Wellness

How Much Does It Cost To Spay A Dog? Compare Your Options

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Last Updated: July 28, 2023 | 6 min read | Leave a Comment

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retriever after spay surgery laying on ground with a cone on head

There are plenty of options for where to spay a female dog. However, the cost to spay a dog will depend on certain variables and your dog’s specific situation. As responsible pet parents, it’s important that we speak to our veterinarians early and are well-educated on the process. Understanding the different factors that impact the price of getting a dog spayed is essential for puppy parents. Let’s get into what factors impact cost, find out when you should spay your dog, and if it’s covered by pet insurance.

Average Cost To Spay A Dog: A Quick Comparison

For generally healthy canines, owners can expect to spend between $300 and $600. Of course, this is an estimate. Actual prices may vary based on location and your dog’s health and age. Some local areas have low-cost clinics, which can charge much less, between $50 and $200. It is more expensive to sterilize an older dog. Sterilizing a dog in heat will also have a higher price due to the extra precautions doctors must take.

Government AssistanceLow Cost Spay & Neuter Clinic ASPCA Or Humane Society Nonprofit Veterinary Clinic Your Veterinarian’s Office
$0-$100$25-$150$100-$250$150-$350$250-$600

Spaying In Dogs Procedure

In female canines, the spaying surgery, also referred to as an ovariohysterectomy, is a process that removes the ovaries and uterus. This sterilizes the female pup. In some cases, veterinarians only remove the ovaries.

It is performed under general anesthesia, generally taking 30 to 90 minutes. Some veterinarians use dissolvable stitches, while others use traditional removable ones.

After the procedure, your dog will need at least 10 to 14 days to fully recover. She must rest and recuperate for the first 24 to 48 hours and restrict activity until fully healed. Dogs often need to wear a cone to prevent licking and chewing at the surgery site. Once a pup has fully recovered, scarring is generally minimal.

How Much Does It Cost To Spay A Dog?

In the United States, spaying a dog can range from $50 to $600 or more. Animals adopted from shelters and rescues generally include this procedure in their adoption fee. Having this procedure done in a traditional veterinarian’s office typically costs around $300. Lower-cost clinics generally start around $50. Owners with pet insurance can inquire about wellness plans, which may help with preventative care expenses.

Several different factors impact the expense, including your pet’s size, weight, breed, overall health, geographic location, where the procedure is done, and if there are any financial assistance programs owners qualify for. Weight, size, and health are significant because this procedure requires anesthesia for many dogs. Some dogs will need additional lab work and testing before surgery.

The good news is that plenty of low-cost and affordable clinics are safe and employ licensed, qualified veterinarians. If owners are willing to do the research, finding a reputable clinic is easy to do.

At Your Vet’s Office

Many pet owners elect to have this procedure performed by their regular veterinarian. However, the vet’s office is often the most expensive choice. On average, it can range from $250 to $600 or more. There are several benefits to having your regular veterinarian perform this surgery. They are familiar with your pup, know her health history, and you and your dog will both feel more comfortable with someone you trust. Some veterinary offices have payment plans, reduced-fee clinics, or financial hardship programs. Discuss this with your veterinarian before your pup’s surgery date.

Large-Chain Veterinary Clinics

Some large chain pet stores offer veterinary clinics. These include PetSmart’s Banfield Pet Hospital and Petco’s Veterinary Services. Price will vary depending on geographical location. According to Banfield Pet Hospital’s price estimator, a spaying package for a puppy under six months costs about $450. Puppies over six months who weigh under 50 pounds run an average of $500. Those over six months old and larger than 50 pounds are estimated at $590. Of course, these expenses vary by geographical location, so you must check with your specific clinic for a detailed price projection.

Nonprofit Veterinary Clinics

Many local areas have smaller nonprofit vet clinics. These are often a less expensive option for some owners. Of course, prices vary by service, location, and your canine’s individual needs. If you can find a nonprofit clinic in your area, these can often save you at least $100 or more on the price of this surgery.

