Optimum Age for Sterilisation of Dogs

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In a country where companion animal overpopulation, and the associated suffering, is commonplace it is not the intention of AHAH to advise no sterilisation. It is our place to question the current trend of very early sterilisations. In welfare situations with poor client compliance sterilisation at a very young age may be necessary. When considering dogs and cats placed in homes with responsible guardians early spay and neutering may not be in the best health interests of your companion. Sex hormones have a structure similar to anabolic steroids. These hormones are necessary for optimum growth, skeletal and muscular development and are required until closure of growth plates. In dogs, all growth plates are closed at 14 months of age. Should you consider any form of sport or strenuous exercise with your dog, recent research shows that early sterilisation predisposes your dog to injury of the cruciate ligament. Each animal and home situation should be seen as unique, and a decision to sterilise based on these specific circumstances.

References available on request.

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