What in your opinion is the proper age to spay a Golden? I know some people say to do it around 4 months but others suggest to wait longer. Also, if you have no plans to breed a dog, is there any reason not to spay?
I can't believe that no one has answered this yet. IMO, and the opinion of my vet, wait until the end of adolescence. 18 months to 2 years. The way my vet explained it was that they are still growing and you want to wait until that process is at least almost complete before a spay or neuter. She also said that it doesn't hurt to do it younger if you think that you can't be diligent during a heat cycle. Better to spay than to have an unplanned litter.
Alot of people say to wait till after her first spay. Make sure you talk to your breeder or look at your contract to see what it says. Even with not breeding her, I would get her spayed because having to go thru the heat cycles every time is a pain and later in life it could cause her health problems like the pyometra.
My contract says between 9 and 12 months. I would prefer that pets not be spayed until after they have one heat, but I understand this is difficult for some pet owners. My girls tend to come into season around a year of age.
The additional risk of breast cancer after one season is overall minimal.
I do think that bitches should be spayed though, unless they are conformation or performance dogs. Breast cancer is one reason although surprisingly few bitches actually get it but there are other health reasons such as pyometra. And I cannot imagine a pet owner able to keep a bitch "safe" twice a year for her entire life. I am sure some could but a lot could not and would find it to be difficult, time consuming and not fun at all.
Our breeder recommends after a year. The risks of not spaying are significant enough to have it done.( and i am not one to do anything not necessary to my dogs including many of the vaccines) Mammary tumors are also much greater in dogs not spayed.