When to Spay or Neuter Your Labradoodle? A Simple Guide

Labradoodles are a cross between Labradors and Poodles. They’re very popular as they’re smart, affectionate, and highly energetic.

If you’re a first-time Labradoodle owner, you need to understand that there are various aspects to taking care of them and ensuring they grow up healthy.

One of these aspects is the spaying or neutering procedure which tends to cause a lot of controversy among pet owners in regards to its benefits and risks, and when it should be performed.

So, when to spay or neuter your Labradoodle? It’s recommended to spay or neuter a Labradoodle when it’s old enough to tolerate anesthesia, which is at 10-12 months old or before its first heat, which is at 5 months old. This procedure has a lot of benefits for your dog’s health, but it might put it at risk if it’s performed when it’s too young.

Keep reading to learn more about spaying and neutering Labradoodles including how the procedure goes and how much it costs, the key benefits and risks of the procedure, and how to help your dog through recovery.

What Does Spaying or Neutering a Dog Means?

labradoodle sitting in front of a building to answer when to spay or neuter a labradoodle

Spaying or Neutering is the surgical sterilization of an animal that permanently removes its ability to reproduce. The difference between the two terms comes down to the gender of the animal.

Spaying is used to refer to female dogs and it involves the surgical removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus which prevents the dog from reproducing or going into heat.

Neutering, on the other hand, is used to refer to male dogs, but it’s sometimes used for both genders. It involves the surgical removal of the testicles, however, it doesn’t necessarily remove the dog’s instincts for breeding.

How Does the Spaying or Neutering Procedure Go?

For many pet owners, the thought of having their beloved dog undergo a complicated surgical procedure under complete sedation can be very frightening.

So, here’s a brief explanation of how the spaying or neutering procedure normally goes to put your mind more at ease:

Before the procedure, veterinarians will run a pre-anesthetic blood test to determine how much anesthetic your dog can handle. They will also give you some dietary instructions that you need to follow on the day before and/or the day of the surgery.

During the procedure, there will be a team of trained veterinarians and technicians who will actively monitor your dog and ensure that the surgery goes perfectly fine.

The first step of the procedure is inserting a breathing tube that fits in your dog’s windpipe to deliver the anesthetic gas as well as oxygen directly into to dog’s lungs.

Once the anesthetic kicks in, the operating team will begin performing the surgery by making incisions to either remove the male dog’s testicles or the female dog’s ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus.

After the procedure, the operating team will close the incision with sutures and a nurse will be available to sit with your dog until it becomes alert to her surroundings.

Postoperative medications will be given to your dog and it will remain in the clinic until it completely recovers from the anesthesia. Once it’s safe enough, you will be allowed to take your dog home with some instructions that will help it through the rest of the recovery process.

Is Spaying or Neutering Dogs Legal?

Spaying or neutering dogs is legal in the United States and it’s even mandatory in some states,. For example, Los Angeles County requires most dogs to be spayed and neutered before they are 4 months old.

However, there’s a growing number of animal activist groups in the United States as well as various European countries that consider spaying or neutering dogs to be unethical.

These groups are against performing the procedure unless there’s a medically justifiable reason and not just to control the dog population or for convenience.

Do Labradoodles Need to Be Spayed or Neutered?

Labradoodles are spayed or neutered for various reasons including birth control, preventing behavioral issues, reducing the risk of some health concerns as well as a mere convenience for the owners.

However, it’s very important to consult a veterinarian about the procedure and to have a good understanding of both the benefits and risks that come with undergoing it to ensure that it will actually improve your dog’s quality of life

To help you further, let’s break down the benefits and risks of spaying or neutering dogs in more detail.

The Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

There are many benefits to the procedure of spaying or neutering your dog such as:

  • It will prevent any unplanned or unwanted pregnancies in female dogs which will reduce the risk of various health problems linked with getting pregnant.
  • It will help improve the aggressive and territorial behavior of male dogs to some extent as they won’t be actively hunting for a partner.
  • It will stop female dogs from going into heat which can be very convenient if you want to go out into public with your female dog without having to worry about other male dogs.
  • It will also be convenient for female service dogs as the heat won’t interfere with the dog’s ability to perform its job which is to guide and comfort individuals in need.
  • It will reduce the risk of some health concerns for female dogs such as uterine infections and breast tumors. It will also prevent them from producing any vaginal discharge that can easily stain your carpets and furniture.
  • It will reduce the risk of some health concerns for dogs such as testicular infections and cancer.
  • It will help increase your dog’s lifespan as spayed dogs tend to live 23% longer than unspayed dogs.
  • It will help fight overpopulation as it will decrease the number of puppy dogs in need of shelter.

You can also check out this guide to why neutering a dog calms them down for a deeper explanation of why spaying improves dogs’ behaviors.

The Risks of Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

In some situations, the spaying or neutering procedure won’t accomplish what you hoped it would and it can have some risks such as:

  • It will not completely fix some specific behavioral issues for male dogs as it doesn’t necessarily remove the dog’s instincts. So, the dog might still show aggressive and territorial behavior after getting neutered.
  • It will put the dogs at risk of other health problems if it’s performed when the dog is too young including cranial cruciate ligament rupture, hemangiosarcoma, mast cell tumors, lymphosarcoma, and orthopedic issues.

