Deciding the best age to spay a female Maltese is a significant health decision for pet owners. This article aims to explore the veterinarian consensus on the ideal age for spaying a female Maltese, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of spaying at different ages, as well as exploring alternatives to traditional spaying.

Veterinarian Consensus on Spaying Age

The general recommendation among veterinarians is to spay female dogs, including Maltese, before their first heat cycle, typically around six months of age. This timing is often advised to prevent health issues such as mammary cancer and pyometra, a serious uterine infection. However, for small breeds like Maltese, specific health and developmental considerations may influence this decision.

Advantages of Early Spaying

Reduced Cancer Risk: Early spaying significantly decreases the risk of mammary tumors and ovarian and uterine cancers.
Prevention of Pyometra: Pyometra, which can be life-threatening, is entirely preventable through spaying.
Behavioral Stability: Early spaying can help manage behaviors related to the heat cycle, leading to a more predictable temperament.

Disadvantages of Early Spaying

Orthopedic Concerns: While early spaying in larger breeds may impact bone and joint development, this is less of a concern in smaller breeds like Maltese.
Risk of Obesity: Altered metabolic rates post-spaying can lead to obesity, which must be managed with a proper diet and exercise.
Urinary Incontinence: There is a slight risk of urinary incontinence with early spaying, but this risk is generally low for smaller breeds.

Advantages of Later Spaying

Full Physical Development: Allowing the Maltese to reach full maturity before spaying ensures complete growth and development.
Reduced Orthopedic Risks: Delaying spaying until after the first heat or physical maturity might lower the risk of certain orthopedic issues.

Disadvantages of Later Spaying

Increased Cancer Risks: Delaying spaying increases the risk of developing mammary tumors and other reproductive cancers.
Risk of Reproductive Health Issues: The longer a dog remains unspayed, the higher the likelihood of developing reproductive health issues like pyometra.

Alternatives to Traditional Spaying

Ovary-Sparing Spay: This method involves removing the uterus but retaining the ovaries, maintaining some hormonal balance while preventing pregnancy.
Laparoscopic Spay: A less invasive surgical option involving smaller incisions, potentially suitable for smaller breeds like Maltese.
Chemical Sterilization: This non-surgical option is still under research and development for female dogs.
Hormonal Birth Control: While not a permanent solution, this can prevent heat cycles temporarily but is not widely recommended due to potential side effects.

Special Considerations for Maltese

Maltese are known for their small size and long, luxurious coat. These characteristics, along with their specific health profile, should be considered when deciding the best age for spaying. Consulting with a veterinarian familiar with small breeds is crucial for making an informed decision.


Deciding when to spay a female Maltese involves weighing the benefits of early spaying against potential disadvantages related to growth and development. It’s important to consider the individual dog’s health, lifestyle, and specific traits of the Maltese breed. Discussing with a veterinarian and considering alternatives to traditional spaying can lead to the best outcome for your pet.


Frequently Asked Questions A Maltese Owner Might Ask Before Having Their Maltese Spayed

1. What is the best age to spay my Maltese?

The ideal age to spay a Maltese is typically before their first heat cycle, around six months of age. This early spaying helps to reduce the risk of mammary cancer and other reproductive health issues. However, individual factors like health and development should be discussed with your veterinarian for a tailored decision.

2. Are there long-term health benefits to spaying my Maltese?

Yes, spaying your Maltese offers several long-term health benefits. It significantly reduces the risk of mammary cancer, eliminates the risk of ovarian and uterine cancers, and prevents life-threatening uterine infections like pyometra. Spaying also helps in controlling the dog population by preventing unwanted pregnancies.

3. What are the potential risks or complications of spaying a Maltese?

Potential risks of spaying include standard surgical complications such as infection, bleeding, or adverse reactions to anesthesia. In small breeds like Maltese, the risks associated with early spaying, like orthopedic issues, are generally lower. However, it’s important to discuss these risks with your vet.

4. Will spaying change my Maltese’s behavior?

Spaying can lead to some changes in behavior, typically by reducing behaviors associated with the heat cycle, such as mood swings or territoriality. However, it is unlikely to change your Maltese’s overall personality and can lead to a more stable and predictable temperament.

5. What is the recovery process like after spaying a Maltese?

The recovery period after spaying a Maltese usually lasts about 10 to 14 days. During this time, it’s important to keep your dog calm and limit their physical activities to ensure proper healing. Your veterinarian will provide specific instructions for post-operative care.

6. Are there any alternatives to traditional spaying for Maltese?

Alternatives to traditional spaying include ovary-sparing spay, which leaves the ovaries intact but removes the uterus, and laparoscopic spaying, a less invasive surgical method. These alternatives might be suitable for some dogs but should be discussed in detail with your veterinarian.

7. How will spaying affect my Maltese’s weight and metabolism?

Spaying can lead to a decrease in metabolic rate, which might result in weight gain. As maintaining a healthy weight is important for Maltese, it’s crucial to manage their diet and exercise routine closely after spaying.

8. Can spaying prevent future health issues in Maltese?

Yes, spaying can prevent various health issues in Maltese, especially mammary tumors, pyometra, and other reproductive system cancers. By eliminating the risk of these conditions, spaying contributes to a longer, healthier life for your dog.

9. How much does it typically cost to spay a Maltese?

The cost of spaying a Maltese varies depending on your location, the veterinary clinic, and the specific needs of your dog. Generally, the price can range from $200 to $500. It’s advisable to consult with several local veterinarians for an accurate estimate.

10. What should I expect during my Maltese’s spaying surgery?

During the spaying surgery, your Maltese will be under general anesthesia. The procedure involves removing the ovaries and usually the uterus through a small incision in the abdomen. The surgery typically takes about an hour, followed by a recovery period at the clinic before your dog can go home.

The post What’s The Best Age to Spay a Female Maltese? appeared first on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.