How old should my pet be?

The best age for neutering your pet

When to neuter your pet

Select your pet's species below to find out when the best time to neuter your pet is:

  • Female dogs can be spayed from a young age, from three months depending on the breed, speak to one of our vets for advice specific to your pet. Your vet will make the decision based on your pet specifically, their age and their breed.


    Male dogs can also be neutered from around 6 months’ old, depending on their breed – again, your vet will advise. Dog castration is best carried out while your dog is young, as the benefits associated with castration start to reduce as they get older.

  • Female cats can be spayed from around 4 months (16 weeks) of age, once they’ve had their first set of vaccinations. Female cats reach sexual maturity at about six months of age, so leaving the operation any later can result in an unplanned pregnancy.


    Male cats can also be neutered from around 4-6 months’ old – but again, speak to your vet for advice. Castration is best carried out while your cat is younger rather than as a mature adult because unwanted behaviour is less likely to develop.

  • Just like cats and dogs, rabbits can suffer from serious problems if not neutered.


    The most common is behavioural issues such a territorial behaviour and aggression, but males can get testicular cancer and females can develop womb cancer – both of which can be fatal. We therefore advise neutering rabbits from 4 months of age. The surgical procedure is very simple and your bundle of fur will be able to go home the very same day.


    When you bring your bunny in for their operation, ensure they eat well overnight and in the morning before you bring them in. Rabbits do not need to be starved as with other animals, as it is actually very dangerous for them. We ask that you line their carrier with newspaper or shredded paper, so as not to irritate them post-surgery. Bring some of your rabbit’s usual food and a portion of their favourite vegetables to encourage them to start feeding as soon as they recover from the anaesthetic.


    If your bunny lives outside, it is advisable to move them indoors for the first night and for a couple of days, to keep them warm and so you can monitor them more closely.


    Female rabbits can be spayed as soon as they are sexually mature, so usually around 4 – 6 months old.


    Males can be castrated as soon as their testicles descend – usually around 8-12 months. (male rabbits from 12 weeks).


    Note: Male rabbits do not become sterile immediately after castration. We recommend keeping your male bunny away from un-spayed adult females for at least 6 weeks after his procedure.

  • Female ferrets can be spayed from 12 weeks of age. Female ferrets come into season usually in spring and summer and an intact female ferret will stay in season until they are mated. If they are not mated, they can experience high levels of oestrogen leading to suppression of their production of red blood cells which can lead to life threatening anaemia. Spaying a female ferret will avoid them cycling and avoid any life threatening issues, and will also significantly reduce the smell from the glands in the skin.


    Male ferrets can be neutered from 12 weeks of age and this either involves castration or a vasectomy. Castration is the removal of testicles and has the advantage of reducing the smell from the skin glands. Vasectomy is the removal of a portion of the spermatic cord, leaving the ferret unable to impregnate a female and if mating with an intact female will temporarily stop her cycling without the risk of a litter. This does not result in reduction of smell and does not reduce aggression.

Fur-ther reading

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Ferret neutering

Everything you need to know about spaying & castrating your ferret

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What is the procedure?

Learn more about the neutering procedure.

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What is the recovery after?

Find out more about post-neutering recovery.

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Neutering vouchers

Find out if you're eligble for discounted neutering vouchers from the Cats Protection.

Sign-up here

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