You’ve probably heard your vet mention that you should spay or neuter your puppy when they reach a certain age. This is neither a life-threatening procedure nor an uncommon one, with hundreds of dogs and cats being sterilized every day in the UK. Unless you’re a registered breeder, you should consider this option for your dog as it is both beneficial to their health and behavior.
Unfortunately, spaying or neutering your dog is expensive, and you’ll most likely have to budget for it. We’ve done the research and have listed all the costs that you’ll need to consider down below to help you prepare for this important step in your dog’s life.
The Differences Between Spaying and Neutering
Although spaying and neutering have the same outcome, the procedures are completely different. Both spaying and neutering are sterilization procedures done by a vet that will prevent your dog from being able to reproduce. The procedure can often be done on your puppy from around 5 months old, but it’s always necessary to consult your vet first because their breed, size, and sex play a role in the decision-making.
“Spaying” is the sterilization procedure that is performed on female dogs when their ovaries and womb are removed, while “neutering” or “castration” is performed on male dogs, which involves removing their testicles. Both procedures are performed under general anesthesia to ensure the safety of your dog as well as to reduce the stress and pain that typically accompanies surgery.
The Benefits of Dog Spaying or Neutering Your Dog
Thankfully, your dog only needs to undergo this surgery once. Although it can be stressful to send your dog in for surgery, spaying and neutering have many health and behavioral advantages. In fact, 82% of vets in the UK think the procedure should be compulsory for dogs if their owners aren’t registered breeders.
Neutering your dog is a form of preventative care and can extend their life. Spaying your female dog will reduce the risk of certain illnesses and cancers, such as uterine infections and breast cancer.
It’s an easy route to take if you want to prevent unwanted pregnancies or the mess that accompanies your dog when they come into season. Spaying your dog will stop their bleeding and the attention from male dogs. It’ll also save you money later on because you won’t have to pay for pregnancy and nursing care, including all the treatment their puppies will require.
If you have dogs that are siblings and of the opposite sex, you should sterilize at least one of them because they will instinctively mate when the female comes into season, and if she falls pregnant, she’ll produce a litter of puppies with birth defects and deformities.
Neutering your male dog will eliminate the risk of testicular cancer as well as reduce the risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia. It’ll also reduce their drive to mark in your house, run away, and express aggressive behavior.
The Disadvantages of Spaying or Neutering Your Dog
Many people prefer to avoid talking about the disadvantages of spaying or neutering dogs. However, we believe that the best decisions are made when dog owners are fully informed. Spaying or neutering your dog involves surgery, which is never 100% safe as there is a risk of infection, although it is uncommon.
Another disadvantage is that the procedure is expensive and often isn’t covered by pet insurance policies because it’s considered a preventative treatment. This means that you’ll have to pay out of your pocket, including all the medication and recovery costs.
If your puppy is spayed or neutered too young, they may encounter physical problems in their bodies as they age. Removing their reproductive organs also removes vital hormones that contribute to their development from puppies to adults. Some dogs might be at a higher risk of hemangiosarcoma after being spayed.
It’s always a good idea to chat through your concerns with your vet and come to a decision together. If they think your dog is at risk of developing health issues if they get spayed or neutered, they’ll discuss alternative methods of sterilization with you.
How Much Does Dog Spaying or Neutering Cost in the UK?
We can’t give you an exact cost on how much spaying or neutering your dog in the UK will cost because your dog is unique, and there are several factors that will influence the price. However, you should consider budgeting between £175 to £350.
The gender of your dog is a huge factor that affects the cost. Spaying a female dog often costs more because it requires more time, skill, and recovery. The breed of your dog and their weight are also taken into consideration, as well as the type of treatment you choose for them.
As someone who lives in the UK, you’ll know that prices vary depending on where you stay. The same is true with veterinary care. If you take your dog to be spayed or neutered in London, you’ll pay a much higher cost than if you took them to a vet practice in Cornwall.
