9 Important Factors to Consider About When to Spay a Great Dane

9 Important Factors to Consider About When to Spay a Great Dane


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Wondering when to spay a Great Dane? Female Great Dane owners are often unsure to have their dog spayed and do not know when the right time is. And, there are a few things to consider before making the decision to spay your Great Dane. In this blog post, we will discuss 7 of those considerations. Furthermore, we will help pet owners make an informed decision about when to spay your female Great Dane and male Great Danes.

When to spay a Great Dane

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Basic Tips for When to Spay a Great Dane

Great Danes are giant breeds which can grow, on average to about 120-150 pounds. They are one of the tallest breeds of dogs and have a life expectancy of around 8-12 years. Due to their size, it is recommended alternative considerations take place when deciding on whether to spay or keep an intact female. If you are wondering when to spay a Great Dane, you’ve come to the right place. Generally speaking, it is recommended to maintain up to date information and seek veterinary advice on keeping your dog healthy. Keep reading for more information, tips and knowledge to keep you informed on when to spay a Great Dane.

When to spay a Great Dane

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What Does Spaying Your Great Dane Mean?

Making a decision to alter your female dog means that you complete the surgical removal process of her ovaries and uterus. Making the decision on when to spay a Great Dane should not be taken lightly. You should consider researching the pros and cons on when to spay a Great Dane. In other pets and breeds of dogs, this is generally done when your dog is between the ages of four to six months, but can be done at any age.

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Making the Decision on When to Spay a Great Dane

There are a few things to keep in mind before you make the decision on when to spay a Great Dane, or whether to spay at an early age or young age.

Female Great Danes

A female Great Dane develops much differently than male Great Danes. When considering the idea of when to spay a Great Dane it is important to acknowledge that females are very different than males. Additionally, a female Great Dane faces different health issues than other dog breeds. Female dogs have sexual reproductive organs which are full of hormones. These hormones contribute to their growth and development and are present before both spaying or neutering a dog. However, after spay or neuter, the hormones are removed which impacts their ability to grow in the way in which they were designed. Many factors impact the decision of when to spay a Great Dane- one being learning and knowing what influences a female Great Dane.

It is common for dog owners to want to wait until their dog is no longer a puppy to spay them. However, this decision could be impacted if you have a female Great Dane rather than male Great Danes or a different dog breed in general. Therefore, it is important to note all the differences between each dog breed as well as each individual gentle giant (including Female and Male Great Danes).

Risks or Considerations for Spaying Great Dane Dogs

There are other health considerations for female Great Danes and when to spay a Great Dane in general (and some of the same risks are relevant with neutered males).

1. Hormone-Responsive Urinary Incontinence

After spaying these massive gentle giants, it is common continence is the loss of bladder control. This is a common health concern for female dogs that have been spayed. Some Great Dane owners report that their female Great Dane demonstrates signs of incontinence after being spayed. Males tend not to have this issue, but it is rather prevalent with females, especially those who are spayed underage. When considering when to spay a Great Dane, speak to your veterinarian about the possibility of urinary incontinence.

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2. Weight Gain

Another consideration is your dog gaining weight. It is not uncommon for your dog to put on a few pounds after being spayed. The main reason for this weight uptick is due to a decrease their metabolism. This is caused by the lack of hormones that are present after spaying your female Great Dane.

To avoid this weight increase, it is important to keep up with a healthy diet and moderate exercise for your dog even after they have been spayed. After spay or neuter, sometimes the energy level of your dog can slow, which makes it more difficult to keep the weight off. However, with intentionality, you can keep your dog slim and at its appropriate weight. If you are pondering when to spay a Great Dane, examine the weight of your Great Dane and make sure their weight is slim and appropriate prior to spay. There is only one person who knows your Great Dane and it’s best- and it’s you- so be sure to advocate for them whenever possible!

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3. Cancer

Knowing when to spay a Great Dane is a very difficult decision. There are also some risks to keeping your dog in tact, and one of those can be certain types of cancer. Giants dogs are unfortunately more prone to certain types of cancer. One of those being mammary cancer, which is common in older female dogs that have not been spayed. This type of cancer is almost nonexistent in dogs that have been spayed at an early age. Therefore, spaying your female dog at age 2 minimizes the risk of seeing this form of cancer significantly.

Risks of Cancer in Getting or Not Getting Your Male Great Dane Neutered

Testicular cancer can be found in your Male Great Dane if they are not neutered. This is another form of cancer that can be easily prevented by getting your dog fixed early on. Testicular cancer is not as common as mammary cancer, but it is still something to keep in mind when making the decision of whether you want to keep your male Great Dane in tact or opt for the decision to neuter your male dog.

4. Unwanted Pregnancy with your Female Great Dane and Other Dogs

Of course, if you decide to not spay or neuter your dog there is always a risk for unwanted puppies. Any time there are two dogs that are not the same gender together, as well as not fixed, you run the risk of having an unplanned pregnancy. Un spayed and un neutered dogs tend to gravitate towards one another. Whereas male dogs who are fixed tend not to care so much about female dogs who are fixed. It is equally as important to practice safety with your female un-spayed Great Dane as it is with your male Great Dane. Just as the female dog owner does not want an unnecessary pregnancy, the male dog owner does not want their dog fathering unwanted puppies.

