👉 Before you dive into the article, be sure to familiarize yourself with the terms and verbiage used regularly when talking about pet insurance in our pet insurance glossary.
- Most pet insurance policies don’t cover spay and neuter surgeries — That’s because insurers consider them to be elective procedures. Additional pet wellness plans, however, might cover them.
- You may pay nothing or as much as $500 — Some non-profit clinics offer free spaying and neutering while more complicated surgeries can cost hundreds.
- Neuter surgeries are less expensive than spaying — Neutering is a less complicated surgery in most cases, but it’s still surgery with costs between $75 and $350. You’ll typically pay between $200 and $500 to spay a cat or dog.
What are spaying and neutering?
During a spay, also called an ovariohysterectomy, the vet removes the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus from a female dog or cat. Neutering — also called castration — is when a vet removes your male dog or cat’s testes. These procedures make them unable to reproduce and possibly transmit genetic predispositions, such as hip or elbow dysplasia.
How much does it cost to spay or neuter your pet?
Your pet’s spay or neuter costs can vary depending on their breed, size, age, and sex. Other factors that can play into the cost are whether the female cat or dog is pregnant or if the male dog or cat is a cryptorchid, meaning one or both testicles don’t descend. Both conditions make these surgeries more complicated and can require other procedures, such as ultrasounds.
For a healthy female dog that isn’t in heat or pregnant, the average cost of a spay is between $200 and $500. To have your dog neutered, the average cost is around $75 to $350. For cats, expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $500 for spaying and around $100 to $300 for neutering.
Low-cost spay and neuter
However, there are low-cost clinics specifically for spays and neuters that cost much less than your usual veterinary clinic. These clinics can spay most pets for less than $200, and small dogs and cats can even be spayed for as little as $50-$100. Neutering will likely cost you less than $75.
However, these low-cost clinics don’t have the equipment to closely monitor your pet’s blood pressure, oxygen level, and heart rhythm during surgery. Also, dogs and cats usually do not receive intravenous fluids before, during, and after surgery to maintain hydration at a low-cost spay-neuter clinic. All of these factors are important ones to consider; it may be best to avoid low-cost clinics if you want your pet to be monitored during and after surgery.
Finding pet insurance that covers spaying and neutering
Usually, pet owners will need to look for wellness plans to cover spaying and neutering because pet insurance plans rarely cover preventative care. Comprehensive pet insurance is designed for unexpected accidents and/or illnesses, while pet wellness plans focus on preventive and routine care.
Providers that cover spaying and neutering
Here are some of the top pet insurance companies that offer wellness plans, including coverage for spays and neuters.
- Pet’s Best. Pet’s Best offers two wellness plans (one for dogs and one for cats) you can add on top of their regular insurance policies to help cover expenses for spaying/neutering, vaccinations, deworming, microchipping, and more.
- ASPCA. Preventive-care coverage from ASPCA gives pet owners cash back for routine services (like spaying and neutering) that help keep their pets healthy. You can add it to your full-coverage insurance plan for as little as $9.95 per month.
- Embrace. Embrace comes with Wellness Rewards, a flexible preventative care plan that reimburses pet owners for everyday veterinary, training, and grooming costs. It’s not a true insurance policy, but it works as a great budgeting tool and rewards owners for being proactive with their pet’s care.
Benefits of spaying or neutering your pet
While spaying or neutering your pet may be costly, there are many benefits :
Promotes a healthier life — The average lifespan of spayed and neutered cats and dogs is statistically longer than the lifespan of those who don’t get the procedure. Leaving your pet’s reproductive systems intact also increases the likelihood of certain health issues, such as pyometra, mammary gland tumors, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, testicular cancer, and prostate disease.
Curbs unwanted behaviors — Intact dogs are more prone to urine marking, mounting, and roaming compared to neutered dogs, while intact cats are more likely to spray. Leaving pets intact can also minimize howling, the urge to roam, and aggressive behavior. Owners would also have to deal with messy heat cycles in unspayed females, which happen every few weeks. A dog’s heat cycle typically lasts two weeks.
Helps control the homeless pet population — Every year, almost one million homeless cats and dogs are killed in shelters because of overpopulation. By spaying or neutering your pet, you’re helping lower the number of unwanted pets who are euthanized.
Slows the spread of genetically predisposed conditions — If your dog or cat has a genetic disorder that can be passed on to future generations, it’s important to spay or neuter your pet to prevent future generations from having the same genetic disorder or disease.
Be a smarter pet parent
Sign up for the best pet advice you can get
Frequently asked questions
Is surgery covered under pet insurance?
Pet insurance plans usually cover medically necessary surgeries, including emergency procedures. Optional or elective surgeries (such as spays and neuters) usually aren’t covered, and some surgeries may be excluded if they’re related to a pre-existing condition.
Does Figo cover neuters?
Figo’s Wellness Powerup covers routine procedures including spay and neuter surgeries, annual wellness exams, vaccinations, and dental procedures.
Why do people get their pets spayed or neutered?
There are many benefits to spaying and neutering your pets. It limits pet overpopulation, prevents heat cycles and pyometra in females, prevents certain types of cancers, reduces marking and mounting in males, and eliminates yowling, crying, roaming to find a mate, fighting with other males, and other erratic behavior.
What pet insurance policies cover spays or neuters?
Most pet insurance plans won’t cover spaying and neutering because it’s considered elective surgery. However, there are pet wellness plans that owners can get that cover routine care including spaying and neutering.