We have a (gorgeous) 6 month old labradoodle puppy and I'm trying to make a decision on when to have her neutered.
All the information I can find seems to be very conflicting. Some say to have her done before her first season (this is our vet's recommendation) and others say to wait for her to season and reach physical and sexual maturity before having her neutered??
What is the right thing to do MN? I'm genuinely stuck on this one.
There isn't a right or wrong answer. Urinary incontinence we now know is not caused by spaying before the first season. Pros of before first season, no season, maintains infantile vulva and some infantile looks Cons of before first season maintaining infantile look and if bitch has had vaginitis this often benefits from vulva enlarging at season. Some breeds benefit from coat maturing, but I have not seen this in either lab or poodle.
We were told that spaying before the first season gave the maximum protection against certain cancers (breast cancer, maybe?). Basically, the vet told us that you lost a quarter of the protection with each season the dog had - so if you spayed after one, it would be down to 75%, after two, 50%, and after 3, 25%.
That's not to say that spaying gives 100% protection against this particular cancer, but that it does give some protection, and if you spay before the first season, you get 100% of the benefit that spaying offers in this regard.
We did spay our chocolate lab before her first season - and she did develop a bit of urinary incontinence - as a result of the spaying, we were told, not as a result of when she was spayed. Apparently spaying can cause a hormonal issue where the urine becomes very dilute, and the dog occasionally has an involuntary wee - we refer to it as having an occasional leak.
There are hormone tablets the dog can take, that tightens things up for a while - our dog has them from time to time, and they do seem to help. But because the urine is so dilute, it is not a huge issue for us - it doesn't ever leave a residual smell or stain behind, and is more like cleaning up spilled water than wee.
Both mine were spayed before their first season with no issues. They recovered quickly and my last one, a springer, lived until she was over 14 and died peacefully at home (my first dog died in an accident at 7 so no idea what age she would have got to), can't say I noticed any problems with their coats and my springer had no joint problems and not even a touch of arthritis till the day she died.
Ours (Border collie) was spayed at 7 months, before 1st season on vet's advice. I worried a lot- but she recovered very quickly with no problems at all. Her coat is gorgeous- long and thick and glossy. The most helpful thing we did for her was discard the vet's awful cone (to stop licking at stitches) and get an inflatable Buster collar. It meant that she didn't bump into walls and furniture and also that she could hold things in her front paws and chew them- great stress relief. The hardest part was keeping her quiet afterwards- she did far more than the vet advised (eg leapt the stairgate the next day).
We didn't use a cone either, barbarian - our vet recommended putting ddog1 into a t-shirt, to stop her getting at the stitches, and it worked a treat.
To start with, I used one of ds3's old t-shirts - he wore skinny ones, so they fitted her fine - but then I went and expended the grand sum of £3 in Asda, to get her one that had pink sparkliness on it (or, from her point of view, grey sparkliness).