Most dog parents expect to pay for annual vaccinations and parasite prevention. However, some might not realize the importance of long-term procedures like spaying and neutering

Spaying or neutering your dog has become a standard procedure. Most adoption agencies mandate the service before placing any new pets in homes. Aside from preventing unwanted pregnancies, sterilizations can also avoid a variety of sexual health and behavioral problems. Still, the high cost of spaying and neutering means it is not always accessible for pet parents.

At Insurify, we know that dog parents love their furry friends and would do anything for them. That’s why so many owners are turning to pet insurance policies to help pay for vital vet treatments like spaying and neutering surgery. Finding the best insurance plan can mean continuing a long life with your best friend. Compare pet insurance policies to get a quote today with Insurify!

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How to Know When It’s Time to Spay or Neuter Your Dog

Veterinary clinics usually recommend that you spay or neuter your puppies when they’re about six to nine months old. Puppies going through the animal shelter system have early-age neutering, which can be as young as two months of age. The surgery is ideal around six months, which is when most dogs reach puberty. Many pet owners also have microchips implanted during the operation.

Sterilization is a serious operation where a vet will remove a pet’s reproductive organs. It’s usually performed under general anesthetics, and may require multiple hours of observation after the procedure. In female dogs, the vet will remove the ovaries, uterus, or both. In male dogs, the vet will remove the testicles.

Many dog parents pursue surgery to avoid unwanted litters. A pregnant dog and the eventual litter of puppies can end up costing thousands of dollars, especially if the breed needs special treatments like C-sections. There is also a pet overpopulation problem across the United States. Every year, animal shelters euthanize up to four million homeless animals due to a lack of homes.

Spay/neuter surgery can also combat various health problems related to sexual organs. Intact dogs are more prone to issues like uterine infections, mammary tumors, and testicular cancer. The surgery will also help with unwanted behavioral problems related to mating behaviors. That includes humping, aggression, roaming, and vocalizations. 

Ovariohysterectomies, also called spaying, is abdominal surgery. Castration is a superficial surgery, which means it’s not as invasive. Surgery for female dogs usually costs more and requires more aftercare, but all surgical sites usually heal after 10 to 14 days. Most dogs must wear a cone or e-collar and use pain medication for at least a few days after surgery.

Unfortunately, some professionals have found that sterilizing a dog may lead to an increased risk of obesity. Some have also found links between early-age neutering and an increased risk of cruciate ligament tear and certain behavioral problems. Still, the general consensus among veterinary professionals is that spaying and neutering will increase a dog’s lifespan. 

The Cost of Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

Spay/neuter surgery can end up costing from $20 to an upwards of $800, depending on the vet clinic. The cost of spaying and neutering varies so much because many low-cost clinics provide the service for low-income homes. Popular chains, like Petsmart, have partnered with the ASPCA to offer low-cost spay and neuters for as low as $20.

Unfortunately, pet parents who don’t qualify for spay/neuter clinics in their area might end up paying hundreds of dollars at their regular vet. In addition to the actual surgery, owners might have to also pay for the cost of pre-surgery blood work, anesthesia, and pain medication. The price depends on the age, breed, and location of the vet. 

The cost of neutering might cause pet parents to put off the surgery, which may lead to problems later in a dog’s life. Larger breeds, older dogs, and female dogs all typically cost more. The surgery also typically costs in areas with a higher cost of living. Dog owners looking to have the operation might not be able to afford a hefty vet bill out of pocket. 

The fear of an impending vet bill is why so many pet parents are turning to pet insurance policies to provide extra peace of mind. While most traditional insurers won’t cover sterilization under a normal accident and illness coverage plan, many great companies offer wellness plans. Wellness plan add-ons help pet parents pay for routine and preventative vet bills.

Purchasing a pet wellness plan can help pay for a large portion of spay/neuter surgery. Pursuing the surgery can also open the door to lower rates when purchasing traditional pet insurance policies. Many companies charge less per month for sterilized pets because they’re less prone to certain illnesses.

If you’re looking for the perfect pet insurance policy or pet wellness plan for you and your pup, be sure to compare affordable pet insurance plans and policies on Insurify. Insurify’s pet insurance comparison tool makes it easy for you to find the best policy for your pet. 

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Best Pet Insurance Companies That Cover Spaying and Neutering

Pet parents are already dealing with the emotional distress that comes with having a beloved pet go in for surgery, and financial distress can only make the situation worse. That’s why we at Insurify have compiled a list of the best pet insurance companies that include coverage for sterilization.

Pet’s Best

Pet’s Best is a traditional pet insurance company that offers a wellness plan add-on. Purchasing a Pet’s Best plan can help cover up to 90 percent of vet bills for accidents, illnesses, cancer treatments, hereditary conditions, emergency care, and prescription medications. Pet’s Best will also cover spay/ neuter surgery with an add-on purchase of a wellness plan. 

