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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In some quarters, the opinion is that spaying too soon may produce cancer in females, and possibly have negative impact on bone development. I've also read/heard concerns about weight gain being more likely once spayed. Not sure if one can do anything about the latter (if it's a true concern: some call it a myth), but how many months/cycles should one wait before spaying? That is, assuming there is really a concern about spaying before the first cycle. Is there?
 

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If you do a search you can see that there are health issues involved with both spaying and not spaying so it is more of a complex choice than one might first think. I may choose not to spay at all.
 

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I personally won't spay or neuter another dog... Responsible dog owners should not be frowned upon for it.

Cutting a dog before sexual maturity can create alot of issues, and set them up for failures down the road. Jagger is pure, neutered young, he was a bit tall for a pin - and I know he's got adrenal issues that are creating havok in his body - including secondary hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is on the rise.
 

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After lots of personal research, I had decided not to spay my current dog. Last summer she needed an emergency spay for pyometra, but she was just shy of 9 years old. I also expected the weight gain, but she's actually swung the other way, it's become more challenging to keep her up at a good weight.

My future dogs will likely be altered at some point in their lives, but I plan to wait until 2 years at the earliest, and possibly later depending on each breed's rate of growth plate closure. Do some general research as well as breed specific, especially if there are legitimate studies and/or peer-reviewed articles available.

If you're wanting no chance of an "oops" pregnancy, but still want the benefits of having hormone production more normal, you may want to read up on and consider an OSS as opposed to a traditional spay.
 

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It depends on what you are trying to prevent, and the biggest with females is mammary cancer. Last time I researched it, and it's been around a year since i did, the research was showing that the chance of mammary cancer in a dog that was spayed before it's first heat was practically 0, and the chance goes up each heat thereafter, until there is no benefit in having the dog spayed to prevent mammary cancer after, I think it was, 5 heats.

Now you can have an ovary sparing spay, that's where the vet takes the uterus but leaves the ovaries so that the dog has the benefits of the hormones, but does not have the risk of getting pyometra or pregnant. The drawback with that type of spay is that the risk of mammary cancer is still there since it's a cancer that is tied to hormones, so you'd need to keep an eye on her for that. The Pros of Partial Spay - IVC Journal

Poking around I found this article. It weighs the pros and cons of spaying and neutering, Should I Spay or Neuter my Dog and If So, at What Age? - Eastlake Veterinary Hospital

Personally I like to wait as till a female dog is at least 6 month of age and try and spay her before the first heat, but at most let her go through one heat, for males I like to wait till they are 8 months to a year old. If I ever do get another puppy I may consider doing the ovary sparing spay, or a vasectomy, I'm still weighting the pros and cons not it.
 

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If given the choice I like to wait until joints have fused. For a large breed that would mean spaying after 18 months.

But ultimately it's a personal choice. One that can vary widely. So do some research. Talk with your vet. And make the decision about when and even type of spay you feel is best for you and your dog.
 

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Some dogs do gain weight after altering, but it's due to a decreased metabolism (literally body needs less calories), and no change in food intake. Just be aware of the possibilty and adjust meal size if you see a weight increase.
 

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There are health risks and benefits to both ways. And dogs will get health issues no matter if they are fixed or not. But getting them fixed makes the likelihood of accidental puppies 0, so I will always do it. Plus I have been through pyrometra with one of my dogs, and seen it many other times, and I won't risk that. Generally with large breed dogs, it's recommended to wait until 1 1/2 or 2, so that their growing is done.
 
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