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How Much Does It Cost to Spay a Dog? Let’s Find Out

At A Glance

Spaying a dog has several health benefits, saving pet parent money in the long run and reducing the chances of overpopulation. If you’re wondering how much it costs to spay a dog, you need to consider your options.

Depending on your budget, you could opt for:

  • Low-cost clinics that offer high-quality surgical procedures but don’t provide aftercare.
  • Regular veterinarian clinics charge more but focus on pre-testing and aftercare procedures.

Last Updated on: Aug 21, 2023

There are several benefits to spaying or neutering your dog. Apart from preventing overpopulation, spaying or neutering pets at a young age can reduce anxiety and the feeling of restlessness in canines.

If you’re a pet parent, it’s obvious to wonder how much it costs to spay a dog. Unfortunately, the answer is not as straightforward as you’d like.

There are several factors that must be taken into account before booking an appointment with a spay and neuter clinic. But before that, take at why you should spay/neuter your pet.

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Benefits of Spaying & Neutering

The costs and after-care procedures may seem intimidating, especially to novice pet owners. But, trust me, it’s nothing compared to the costs you may have to bear raising multiple litters and paying off medical bills.

Neutering reduces incidences of spraying or marking territories in male dogs. Moreover, it prevents the risk of prostate cancer
and testicular cancer
. It also reduces aggression in male dogs.

Similarly, spaying female dogs reduces the risk of mammary gland tumors and ovarian and uterine cancer.

These procedures also help dogs of both genders live longer, healthier lives. According to a study, neutered or spayed pets live 1-3 years longer than fertile dogs.

“In addition to helping prevent pet overpopulation, altering your pet can improve the overall health of your pet and help reduce bad behaviors like marking”, says Preston Moore, Iowa State Director, State Affairs for The Humane Society of the Americas.

When Should You Spay/Neuter a Dog?

how much does it cost to spay a dog - when should you spay/neuter a dog

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of spaying and neutering, you need to know when exactly the procedure is required. But determining that can be tricky.

The ideal time to spay a small breed female dog that weighs under 25 pounds is before their first heat, which is usually around 5-6 months. Similarly, small breed male dogs should be neutered at 6 months. The timeline remains the same for medium-sized dogs.

However, this changes when it comes to large and giant dog breeds that weigh above 45-75 pounds. Professionals recommend neutering or spaying large breed dogs after they stop growing or reaching adulthood.

Large breed female dogs need to have an active lifestyle and be tested for health conditions. Only then will a veterinarian draw a course of action. Usually, the recommended window can be anywhere between 5 and 15 months.

Factors That Determine the Cost of Spaying or Neutering Dogs

Your dog’s size is one of the most important factors that impacts the cost to spay or neuter a dog.

The cost depends on the breed for multiple reasons. For instance, bigger dog breeds require more anesthesia, aftercare medication, and suture materials. Moreover, the surgery may take longer, considering the time it takes to clip the area. While most clinics charge the same regardless of the size, others could tweak their charges.

Health risks are another factor taken into account when calculating the cost. Dogs with certain pre-existing health conditions may need additional blood tests before the procedure, which could affect the total price.

Age also plays a crucial part. Always consult a vet before you decide to spay or neuter your dog. The older the dog, the more complicated it may get.

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

Coming to the subject at hand, the cost of spaying your female dog would depend on its size, health, age, and location. The average cost of a spaying procedure could cost anywhere between $50 to $600.

Several reasons cause this massive price discrepancy. While low-cost clinics could offer to spay a younger, healthier dog for as little as $50, spaying an adult dog who has already gone into first heat will cost closer to $500. Moreover, any additional costs are not included in the final bill.

So, how much does it cost to spay a dog at a vet’s clinic?

Like low-cost clinics, a vet’s charges would depend on the accompanying procedures your dog will need. All these costs add up, making the process quite expensive. But when compared to the costs of multiple pregnancies and potential health risks, it’s quite reasonable.

On the other hand, the cost to neuter a male dog is much lower, anywhere between $20-$250. However, if a dog has cryptorchid testes, a condition in which the testicles haven’t fully dropped, it could cost as much as spaying your dog.

Why Is Spaying More Expensive Than Neutering?

average cost to spay a dog - why is spaying more expensive than neutering

As a pet parent, you may have noticed the significant price disparity between spaying and neutering.

This is because spaying is a rather invasive procedure and involves removing the ovaries and uterus. The surgery is far more complicated than neutering a male dog because the doctor must make a deep incision in the abdomen.

On the other hand, neutering a male dog is easy because the reproductive organs are already on outside the body. This makes the cost to spay a female dog significantly higher.

What Is Less Expensive – A Clinic or Vet?

Certain spaying and neutering clinics are much cheaper than vets. Consequently, people often assume that lower costs equals lower quality. But that’s not always true.

Some low-cost clinics receive much support from the medical community and work with the highest quality equipment.

Nellie Goetz, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine-Master of Public Health, reveals, “When you go to a low-cost clinic, you should be getting the same level of care you would expect at a full-service clinic. Today, vets and staff at these clinics are highly trained and can do many more spay/neuter surgeries a day than a full-service practice because of the level of efficiency.”

While costs at clinics are lower, they don’t account for pre-tests and aftercare expenses. If your dog is otherwise healthy and is unlikely to require extensive tests or post-surgery care, a clinic would be a better option.

The United Spay Alliance and Humane Society have many referrals, clinic listings near you, and financial assistance programs to help you find a suitable place for your pet.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Neutering or Spaying?

dog wearing a cone

Most pet insurance don’t cover neutering or spaying since they are considered elective procedures, unike illnesses or accidents.

However, additional pet insurance may cover the cost. This is usually an add-on to general insurance. Apart from the actual cost of surgery, it could also cover charges related to grooming, dental procedures, blood tests, and vaccinations.

Frequently Asked Questions

At What Age Should a Female Dog Be Spayed?

It’s tricky to know when exactly a female dog should be spayed. Vets advise to wait until it has turned 6 months old to avoid orthopedic issues.

But it’s best to spay it before it shows signs of going into heat. This narrows the window in which the procedure should be carried out.

Why Is Spaying a Dog So Expensive?

Although a common procedure, spaying is still a serious surgical procedure that requires a lot of pre-testing and aftercare.

Such surgeries require skill, equipment, and the right course of treatment. As a result, spaying can be expensive, but the cost justifies the procedure.

Should I Spay My Female Dog Before Her First Heat?

Yes, vets highly recommend you spay your female dog before its first heat but only after she is 6 months old. Altering your dog at an early stage reduces the risk of mammary tumors and uterine infections.

Why Is My Dog So Clingy After Being Spayed?

Spaying entails abdominal surgery, which can be quite a traumatic process to recover from. As a result, your pet may become a little clingy or anxious in the days following the surgery.

This could be due to temporary pain, anxiety, or after-effects of the medication. This should disappear in a few days and is not a cause for concern.


General cost to spay a dog

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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.