When to Spay or Neuter Your Labradoodle?

Many veterans believe it’s best to spay or neuter Labradoodles when they’re old enough to tolerate the anesthesia, which is usually when the dog is at least 10 to 12 months old.

However, there are some veterinarians who recommend performing the procedure before the first heat cycle, which is usually when the dog is around 5 months old.

The time when it’s best to neuter or spay your Labradoodle might also depend on the dog’s size and health conditions. So, it’s better to consult multiple veterinarians and get a personalized assessment for your dog.

What Happens If You Wait Too Long to Spay or Neuter Your Dog?

If you wait too long to spay a female, you will be putting it at risk of getting pregnant on her first heat cycle as well as suffering from multiple health problems.

Meanwhile, if you wait too long to neuter a male dog, you won’t be putting it at the same immediate risks as with female dogs, but you might still have some trouble with the dog’s discipline and behavior.

How Much Does It Cost to Spay or Neuter a Labradoodle?

On average, the cost of spaying or neutering a Labradoodle will range from $50 to $500. It depends on factors like the gender, size, and age of your labradoodle as well as the veterinarian or clinic where it will be undergoing the procedure.

Let’s take a closer look at these factors:


Generally, it’s more expensive to spay a female dog than it is to neuter a male dog. That is because the procedure is a lot more complicated for female dogs than it is for male dogs as it involves removing more than one organ.

Size and Age

Size and age are key factors in determining the cost of spaying or neutering because they affect the amount of anesthetic that will be used during the procedure.

So, it will be more expensive to spay or neuter bigger, older dogs because they will need more anesthetic than smaller, younger dogs.

Veterinarian or Clinic

Getting your dog spayed or neutered at a high-end clinic with a reputable veterinarian will be more expensive.

You can get the procedure done at some low-cost clinics which are funded by organizations like The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) or PetSmart.

However, keep in mind that the cost in these clinics usually only covers the surgery and they will not always provide pre-procedure tests or post-procedure care.

They will also not have the same medical equipment that a higher-end clinic would have which might put your dog at some risk.

So, if you’re going to get your dog spayed or neutered, make sure to understand what services the cost includes before, during, and after surgery. If only the surgery is covered, you will need to see a veterinarian for follow-up sessions during recovery.

How to Help Your Labradoodle Recover After Getting Spayed or Neutered?

The recovery process for the spaying or neutering procedure usually takes about 2 to 3 weeks, depending on your Labradoodle’s age.

Since this procedure is very stressful for your dog, here are some instructions you can full to help it recover as comfortably and as quickly as possible:

  • Make sure your dog has a warm, quiet space to rest in during its recovery.
  • Make sure to provide your dog with enough food and water at all times and to administer its medication as instructed by the veterinarian.
  • Limit outdoor exposure to potty breaks only for at least 24 hours after the procedure and make sure your dog is always supervised when it’s outside
  • Avoid exercising your dog until it’s completely healed as any exerting movement will lead to fluid accumulation under the incision site.
  • Avoid bathing your dog for at least ten days after surgery as this can lead to infections and slow down the healing process.
  • Check the incision site daily to confirm its properly healing. Make sure to look out for any signs of infection such as redness or swelling.
  • Make sure not to let your dog lick or mess with its stitches. You can use an Elizabethan collar if you can’t stop it from licking or messing with the stitches.

If you notice any complications severe changes in your dog’s health after the procedure, make sure to consult your veterinarian as quickly as possible. 

Conclusion: Should You Spay or Neuter Your Labradoodle?

Spaying or neutering is a life-altering procedure for any dog. So, if you’re considering getting your dog spayed or neutered, make sure to consult a trusted veterinarian and examine all the benefits and risks of the procedure.

If you believe that spaying or neutering your Labradoodle will improve the quality of its life and make it healthier, then you should do the procedure.

If you have a Goldendoodle, make sure to also check out our post on when to spay or neuter your Goldendoodle here.

Related Questions

How Big Are Labradoodles?

On average, an adult Labradoodle’s size can range from 21 to 24 inches at the shoulder, while its weight can range from 50 to 65 pounds. Their size and weight mainly depend on factors such as the dog’s genetics, the kind of diet it’s eating, and the amount of exercise it gets.

What Is the Average Lifespan of a Labradoodle?

The average lifespan of Labradoodle is 12 to 15 years. It mainly depends on the dog’s genetics and living conditions. If you want to prolong your dog’s lifespan, you need to provide a healthy diet and regular exercise. You also need to show your dog constant care and affection.

What Are the Common Health Problems that Labradoodles Face?

The common health problems that Labradoodles face include joint issues like hip dysplasia and cruciate ligament disease as well as multiple skin conditions. That is because they have the potential to inherit a combination of the health problems found in both Labrador Retrievers and Poodles.

What’s the Difference Between Labradoodles and Goldendoodles?

The main difference between Labradoodles and Goldendoodles is that Labradoodles are a cross between Labrador Retrievers and Poodles while Goldendoodles are a cross between Golden Retrievers and Poodles. Another difference is that Labradoodles have shorter, smoother coats and a less social personality.

Helpful Resources 

Reasons to spay or neuter your pet

Spaying and Neutering Dogs helps them live longer

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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