A surgeon neuters a dog.

What Happens When You Neuter a Dog?

Pet parents commonly have questions about what occurs when a pet is neutered. Below, we will review the process before, during, and after the surgery.

Neuter is a Latin word that refers to the removal of an animal’s reproductive organ. The term “neuter” is often used improperly to refer only to the castration of male animals, however, the same process occurs when a female dog is spayed. For the purposes of this article, we will use the term neuter to describe the process for males.

Why Dog Neutering Is Important

Neutering can prevent the death of unwanted animals and is an extremely simple procedure.

Neutering your dog:

What Happens When You Neuter a Dog

The male neutering procedure, medically known as castration or orchiectomy, is a surgical procedure in which both testicles are removed from the dog’s body.

What to Expect the Day Before Surgery

Your veterinarian will provide you with recommendations on what you can do the day before surgery. For most dogs, they will recommend that you not feed them after 6 p.m. or give water after midnight the night before surgery. This may vary slightly as some toy breed dogs may be offered food later to prevent low blood sugar problems (hypoglycemia).

If your dog is taking medication, ask your vet if they want you to give the medication the morning of surgery. If your dog is diabetic, discuss the insulin dose you should give with your vet prior to the morning of the neuter. Plan to bring any medications your dog is taking with you in case your vet decides to administer them.

What to Expect the Day of Surgery

Below is what happens at many veterinary hospitals, but the exact procedure may vary depending on your veterinary and the individual hospital.

How Much Does It Cost To Neuter a Dog?

A dog shelter is often the most cost effective place to get your dog neutered, and some shelters have special pricing. If you have pet insurance, some companies offer “basic care” or “wellness care” coverage that covers routine care such as vaccinations, dental cleaning, and neutering.