A dog gets examined with a stethoscope by their veterinarian.

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

Neutering your dog can vary in price based on the dog’s age, size, sex, breed, and health, as well as your vet hospital of choice and state of residence. We will review factors that impact the cost of spaying or neutering a dog, note what is included in the neutering fee, offer ideas on how to save money, and review options for low-cost neutering services.

What Is the Difference Between Spay, Neuter, and Castration?

Before we get into costs, let’s review the definitions of neutering and spaying. The term “neutering” refers to the removal of an animal’s reproductive organ. The term “neuter” is often used incorrectly in reference to male animals, when the term can refer to both male and female dogs. The correct term for removal of an animal’s reproductive organ for males is “castration” or “orchiectomy,” and the correct term used for females is “spay,” “spaying,” or “ovariohysterectomy.”

Spaying typically costs more than castration, since the spay procedure takes more time and involves opening the abdominal cavity.

What Is Included in Spay & Neuter Services?

It is important to know what is and isn’t included in the spay or castration fee. When you get a quote, be sure to ask your vet for specifics, so that there aren’t any surprises when you get your final bill.

The spay or neuter procedure generally includes the following (this will vary with the individual vet or hospital):

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

Always be sure to ask about what’s included in your estimate for spay or castration procedures. As noted above, there are a few items that may come at an additional cost, such as preoperative blood work or an EKG. Some clinics or veterinary hospitals have packages that include all of the above in their neutering costs, as well as other services like hernia repair, removal of baby teeth, anal gland expression, vaccinations, parasite control medications, microchip placement, nail trims, and/or lump removals.

Spaying can cost anywhere from $65 to $600, and castration can range from $45 to $300. There can also be a big difference in the cost based on locality. For example, the cost of spaying a dog in New York City may be $600, while it might only cost $250 in the Midwest. Another example provided for a low-cost animal welfare organization in Washington, D.C. lists spaying at $150 and dog neutering at $120.

Shelters, humane societies, and clinics are generally less expensive than veterinary hospitals. There are also mobile clinics that offer low-cost spaying and neutering services.

How Size Impacts the Cost of Spaying

Why does size impact spaying cost? Simply put, a bigger dog requires more drugs for sedation, more time to clip and clean the surgical area, more surgery time, more suture materials, additional pain medication, and, well… more everything. Big dogs generally cost more in general. However, some clinics will charge a flat rate for dogs regardless of size.

Other Factors that Impact the Cost of Spaying

Besides the size of the dog, other factors that can impact the cost of spay and castration surgery are a dog’s breed, age, health, weight, and if the dog is in heat or pregnant. Some breeds, such as bulldogs, can require more surgical time. Young dogs are usually less expensive to spay than older dogs, since they’re usually healthier and smaller. Obese dogs can require more surgical time. Dogs that are in heat or pregnant require surgery time, because blood vessels that feed the reproductive organs are larger.

Lastly, if the spay or neuter procedure is done as a treatment for a sick dog, the cost is substantially higher because of accompanying treatments, such as intravenous (IV) fluids, pain medications, and antibiotics. The hospitalization time is longer, and the risk of complications are greater with sick dogs.

For routine spay and castration procedures, the recovery time is about the same for both small and large animals. Most dogs will go home the same day of surgery or the following day.

How Early Should You Neuter Your Dog?

There are different schools of thought when it comes to the right time to neuter a dog. Some shelters perform early neutering. Historically, neutering is done around 6 months of age, however, veterinarians may perform this as early as 6 weeks and as late as 18 months. Learn more about the controversy over when to spay or castrate here.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Spaying or Castrating Your Dog?

Dogs that are not intended for breeding should be neutered. Here are some positive and negative aspects of spaying or castrating:

Positive Aspects of Spaying and Castrating

Negative Aspects of Spaying and Castrating

How Pet Insurance Can Help You Manage Costs

The amount of money pet parents in the United States spent on their furry friends nearly doubled over the last decade (jumping from 38.5 billion to 66.8 billion dollars). Expenses include one-time costs (spaying, castration, and/or microchip procedures), annual costs (vaccinations and parasite control medications), ongoing costs (food, treats, toys), and unexpected costs (such as costs related to lacerations, bite wounds, or other medical emergencies and health problems).

Pet insurance can help you cover costs related to illness and unexpected trauma, as well as the basic care or “wellness” procedures for your pet, like vaccinations, parasite control, and spaying and neutering.

Pet insurance is a great way to care for your pet on a budget. After you pay your deductible, insurance will pay a percentage of your vet bill, based on the guidelines outlined in your policy For example, if you have a policy with a 90% copay, your insurance company pays 90% of your bill, which can really help you avoid unexpected costs. Some pet insurance companies even offer basic care options to help you cover the cost of spaying and neutering. Visit PetPartners and get a quote today to see if pet insurance is right for you.