Normally, this is an article that would find its way into the "Health" section of the Pug Village, but since this is a question that gets asked often, we decided to put it here in the "Pug FAQ" section. We’re not getting into the medical details of describing either alteration procedure, but instead keeping it limited to the when’s and why’s of the matter.
I have a female Pug and was wondering when I should have her spayed?
Most veterinarians recommend spaying female Pugs when they are 6-7 months old.
I have a male Pug and was wondering when I should have him neutered?
Most veterinarians recommend neutering male Pugs when they are 7-10 months old.
Aren’t they still puppies at this age so isn’t this too early?
Yes they are still puppies at this age, however the sexual development of the female and male at 6-7, and 7-10 months old respectively is nearly complete by this time.
Since I don’t plan on breeding my Pug, why should I have it altered?
There are several reasons; most important of all is responsibility. While you may not, and never actually plan to breed your Pug, the possibility will always exist that he or she may get loose and wind up either pregnant, or impregnating another dog. Each year over 1.5 million dogs are euthanized in shelters, and no small percentage of these dogs are the offspring of dogs that got away from home.
This is, in truth, a social responsibility we humans must accept if we are to credibly claim to care about these living creatures we have domesticated. People who have dogs often call themselves "dog lovers", and if this is true, they will both have their dogs altered, and urge everyone else to do the same. Unless you’re a qualified breeder, you should have your dogs altered.
I know all about the responsibility factor, why else should I have my Pug altered?
Altered dogs make for better housemates. Neutered males won’t have the tendency to lift their leg on such objects as couch and table legs to mark their territory. In addition, they also won’t "get intimate" with your houseguests legs during a family dinner, or an evening of socializing with friends.
Female dogs come into heat twice a year, and this brings several things all dog owners could easily do with out. First and foremost, you won’t be finding blood spots on the carpets and floors that you’d usually find during the 21 or so days a female is in heat. You also won’t have to worry about visiting male dogs from the neighborhood finding their way to your yard or front door.
Will alteration affect my Pugs’ personality or activity level?
There is no universal answer to this question because all Pugs are different. Some people note that female Pugs tend to become less active after spaying, and some note that male Pugs tend to become less attached to their owner. The former does happen with some Pugs. The latter, we suspect, is more of a human projection where the newly neutered Pug, not feeling well or in tip-top shape suddenly becomes distant because it is "mad".
As far as male Pugs not lifting their legs to mark their territory goes, or no longer making friends with a houseguests leg…Well, if these could be deemed a change in personality, then by all means the answer would be yes. However they really aren’t a change in personality at all, but rather a change in natural instinct. In these cases the neutering suppresses the natural instinct to mark territory and hump other living things, including people.
Speaking of this "leg lifting thing", does it become a habit if I don’t get my dog neutered?
It will eventually. However it’s hard to classify something like this as a true habitual act because the act of marking territory is instinctual.
If this does become a "habit" so to speak, is it hard to train them not to do this?
You bet! What you will be dealing with if it does become a "habit" is combating a fully formed natural instinct. If the Pug marks its territory often enough before it is finally neutered, then it will continue to do so even after the alteration. Being neutered does not make a dog physically unable to mark territory…It simply surpresses the natural instinct to do so. Once the instinct is solidified, it will be extremely difficult to break.
Photo of Liberty and Justice submitted by pug forum member Denika.