How much does it cost to spay or neuter a dog?
Ashburn, VA

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

Ashburn, VA

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

$250 – $650cost to spay a female dog (vet’s office)
$200 – $500 cost to neuter a male dog (vet’s office)
$40 – $300average cost to spay or neuter a dog (non-profit / clinic)

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$250 – $650 cost to spay a female dog (vet’s office)

$200 – $500 cost to neuter a male dog (vet’s office)

$40 – $300 average cost to spay or neuter a dog (non-profit / clinic)

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Tara Farmer
Written by
Tara Farmer
Edited by
Tamatha Hazen
Fact-checked by
Kristen Cramer

Average cost to spay or neuter a dog

The cost to spay a dog at a vet’s office ranges from $250 to $650, while the cost to neuter a dog ranges from $200 to $500, depending on the age, breed, weight, and condition. The average cost to get a dog spayed or neutered at a non-profit or low-cost clinic is $40 to $300.

Average cost to spay or neuter a dog
Clinic/practice type Average cost to spay
(female dog)
Average cost to neuter
(male dog)
Private veterinary practice $250 – $650 $200 – $500
Humane Society, SPCA, or other non-profit $80 – $300 $75 – $275
Low-cost clinic $50 – $250 $40 – $200
Income assistance or voucher program $0 – $100 $0 – $75

What’s the difference between spaying and neutering?

The terms "spay” and "neuter" refer to different sterilization surgeries for female and male dogs. While both procedures involve anesthesia, neutering is a relatively simple surgery compared to spaying.

  • Spaying is the surgical removal of a female dog's reproductive organs (ovaries and uterus). This renders her unable to reproduce and go into heat.

  • Neutering is the surgical removal of a male dog's testicles. This makes him unable to impregnate female dogs and reduces certain hormone-driven behaviors.

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How much does it cost to neuter a dog?

The cost to neuter a dog ranges from $0 to $500, depending on their age, weight, and the type of facility performing the surgery. If your dog has cryptorchidism—one or two undescended testicles—the surgery may cost more because it is a more involved procedure.

Neutering a male dog is typically less expensive than spaying a female dog because most neutering surgeries—even those for dogs with cryptorchidism—are less complicated than spaying surgeries.

How much does it cost to spay a dog?

The cost to spay a female dog ranges from $0 to $650, depending on the location and the dog’s age, weight, and health. The most common spay procedure is an ovariohysterectomy, where the vet removes the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus.

  • Some vets use dissolvable stitches, while others use sutures that they must remove after 10 to 14 days.

  • An ovariectomy removes just the ovaries. This procedure is less common but is gaining some popularity as it is less invasive and requires a smaller incision than a full ovariohysterectomy.

What does a spay/neuter procedure include?

A spay or neuter procedure typically includes:

  • Pre-operative physical exam and blood tests (if needed)

  • The sterilization procedure itself, performed by a licensed vet

  • Anesthesia and vital sign monitoring

  • Pain medication for post-op recovery

  • Hospitalization if required

  • Dissolvable sutures or skin staples

  • Post-op follow-up appointment and suture removal if needed

Ask for a complete breakdown of the procedure and costs. Every facility is different, and some clinics may charge extra for certain services, medications, or post-op supplies, like cones or e-collars.

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Factors that affect spaying and neutering costs

Several variables can influence how much a vet charges for spay and neuter surgeries, including:

  • Location: The clinic type has a major impact on cost. Non-profit veterinary clinics often spay or neuter at no charge or a minimal fee, while a private veterinary practice charges much more. Geographic location also plays a role, with higher rates in big cities vs. smaller, rural towns.

  • Dog’s age and condition: Vets may charge more to spay or neuter a dog older than 7 years or with certain medical conditions, as these animals are at a higher risk for complications during any surgery.

  • Dog’s weight: Heavier dogs require more anesthesia, which increases the procedure cost.

  • Pregnant or in heat: Most vets charge $25 to $100+ extra when spaying a dog that is pregnant or in the middle of a heat cycle.

  • Additional services: Some vets charge extra for pre-op bloodwork, IV fluids, or other services besides the actual surgery.

A beautiful Springer Spaniel dog lying on the grass
A beautiful Springer Spaniel dog lying on the grass

Does pet insurance cover spaying and neutering?

Most standard pet insurance plans do not cover spaying or neutering, as they consider these procedures routine or preventative. However, some insurers offer wellness plans that include partial reimbursement for spaying or neutering. Not all pet insurance companies offer this coverage, so check with your provider to confirm coverage, limitations, and exclusions.

Dog insurance costs $35 to $75 per month on average. Adding a wellness plan typically increases your monthly premium by $10 to $25+.

How to save money on spaying or neutering costs

Explore these options to reduce the cost of spaying and neutering your dog:

  • Ask your vet about low-cost voucher programs or mobile clinics in your area.

  • Check for applicable discounts, such as reduced prices for seniors, veterans, or students. Some vets also offer packages that combine spay/neuter surgery with other services like microchipping, teeth cleaning, or nail trims, for a reduced cost per service.

  • Visit your local SPCA, humane society, or rescue groups to ask about low-cost programs.

  • Search for rebates or discounts through pet industry companies.

  • Consider a wellness plan with a pet insurance provider that includes spaying and neutering.

