November 15, 2019

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

It will typically cost between $35-$400 to spay or neuter a dog. The pricing disparity is because there are low-cost clinics, but the “regular” vet will typically charge more. Generally, female spaying is more expensive than male neutering. This is because a spay procedure is a bit more complicated. 

If a dog has preexisting health conditions, is going through heat or needs extra blood testing beforehand, the cost can get as much as $600 — this, however, isn’t typical. 

We’ll get into specifics below, but above all, it’s important to get your furry best friend spayed and neutered if possible. Not only does the operation help mitigate the skyrocketing stray dog population, it also helps eliminate unwanted behavior from your pet later on. The operation also helps mitigate many potential health problems.

So, what all goes into the cost? Below we’ve sniffed out all the hidden costs and fetched helpful tips to make sure your new companion is ready for a lifetime of health right off the bat.


What Should Be Included in the Cost?

Obviously, the cost includes the operation — also typically included is a full physical exam, the price of anesthesia, any blood work or monitoring needed and pain meds for after the procedure. Specific elements can vary per your specific pup. Low-cost clinics typically don’t offer blood work, nor a full pre-exam.

At a full-cost clinic, pets are on anesthetic monitoring equipment (oxygen stats, blood pressure, etc) and closely monitored (someone always with them) until he/she is standing up- neither of these occur in low-cost facilities.

During a spay procedure, a vet will remove a dog’s uterus and ovaries. It is important to note,  "spay" is a term used in veterinary medicine for a full ovariohysterectomy

In a neutering procedure, a veterinarian removes a dog's testicles, and if necessary the scrotum. To perform the operation, vets use anesthesia, as well as vital sign monitors. Generally speaking, neither a spay or a neuter operation will last more than an hour.

While the respective procedures are the same from clinic to clinic, the price rarely is.

Types of clinic aside, the cost of spaying or neutering will depend on dog size. A chihuahua’s operation will generally cost much less than a St. Bernard’s. More anesthesia will typically bump up the price of the operation. And above all, the larger the dog the longer the surgery. 

Are There Any Additional Costs Involved?

As mentioned above, the current health and size of your pup will dictate what extra charges occur during a spay or neuter operation. Each operation runs on a case-by-case basis. Generally speaking, the older the pet, (i.e. the more developed the reproductive organs) the more involved the surgery. Knowing your dog’s needs before going in for surgery can alleviate stress and unexpected costs. 

Luckily, most clinics offer pre-consultations and evaluations to determine what the operation will require. This is a good opportunity for a pet parent to get comfortable with the surgeon who will be taking care of their precious pet. 

A dog that’s in heat or pregnant can shoot up prices $50-150. Exceedingly obese dogs may require more equipment, which typically brings the price up immensely. If there are extra pain medications the price can increase by $10-$30.

How to Find Low-Cost Spay or Neuter Clinics

Low-cost spay and neuter clinics are widely accessible and their services are essentially the same as those provided by privately owned veterinary offices.

However, low cost offers many of the same procedures as a privately owned hospital but as mentioned previously, there may be a difference in the personal one-on-one care of the pet and anesthetic monitoring, for example.

The best place to look for low-cost services is online, as many of them are trying to promote their services to reduce the number of strays. Another helpful place to look is your local Humane Society's web page. 

Your local animal shelter is another resource, as they rarely refer adopters to privately owned veterinary practices. This is because, like shelters, low-cost spay clinics are usually subsidized by local government and/or other non-profit organizations wanting to help pet owners curb overpopulation issues.

When looking for a clinic to go with, should your adoption agency not refer you to a preferred provider, take a tour of the clinic! This is completely normal and can ease any concerns about the entire spay/neuter process. 

A trustworthy veterinarian should be happy to show you around their facility and answer any questions regarding their methods.

In particular, make sure to ask about their anesthesia and monitoring techniques. Most vets will have the same process and should be able to tell you if your dog has a high or low-risk application profile.

Below you’ll find a list of places to start your search.

Are There Any Differences Between Discount and “Regular” Clinics?

As mentioned, “regular” spay/neuter clinics are privately owned veterinary practices, whereas discount clinics are almost always subsidized by either governmental or non-profit agencies.

Here is a list of the other differences between “regular” and discount clinics.

  • They typically don’t offer pre-exam blood work, supportive IV fluid therapy, vital sign, blood pressure, and body temperature monitoring

  • Their vets typically have a much higher volume of operations/day.

  • They don’t offer routine care — just spay/neutering.

  • Some may not offer inhalant anesthesia, which is the most popular option among vets. 

The best way to know what a service will include is to ask! Whether you decide to go with a low-cost clinic or a private vet, it’s essential to know what your dog will be receiving as a patient.

Regardless of which one you feel is best for your pet, remember, it’s important and responsible to get your dog spayed or neutered. You will thank yourself down the road.

What Is Ask at Adoption?

Almost all shelters require a pup to be spayed before they’re brought home. This helps alleviate the burden of finding a clinic to go with, and the cost is usually included in the adoption fee. 

Some adoption centers will have their own vet on staff, while others will contract out to a preferred clinic. “Ask At Adoption" is the name of this process. 

Still not sure about which option to go with? That’s ok! We believe that the choice should be well thought out and it’s important to remember that it’s completely up to you as the owner. Both low-cost and traditional clinics have their perks. Researching which will be best for your specific dog and situation is the best thing to do.

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