How Much Does It Cost to Spay or Neuter a Dog?

Spaying or neutering your dog is essential, not only to prevent unwanted litters of puppies but also to prevent certain diseases like cancer. But spaying or neutering your pet can be expensive.

The exact price you will pay to spay or neuter your dog will depend on various factors.

Professional Veterinarian smiling while holding the dog

Before getting this critical surgery for your pet, you should research what to look for when fixing your canine companion and how much you’re likely to spend.

In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of spaying or neutering your dog, the factors that affect price, and give you some tips and tricks to help save costs.

What Does It Mean to Spay or Neuter a Dog?

Female dogs are spayed, and male dogs are neutered. In both procedures, the dog’s reproductive organs are removed, primarily to stop unwanted pregnancies and control the pet population.

Still, there are also certain medical benefits to performing the procedure. 

These are routine but serious surgeries that can impact your dog’s health and behavior, and various factors will influence the price you will pay to perform the surgery. 

Spaying: Female Dogs

Spaying is the process of removing your female dog’s reproductive organs, namely her ovaries and her uterus. This makes it impossible for her to have puppies.

It’s usually more expensive to perform this procedure than to neuter a male dog. 

Neutering: Male Dogs

The average cost of neutering a male dog is between $35 and $250. Neutering a male dog is a less complex procedure than spaying a female; thus, it is less expensive.

This is because the dog’s testicles hang on the outside of the body and thus are more easily removed than a female dog’s reproductive organs.

What are the Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Dog?

Two happy Border Collie dogs playing on the grass
Two happy Border Collie dogs playing together

Spaying or neutering dogs is the best option for controlling pet populations. Removing your dog’s reproductive organs ensures they cannot have unwanted litters of puppies.

There are also various medical and even behavioral benefits to having the procedure performed.

Medical benefits

Spaying or neutering your dog can provide various health benefits, and dogs that have had this procedure performed tend to live longer. These medical benefits include:

  • Protecting your pet from developing urinary tract infections 
  • Preventing mammary tumors
  • Preventing cancer of the testicles
  • Preventing prostate problems
  • Spayed dogs won’t experience going into heat

Behavioral benefits

Spaying or neutering your dog can help to keep behavioral problems at bay. Some behavioral problems that can be resolved through spaying or neutering include:

  • Preventing roaming which could lead to injury or cause your pet to get lost
  • Preventing aggression
  • Preventing excessive marking or urination around the house
  • Stopping your dog from running away in search of a mate
  • Stopping your dog from mounting objects, other animals or people

Reduces the number of homeless dogs

It’s a biological instinct for dogs to breed and neutering or spaying your canine can help to control pet populations and help prevent unwanted pregnancies which can lead to homeless dogs.

This reduces the strain on pet shelters and the deaths of dogs due to malnutrition, accidents, or euthanasia because they cannot find a home. 

What is the Average Cost of Spaying a Female Dog?

Male Vet holding the little dog
Male Veterinarian holding the little beautiful dog

The cost of spaying a female dog can vary significantly depending on where the procedure is performed. You can expect to pay between $50 and $515 for spaying your pet. 

Non-profit vet clinics will be the cheapest option, costing between $50 and $80, while the most expensive choice will be to take your dog to a private animal hospital where you could pay anything between $320 and $515 a dog. 

What does a spay surgery involve?

Spaying a female dog is a major surgery which is why it’s so expensive. In a spay surgery, your dog will be anesthetized and cut open to remove the reproductive organs.

Due to this surgery’s complexity, a lot of monitoring and blood work is involved. Someone will need to stay with your dog from the moment she goes under until she wakes. 

You may need to check with your vet or clinic if pre-exams and blood work are included in the cost or if these are also charged.

What is included in the cost of spaying a dog?

The price of getting your dog spayed typically covers the procedure and the cost of the anesthesia used on your pet.

Some things that may not be covered in the cost but that you also need to budget for include follow-up appointments, pain medication, and a cone collar to stop your dog from licking her stitches.

Sometimes, the cost will include pre-surgery visits, required vaccinations, flea, tick, and worm preventative medications, and even microchipping.

Hence, it’s essential to check with your vet or clinic first precisely what is included and what you can expect to pay for as an extra afterward.

What Does It Cost to Neuter a Male Dog?

Female veterinarian examining husky in clinic
Siberian Husky dog being examined in the clinic

Again, prices can vary significantly depending on where you decide to get your dog neutered.

While this surgery is slightly less expensive than spaying a female dog, you are still likely to pay between $270 and $440 for getting a male dog neutered at a private veterinary practice. 

