If you’re worried about Baxter and Madison making more puppies, it can happen -- earlier than you may think. Because dogs are ready to breed rather young, you’ll need to separate them if they're not fixed, although the exact age dogs are fertile depends on your dog's size and breed.
Your female dog is able to reproduce as soon as she has her first heat cycle. You’ll most likely notice a bloody discharge from her hindquarters, excessive licking between her legs and even swelling of her genitalia. As soon as she goes into heat for the first time, anywhere from 6 to 16 months of age depending on size and breed, she’ll be old enough to breed, reports the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. You’ll have to segregate her from any intact male dogs if she isn't fixed yet.
Much like female dogs, the exact age you really have to worry about keeping your male dog by himself depends on his size and bloodlines. Generally, most male canines are fertile around 10 months of age, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Around this age, you’ll have to separate him from unspayed female dogs in the neighborhood to prevent unwanted puppies.
Considering Spay and Neuter
Most of the time, you can spay or neuter your puppies as early as 8 weeks old, suggests the ASPCA. Aside from puppy-prevention, sterilization has other health benefits for your beloved companion. Spaying your female hound can reduce her risk of mammary cancer and uterine infections, which ultimately can be fatal, explains Dr. Mike Richards, an Illinois-based veterinarian. Neutering your male pup drastically minimizes his chances of developing an enlarged prostate, as well as testicular cancer. Additionally, neutered dogs aren't as likely to roam as intact males, since they don’t have the urge to lurk around for females to breed with.
Not Out of the Doghouse Yet
Even if you do decide to neuter your male pup, you’ll need to separate him from any unspayed female pooches for a bit longer. Because some of the sperm can linger around after surgery, Baxter can be fertile for as long as six weeks after his neuter procedure, according to the California-based East Bay SPCA clinic. Don’t risk it -- just give him his own bedroom for the next month or so until he’s recovered completely.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.