Originally Posted by Wicked Pixie
Also, you do not HAVE to have her spayed ever. It is entirely up to you, many dog owners are choosing to leave their pets entire, myself included.
Modern research has shown that it is better for the dogs long term health to delay neutering until the dog is mature. There is no medical benefit to an early spay.
I keep my girls intact. I have my precious Ponyo, my now 3 year old chihuahua, and my cocker spaniel (13 years old.) They both go into heat twice a year, and I've had 0 problems with them even though I'm a groomer and they're around other dogs a lot. OF COURSE I don't take them to the grooming shop when they're in heat, but keeping a dog intact takes a lot more vigilance and training on your part. Your intact dogs need to be well trained and you need to be mindful of the situations you put them in.
To be honest, I'm terrified of putting Ponyo under anesthesia for a major surgery. I don't know what I'd do if anything went wrong. She's so little and ... well... I just don't want to think about it.
I kind of believe that you can have intact animals if you're mindful, constantly training and stimulating the dog, and very very observant. But that's not for everyone.
But I have seen research on the health complications that come from premature spaying/neutering.
Do it later in life, I'd say, but if you choose to leave your pets intact know that it comes with a LOT more responsibility (and some frustrations here and there! But hey, I'm no angel when I'm PMSing, either!