule. The dog should always be able to do their job without any interruption.
Bringing a female dog in heat outside can lead to a whole bunch of worries.
Breeders will typically neuter or spay dogs to eliminate less desirable traits such as anxiety from their kennels.
Animals that might potentially develop diseases that can impede their ability to enjoy life are also worth “fixing” so that they don’t pass those genes on to the next generation of puppies.
This is the best option when breeders want to preserve the integrity of the breed.
Prevent illnesses and cancer
If you spay a female it will help prevent uterine infections and can thereby also potentially prevent breast tumors.
Neutering a male is guaranteed to prevent testicular cancer and can help to improve your dogs’ chances to avoid problems with the prostate.
Other Random Reasons
If those reasons aren’t enough to consider spaying your females or neutering your males, then here’s a list of a few more reasons. Pets.WebMD.com suggests the following reasons to neuter your Labradoodle:
- Females will live longer (see the note about breast cancer which is fatal in 50% of dogs that get this disease).
- Prevents any unwanted litters
- Spayed females don’t go into heat
- Male Labradoodles are more likely to end up roaming the neighborhood looking for a night of passion.
- “Fixing” your Doodle is a lot more cost-effective than it is having to raise a litter.
- Spaying and neutering dogs help fight overpopulation and problems related to stray animals.
The reason why I have only included 6 of their 10 points is simply that their other reasons were outdated and wrong.
Reasons Not to Neuter a Labradoodle
You shouldn’t take your dog to the vet because somebody on facebook told you that it will cause your dog to stop humping things or that if you don’t “fix” your Labradoodle he will become mean and destructive.
These are old-maiden tales that some people have used to manipulate the others into neutering their animals.
According to the latest research… the evidence actually shows that you are more likely to have behavioral issues with a neutered male than a male with all his bits and pieces!
Not Everyone Agrees with “Fixing” Pets
There are a growing number of groups especially in the US that are against the routine spaying or neutering of pets.
This is not just some new philosophy.
For one example in Norway, it’s generally frowned upon to neuter a male dog unless there’s a medically justifiable reason—if it’s just to control the population of strays then it’s not regarded a viable reason.
But as an example on the opposite, Los Angeles County requires most dogs to be spayed and neutered before they are 4 months old.
So if you live in LA County, there are many different options including mobile Spay/Neuter units.
Does Neutering Work?
In some situations, the surgical procedures don’t end up accomplishing what we hoped it would.
If your main reason to spay or neuter is to avoid any unwanted litters, then it is a great solution.
But if you have been convinced into thinking that this is the only possible way you can solve some specific behavioral issues, then you could be in for an unpleasant surprise.
Neutering Dogs DOESN’T Fix Behavioral Issues
There are plenty of recent studies that show that the commonly mentioned reasons for fixing dogs actually accomplish the OPPOSITE of what we previously thought it did.
As an example, neutering a male doesn’t actually make him more obedient—instead, it can make your furry friend more fearful, more excitable, more aggressive, or less trainable.
See the specific results in this recent study. It’s from a Master’s Thesis in 2010.
Neutering Dog’s at a Younger Age Can Increase the Risk of Cancer
Above I stated that spaying a female will reduce the chances of infections in the uterus and breast tumors.
And while that is true, neutering your puppy at a young age can actually lead to a whole bunch of other cancers.
In a study done in 2014 that was done on 2,500 Vizslas, the younger the dog was at the age of neutering, the more likely it was to develop one or more of the issues below:
- Mast cell cancer
- Fear of storms
- Behavioral disorders
More Evidence That Neutering a Labradoodle Cause Damage?
In another study cited in the Veterinary Medicine and Science on 1170 German Shepherds, they found that hip dysplasia and other joint disorders were less likely to develop in dogs that were “intact”.
The study showed that 7% of the intact dogs that were tracked during 14 years, developed one or more types of joint diseases.
Over the same amount of time, 21% of the dogs that were neutered before being 12 months old, developed one or more types of joint disease.
But while that study was done on German Shepherds instead of Labradoodles, researchers have found the same to be true for Labrador and Golden Retrievers, and those dogs’ are as close to Labradoodles and Goldendoodles as they come.
In a 2014 study, researchers found that neutered Retrievers are twice as likely to develop any joint diseases, and it showed it is worse for neutered Goldendoodles.
These golden beauties were found to be four times as likely to have hip dysplasia or any other type of joint disease.
The study shows that the longer you wait to neuter or spay your dog, the less likely your dog is to develop any problems with their joints.
The Limitations of These Studies
There is obviously always the possibility of bias or errors in every study ever made.
That’s why it’s important to understand both what the limitations are and where these studies can best help to use the answers in everyday situations.
The studies may or may not answer the question about the best age to neuter a Labradoodle or Goldendoodle.
For example, the study that was done on Vizslas perhaps isn’t the perfect study to determine what is the best age to neuter a Labradoodle as they aren’t exactly the same breed of dog.
This can also be said for the study done on German Shepherds.
In addition to the limitations on how comparable the different breeds are, it is also important to be on guard for any the potential bias in the studies.
Let’s say, perhaps a dog owner wants to justify his decisions to keep his dog intact, and he might downplay his dogs’ behavior issues to the researcher doing the study, and thereby skewing the results.
What can we learn from these studies about the best age to neuter a Labradoodle?
What makes these studies quite reliable, is that the number of studies that are discovering the same results are increasing every year, and thereby giving more credibility to the findings.
Likewise, the fact that several breeds (including Labradoodles and Goldendoodles) are finding similar results, allows us to start generalizing when talking about different breeds.
This shows that this might be a general canine issue rather than just an issue with some specific breed.
My Own Conclusion on the Best Age to Neuter a Labradoodle or Goldendoodle
It is pretty much impossible to determine what is the absolute best age to neuter a Labradoodle if we’re only looking at your specific dog.
All these studies tell us what the most likely outcome is when talking about lots of different dogs.
In your specific dog, it is not possible to get a specific and guaranteed answer as there are deviations in every study ever made.
And perhaps your dog is one of those deviations.
Many people will keep believing something they’ve heard or read ages ago and never look into if some new knowledge appears.
I am not such a person.
I believe that any person should, after examining all these studies, put off neutering or spaying a dog until they are at least one year old.
The best age to neuter a Labradoodle or Goldendoodle is as late as you can but wait at least one year.
- READ MORE: BEST FOOD FOR LABRADOODLES
Final Summary Regarding Females
If you wait with spaying a female there are some risks involved.
Not only can your female dog end up pregnant in her first heat cycle, but she might also develop pyometra, which can be quite dangerous to your dog’s health.
But if treated properly in time, it is thankfully curable.
If you have a Labradoodle or Goldendoodle as a service dog, then neutering your Doodle will avoid the inconvenience of cycles twice a year.
This is something to really consider if you rely on your dog for everyday routines such as a guiding service or using it for working situations like hunt trials and so on.
Also when your female is in heat, you won’t be allowed to enter your dog in the competition.
But as we established earlier, if you neuter your dog too early it can leave her susceptible to a wide variety of cancers and also some orthopedic disorders.
Final Summary Regarding Males
While waiting to neuter your male doesn’t have the same immediate risks as with a female dog, there aren’t really many reasons why you should.
Actually I can’t think of a single truly valid reason to neuter your male dog before he is one year old.
All of the recent studies suggest that the old reasons are just that, OUTDATED and OLD.
Neutering your male won’t make him any less aggressive and it can even increase the odds for problematic joint disorders such as hip dysplasia.
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