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

4 min read
Sep 25, 2023

Deciding whether or not to spay or neuter your dog is a very important decision.  Studies have shown that spayed and neutered dogs have longer lifespans.2 Neutered dogs are expected to live 13.8% longer, while spayed female dogs can boast a life expectancy of 26.3% longer. This can add anywhere from 7-10 years onto your dog’s life. But as a pet owner, what are the logistics of a surgery like this? Let’s take a look at the cost of spay and neuter surgeries.

Spay Vs Neuter: What’s the Difference?

Whether you’re considering spaying or neutering your dog, it’s important to realize they’re basically the same concept, depending on the sex of your dog.

Let’s start with neutering. In simplest terms, neutering is a surgical procedure that prevents male dogs from breeding and may lessen their drive to do so. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), during a typical neuter, the testes are removed.3 This should make a male dog unable to reproduce, while potentially reducing breeding behaviors as well.

Alternate procedures performed by some veterinarians could include:

  • Vasectomy in which only the vas deferens, which transports sperm, is removed. In this procedure, the dog’s testes remain and produce hormones, so the procedure may not eliminate mating behaviors.

Spaying is a surgical procedure that prevents female dogs from getting pregnant and having litters of puppies.  During a typical spay,  the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus of a female dog are removed.  This procedure makes the female unable to reproduce, and may eliminate both her breeding instincts and heat cycle permanently.

Although still a major surgery, spays are a common procedure performed by veterinarians.  General anesthesia may be given, but the four-legged patient typically goes home the same day. You should be prepared for your pet to have some discomfort, fatigue or confusion.

How Much Does It Cost to Neuter a Dog?

Neutering is a surgical procedure, so doing your research to determine the best options is wise and responsible. Where you live, the type of veterinary clinic and procedure you choose, and your dog’s size and breed can all affect the cost of neutering.  That said, the average cost to neuter  your dog typically runs between $340 – $1,500.

Pre-existing health conditions and the age of your pet may make the procedure more costly. Sit down with your vet and explore your options surrounding the best time, place, and procedure for your pet. You may also want to ask questions regarding blood testing, wellness exams, and post-surgery care as well.

The cost to neuter a dog is often just a portion of how much it costs to own a dog, so remember to budget accordingly if you're thinking of adding a new pet to the family. MetLife Pet Insurance offers an add-on preventative care plan that can cover costs associated with neutering your dog.

When should I neuter my dog?

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends that small male dogs be sterilized by 5 to 6 months of age.4 Meanwhile, a large or giant breed is often sterilized when growth is complete, typically between 9 to 15 months of age.  It is best to discuss options with your veterinarian.

A Pet Insurance Wellness Plan Can Help with Spay & Neuter Costs 

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How Much Does It Cost to Spay a Dog?

In order to spay your dog, a vet may first perform blood work and other tests to ensure your dog is a good candidate for surgery. Your vet may also carefully monitor her during the procedure, prescribe proper pain medications, remove sutures, or even provide follow-up care.  Therefore, the cost of spaying a dog can run from $340 – $1,500, depending on several factors:

  • Size and health of your dog
  • Where you live
  • Your veterinarian or clinic

The larger the dog, the more anesthesia may be required, and the more detailed the procedure may become.

Should the procedure be more complicated than expected, require extra testing, or result in additional complications, extra costs may apply.

Where you live is another factor that can affect the cost of spaying your dog. Vet prices may vary according to local taxes and operational expenses. If you are using a low-cost vet to perform the spaying, be sure to ask for clarification regarding what is included — all in all, price alone may not be the only motivating factor. Doing research on the cost, benefits, and risks associated with a surgery is also a good idea.

When should I spay my dog?

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends small-breed dogs (45 lbs. or less at adulthood) be spayed prior to their first heat.4 It’s recommended that large-breed dogs be spayed when they finish growing. 

Benefits of Neutering or Spaying a Dog

There are several medical and behavioral benefits to spaying and neutering your dog — let’s dive into each.

Medical benefits

As touched upon earlier, spaying and neutering can increase the overall health and lifespan of your pet. For male dogs, neutering can eliminate certain diseases like testicular cancer and prostate problems, while spaying females can help prevent reproductive infections and tumors.

Behavioral benefits

Alongside the medical benefits of these surgeries, the elimination of hormones will also have an affect on your pet’s behavior. For example, neutered male dogs may often feel less inclined to roam away in search of a mate. These procedures may also mellow out your dog by decreasing aggressive behavior.

Where to Neuter or Spay Your Dog

The best way to find a place to neuter or spay your dog is by starting a conversation with your veterinarian directly. They may know of financing options to suit your budget. But if not, your vet should be able to provide a reasonably-priced referral for your dog.

Additionally, you can check with your local pet store, animal shelter, or humane society to see if they offer vouchers or referrals. The ASPCA also maintains a comprehensive database to help you locate a low-cost neuter clinic in your community.  SpayUSA  is another potential option that offers affordable spay and neuter services nationwide.

What Pet Insurance Covers Spaying and Neutering?

Most dog insurance plans don’t cover spaying and neutering, as these operations generally fall under “elective procedures.”  However, MetLife Pet Insurance may be able to help cover some of your expenses, which could make dog insurance worth it for you. Get a quote here or call one of our experts at 855-270-7387 to see how we may be able to help you.

Ready To Get Help With Reimbursements on Neutering & Spaying Costs?

 Dr. Hunter Finn

Dr. Hunter Finn is an integrative veterinary expert first, and social media star second. America’s favorite veterinarian owns Pet Method in McKinney, Texas, where he cares for pets while prioritizing their emotional well-being. When he’s not at his clinic, he’s starring in viral videos on TikTok (2 million followers) and Instagram (500K followers) — where he’s been known to snuggle puppies and conquer the latest dance trends.

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MGIC”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MGIC’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MGIC to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions. 

Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC. 

2 Why you should spray/neuter your pet, Humane Society, 2022

3 Spaying and neutering, AVMA, 2022

4 When should I spay/neuter my pet, AAHA