Pet Blog / Spaying and Neutering Guide for Pet Owners

Spaying and Neutering Guide for Pet Owners

An important decision new pet owners must make is whether to spay or neuter their cat or dog. Many veterinarians consider these procedures as a critical facet of a pet’s overall health and wellness, but it’s important to have a full understanding of what is involved before scheduling the surgery. 

Continue reading to learn what spaying and neutering are, how much they cost, and how pet insurance can relieve you of some of the expenses associated with the surgery.

What does spaying and neutering entail?

Spaying and neutering are permanent, irreversible surgical procedures that remove an animal’s reproductive organs, effectively sterilizing your pet. Spaying refers to the procedure used for female cats and dogs, while neutering is the term used for males. 

When you should spay or neuter your cat or dog is important for the animal’s safety. Your veterinarian will take the type, breed, and overall health of your pet into account to recommend the best timing and course of treatment. Cats may be spayed or neutered as young as eight weeks and up to five months old, while most dogs will undergo the surgery between six and nine months old.

Should I have my pet spayed or neutered?

Choosing whether to spay or neuter your pet is a personal decision. Most pet owners decide this treatment for their cat or dog to prevent unexpected litters that can contribute to overpopulation.

Spaying and neutering both also help to curb certain behaviors in your pet, including aggression and spraying in dogs, and cats yowling or urinating outside of their litter box. Finally, the surgery can reduce the risk for a range of medical conditions, such as uterine infections in females and testicular cancer in males.  

How much does it cost to spay or neuter a dog or cat?

The costs associated with spaying and neutering pets can widely differ depending on where you live; the type, breed, size, and age of your pet; whether anesthesia will be used in the procedure; and your vet’s specific policy. On average, you’ll spend between $50 and $300 for the surgery. Blood work or post-op pain medication can incur additional charges as well. 

If you’re looking to save on spaying or neutering, low-cost services may be available through your local Humane Society, SPCA, or animal shelter. If you’re new to your veterinary office, they may also offer discounts or specials.

Does pet insurance cover spaying and neutering?

A basic accident and illness pet insurance policy may or may not cover spaying and neutering, and pet owners with major medical or accident-only plans will not be covered for these procedures, as they are generally considered elective. 

However, many pet insurance carriers provide add-on options available to help pet owners cover the costs of spaying or neutering surgery. These are offered as wellness rewards — purchased on top of the main policy — that cover both routine and preventative care including spaying and neutering or reimburse the pet owner following the procedure.

How much of the surgery will be covered is contingent upon the insurer and its coverage or reimbursement limits. You can browse available policy and coverage options for your cat or dog here.