To neuter your male dog, a state voucher program or non-profit vet clinic should cost significantly less, at around $50 to $80.

What does a neuter surgery involve?

When neutering a dog, a vet will make an incision in your dog’s scrotum to remove his testicles. As this is a routine procedure, most vets and clinic staff can perform a castration adequately. 

What’s included in the cost of neutering a dog?

It’s best to ask the vet or clinic up front what is included in the cost of neutering your dog, as some clinics will also want to perform a full workup on your pet and ensure he is up to date with all of his vaccinations. 

The above costs generally refer to the price of the surgery only, and you may still need to pay extra fees for a general examination before surgery, any medications necessary for recovery, and follow-up visits to ensure the wound is healing correctly. 

Is It Cheaper to Spay a Female Dog than Neuter a Male Dog?

Yes, as the sex organs of a male dog are on the outside of the body, the procedure is less invasive than spaying.

It’s thus faster and requires fewer resources to neuter a male dog, and the same monitoring and level of anesthesia are not required. It is thus cheaper to neuter a male dog than to spay a female dog.

What Are The Factors That Can Impact The Cost of Spaying or Neutering?

A Vet giving an injection to a Chihuahua dog
A Veterinarian giving an injection to a Chihuahua dog

Several factors can influence your price to spay or neuter your dog. These factors can include your dog’s weight and size, breed, and age.

Your pet’s current health and physical condition may also impact how much you will pay to get them spayed or neutered.

Does a dog’s physical condition affect the price of neutering and spaying?

Yes, if your dog has any medical conditions, such as a testicle that has not fully descended, these can also impact the cost of the procedure.

Additionally, suppose your dog has any pre-existing conditions, such as heart problems, that might make the anesthesia process tricky and require additional monitoring. In that case, the cost is likely to increase.

How does size impact the cost of spaying a dog?

Many vets will charge different prices depending on the weight of your dog. It makes sense that a small dog like a Chihuahua will be cheaper to spay than a giant dog such as a Great Dane

This is because bigger dogs require more anesthesia, the surgery takes longer, more pain medication is necessary, and more materials are needed to prepare the area and do the stitches.

US regional price chart

While size and age can make a difference in the cost of spaying or neutering your dog; some clinics charge a flat rate to perform this operation based on location.

Here’s a handy table that will help you gauge the cost of getting the procedure done at a vet.

Neuter and Spay Procedures West Coast East Coast Midwest
Neutering a dog over 6 months $454 $449 $407
Neutering a dog less than 6 months  $390 $385 $349
Spaying a dog over 6 months and less than 50lbs $479 $473 $429
Spaying a dog over 6 months and more than 50lbs $549 $542 $492
Spaying a dog less than 6 months $416 $411 $373

Should You Choose Veterinary Hospitals or Low-Cost Clinics for When Spaying or Neutering Your Dog?

A Veterinarian holding the Jack Russel Terrier dog
A Veterinarian holding the Jack Russel Terrier dog for a checkup

Whether you choose a vet hospital or a low-cost clinic to spay or neuter your dog will depend on your income. Your pet’s age, breed, and health may also impact which options are best suited to you.

Also, while low-cost clinics can save you a lot of money, you may struggle to find one in your area. 

Why choose a veterinary hospital?

Using your local vet for this procedure is the best option as your vet will know your dog’s history and health and will know if there is anything he needs to be aware of when treating your dog.

That said, going to a veterinary hospital is the most expensive option for getting the surgery done.

Why choose a low-cost clinic?

Low-cost spay or neuter clinics can help soften the burden this surgery can have on your budget.

You may need to show proof of your income for your dog to be accepted at a low-cost clinic, as these services are for pet owners who can’t afford vets. 

Also, if you live in an area with only one clinic, you may need to put your pet on a waiting list to get him this surgery. 

Is getting your pet spayed or neutered at a clinic cheaper than getting it done by your vet?

Yes, it usually is cheaper to go to a clinic rather than get your dog spayed or neutered at your local vet or animal hospital.

State programs and donations cover the costs of these clinics so that services like these can be provided for a lesser price to those who cannot afford the services of a private vet. 

How can you find low-cost spay and neuter clinics in your area?

The Humane Society has a list of pet clinics and financial assistance programs. In addition, the local ASPCA in your area likely has a vet clinic on site that offers services such as neutering or spaying animals to the public.

Vet schools also sometimes run low-cost clinics for their trainees to hone their skills, while some areas that don’t have permanent vet clinics may get pop-up options every month or so run by local animal welfare organizations.

