The Cost to Spay a Dog is High, But Low-Cost Clinics Can Help

It's a pet parent's responsibility to alter their pet. But, how much does it really cost to spay a dog?

Owning a dog is expensive, especially when it comes to their medical care. This is particularly true without good pet insurance, because you can't predict if your pup will get sick or injured. Setting your dog up for a healthy, safe social life, there's one necessary procedure that can also be a pretty costly one: spaying or neutering. Unfortunately, the cost to spay a dog is one of the biggest reasons why people do not get it done, even though it's the best way to prevent overpopulation in crowded rescues and shelters.

How Much Does It Cost to Spay a Dog?

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Pet overpopulation is a huge problem, especially considering how many puppies a female dog and her pups can produce. According to PETA, an unaltered female dog and her pups can have 67,000 puppies over six years. That's a lot of puppies fighting for spots in already crowded animal shelters. Of course, male dogs can have an infinite amount of puppies during the height of their adult lives.

Most pet owners know the importance of getting their dogs altered, but the procedure tends to be cost-prohibitive for many.

The cost of spaying or neutering your dog varies based on their gender, weight, and breed. Through a small local vet clinic, getting your dog neutered or spayed can cost over $600, which is quite the sticker shock for most people. However, most veterinarians will do blood work and update vaccinations before doing the spay or neuter surgery. Most importantly, if your pup is not current on their rabies vaccination, they will receive it before getting their anesthetic.

During the surgery, your pup receives pain medication, and you will usually bring some home with you post-surgery. For females, all of their reproductive organs will be removed, while males have their testicles removed. If your pup is a cryptorchid, meaning they have an undescended testicle, the procedure will have an added fee since it is a more invasive surgical procedure. Some vets may also microchip dogs while at the veterinary clinic.

The vet will monitor your pup the entire time to ensure the procedure goes well and that they are recovering before sending them home. In some cases, this may require an overnight stay. Your pup will go home with a cone to keep them from messing with their sutures. You should have your pup spayed before their first heat, which can happen as young as six months of age. This will reduce mammary tumors and prevent uterine infections in female dogs and eliminate the concern for testicular cancer in males. Sterilization can also mitigate some behavioral problems that are common in males. Dog spay procedures should take place by at least 12 months old, and dog neuter surgeries should be done by 18 months.

If a vet is your only option, you can look into payment plans and discount programs to lessen the cost to spay your dog. However, it may be worth looking into a low-cost clinic first.

Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Clinics

golden retriever with cone on

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Low-cost clinics are quite common. However, accessibility can be an issue for many people, especially in rural areas. Some clinics only take people within a specific zip code or show that they cannot afford to pay over $600 for a spay/neuter surgery. To combat steep prices, many rescue organizations like the Humane Society and ASPCA offer spay or neuter clinics for free or greatly reduced costs. Sometimes, they even offer mobile clinics.

Petsmart charities also partner with these larger rescue organizations to provide low-cost spay and neuter services and have a searchable database. Some non-profit clinics cap the spay or neuter surgeries at animals 40 pounds or under. For example, Animal Save charges $100 for male dogs under 20 pounds and $115 if they are 21-40 pounds. Females on the other hand have more conditions; if they are under 20 pounds, it costs $115 if they have not had a heat cycle, but costs $175 if they have. If your female dog is between 21-40 pounds and hasn't had a heat cycle it is $135 or $190 if they are older than a year or have had a heat cycle.

If your state offers a voucher, it can cost anywhere between $60-$75 to neuter or spay your dog, while a non-profit clinic can be anywhere from $50-$80 based on your pup's weight. Since many programs are based on weight, it is best to take your pup in as soon as they are old enough, especially if you have a large dog. Some pet insurance providers do offer coverage, though it is an add-on.

How much did it cost to spay your dog? Tell us on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page. 

READ MORE: Tips for Spay And Neuter Care Before & After Surgery