Science is always uncovering new knowledge, so it’s not unusual to find out that yesterday’s recommendations weren’t really the best advice after all. That non-fat, low-cholesterol diet we all thought was good for our health, for instance? Yeah, well, not so much, as it turns out. It’s the same with our pets. For decades, vets recommended that pets be spayed and neutered in the first 6 to 9 months of life, while most shelters and some breeders prefer to alter puppies and kittens before they’re adopted, as young as 6 to 8 weeks.

But two recent studies of Labradors and Golden Retrievers suggest that it may be wise to wait to spay or neuter puppies until they’re at least 18 months old. Researchers found an increased incidence of orthopedic problems and some types of cancers in dogs altered at younger ages.

With only two studies conducted in just two breeds, it’s too soon to draw conclusions for all dogs. But many veterinarians are now recommending that owners delay spaying and neutering, especially in large breed dogs.

Most dog boarding and dog daycare facilities require proof that a dog or cat has been spayed or neutered, regardless of a dog’s age, to prevent unwanted breedings and skirmishes between unaltered or “intact” males. At Cascade Pet Camp, we try to keep up with the best practices in pet care to ensure the health and happiness of all our campers.

So, we no longer require our campers to be altered in order to participate in group play. We do recognize, however, that some dogs may be a little too feisty to play well with others and some dogs just don’t enjoy lots of canine friends. It doesn’t mean they’re “bad dogs” or “problem children.”

And it may not have anything to do with whether or not they’ve been spayed or neutered.

In fact, some intact dogs seem to get picked on more than their neutered playmates. Not surprisingly, most dogs fight back in self-defense when attacked. Which can lead to long-lasting problems, because aggression can become a learned response.

That’s why we monitor all our campers and, if necessary, remove dogs from our play groups to ensure that everyone is having a fun time. We also work with owners on a case-by-case basis to find the best ways for their dogs to exercise and socialize.

It’s all part of providing a safe and behaviorally healthy environment for our campers—and peace of mind for you!

To schedule a tour of Cascade Pet Camp, or to schedule an appointment for pet boarding, grooming or training, call us at 541-354-2267.