When is the best time to spay or neuter? 

The answer to that question has gotten a little more complicated in the past several years. We know that early spay and neuter (around 6 months of age) can offer many benefits (e.g., reducing the risk of pet overpopulation, minimizing or preventing certain cancers, and decreasing the likelihood of many behavioral issues). On the other hand, recent research suggests that allowing a dog to reach maturity – both physically and hormonally – may be advantageous for certain aspects of long-term health.

Ultimately, the decision on when to spay and neuter will depend on things such as breed, size, gender, behavior traits, lifestyle, family history, and level of risk. Our veterinarians can discuss these different factors with you. Together, we can make a decision that works best for your pet and your family.

What is involved with the procedure?

Overview: Spaying (female dogs) and neutering (male dogs) are considered routine surgical procedures that are performed under general anesthesia.

Pre-Surgical Blood work: 

  • When the time comes to have your pet spayed or neutered, we recommend pre-surgical lab work. This lab work will help us screen for and address any internal issues prior to or during anesthesia.
  • Understanding whether there are concerns to address prior to the day of surgery is best. We recommend that you bring your pet to the clinic a few days or weeks prior to the procedure for blood collection. This blood will be sent to an outside laboratory for testing.
  • Our clinic also has the capability of performing some lab work in the clinic on the day of the procedure.

The Night Before / Morning Of Surgery:

  • Your pet should not receive food or water after midnight the night prior to the surgery.
  • If your pet receives medication, be sure to discuss a plan with the doctor ahead of time regarding when to administer those medications.

Surgery Day:

  • On the day of surgery, your pet should be dropped off at the clinic between 7:00 and 8:30 AM. Plan to spend a few minutes speaking with our staff so that your pet can be checked in appropriately.
  • The doctor performing the surgery will perform a thorough pre-surgical examination.
  • All anesthesia patients receive an intravenous catheter.
  • Intravenous fluids may be recommended for your pet. Intravenous fluids can help support the heart and kidney function in an anesthetized patient. They can also help clear anesthetic drugs more quickly, so that your pet has a smooth and safe recovery.
  • During the procedure, we will make every effort to keep your pet safe and comfortable through careful anesthetic monitoring and pre-emptive pain control.
  • The length of the surgery will vary based on multiple factors. Neuters typically take less time than spays. Additionally, pet size, age, overall health, and heat cycle status (for females) can play a role in determining surgery length.
  • Our staff will keep you informed as your pet recovers from anesthesia.
  • Most pets will be able to return home at the end of the day.


Our staff is happy to answer any other questions you may have about your pet’s spay or neuter procedure. Feel free to give us a call!

~Author: Dr. C. Noureddine, DVM, MS