Male Golden Retrievers with normal health and history usually get neutered by 12 to 14 months, whereas a female Golden Retriever should be neutered at around 8 to 10 months.
Neutering a Golden Retriever is a common, simple procedure often carried out on young Golden Retriever dogs. Neutering prevents some unwanted negative behaviors and reduces aggression, as well as having certain health benefits for both male and female Golden Retrievers.
But how old should a Golden Retriever be before you neuter them? At what stage of their life should this procedure be carried out on a Golden Retriever? When is the best age to neuter a Golden Retriever? This is what we’re going to take a look at:
What is Neutering?
First of all, what exactly is neutering? Well, simply put, neutering is the act of castrating a male Golden Retriever by removing his testicles. This procedure is called an orchiectomy, and it prevents a male Golden Retriever’s body from producing male hormones, as well as sterilizing him.
Female Golden Retrievers have procedures carried out on them that prevent them from reproducing, too. However, these are typically referred to as spaying. Spaying generally entails removing a female Golden Retriever’s main sources of production of estrogen and progesterone.
When Are Golden Retrievers Usually Neutered?
Generally, a Golden Retriever is neutered at some time around 12 months. It is most common for a female Golden Retriever to be neutered at around 8 to 10 months and after her first heat.
What Are The Benefits of Neutering a Golden Retriever?
One of the main reasons people neuter their Golden Retrievers or other dogs is to reduce unwanted behaviors, especially hormone-affected behaviors.
For example, many unneutered, “intact” dogs, including the Golden Retriever will run away from home and get lost, or will just roam around the street, when they smell other dogs.
Or male Golden Retrievers may mount other dogs, much to the annoyance, fear, or even anger of the other dog.
Both of these behaviors amongst the other behaviors intact dogs can exhibit can result in a lot of danger for your Golden Retriever. Therefore, neutering a Golden Retriever makes them a lot safer.
But there are also some health benefits to neutering. For example, when you spay a female Golden Retriever before they have their first heat, the Golden Retriever will have less than a 0.5% chance of getting mammary cancer.
And in a male Golden Retriever, neutering prevents testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate disease and other diseases. So, neutering a Golden Retriever keeps them healthier.
When Should You Neuter a Golden Retriever?
As previously mentioned, people tend to get their Golden Retriever neutered at around the time they become 12 months old. But how do owners decide when to neuter their Golden Retriever? When do you know whether your Golden Retriever is mature enough to be neutered, and when is it too late to neuter them?
Well, when it comes to female Golden Retrievers, most vets will advise that you don’t spay them too early. Instead, they will tell you to wait until a female Golden Retriever has had at least one heat before you spay them.
Whereas when you have a male Golden Retriever, the advice tends to be to wait until around one year after they become sexually mature, to help them to grow in a healthy way and to prevent early-onset orthopedic problems.
Should You Neuter a Golden Retriever Early?
Did you know that a male Golden Retriever who gets neutered before he is one year old has an 80% higher risk of developing hypothyroidism when compared with Goldies neutered after they are one year old?
As well as this, a female Golden Retriever has a similar risk – female Golden Retrievers who are neutered before they are one year old have a 60% higher risk of being diagnosed with hypothyroidism, compared to female Golden Retrievers who get neutered at any time after they are one year old.
And, if you spay a female Golden Retriever before they have their first heat and before they are sexually mature, they will have an increased risk of developing urinary incontinence, though the condition is pretty common in Golden Retrievers anyway.
Also, dogs who are neutered before they become sexually mature typically grow taller than dogs who are neutered later in their life.
You could be forgiven for assuming that a taller dog is always a more healthy dog, but when it comes to Golden Retrievers, this is not so – on average, the shortest female Golden Retriever lives for 1.1 years longer than the tallest, whereas the shortest male Golden Retriever lives for 2.2 years longer.
Neutering isn’t the only factor that influences a Golden Retriever’s height, though.
Another pitfall of neutering your Golden Retriever before they are sexually mature is that they are also far more likely to develop a narrow bone structure, slightly more prone to breakages.
What About Neutering a Golden Retriever Later
These are all drawbacks to neutering your Golden Retriever early, but what about leaving it late? Is this a better idea?
Well, if you leave spaying until after the female Golden Retriever’s first heat, she will have a 4% chance of being diagnosed with mammary cancer.
Or if you leave it until after she has had her second heat, the risk of mammary cancer will increase up to 13%. This is a condition that is incredibly easy to detect and treat, but it is still much better to prevent it.
All this doesn’t mean that you just shouldn’t neuter your Golden Retriever, though. Neutering has it’s great long-term benefits to health, and they greatly outweigh the risks. But you should consider when the best time is for neutering your Golden Retriever.
Do You Have to Neuter Your Golden Retriever?
Why wouldn’t you neuter your Golden Retriever? It has all sorts of great health benefits, and it can make a dog more gentle and obedient. But the procedure can be expensive, and there is a small risk of complications from it. What would be so bad about just foregoing the whole thing?
But if you have an intact female Golden Retriever, it is very difficult to keep her secure and calm when she is on heat. She will have a much better quality of life if she is spayed.
As well as this, unless you are intending to breed your Golden Retriever and you have a breeding license, there are actually various laws requiring that you must neuter or spay Golden Retrievers or face a fine, though these laws have very limited enforcement.
One example of this is the pet sterilization law Los Angeles County set up in 2008, widely regarded as the strictest pet sterilization law around. Los Angeles dictates that the average pet owner must have
their Golden Retriever neutered or spayed by the time they have reached the age of 4 months. If it is discovered that you have not complied with this law, you will be given 60 days to get your Golden Retriever neutered. Information about reputable places where you can get this carried out will be provided.
If you still don’t get your Labrador Retriever neutered, you could be fined $100 dollars, as well as being ordered to serve 8 hours of community service.
Other places in America, mainly the states that are neighbors of Los Angeles, have very similar mandatory neutering laws, though none are quite as strict.
Most states at least have steeper fees for licensing dogs who are intact. And, of course, there are many mandatory sterilization laws against dog breeds that are regarded as vicious or dangerous.
So in conclusion, male Golden Retrievers with normal health and history should usually get neutered by 12 to 14 months, whereas a female Golden Retriever should be neutered at around 8 to 10 months, depending on her health, too, and when she has her first heat.
By Michelle McDaid.