When Should You Spay a Bernedoodle?


When Should You Spay a Bernedoodle?

There is some controversy over when you should spay Bernedoodles. Many people recommend spaying your dog right away to prevent unwanted litters. A female’s first heat can be difficult for many beginner dog owners to manage, so this advice makes sense. 

However, other people argue that spaying a dog too early can mess with their hormones and cause health problems. The science behind this is mixed, though. Many breeders recommend waiting until the dog is at least 18 months to avoid these problems, as this is when most Bernedoodles become fully grown. 

You have to weigh the risks and benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. 

For instance, if you are a first-time owner and not in a position to deal with a female’s heat, you should likely get her spayed sooner rather than later. An early and unplanned litter can harm a female’s health more than an early spay. 

However, if you’re an experienced dog owner, you can likely handle the heat much better. In this case, you may decide to wait and deal with a few heat cycles. 

For those with male dogs in their house, all bets are off. It is best to spay your female in this case, especially if your male is not neutered.

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What Age Should You Spay a Bernedoodle?

Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a scientific consensus on when you should spay your Bernedoodle – or any dog, really. 

Some breeders and scientists suggest that the benefits of early spaying outweigh the risks. Your first goal should be to prevent early litters and overpopulation, according to these experts. Plus, there is little risk in the surgery itself. 

Many veterinarians are very good at spaying surgeries, as these occur regularly. 

However, others point towards the potential health complications of spaying a dog when they are too young. For instance, dogs that are spayed at a young age may be at a higher risk of immune disorders, according to one study

We do know that females are not at a higher chance of obesity when spayed, though. This is not the case with sterilized males, who tend to be at a higher risk when they are neutered at a young age. 

Sadly, we seem to have more information on neutering dogs than spaying them. Most studies regarding joint health are done on males – not females. Some of this information may cross over to females, but we simply don’t know until more studies are done. 

One study did find that spaying females before they reached six months nearly doubled their chance of joint problems later in life. It also increased their risk of cancer, though this risk increased no matter when they were spayed. 

When it comes to deciding when to spay your dog, there is no perfect option. Each one has its risks and benefits. 

Spaying your dog early completely eliminates the possibility of a litter. If you are an inexperienced pet owner, you may not be equipped to properly deal with the female’s first heat (and the associated diapers, clean-up etc.). An early litter will likely hurt the dog just as much if not more than spaying them early. Therefore, most first-time owners are particularly encouraged to spay their canine. 

However, for those who can keep their female away from males easily, it may make more sense to wait until they are fully grown at 18 months. This may reduce the risk of certain health problems, and there will (hopefully) not be any litters during this time either. 

Your life situation will likely play a large role. If you live somewhere that makes quarantining a female dog difficult, you will likely want to spay her right away. If you live somewhere that makes this task easy, then the decision not to spay may make more sense.

brown and white bernedoodle outside

How Often Do Bernedoodles Go in Heat?

Because this is a mixed breed, when your dog goes in heat can vary widely. Many breeds will have a specific number of cycles, but this is because they have become standardized. The Bernedoodle has not become standardized. Therefore, their cycles can vary a lot. 

Smaller Bernedoodles tend to have cycles more often. They may have three cycles every year. These cycles can last as long as 18 days each. Usually, they will all be grouped together. So, your dog may have all cycles during the spring and summer months and none during the other times of the year. 

Larger dogs tend to have cycles less often. The largest Bernedoodles may only have a cycle once every 18 to 24 months. Usually, this will occur in the spring or summer. However, the exact timing can vary widely. 

Larger dogs will not be in heat longer, though they will remain out of heat for longer. Their cycle will still only be 18 days. 

Is 3 Months Too Early to Spay a Dog?

Maybe. If you are an experienced dog owner that will have no problem managing your dogs’ heats, then we recommend waiting until they are fully grown. This will prevent them from becoming at higher risk for several health problems, including joint issues like hip dysplasia. 

However, the last thing you want is for your dog to get pregnant when they are very young. This can be damaging to their health and increase overpopulation. 

If you are not confident that you can prevent your dog from getting pregnant, then we recommend spaying them as early as three months. 

In some cases, you may not have a say when your dog is spayed. Some breeders send home puppies already spayed, especially if you have not purchased breeding rights. Many breeders that sell companion animals do this to prevent accidental litters. 

Many animal shelters and rescues also spay their dogs before they allow them to be adopted. This is their policy, and there are usually no expectations. Most won’t even let you take the puppy home until they are spayed. 

black and white bernedoodle puppy on the white background

Does Getting a Female Dog Spayed Calm Her Down?

No, not typically. There is actually little evidence that spaying females change their temperament at all. It will eliminate her desire to roam when she is in heat, as well as the other strange behaviors that occur during that time. However, her temperament will likely not change during other parts of the year. 

Most females will calm down after they hit puberty. Usually, this occurs around 18 months for Bernedoodles. After the age of two, you’ll likely notice that your dog has started to calm down substantially. 

However, spaying them earlier will not make this occur earlier. While it does have to do with hormones, it is also a natural part of how your dog grows and ages. 

Final Thoughts

For first-time owners, we typically recommend spaying your dog as soon as possible. It can be difficult for new owners to deal with a dog’s heat cycle, and accidental litters are going to be more common. This can be harmful to your dog’s health, especially if she gets pregnant before she is completely done growing. This rule applies to Bernedoodles as well as their cousins, the Mini Bernedoodles.

With that said, experienced dog owners may be able to deal with an in-heat female. In these cases, it may make more sense to wait until the dog is full-grown. This may help you avoid certain health problems, assuming that you successfully avoid accidental litters.

Author: Kristin

Author: Kristin

Kristin was born in Tennessee and currently lives there with her husband and children. She is passionate about educating pet parents and helping them make the best possible decisions for their pets. She currently owns one dog, two cats, a lizard, and a variety of fish.