Spaying is the process of surgically removing a female dog’s uterus and ovaries, ovariohysterectomy, to prevent pregnancy. It is generally a quick procedure that allows your dog to come home the same day, barring any complications. Veterinarians may suggest either spaying your Labrador as early as eight weeks of age, or when she is closer to sexual maturity. Discuss your options with your veterinarian to see what is right for you and your dog.
Healthy puppies may be spayed beginning at eight weeks of age. Common in animal shelters, this early spay offers protection against pregnancy before the dog develops sexually, which prevents the possibility of accidental breeding.
Consider having your Labrador spayed at 8 to 12 weeks of age if you would like the security of pregnancy prevention as early as possible. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure your dog is healthy and a good candidate for the procedure. Labradors with health conditions, such as low weight or illness, may have to postpone being spayed until their health has improved to prevent complications from surgery.
Spaying a dog can also be done between six and nine months of age, or into adulthood if needed. Spaying a dog before her first heat cycle occurs has health benefits, such as a reduction in the chance of mammary tumors, uterine cancer and infection. Female Labs can reach sexual maturity at 18 months of age when their first heat usually begins. Keep track of your dog’s age and make arrangements with your veterinarian for spaying to take place before her first heat is suspected to occur. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure your Labrador is healthy enough for the operation, and has time to improve any health conditions before the surgery.
Spaying may be performed on adult dogs, as well. Consider spaying your Labrador, even if she has had one or more heat cycles, to prevent unintentional pregnancy. Your veterinarian will recommend blood work and a physical exam to ensure your mature Labrador is healthy enough for the operation.