"What is the earliest you can spay/neuter kittens or puppies?"
That's a common question we receive from concerned pet parents. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, so let me explain why I would say that.
For those puppies and kittens who are privately adopted, it is more common for them to finish the vaccination series and then return within 2 to 3 weeks for their spay/neuter appointment. So these kittens will likely have their surgery scheduled at around 3 1/2 to 4 months of age, and puppies at 4 1/2 to 5 months. Not every kitten or puppy starts their health care at the same time, so it is important for each owner to have a conversation with their veterinarian, and then make an informed joint decision about exactly what age is best to spay/neuter them.
For puppies and kittens in a shelter situation, they may be spayed or neutered as early as eight weeks. One of the main reasons for altering them at this age is so they can find loving permanent homes as quickly as possible. Shelters have an obligation, and are often required by law, to spay or neuter every pet before it is adopted. Veterinarians attending to shelter kittens and puppies are quite experienced in pediatric surgery ensuring their safe care. Even though youngsters in this group may have been vaccinated one or more times, and may already be spayed or neutered, the new adopted family will still need to take them to their veterinarian for a general health exam and finish up their vaccination series, which typically concludes around 12 weeks or so for kittens, and around 16 weeks for puppies.
So now you can see why it is impossible to give one stock answer to the question, "When is the best time to spay or neuter my kitten or puppy." What can be said for sure is that spaying or neutering is recommended by the age of 4 to 5 months. This will prevent accidental litters, avoid any heat cycles, and markedly reduce the likelihood of mammary cancer, one of the most common and most malignant cancers of adult females. Early age surgery is safe with fewer post-surgery concerns, is less stressful on the patient, provides a quicker recover time, and is generally less expensive than later age spay/neuter.
Check out some of our younger patients journey through our clinic, and see how quickly they are back to themselves. Watch video.