5. Behaviors of Dogs

Many people will state that there are different behaviors before and after the spay or neuter process. This is true, however, this should not be a primary reason to spay or neuter your dog. We have seen countless dog families rely on the spay or neuter to correct unwanted behavior or aggressive behavior. Unfortunately, spaying or neutering does not always serve as a ‘fix’ for any dog breed. You could see humping behavior prior to a spay/neuter and still continue to see that same bahavior after the procedure. The best course of action is identifying the primary cause of the behavior and working with a professional to correct it.

6. Growth Plates

Other animals or dog breeds do not have the same types of concerns about their growth plates as Great Danes do. Great Danes are a dog who grows until they are over 24 months.

Their bones, ligaments, and tendons are all still growing and developing well into their adult years. If you were to spay or neuter your dog too early, it could lead to health issues with their growth plates closing too quickly. This also impacts their overall body, spine, or leg structure.

Another common concern with early spay or neuter of dogs is the impact it has on their feet or leg structure. This is, again, due to the hormones that are present before spaying or neutering which help with the growth and development of their bones, ligaments, and tendons.

7. Surgical Risk

Spaying or neutering Great Danes comes with the standard anesthetic or surgical risk that all surgeries come with. Your Great Dane is so large that it sometimes has a harder time adjusting to anesthesia than other dogs. Always be sure to get routine blood testing prior to putting your female or male Great Dane under anesthesia. Speak to your vet about what blood panels they find necessary for your Great Dane to have taken. Without completing blood testing prior to your Great Dane being sedated, you run the risk of your Great Dane having blood clotting issues such as Hemophilia A, amongst others.

8. Pyometra

One common health conditions to consider for spaying or not spaying your dog is Pyometra. Pyometra is a life-threatening infection of the uterus that can occur in any un spayed female dog. These organs can become cancerous and cause health problems if not spayed at the appropriate time.

For this reason, it is important to know the signs of this infection in female Great Danes, watch your individual dog closely, and monitor your Great Dane’s health during the duration of her remaining un spayed.

9. What is considered an early age to spay in Great Danes?

Most male and female dogs are considered to be full grown at around 12 months of age.

At this age they have completed most of their growth and development. However, most large dog breeds can take up to two years to reach their full adult size.

It is important to keep in mind that Great Danes mature slower than other dog breeds. Since other dogs grow quicker and are full grown at a younger age, Great Dane dog’s require longer time to allow their growth plates to fully develop. Spaying before 24 months is often considered ‘too young’ for Great Danes.

As the owner of a Great Dane, you are wondering about the best time to spay her. First, it’s important to understand the heat cycle and the clinical signs of estrus.

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Photo Credit to Hellen at www.instagram.com/Mumukodogsquad (Picture of sweet Dakota!)

10. Female Great Dane and the Heat Cycle

What happens when the Great Dane dog goes into heat?

Generally, Great Danes come into heat twice a year, with each cycle lasting about three weeks. During this time, their bodies undergo a number of changes, including an increase in vaginal discharge and a swelling of the vulva. Additionally, they may be more restless and vocal than usual. It is common for there to be changes in behavior and appetite during this time.

Should female Great Danes be spayed during their heat cycle?

While some owners have a personal preference and choose to spay their dogs during estrus, we suggest waiting until your Great Dane is NOT in estrus to perform any surgical procedure. Remember, your Great Dane has a 2 week period before she is bleeding, while she is actively bleeding, and 2 months after. During this time female large breed dogs have an abundance of hormones. Male dogs will gravitate towards your female Great Dane. Additionally, if you have a male Great Dane in the home, you will need to keep them apart from your female Great Dane.

Why is my Female Great Dane acting pregnant during her heat cycle?

Your female Great Dane has likely entered into a false pregnancy. Do not spay your Great Dane while they are experiencing a false pregnancy or other health issues. Her nipples could fill up with milk, and Great Danes sometimes even carry around stuffed animals. Males tend to get antsy and sometimes there is excessive barking from the male counterparts. During this 3-4 month time, you should not consider spaying your Great Dane. The only consideration for this would be that you have been given a pet health report from your veterinarian that your Great Dane is experiencing uterine infections, which is life threatening.

Why should I not spay my Great Dane during her heat cycle?

Your female Great Dane is extremely susceptible to bleeding out and other health problems during surgery if you choose to spay during her heat cycle. There is an excessive blood supply as well as raging hormones in your Great Dane. You should plan routine blood testing and ensure that you are planning your spay according to your Great Danes hormones.

In conclusion

In conclusion, you need to make the best decision for your Great Dane dog . You need to factor in her health, your lifestyle, and whether or not you plan to breed her. Talk with your veterinarian about the best time to spay your Great Dane. Use this article as a guide to ask the right questions and make an informed decision.

There are risks of spaying your Great Dane dog and there are risks of letting her stay in-tact. We hope that by outlining those risks and benefits, it can help you to make the best decision possible.


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Great Dane lover & believer. Ecollar + Balanced trainer.

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