Family planning is a simple but profound principle of procreation among humans. As a moral imperative, pet-loving families also apply this concept directly into managing the reproductive lifestyles of their four-legged children.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), about 2.7 million adoptable homeless dogs (and cats) are euthanized each year in the United States. Obviously, the proliferation of unhealthy stray dogs is directly relative to their uncontrolled birth rate. Furthermore, over 50 percent of all dogs are prone to uterine infections, breast tumors, and other sexually-transmitted diseases.
The only humane alternative to mercy killing is sterilization. Hence, responsible pet owners include the cost of neutering (castration) or spaying (removal of uterus and ovaries) in their overall budget for dog ownership.
Average Cost of Canine Neutering
When it comes to standard surgical sterilization of dogs, it is important for pet owners to remember that this procedure is best administered to 6 month-old pets. After all, veterinarians have observed that dogs require an ample time for optimal psychological growth. This can prevent several behavioral problems prevalent among immature dogs that went under the knife.
Apart from the pet’s right age, the most crucial factor for deciding to undergo spaying or neutering is dictated by the budget. The national average price range is broadly anywhere between $50 and $500.
What are Included
In order to perform a safe and painless procedure, neutering and spaying require a complete set of instruments as well as medications administered during the operation. Hence, all of these following (chronologically arranged) itemized factors comprise the overall cost to spay a dog:
- Intravenous fluids and catheter
- Monitors for vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen level and temperature)
- Administration of anesthesia
- Sterilization operation
- Post-op sutures
Note: Some clinics would put on an e-collar around the sterilized dog as soon as it is discharged. Apart from being a neat ornament, this post-op accessory also functions as an important registry tool in case the dog wanders and gets lost.
Granted that responsible pet owners observe the prescribed age for scheduling the surgical sterilization, there are certain circumstances that can complicate the procedure. One should prepare for additional costs associated with the following factors:
- Pre-op screening
Attending vets should have a comprehensive oversight of the dog’s condition and rule out any risk of infection from certain anesthetics. Unfortunately, not all clinics include pre-op blood tests in the billing. This exam could cost around $50.
- Pain management
Surgeons always inject pain relievers after performing the operation. But regardless of size or sex, pain does not go away permanently when the dog is out of the operating room. For an easier and safer healing of the sutured wound, pet owners are expected to shoulder an average of $30 for prescription drugs.
- Obesity and hormones
Veterinarians charge an extra fee (roughly around $25 to $50) if a dog is either too pudgy or too horny during the course of the operation. Medical experts have to contend with associated with either a thick layer of fat or highly exposed blood vessels when dogs are in heat.
Just like a dog in heat, pregnant dogs have exposed swelling blood vessels and are prone to severe blood loss when accidentally cut off. It is important to understand that when a dog is spayed, its pregnancy will be terminated. Vets charge an extra fee of $50 to $100 if owners will decide to go through with the operation instead of rescheduling it.
- Testicle implants (for males)
Granted, dogs that lost their balls practically lost a very important part of themselves, and so they are never the same again. Thankfully, a 1995 medical technology has found a way to “cheer up” the macho champs after getting surgically sterilized. More than a decade from then, a pair of prosthetic testicles are already sold nationwide for more than $1000.
Shopping for Canine Neutering Service
Considering the relatively enormous cost to spay a dog in a swanky private vet clinic, a lot of pet owners would make a misinformed decision of not going through with having their beloved dogs neutered. It is important to understand that prices alone rarely validate the quality of the medical operation. There are a number of options for reducing expenses while acquiring a better value both at the same time.
In fact, many low-cost services are offered by huge animal welfare organizations that pioneered many of the safe and painless veterinary procedures in contemporary times. Responsible pet owners should check out the following sources when shopping around:
- ASPCA – nationwide low-cost spay/neuter service
- Animal Liberation Front – free or low-cost spay/neuter service listed by state
- Fix It – national search database for spay/neuter clinics
- Friends of Animals – low-cost neutering in 30 states and Puerto Rico
- Lucy Pet Foundation – mobile spay/neuter clinics across the country
- Rose’s Fund for Animals – financial assistance for food and spay/neuter listed by state
- Spay USA – a nationwide network and referral service for low-cost spay/neuter
Factors Affecting the Cost to Sterilize a Dog
A lot of aspects can determine the price, especially considering the enormous gulf between $50 and $500. It pays for a pet owner to know why he or she is charged with a particular price range by examining these variable components:
Almost every vet clinic in the United States (or even overseas) would base the difference in service rates according to the pet’s weight. Bigger dogs like the Golden Retrievers have a more expensive spay and neuter fees than small ones like the Norfolk Terriers.
The complexity of the standard sterilization procedure is always relative to the dog’s sex. Considering that the removal of the uterus and ovaries are more invasive and painstaking than castration, spaying practically costs a fraction more than neutering. It is also important to take note that there are more associated complications for a mature adult female reproductive organ, resulting to increased comparative cost.
Apart from the fact that different clinics all over the country do not have the same exact rate, it also pays to understand the main difference between a private vet clinic and a facility associated with animal welfare organizations. In essence, it is relatively cheaper to have dogs sterilized in animal shelters or local rescue groups (e.g. ASPCA or Humane Society).
Whether the intention was to help society reduce the dense population of stray dogs or to simply prevent pet dogs from contracting sexually transmitted disease, neutering and spaying is a strategy that never goes wrong. However, it is also crucial to understand that something could go wrong with neutering and spaying. It pays for one to know the proper measures before and after sterilization if other options don’t come to mind.
Rules before operation
- Dogs must be vaccinated two weeks before the operation, which would again need money.
- Keep the dogs indoors the night before the operation.
- No food or water for dogs by midnight prior to the operation.
Neuter and spay aftercare tips
- Isolate the recovering dog from other animals in the house.
- Prevent the recovering dog from running around for two weeks.
- Have dog wear a protective collar to prevent licking the sutured wounds.
- Avoid bathing the dog for at least ten days.
- Examine the healing wound daily to confirm proper recovery.
Alternatives to Neutering
Since castration is a lot less complex than the removal of female reproductive organs, owners of male dogs can choose other alternatives than having their macho champs transformed into a potentially-impassive eunuch.
Instead neutering, one can either go for a vasectomy (the partial removal of male reproductive organs) or choose the revolutionary zeuterin – a chemically-induced sterile compound that destroys sperm production while leaving the organs completely intact.