In this short guide I want to answer two key questions owners of female Frenchies will often ask; whether or not to spay and what the best age to have the surgery is. In short, I believe all French Bulldogs should be spayed, but I will come onto those reasons further down. Let’s just start off with the question of age first.
French Bulldog spay age
What age should I spay my French Bulldog? Most vets advise spaying a French Bulldog from the age of 6 months old. Whilst there is no standard recommendation, common advice states spaying should not occur any later than your female Frenchie’s second heat cycle.
Spaying too early on can lead to health issues
I also read that the age you should spay a French Bulldog should never be younger than 6 months old. It’s said that this can result in health problems. Here’s what InterMountainPet.com say:
“Early spaying can increase the risk of hip dysplasia, torn ligaments, bone cancer, and urinary incontinence. That said, it’s wise to let your dog go through one heat cycle so she can get those hormones running through her system. Your dog’s ideal time to spay will also be based on her breed and size, so it’s best to work closely with a veterinarian to determine when is the right time.”
Bottom line; talk with your vet for professional advice.
Should I spay my French Bulldog?
I believe that the pros of spaying far outweigh the cons. Based on the positives to spaying I have listed below, I believe you should spay your Frenchie. Take a look for yourself and see what you think.
1. Spaying helps to reduce unwanted pets
According to the ASPCA, approximately 670,000 dogs are euthanized each year due to charities not being able to home them. Whilst Frenchies are an extremely popular breed, there is not a finite demand for puppies.
You should get your French Bulldog spayed unless you are a responsible breeder who is able to rear puppies healthily and provide them to a good home.
2. Spaying can reduce territorial urine marking
Spaying your Frenchie can reduce the likelihood that they territorially mark with their urine. It won’t eliminate urine marking completely, but will certainly help matters, particularly if done with younger Frenchies who haven’t developed the marking habit.
Here’s what The Humane Society of the United States say:
“Un-spayed dogs are much more assertive and prone to marking than spayed ones. However, even spayed may mark in response to other intact animals in the home.”
3. Spaying means no messy heat periods
One of the worst aspects to owning a Frenchie that has not been spayed are the heat periods. Her genitals will swell up, she will leak blood, her behaviour will change, and male dogs in the neighbourhood will be on high alert towards your female.
If you don’t want all this mess and inconvenience, you should get your French Bulldog spayed.
You can read more about heat cycles in this guide if you aren’t prepared for what to come with an un-spayed female.
4. Spaying reduces roaming
It’s not just male Frenchies who roam to try and find a mate. Females can also do this, but only when they haven’t yet been spayed and are in heat. Once spayed, your female Frenchie’s desire to roam will be eliminated.
You should spay your French Bulldog if you want to reduce the risk of them making a run for it, and possibly getting lost or injured along the way.
5. Spaying can reduce aggressive behaviour
Whilst I cannot find any scientific studies to back this up, many owners who decide to get their Frenchie spayed report a reduction in aggressive behaviour.
It’s said that Frenchies that have been spayed no longer need to fight for the attention of male dogs and are less feisty towards humans too.
6. Spaying can improve health and reduce cancers
Research shows that spaying your Frenchie can help to reduce the chance of various health issues including uterine infections, breast tumours, and cancers.
To give your dog the best chance of protection, spaying should occur before their first heat cycle. Further research showed the best age to spay a French Bulldog is before they reach the age of 2 years, as this makes them less prone to developing breast tumours.
Another health concern that gives you a great reason to spay is an infection called pyometra (read definition). This infection can make your dog very ill, and results in the uterus being filled with pus… nasty. It occurs in 25% of female Frenchies who have not been spayed.
7. Spaying can lead to longer life
Based on what we now know about the health issues in the last point, it goes without saying that spayed Frenchies will outlive intact dogs.
According to research published on TheAtlantic.com, spayed dogs will live on average 18 months longer than un-spayed ones. If we think of that in dog years, that’s almost a decade more of life they can get to enjoy with their owners.
8. Spaying prevents pregnancy
I’ve left this one until last because whilst it is the most obvious, there’s a lot more to pregnancy than just getting a few cute looking puppies.
For example, Frenchie births are really difficult. It’s rare for them to be able to give birth naturally, with most being delivered via C-section. Without an expensive C-section, both the mother and puppies are at risk of death.
So, if you can’t afford for your Frenchie to have puppies, she needs to be spayed.
There are also the on-going health considerations. Frenchies are prone to a huge range of illnesses, many of which can pass down genetically.
Handy Hint: Did you know that it’s very rare for Frenchies to mate and breed naturally? Read this new blog post to find out why and what the implications could be.
Why you should not spay your Frenchie
To keep a fair balance, I also wanted to list some reasons why you should not spay your Frenchie. I found a great list on TheThings.com which I’ve bulleted below. Visit their website to see the list in full.
- Hip dysplasia rates are higher in spayed dogs.
- There is no science to back up the view that spaying leads to improved behaviour.
- Alternative research actually points to cancer being more common after spaying.
- Spayed dogs can suffer from joint problems.
- Spayed dogs can develop weight gain issues.
- Spayed dogs can become fearful and anxious.
- Spayed dogs can develop urinary incontinence.
- Spayed dogs can develop hypothyroidism.
- Your dog could develop pancreatitis.
There are lots of differing opinions, so please do your own research and talk with a trusted veterinarian. You might also like this excellent article that lays out the pros and cons in even more detail with some alternative thoughts.
Now you know when to spay a French Bulldog, and what the right age is, plus the benefits to doing so, please do book your appointment in. If you don’t think you can afford the surgery, there are some schemes in the United States designed to help pay for it.
To find out more about the costs and what spay surgery involves, please read my ultimate guide to Frenchie spaying.