How Old Is Too Old To Neuter Or Spay A Dog?

Age is just a number 💕

If you thought you missed the window to neuter or spay your dog — think again!

While you might think your dog is too old to get fixed, it turns out that now is as good a time as any to schedule an appointment for your pup.

The Dodo spoke to Dr. Zay Satchu, cofounder and chief veterinary officer at Bond Vet in New York City, to find out more.

Can a dog be too old to get spayed or neutered?

“Age is not a barrier as long as the pet is healthy overall,” Dr. Satchu said.

Depending on the age and medical history of your dog, though, your vet may recommend a more thorough workup before surgery — meaning she’ll undergo some extra tests to make sure she’ll be safe to proceed.

“Even if there are some health concerns, for example a heart murmur, if the dog receives X-rays or an echocardiogram (or both) and it is determined that anesthesia will be safe, the benefits usually still outweigh the risks,” she said.

Benefits of spaying or neutering your adult dog

Just like with spaying or neutering your puppy, getting your older dog fixed helps lower the risk of a ton of health issues that are pretty common in intact dogs.

“Dogs are exposed to the same risks of remaining intact as cats are, including pyometra [an infection in the uterus of unspayed females], testicular cancers, mammary cancers and prostate problems,” Dr. Satchu said.

Compared with dogs who are intact, dogs who are fixed are also less likely to exhibit undesirable behaviors, like excessive barking and humping.

Additionally, a neutered male or spayed female dog is at a lower risk of running away to seek out mating opportunities.

The healing process after a spay or neuter in older dogs

According to Dr. Satchu, older dogs may take longer to heal from a procedure — especially with a spay since it’s more invasive. “Your senior dog may heal more slowly, and will need to be kept quiet after their procedure to give them time to heal,” Dr. Satchu said.

This means you’ll want to keep an extra eye on your dog after surgery — and make sure to check in with your vet to make sure she’s healing properly.

“As long as your vet clears your dog for a spay or neuter (or dental cleaning!), don’t let age hold you back,” Dr. Satchu said.