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How Much Does It Cost to Spay or Neuter a Dog? 2022 Price Guide

Golden retriever about to undergo operation

Spaying or neutering your dog is a big decision because it’s a surgical procedure, which always comes with its own set of risks. Another part of the big decision is the cost of the surgical procedure. Price shopping for spaying or neutering can be beneficial to you, especially if your dog doesn’t have any high-risk medical conditions. For high-risk pets, it’s best to stick with your normal veterinarian or whoever they refer you to since they are most familiar with your dog. Here are the things you should know about the cost of getting your dog spayed or neutered.

What’s the Difference between Spaying and Neutering?

Spaying is equivalent to a hysterectomy in a human and is performed on female dogs or dogs with internal female anatomy. Neutering is also called castration and is performed on male dogs. Neutering can be performed on male dogs before or after the testes have dropped.

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How Much Does Spaying a Dog Cost?

Spaying your dog will vary significantly in cost based on where you live and the size of your dog. Your income may play into the cost if you are using a low-cost service. Other factors that impact the cost include your dog’s health status and age. Female dogs that are in season, pregnant, or obese will cost significantly more to spay than other female dogs. For a healthy dog that is not in season, the average cost of a spay is going to cost between $200–400. Low-cost clinics will often spay a healthy, young dog for less than $200, with some spaying small dogs for as little as $40–50.

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What Does a Spay Surgery Involve?

Spaying a female dog involves the complete removal of the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. When a dog is in heat, these organs are swollen and prone to bleeding, making the surgery higher risk. To spay your dog, the surgeon will make an incision on the lower portion of the abdomen, allowing them to access these organs. Some surgeons will use internal sutures, which doesn’t require the removal of stitches after surgery. However, some surgeons do use non-dissolvable sutures, which will need to be removed approximately 10–14 days after the surgery.

Some bruising around the incision site can occur with spay surgeries, but the incision typically heals with minimal scarring. In fact, it can be difficult to tell if a female dog has been spayed or not if she is found as a stray since the scarring can be so mild. Your dog may need to wear an e-collar, colloquially known as the “cone of shame”, after surgery to keep her from licking or chewing at her incision.

What Does the Cost Typically Include?

The cost of your dog’s spay will vary depending on where your dog is spayed and what additions you agree to or decline. Generally, the cost of the spay will involve more than just the surgery itself. The cost will also include the cost of surgical supplies, anesthesia, and the time of the veterinarian and their staff. It may also include IV fluids and additional medications needed before, during, and after the procedure.

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Your vet may also want to perform a pre-op blood panel on your dog to ensure there is not an underlying medical condition. Some vets will allow you to opt out of this option. Other expenses often included in the cost include pain medications and antibiotics for home, as well as an e-collar.

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How Much Does Neutering a Dog Cost?

Like spaying a dog, the cost of neutering a dog will vary based on the size and age of your dog, as well as the area you live in. However, neutering a dog is typically significantly less expensive than spaying a dog due to the less invasive nature of the surgery. The exception to this is if your dog has cryptorchid testes, which means the testes are still inside the body and have not properly dropped. This surgery is more invasive than a normal neuter and often costs close to what a spay would cost. To have your dog neutered, the average neuter price is going to be around $75–250. If your dog is neutered in a low-cost clinic, a neuter will likely cost you less than $75, with some low-cost clinics only charging $20–40 on a neuter.

What Does a Neuter Surgery Involve?

A neuter is a lot more straightforward than a spay surgery. Neutering a dog involves making an incision at the base of the scrotum and removing the testes through the incision. This incision is often closed with internal sutures, although some surgeons use external sutures. Sometimes, surgical glue is used in small dogs.

If your dog has one or two cryptorchid testes, then the surgeon will have to make an incision in your dog’s abdomen to remove the retained testicle. It is less involved than a spay surgery but is still quite invasive. A cryptorchid neuter is much higher risk than the average normal neuter surgery. It’s important to understand, though, that a cryptorchid testicle can still be fully functional, so your dog would still be able to produce pups if left intact.

What Does the Cost Typically Include?

The cost of a neuter involves many of the same things as a spay. The cost covers the surgery, the surgeon and staff’s time, surgical supplies, anesthesia, and medications needed before, during, and after the surgery. It will also likely cover the cost of medications you might need to take home, like pain medications, and an e-collar. Pre-op blood tests are recommended for any animal that undergoes anesthesia, so even with a low-risk surgery like a normal dog neuter, a blood panel is still recommended. This will help rule out underlying conditions you may not be aware of.

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In Conclusion

Getting your dog spayed or neutered can be a big expense, but it is worth it. There are medical benefits associated with spaying and neutering, and an animal that has been spayed or neutered cannot make puppies. In many areas, there is an overabundance of dogs and puppies that need homes. Many animals are euthanized annually because of this issue, so spaying and neutering can help reduce the risk of unwanted or unexpected litters of puppies.

If you are unsure about neutering or spaying your dog, talk to your dog’s veterinarian. They can help guide you and help you understand the pros and cons of having these procedures done. When it comes down to it, the final decision falls to you, so you have to weigh the pros and cons carefully to ensure you are doing the best thing for your dog.

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