Benefits of Spay and Neuter
Surgically altering your pet (spay for females, neuter for males) has come under review more recently. New retrospective studies have shown that some breeds benefit from late (1 year or later) spays and neuters. It is not as clear cut as saying all large breeds should wait and small breeds should not. This can be discussed further with your veterinarian during your visit.
There are many benefits to spaying and neutering your dog as well. Spaying female dogs nearly eliminates the risk for developing pyometra, a life-threatening infection of the uterus. Pyometra requires an emergency spay and cannot typically be treated medically. While this is typically in older animals after a heat cycle, there have been reports of some dogs developing this infection after their first heat cycle. Spaying before or after the first heat cycle also can minimize or eliminate the risk of developing mammary (breast) cancer in dogs as well.
Male dogs benefit from neutering, as it eliminates their risk of developing testicular cancer and prostatic enlargement, reduces roaming and other unwanted male behaviors. Testicular cancer can occur in any intact male dog, but is particularly common in dogs that have testicles that do not end up in the scrotum (cryptorchid). Many intact male dogs will try to get out of the house and yard in search of a female in heat. This can increase their risk for getting hit by a car or getting lost. Neutering when unwanted male behaviors, like mounting and marking in the house, first start can reduce or eliminate those behaviors.