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UC Davis updates guidelines on when to spay, neuter dogs. Here's what researchers found.

Researchers update spay, neuter guidelines for dogs. Here's what to know.
Researchers update spay, neuter guidelines for dogs. Here's what to know. 02:11

DAVIS – When it comes to our dogs, we've always heard how important spay and neutering is. But when you do it could affect your dog's health.

Researchers at UC Davis updated guidelines after a study found waiting could be the healthy choice. 

Lynette Hart is a professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and is one of the study's lead authors. 

"The main result we found is that age of spay/neuter has an impact for a majority of the breeds we study in terms of increasing risks of joint disorder or cancers," Hart said.

The study lasted over a decade and looked at the correlation between neutering or spaying a dog before 1 year of age and the dog's risk of developing certain cancers and joint disorders. The big takeaway is waiting a bit can have long-term benefits. 

"The main additional message is that with most breeds, simply delaying the age at which the animal is neutering can take care of those increased risks of joint disorders and cancers," Hart said.

CBS13 asked Hart why waiting could help.

"Well, gonadal hormones are extremely crucial. It would be a horrifying idea to remove gonadal hormones from a human but we've gotten accustomed to doing that with our dogs," Hart said.

Because of this research, they've now updated their guidelines on when to neuter 40 popular dog varieties, depending on breed and sex. When in doubt, ask your vet.

"So we're encouraging people to talk with their vets, get information get informed. We know people care so much about their animals," Hart said.

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