Clinics and vets are not the only places you can get your dog spayed or neutered. Some pet stores also offer to perform this standard procedure. 

Does Pet Insurance Cover The Cost of Spay or Neuter Services?

Pet Insurance Claim Document Form
Pet Insurance Claim Document Form being answered

Pet insurance doesn’t typically cover the cost of spaying or neutering your dog unless you have purchased an add-on cover to the standard insurance policy.

Pet insurance is designed to cover you for unexpected costs such as an accident or unforeseen illness, so these policies do not typically cover standard procedures like a spay or neuter.

How can pet insurance help you manage the costs of spaying and neutering?

If you buy an add-on cover like a wellness rider, you may be able to get your dog spayed or neutered for a reduced rate. 

Just be sure to check the terms and conditions of the policy thoroughly, as many require you first to pay for the surgery in full before reimbursing you after you submit your claim.

You may also need to wait a specific time before submitting any claims.

You can also buy pet wellness plans separately from pet insurance that explicitly covers preventative treatments and procedures, such as spaying or neutering your pet.

These policies also contribute to your regular vaccinations and teeth cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Spaying and Neutering a Dog

A Cockapoo dog wearing a diaper
Spayed Cockapoo dog wearing a diaper – Image source

At what age should a dog be neutered or spayed?

Most dogs can be spayed or neutered when they are between six and nine months old.

The younger they are the quicker they will recover and the easier the surgery will be but most vets recommend that you wait until your dog has reached full security maturity before performing the procedure. 

For large breeds, this can be as late as 12 to 15 months while for small breeds under 50 pounds this can be as early as 5 or 6 months old. You typically need to wait for your female dog to have her first heat before getting her spayed.

Is spaying or neutering painful for dogs?

The anesthesia used during surgery will prevent your dog from feeling any pain. After surgery though, your dog may experience some pain from the wound and thus will likely be given pain medication.

If you see any discharge, swelling, or redness around your dog’s incision wound or if your dog appears to be in a lot of pain, be sure to get in touch with your vet. 

How can you help your dog recover from spaying and neutering?

A Maltipoo dog sleeping after neutered
A Maltipoo dog sleeping after neutered – Image source

To help your dog recover from spaying and neutering, you may want to give him a collar to prevent him from licking his stitches and opening up the wound. You will also need to check the incision daily to ensure it is healing correctly. 

You should also avoid bathing your dog for at least ten days following the operation and try and keep him away from other pets so that he can recover fully.

You also need to avoid exercising your dog too much, including avoiding running and jumping, for two weeks following the procedure, as this could cause the wound to open. 

What are the pros and cons of spaying or neutering your dog?

Along with preventing unwanted litters of puppies, there are various pros to neutering or spaying your dog, such as avoiding cancers and uterine infections and preventing unwanted behavior.

That said, your dogs need their reproductive hormones for proper muscle and bone development, so it is essential not to get your dog spayed or neutered too early.

Positive aspects of spaying and neutering your dog?

Dogs that get spayed or neutered live longer due to the many health benefits of this procedure.

Dogs that aren’t spayed or neutered are often not allowed into boarding kennels, doggie daycares, dog parks, or apartment complexes. 

Spaying your female dog will also help prevent her from going on heat. Female dogs can go into heat every three weeks for around four or five days, and they will bleed during this time and may become clingy or try to escape.

Negative aspects of spaying and neutering your dog?

The hormones your dog’s sexual organs produce are necessary for muscle development and the development of the tendons and ligaments. They also signal to your dog’s bones when they should stop growing.

Thus, spaying or neutering your dog too early, especially if he is a large breed, can negatively impact growth.

What is “Ask At Adoption”?

When you adopt a dog, you will find that he is likely spayed or neutered. This procedure is often covered in the cost of rescuing your pet and can be performed at the center itself or contracted out to a local clinic.

Conclusion: Is it Worth Spaying or Neutering Your Dog?

While getting your dog spayed or neutered can be expensive, often running more than $500, it’s well worth it to prevent unplanned pregnancies, control behavior, and limit any medical problems. 

It is, however, important to weigh your options carefully as many factors can influence the price you will pay to get your dog spayed or neutered.

These include breed, age, size, and primarily where you choose to take your dog to perform the surgery. The best option for your pet will depend on his health and your financial constraints.

When looking around, also be sure you know exactly what is included in the cost of the surgery and what other things you will still need to budget for.

Has your dog been spayed or neutered, and what did it cost you? We would love to know more about your experience in the comments below.

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