Pet parents can purchase the BestWellness for $26 per month in addition to an accident and illness plan. Unlike reimbursements for accident and illness plans, wellness plans will pay predetermined amounts toward specific treatments. That means the BestWellness plan will only pay $150 toward spay/neuter services, regardless of the actual price. The wellness plan will also help cover vaccines, microchipping, parasite prevention, and general wellness exams.

Banfield Pet Hospital’s Wellness plan

Banfield Pet Hospital does not have a typical insurance platform because it doesn’t offer traditional policies at all, only wellness plans that will cover spay/ neuter surgeries. It can only be accessed by patients of the Banfield Hospital chain, which has over 1,000 locations—over 800 of these locations are found in PetSmart stores. These plans can cost between $20 and $80 each month based on age, breed, and location.

Although the wellness plans only cover routine and preventative procedures, Banfield Hospitals will also treat accidents, illnesses, and emergency care. Still, the quality of veterinary care your pet receives really depends on your location and access to a good practice. Unlike other companies, Banfield will cover each qualifying treatment outright, rather than a percentage.

24PetWatch

24PetWatch has a wellness plan add-on option for its comprehensive policy that can help cover spay/neuter costs. These plans also help cover vaccines, parasite prevention, dental cleanings, and routine testing. The routine plan costs $10 per month for $200 of coverage, and the advanced plan costs $25 per month for $400 of coverage. 

Spaying and neutering are covered under both plans, but 24PetWatch will only pay a predetermined amount toward each treatment. The routine plan will pay $80 toward the surgery, and the advanced plan will pay $100 toward the surgery. Unfortunately, 24PetWatch is typically more expensive than competitors.

Embrace

Embrace Pet Insurance is another insurer that offers comprehensive policies with the option to buy a wellness care add-on. However, pet parents who aren’t ready to commit to a full-coverage insurance plan can also buy a wellness plan in addition to an accident-only plan. Embrace offers lower-cost insurance plans, but wellness plans can range from $15 to $60 per month, and cover a portion of the spay/ neuter surgery.

Embrace’s Wellness Rewards are different than most competitors. Rather than covering predetermined amounts toward specific treatments, pet parents can choose the maximum annual amount. Embrace offers to pay $250, $450, or $650 toward routine care like sterilization each year. It will also cover exam fees, microchips, grooming, and vaccines.

ASPCA

ASPCA is an organization dedicated to providing resources to help animals across the United States, so it makes sense that they would offer financial services to help pet parents with vet bills, especially spaying and neutering. ASPCA offers traditional accident and illness plans with the option to purchase a $9.95 or $24.95 wellness add-on. ASPCA has mid-tier pricing compared to competitors.

ASPCA is another insurer that pays predetermined amounts toward certain treatments. The prime preventative plan offers $150 toward sterilization surgery, which costs $24.95 per month. The basic preventative plan does not cover spay/neuter surgery. ASPCA’s wellness plans will also cover treatments like urinalysis, vaccines, routine blood work, and deworming.

Choosing the perfect policy for you comes down to what you can afford and what kind of coverage best fits you and your pet. That’s why you should use Insurify and compare quotes before settling down on a single pet insurance policy.

How to Easily Afford Neutering Your Dog

Although choosing to pursue an elective surgery can be stressful for pet parents, there are options in place to help pay for the best treatments for your pup. Buying a pet insurance policy can help save you up to 100 percent off of your spay/ neuter bill, and is your best shot at affording to neuter or spay your dog. 

Whether you’re trying to lower your pet insurance rate, introduce new housing opportunities, deter overpopulation, or prevent future health problems, having a fixed pet can mean a world of difference. Regardless of why you’re pursuing the operation, you should make sure to compare pet insurance quotes and coverage before making a decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to neuter your dog?

Neutering refers to sterilization surgery for male dogs. While the cost depends heavily on your dog’s age and breed and the location of the vet, male dogs typically cost less. The surgery can cost anywhere between $20 and $800, but access to low-cost clinics also depends on location and personal income. Buying a pet insurance or pet wellness policy, however, can help make the cost of neutering your dog much more affordable.

How much does it cost to spay your dog?

Sterilization in dogs that are female, older, and larger breeds usually costs more. However, the cost of spaying and neutering depends on your dog’s age and breed and the location of the vet. The cost can range anywhere between $20 and $800, but pet owners pursuing the operation at a normal clinic can expect to pay more for a female dog. Buying a pet insurance or pet wellness policy, however, can help make the cost of spaying your dog much more affordable.

Does pet insurance cover spaying and neutering?

Standard accident and illness coverage will not pay for sterilization surgery because it is considered a wellness procedure. Luckily, many pet insurers include wellness plan add-ons, which can be purchased in addition to a traditional plan. Wellness plans will cover a large portion or the entire cost of the surgery.

Updated May 10, 2021

Samantha Vargas is a freelance writer for Insurify. She has a background in comparative English literature and film and has produced a variety of journalistic content for the University at Buffalo's independent student newspaper, The Spectrum. She currently works in Buffalo, NY while finishing her master's degree. She spends her free time baking and working with animal welfare groups.