  • Get the procedure done while your dog is young, as costs are lower for puppies.

  • Schedule the surgery during lower-cost days and times if offered.

  • Inquire about payment plans that could reduce the upfront cost of the procedure.

  • Search the Open Door Veterinary Collective’s Pet Help Finder database to find financially friendly spay/neuter services in your area. “Financially friendly” providers may offer free or specially discounted services, mobile clinics, or extended payment plan options.

Why spay or neuter a dog?

Most veterinary organizations strongly advise that owners spay or neuter all dogs except those intended for responsible breeding programs. The benefits of spaying and neutering dogs include:

  • Longer life for your pet: Research shows spayed and neutered dogs tend to live 13% to 26%+ longer than dogs with their reproductive organs left intact.

  • Better health & quality of life: Spaying reduces the risk of mammary and uterine cancers. Neutering reduces testicular cancer risk as well as the risk of enlarged prostate glands, or benign prostatic hyperplasia.

  • Lower long-term ownership cost: The upfront cost of spaying or neutering is minimal when compared to the cost of caring for a pet that is dealing with cancer or other hormone-related disease.

    • The total cost of chemotherapy for dogs ranges from $1,000 to $10,000 or more.

    • An emergency vet visit costs $100 to $800+, or into the thousands if the dog needs emergency surgery.

  • Better behavior: Spaying and neutering tend to curb unwanted behaviors related to a dog’s heat cycle, such as yowling, urine marking, roaming, and aggression. Spaying also stops the discharge that typically occurs during the 2- to 4-week heat cycle, meaning less messes to clean.

  • Population control: According to the Shelter Animals Count National Database, 359,000 dogs were euthanized in shelters in 2023—the highest total in the last five years. Spaying and neutering can help reduce this disheartening statistic by preventing the birth of unwanted puppies.

Potential risks of spaying or neutering a dog

The impact of sterilization can vary significantly depending on a dog’s age, sex, breed, and weight. Most vets agree that the benefits outweigh the risks for most dogs. However, spaying and neutering are still surgical procedures that carry some risks:

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  • Spaying and neutering require anesthesia, which has some associated risks depending on a dog’s age, weight, and health condition.

  • Spaying and neutering may increase the risk of weight gain. However, monitoring your pet’s diet and exercise can make this a non-issue.

  • Some studies show certain breeds have a higher risk of developing certain cancers or bone and joint issues after spaying or neutering, especially those sterilized before they’ve finished growing.

FAQs about spaying or neutering a dog

Can you spay a dog in heat?

While it's possible to spay a dog in heat, most vets recommend against it or charge an extra fee, as there's a higher risk of excessive bleeding due to increased blood flow during the heat cycle. Veterinarians recommend you schedule surgery before the first heat cycle or several months after it.

At what age should you neuter or spay a dog?

Technically, you can spay or neuter puppies as early as 8 weeks old if they are over two pounds. However, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) provides the following Canine Life Stage Guidelines for spaying and neutering:

AAHA spay/neuter guidelines
Projected adult weight Recommended age to neuter
(male dog)
Recommended age to spay
(female dog)
Less than 45 pounds 6 months old Before the first heat cycle(5 to 6 months old)
45+ pounds After growth stops(9 to 15 months old) 5 to 15 months old

  • Different breeds grow at different rates. Some larger-breed male dogs are at higher risk for some cancers and joint and ligament problems if neutered before they’ve stopped growing.

  • There are different risks associated with spaying before vs. after the first heat cycle. Speak with a licensed veterinarian about your dog’s breed and lifestyle to determine the safest approach for your pet.

  • Some vets may have different recommendations if your dog spends time outdoors unattended, due to the increased risk of roaming and potentially unwanted pregnancies.

Will neutering or spaying a dog calm them down?

Yes, spaying and neutering can help calm dogs by removing the hormone swings and "heat" cycles that often trigger restless behavior, mood changes, and territorial aggression.

Choosing a vet for spaying or neutering a dog

Follow these guidelines when searching for a reputable, affordable veterinary service near you for your dog’s spay or neuter surgery:

  • Look for practices accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).

  • Get quotes from multiple veterinary clinics in your area. Prices can vary significantly, even within the same city.

  • Inquire about the experience level of the veterinarian performing the surgery. More experienced vets may charge a higher fee, but it could be worth it for peace of mind.

  • Check out reviews from other pet owners on Vety and Google.

  • Confirm exactly what services they include in the quoted price and any additional fees, such as fees for overnight stays, complicated procedures, or emergency services.

  • Once you've selected a clinic, get a detailed estimate in writing, outlining all the services and costs involved.

Questions to ask your vet

Responsible pet ownership involves making informed decisions. Here are some important questions to ask before scheduling the surgery to help you choose a vet you can trust:

  • Is the clinic AAHA accredited?

  • Who will be performing the surgery?

  • What vaccines are required before the surgery?

  • Will you use pre-surgical bloodwork and an IV catheter?

  • What's included in the fee, and what is not?

  • Are there any discounts or financial assistance programs available?

  • How long will you need to hospitalize my dog?

  • What kind of at-home care will be required post-op?

  • When can my pet resume normal activity levels?

  • What are the drop-off and pick-up times?

  • How many days of post-op medication are included?

  • Are there signs or symptoms to look out for that indicate complications after the procedure?

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