3 Benefits of Waiting to Neuter Your Dog

Every pet owner at some stage will be faced with a critical decision regarding their beloved furry friends: When is the right time to neuter your male dog? While the question may seem straightforward, there’s more to consider than meets the eye.

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests there are significant benefits of waiting to neuter your dog. From improved physical health to reduced risk of health conditions, more pet owners are now waiting until puberty before getting their dogs neutered.

But first, are there any risks if you neuter your dog too early?

Risks associated with early neutering in dogs

Recent studies reveal several physical and psychological risks associated with neutering a male dog before puberty. Notable health complications a male dog is prone to due to early neutering include:

  • Prostate cancer
  • Cardiac tumors
  • Bone cancer
  • Poorly developed anterior cruciate ligament (leads to ACL Ruptures)
  • Abnormal bone growth and development
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Behavioral issues such as aggression and noise phobias

It’s worth noting that the male reproductive organs in dogs serve a dual purpose. Apart from reproduction, these organs generate hormones vital for your pet’s growth and development. Premature neutering interrupts this hormonal flow, leading to potential growth and development issues.

Should you rethink the time of neutering your dog?

Given these potential health risks, it’s clear that the timing of neutering is crucial. There’s no universally ideal age to neuter a dog, as the timing should be based on factors such as breed, size, and overall health.

The ideal age recommendations for neutering a dog are:

  • Small breed dogs: after 12 months of age
  • Medium to large breed dogs: after 18 months of age
  • Giant breed dogs: after 24 months of age

Point to Note: These age recommendations are not fixed. Some small dog breeds can be neutered after 6 or 9 months and do not necessarily have to wait for 12 months. Some giant breeds can be neutered after 18 months instead of waiting 24 months. Your veterinarian will advise you on the ideal time.

Benefits of waiting to neuter a male dog

Now that you understand the risks of neutering a dog too early, it’s time we focus on the benefits.

1. Improved physical health

The primary advantage of delaying neutering is the potential for enhanced physical health. Waiting until your dog has reached full skeletal maturity allows his body to make the most of hormone production, leading to healthier development of joints, bones, teeth, and other organs.

Delayed neutering allows the dog to grow stronger, which makes the less prone to tendon and ligament damage. Early neutering makes a male dog prone to orthopedic complications such as torn cruciate ligaments and hip dysplasia.

2. Reduced risk of medical complications

By waiting to neuter your male dog, you decrease the likelihood of various medical issues, including urinary incontinence, hypothyroidism, orthopedic problems, cranial cruciate ligament tears, and certain types of cancer.

A study done in 2013 involving Golden Retrievers found two types of cancers (lymphosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma) were more prevalent in dogs that had been neutered or spayed before maturity.

In humans, estrogen is believed to help reduce cancer risks, which means, in theory, getting rid of a dog’s ability to produce reproduction hormones puts them at a higher risk of developing certain cancers.

3. Decreased risk of obesity

Another benefit of waiting to neuter your dog is the chance to reduce the risk of them becoming obese. According to a study published in PLoS One, dogs neutered before maturity are more prone to obesity and non-traumatic orthopedic problems.

You can significantly reduce these risks by postponing neutering until your dog has reached puberty or attained full skeletal maturity.

The role of responsible pet ownership

While understanding the benefits of waiting to neuter a male dog is crucial, it’s equally important to remember the broader context. The decision to neuter should not be based solely on potential health benefits; responsible pet ownership is a critical factor to consider as well.

One of the primary reasons behind the aggressive spay and neuter campaigns is the alarming issue of pet overpopulation. Without responsible ownership and spaying/neutering, many pets end up in foster care or shelters or, worse, euthanized needlessly.

Given the complexities involved in the decision to neuter, it’s crucial to seek professional advice. Veterinarians can provide invaluable guidance based on your dog’s specific needs and circumstances.


In conclusion, the decision to neuter your dog is one that requires careful consideration. A growing body of evidence suggests that there are significant benefits of waiting to neuter your dog. However, each dog is unique, so it’s essential to consult with a trusted veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your beloved pet.

Taking a thoughtful, informed approach to pet care can ensure the long-term health and happiness of your canine companion. As a responsible pet owner, it’s your duty to consider all aspects before making this crucial decision.