The Cost of Spaying and Neutering Throughout the UK
Additional Costs to Anticipate
Thankfully, when you pay for your dog to be spayed or neutered, the price you’re given usually covers most of the costs involved. Your dog will have to undergo general anesthesia in order to perform the surgery. Although general anesthesia is expensive, it isn’t negotiable as it’s the only way for the vet to be able to work on your dog without them moving around and complicating the surgery. It also helps minimize your dog’s stress and pain.
Many vet practices will have to examine your dog before they can give you an exact cost for the surgery—and as we’ve mentioned, your dog’s size, gender, and weight are factors that will affect the cost. Most vets include the consultation cost in the price they give you for the procedure, but some don’t, and you’ll have to pay those separately.
Other costs to anticipate are the post-op checkup where the vet will remove your dog’s stitches, pain relief medication, and the protective cone your dog might have to wear if they try to lick or bite at their stitches. Thankfully, most vet practices include all these extras in the quoted price they give you, but it’s important to ask and confirm so as not to be left with unexpected expenses.
What to Expect
Taking your dog into surgery is scary but knowing what to expect can ease your anxiety. Some steps differ from one vet practice to another, so be sure to chat to your vet and ask them to explain everything to you, from what to expect to what you can do to best care for your dog pre-and post-surgery.
You’ll likely be asked not to give your dog any food on the day of the surgery. Water is also not recommended but is usually fine before 7 am. Your dog needs to have an empty stomach during surgery to avoid certain risks.
When your dog goes in for the surgery, they’ll be given painkillers as well as general anesthesia that’ll put them to sleep before the vet starts operating. The vet will shave the hair around the area where they’ll cut and either remove the testicles or the womb and ovaries.
Your dog won’t have to stay overnight at the vet, but they will be monitored for a few hours after the surgery. You’ll be phoned when your dog is ready to go home. Allow your dog to take it easy for the rest of the day, as they’ll probably still be sleepy from the effects of the general anesthetic.
You may have to give your dog prescribed medication for a few days after the surgery. You should also avoid taking them on runs or strenuous activities until they’re fully healed. Your vet will give you a date for when you should return with your dog so that they can make sure everything is fine and remove their stitches.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Dog Spaying and Neutering?
Although most dogs in the UK have responsible owners that get them spayed or neutered, most pet insurance policies don’t cover the procedure because it’s considered “preventative treatment”. It is unfortunate because getting your dog spayed or neutered will often be one of the most expensive vet costs you’ll have to pay, and it’s so important.
The only time pet insurance will help cover costs connected to spaying or neutering is when there’s been a complication with the procedure that results in your dog needing further vet care or if your dog requires neutering due to another health problem.
How to Pay for Dog Spaying and Neutering on a Budget
If you’re eager to get your dog spayed or neutered, but you’re on a tight budget, there are ways to lower the costs.
Firstly, compare vet costs. Vet practices often charge slightly different fees for their procedures, and if you look around and ask for quotes from all the different vets in your area, you will end up with one that charges a bit less.
You also need to make sure that they cover all the extras. One vet may seem much cheaper than the rest but exclude the consultation fee, medication, post-op checkup, and the cone. These extras add up and can be more expensive than the full package.
You could also consider getting the procedure done in a more affordable area. As we’ve mentioned, where you get the procedure done can affect the cost. Vet practices in London charge the highest fees, while many practices in Southwest England charge the lowest. You could spend the night at a family member or friend’s house and save a bit of money.
If you’re still considering getting a dog and doing the research beforehand, you could opt for a small breed. Small breeds are charged the least when it comes to spaying and neutering, especially if you have a male dog.
Lastly, you could look into the RSPCA and PDSA benefits to check if you qualify. If you do, you could pay a reduced cost.
Depending on the breed, size, weight, and gender of your dog, as well as the location of the vet practice you choose, you may end up paying between £175 to £350 for your dog to be spayed or neutered. Unfortunately, most pet insurance policies don’t cover this procedure, and you’ll have to fund it yourself.
Although expensive, getting your dog sterilized comes with many health and behavioral benefits, and there are ways to lower the cost, such as comparing vet prices or qualifying for RSPCA or PDSA benefits.
Featured Image Credit: Simon Kadula, Shutterstock