ASPCA Or Humane Society

The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Humane Society often offer cost-saving alternatives to traditional veterinary clinics. In some places, owners can save up to half the expense of spaying their pets. Several ASPCA locations will offer low-income rates and programs. Owners must provide proof of income and public assistance. However, in some cases, they can qualify for a free or significantly reduced rate. Local chapters of the American Humane Society also often participate in low-cost spay and neuter programs.

Low-Cost Spay & Neuter Clinics

Along with national organizations like humane societies and the ASPCA, most areas will offer low-cost spay and neuter clinics. Pet stores, private veterinarians, and local groups often put on these.

Low-cost clinics often limit services to specific geographical area residents. In some cases, proof of income or government assistance may be necessary. Owners should start by looking online and talking to their vet and local pet store about recommendations for affordable clinics.

State Or Local Government Assistance Programs

Many local, county, and state governments offer spay and neuter assistance and voucher programs. These often have income restrictions and may require owners to show proof of government benefits. Once qualified, owners will pay a much lower fee, anywhere from $0 to $100 or so, for the entire procedure cost. Research your local, county, and state governments to see if they offer these veterinary assistance programs.

When Should I Spay My Dog?

The guidelines recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) for spaying puppies and young dogs are as follows:

  • Small breeds under 45 pounds of projected adult body weight should be spayed before their anticipated heat cycle, which is generally between five and six months of age. Doing so has a significant impact on reducing the risk of developing mammary tumors.
  • Large breeds, those expected to be over 45 pounds for projected adult body weight, should wait until growth stops between 5 and 15 months old. Large and giant breeds take longer to grow and mature than smaller breeds. It is crucial to avoid spaying these bigger dogs too early. Doing so before reaching maturity can increase the risk of urinary incontinence, knee injury, and behaviors including noise phobia and separation anxiety.

What about adult dogs? Owners who adopt older animals may be faced with deciding whether to have them spayed. The good news is that female canines are never too old for this procedure. Even dogs who have given birth to several litters can be fixed. In older dogs spaying is done more to benefit the animal’s health than to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Our Personal Experience Spaying An Older Dog

Sadie and Lexie

“We rescued our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at the age of 4. She was not yet fixed when we got her so that was one of our first priorities (in addition to getting a health exam). Luckily the vet didn’t detect any heart murmurs (which is a health issue Cavaliers are prone to) that can prevent dogs from undergoing anesthesia required for the procedure. We ended up taking her to a low-cost clinic in DC and she had no complications with the surgery, despite her older age. They did find out while under the knife, that she was on the tail end of being in heat, which we didn’t realize, but that didn’t create any complications, she just had some extra bleeding.”

– Sadie C., Canine Journal

Pyometra, or uterine infection, is a concern for intact female dogs of any age. This infection can become fatal if untreated, though it is more common in dogs who have given birth than those who have not.

Spaying Benefits

You may be wondering if it’s worth the cost. The short answer is yes. There are many benefits of spaying your dog. A few of the many reasons you should get your dog spayed include preventing:

  • Heat, stress, and pregnancy
  • Spraying in the home due to the heat cycle
  • Hormone fluctuations and irregularity
  • Risk of breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer
  • Pyometra, an infection of the uterus
  • Behavioral issues, including separation anxiety

In addition, it can extend the lifespan compared and helps with long-term care costs. Spaying and neutering do not cause a pup to gain weight, nor will it fix all behavioral issues.

In some cases, spaying is necessary because of a medical condition. These can include:

  • Diabetes and treatment
  • Pyometra, infection, or cancer
  • Ovarian cysts and irregular cycles
  • After a difficult or cesarean birth

Does Pet Insurance Cover Spaying?

Most pet insurance policies only cover spaying if you have purchased an additional wellness plan. If you have not already gotten pet insurance, it is something to consider, as it is helpful in emergencies and unforeseeable illnesses and accidents. Learn more about how pet insurance works and what is covered in our guide, is pet insurance worth it?

Do You Need Help For Other Pet Costs?

Owning a dog is a big responsibility and a long-term financial commitment. It can get expensive at times. Fortunately, many programs are available to assist with veterinary bills and pet supplies when people are experiencing financial hardship. You may be able to find help and learn more in our guide on resources for pet financial assistance. Several organizations across the United States are committed to helping keep pets safe, healthy, and happy when owners are experiencing financial difficulty.

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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