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We surveyed the UK market and found pet owners pay around £220 to castrate a male dog (up from £150 in 2018) and £294 for a standard spay of a female dog (up from £170 in 2018). This makes neutering one of the biggest initial costs faced by most dog owners. While there seems to be much debate surrounding the ideal time to neuter or spay a dog, there isn't much disagreement that the procedure is expensive for dog owners. We've researched the average costs to neuter or spay a dog, as well as some low-cost options, to give you a general idea of what to expect from your vet.
Keep in mind that prices will vary depending largely on where you live and the size of your dog (e.g., medication is dispensed by weight of the pet, adding to costs for larger dogs). That said, costs can even vary significantly from vet to vet in the same town.
How Much Does it Cost to Spay a Dog?
The average cost to traditionally spay a dog is £294. The cost of a keyhole spay (laparoscopic) is around £453, close to double the price of a traditional spaying. If you can afford a keyhole procedure, your dog will have much smaller incisions and healing should be easier and less painful. In either case, the cost should include pre- and post-op checks, post-op pain relief medicine (e.g., Metacam) and a cone of shame.
But prices can vary significantly from vet to vet—for example, we found a range of prices for keyhole spays from £355 to £625. The size of your dog can also impact the price, because vets typically charge more to spay a dog that weighs more because more fluids and anaesthetic.
For older, unspayed dogs who develop pyometra (an infection of the womb), an emergency pyometra spay can cost £1,000+.
|Average Cost to Spay a Dog|
How Much Does it Cost to Castrate a Dog?
The average cost to neuter a dog is £220. Neutering is less invasive and a shorter procedure than spaying, and therefore less expensive. The price you are quoted from your vet should include pre- and post-op checks, post-op pain relief medicine (e.g., Metacam) and a cone of shame (to prevent your dog from licking the wound while it heals).
As with spaying, the cost of castrating a dog varies by the weight of the dog and varies from one vet practice to the next. The range of prices in our study was £145 to £334 for a dog castration.
|Average Cost to Neuter a Dog|
At the £220 price level, neutering is not a big money-maker for the vet. Therefore if you receive a quote that is significantly less (e.g. close to £100), be wary. At those prices, the vet may not include the pre- and post-op checks, pain medicine, etc.
Low Cost Spay and Neuter for Dogs
In certain cases, dog owners may be eligible to qualify for low-cost neuter and spay programs, which significantly reduce vet bills. Whether or not you’ll qualify may depend on your post code, the breed of your dog and/or the benefits you receive. If your household budget is tight and you're on benefits, one of these options may work for you.
Dogs Trust Vouchers
Unfortunately, Dogs Trust has closed their subsidised dog neutering programme in England, Scotland and Wales (it still operates in Northern Ireland, however).
This programme previously utilised a voucher system through which those eligible would only pay £35 for neutering and (traditional) spays—a huge cost savings of over 80%.
The RSPCA may offer reduced cost neutering or spaying (up to 75% off) to those receiving certain benefits. If you think you may qualify and could use assistance with neuter or spay fees, it's a good idea to contact your local RSPCA centre.
To qualify for PDSA assistance, pet owners need to receive eligible benefits and live within the postcode catchment area of a PDSA Pet Hospital, PDSA Pet Clinic or PDSA Pet Practice. You can check to see if you live in a catchment area on the PDSA website.
For more information on other costs of dog ownership, please see our article Average Cost of Owning a Dog.
Will Pet Insurance Cover a Neuter or Spay?
Pet insurance will not pay the cost of routine, preventative spay or castration. A pet insurance policy may, however, cover the cost of neutering your pet if your pet is suffering from an injury or illness and neutering is essential to treat that injury or illness. Regardless of why your pet is neutered, insurance will often cover costs of veterinary treatment for complications arising from a spay or castration.
Keep in mind that pet insurance won't typically reimburse for accidents that occur within the first 5 days or illnesses that occur within the first 14 days of your cover start date—although these time frames vary from policy to policy. A typical pet insurance policy will cost around £300 for an accident and illness cover.
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