How Much Does It Cost to Spay a Dog?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 16, 2018

Spaying and neutering your dog has many benefits, including controlling the local pet population, becoming much friendlier towards others and even the reduced risk of cancer in the future.

Cost to Spay a Dog
Labrador pup” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by smerikal

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

The cost to spay your dog will greatly depend on which veterinarian you use, your geographical region, your dog’s age, overall health and the weight of your dog.  The Humane Society, often the cheapest and best option, for example, could cost anywhere from $55 to $150, whereas a private practice could charge anywhere from $225 to $525+ or even more if a complication were to occur during the procedure.

PetCarRX.com notes that an overweight dog or one with diabetes could add another $25 to $50 to the bill, while bloodwork prior to the procedure to check on the kidney and liver function, could add another $40.  Without any complications, spaying services could start at $35 and be as much as $300 with complications.

The Banfield Pet Hospital, located inside most PetSmart locations, quoted us $324 when we called about a spay for a puppy.  This price, however, could vary from location to location if you decided to use Petsmart as your choice and could be much more if other services or complications could arise.  This quote was for a healthy puppy with no complications such as the ones noted inside the table below.

The Spay Neuter Clinic, located in Arizona, posted prices on their official website, with prices ranging anywhere from $64 to $109 depending on the dog’s weight.  In the fine print, they did not pain medication, heavier dogs, pregnant, obese, and/or dogs in heat would cost more.

Dr. Patty Khuly via VetStreet.com said you should be prepared to spend $100 to $600 per spay, with younger and smaller puppies being on the lower end due to the less time and fewer resources needed to complete the surgery.

Spay with no complications$35 to $135
Overweight?Add $50~
Diabetes?Add $50~
Pregnant?Add $75~
In heat?Add $50~
Bloodwork required to check liver and/or kidney fuction?Add $50~
Pain medication required?Add $20

Why do regular clinics often charge more?

According to Dr. Andy Roark, low-cost clinics often do not offer a variety of services that regular clinics offer, such as bloodwork before the surgery, an IV catheter during the surgery, limited monitoring due to limited staffing and a lack of a full, comprehensive physical exam before the surgery even begins.  While he doesn’t dissuade you from going to a low-cost clinic as there are many of them with a wonderful staff, the costs, in the end, really comes down to the additional services, time and resorces you receive.

What is spaying?

Spaying is the process of removing of removing the dog’s uterus or ovaries and is best done around six months old, although some research states that larger dogs should be spayed later, around 18 to 22 months to help reduce the risk of joint problems and even cancer, according to the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.  The entire procedure will take a few hours to perform and can take your dog days or even weeks to see a full recovery.  Females usually come home in as little as 24 hours, with limited activity for the next two to three days to allow the stitches to heal.

During the spaying process, a veterinarian will create an incision in the abdominal wall, removing the uterus and ovaries, followed by stitching the incision.  The entire procedure is usually done under general anesthesia inside of the vet’s office. The Hulen Hills Animal Hospital talks more about the procedure and aftercare instructions as does Banfield.

Since the procedure is painful, your vet will prescribe pain medications after the procedure for the next week until your dog heals.

How to save money on a spay

Check with your adoption agency

All adoption agencies seem to have some sort of spay program, where some may spay your pet for a discounted fee or even include it in the pet adoption fee.  If not included, some may offer a program that allows you to pay what you can afford, kind of like a donation toward the adoption center.  Talk with a representative during the adoption process to see how much you could save.

Contact your local Humane Society or SPCA

From our research, it appears the Humane Society and the SPCA seem to be the cheapest option for a spay, if they offer it at their local center.  If not, then they should be able to point you in the right direction for the best cost-efficient option.  The Humane Society, for instance, offers a low-cost spay/neuter program search on the company’s official website.  The ASPCA offers a similar database as well.

Talk with your veterinarian

Like the adoption agencies, your veterinarian may be able to work with your budget, either offering a discount or setting you up with a payment plan to help you save.  It doesn’t hurt to ask if you’re loyal to your vet.

Why should you spay?

Prevents overpopulation:  Today, there are tens of thousands of dogs looking for a new home, and sadly, many do not find one.  Spaying your dog prevents unwanted litters in the future and offers the shelters and rescues a better chance at finding the dogs they do have a forever home.

Fewer behavior problems:  Intact dogs often run away from home more than altered dogs as males can smell a female in heat pretty far away.  Neutered dogs also are less likely to mark their territory as well.

Aggression:  Aggression levels have been known to drop drastically for both males and females.

Lower fees:  Some cities will offer a cheaper license fee if you prove your dog was spayed or neutered.

Females will not go into heat:  Female dogs go into heat at least twice a year and can last up to three weeks, leaving stains on your carpet and furniture.  Her scent, as noted prior, can also attract male dogs to your area as well.

Better overall health:  Females that are never spayed often are at a great risk of uterine or mammary cancers, both of which are greatly reduced or even eliminated as soon as your dog is altered.  Also, since your dog doesn’t want to run away or be more aggressive, it lessens the chance of potential injuries.

Can you spay a dog in heat?

Yes, dogs can be spayed while in heat; however, they will be prone to bleeding and additional complications, the main reasons vets prefer to wait until the heat has ended to reduce the chances of complications.  During an examination, your vet will be able to determine the stage of the heat cycle and figure out when the best time would be to perform the surgery.


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