So, what is the typical cost to spay or neuter a dog? On average, it costs between $35-$400 to spay or neuter a dog depending on your location. The wide pricing disparity is because there are multiple low-cost clinics in every state, but “regular” vets will typically charge you more.
Generally, spaying a female dog is more expensive than neutering a male dog. This is because a spay procedure is much more elaborate and complicated.
If your dog has preexisting health conditions, is undergoing heat, or requires extra blood testing before the procedure, the cost can get as high as $600 — this, however, is not typical.
Regardless of the cost, it is important to have your pooch spayed or neutered to help mitigate the skyrocketing stray dog population and prevent potential health problems later on.
So, what goes into the cost to neuter or spay a dog? Below, we’ve sniffed out all the hidden charges and fetched helpful tips to help you make some savings while ensuring that your new companion is ready for a lifetime of good health right off the bat.
What Should Be Included in the Cost to Spay or Neuter a Dog
Obviously, the cost of spaying or neutering a dog includes the operation itself. Other cost parameters include a full physical exam, the cost of anesthesia, any blood work or monitoring required, and pain medications prescribed after the procedure.
Specific cost elements can vary from one vet to the other. Low-cost clinics typically don’t offer full exams or blood work, which brings down the cost of spaying or neutering.
If you opt for a full-cost clinic, your pup will be put on anesthetic monitoring equipment (blood pressure, pulse rate, oxygen stats, etc) and closely monitored throughout the procedure (someone will always be with them) until he/she is standing up. As a result, the cost of the procedure can rise significantly.
While spay and neuter procedures are the same in all clinics, the price rarely is. Other than the type of clinic, the cost of spaying or neutering will also depend on the size of your dog. The cost of neutering or spaying a Chihuahua will generally be much less than the cost of spaying or neutering a giant dog breed such as St. Bernard.
A larger dog breed will typically require more anesthesia, which bumps up the price of the operation. Moreover, the larger the dog, the longer the surgical procedure! That’s why spaying or neutering smaller dog breed like chihuahuas often cost less.
Additional Costs of Neutering/Spaying a Dog
Generally, the current health condition of your pup and his/her size will greatly determine the cost of spaying or neutering. Each procedure runs on a case by case basis.
Typically, older dogs with more developed reproductive organs will require more detailed surgery, which raises the cost. That’s why many dog owners take their pups for spaying/neutering at an early age to cut down on the cost.
Knowing your dog’s specific needs before going in for surgery can alleviate the stress of receiving unexpected charges.
Luckily, many reputable clinics offer pre-consultations and evaluations to determine what the procedure will require. This provides a great opportunity for you to get comfortable with the surgeon who will be operating on your precious pet.
Also, note that if your dog is on heat or pregnant at the time of spaying, the cost can shoot up to $50-$150. Exceedingly obese pups may also require more equipment to safely complete the operation, which can shoot up the price immensely. If your vet prescribes extra pain medications, the price can increase by as much as $10-$30.
How to Find Low-Cost Neuter or Spay Clinics
There are lots of low-cost spay and neuter clinics throughout the country. Most of them offer the same level of service provided by privately owned vet offices but at a fraction of the price.
However, there may be a difference in the personal one-on-one care of your pet and anesthetic monitoring.
You can check online to locate low-cost services in your area since many of them promote their services online to reduce the number of strays. Another useful place to check is your local Humane Society’s web page.
A local animal shelter may also provide you with reliable references as they rarely refer dog owners to privately owned veterinary offices. Like shelters, low-cost spay clinics often provided subsidized services with part of the cost covered by local governments and other non-profit organizations seeking to help dog owners curb overpopulation problems.
Once you’ve settled on a clinic, be sure to take a tour around the clinic and ask as many questions as you can to help ease any concerns about the whole process of neutering or spaying.
A trustworthy vet should be happy to show you around their clinic and answer any questions you might have regarding their methods.
In particular, make sure you ask about their anesthesia admission and monitoring techniques. Most veterinarians will have the same process and should be able to advise you if your pup has a high or low-risk application profile.
Below, we have compiled a list of places to start your search for a trustworthy low-cost spay/neuter clinic.
- Gallants Spay/Neuter Directory
- Animal League Spay Resources
- Care Credit Vet Resources
- Humane Society Spay and Neuter Resource
- ASPCA Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Programs
- AVMA Low-Cost Spay Programs
Key Differences between Discount and Regular Spay/Neuter Clinics
As mentioned before, “regular” neuter/spay clinics are privately owned vet practices, whereas discount clinics offer almost the same services but at subsidized costs by either governmental or non-profit agencies.
Here are other key differences between “regular” and discount neuter/spay clinics:
- Discount clinics typically don’t offer pre-exam blood work, vital signs, body temperature, and blood pressure monitoring, and supportive IV fluid therapy.
- Vets at discount clinics typically have a much higher volume of operations per day.
- Discount clinics don’t offer routine care — just neuter/spay operation.
- Some discount clinics may not offer inhalant anesthesia, which is the most common anesthetic option among vets.
Whether you decide to go with a private vet or a low-cost clinic, it’s essential to know what your furry friend will be receiving as a patient.
Ask At Adoption!
Most states have spay and neuter laws that require dogs to be spayed before they’re given out for adoption. This helps you alleviate the problem of searching for a clinic to go with, and the cost of neutering or spaying is often included in the adoption fee.
Some adoption centers have their own vet on staff, while others usually contract out to a preferred clinic. This process is commonly referred to as “Ask At Adoption.”
Ultimately, it’s completely up to you as the dog owner to choose which clinic to go with. Both low-cost and regular clinics have their perks. A little research will help you choose what will work best for your specific pup and situation.