The American Animal Hospital Association supports the concept of neutering cats and dogs as young as eight weeks of age in order to help reduce the overpopulation issues that can be present in companion animals.
Veterinarians are encouraged to counsel their clients on aspects of responsible breeding, including prevention of unwanted litters, and should make recommendations based on an assessment of each individual patient.
Current scientific literature suggests both positive and negative medical and behavioral outcomes with early versus delayed sterilization in some breeds. This should be part of the discussion veterinarians have with clients when educating them about the risks and benefits of sterilization for pets.
Houlihan, Kendall E. 2017. “A literature review on the welfare implications of gonadectomy of dogs.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association May 15, 2017, volume 250, number 10: 1155–1166.
Adopted by the American Animal Hospital Association Board of Directors November 1994. Revised March 2010. Last revised January 2018.