How Much Does it Cost to Spay a Dog? Spay Costs Breakdown

How Much Does it Cost to Spay a Dog? Photo of a dog owner hand with money to pay for the spay surgery.

If you’re getting ready to book your dog in for a spay surgery, you’ll first want to know how much does it cost to spay a dog, coverage, and all your other options!

The cost will vary depending on the clinic you go to, but the main range will be anywhere from $35-$400. This cost includes everything needed for the spay.

Typically, the higher the amount, the more options that more things that are included in it (bloodwork, pre-exams, etc.) The size of the dog will also impact the price.

It is the owner’s choice to decide what they think is best for their dog when it comes to choosing the clinic and the services they want to be included.

What is included in the cost of spaying a dog?

One of the important things about picking the place you decide to go to for your dog’s spay is understanding what goes into that price in the first place. The main consideration factors for the cost include:

  • Full physical exam
  • Anesthesia
  • Bloodwork
  • Post-op monitoring
  • Pain medication for after the procedure

All of these will come at different prices depending on the size of the dog, any possible additional costs needed for them (more on that), and more. When you compare one vet to another, you’ll find that these prices will be pretty standard in your local area. This will also be the case if you choose a spay clinic, which have lower costs.

Additional costs of spaying a dog

There are some extra fees that can be added to the price that you are given. These can include a variety of reasons, but the most common causes include:

  • Your dog is in heat
  • Your dog is pregnant
  • Your dog is obese/exceptionally large
  • There is a complication pre/post-op
  • Your dog needs extra pain medication
  • Your dog will need additional check-ups

Your dog is in heat

If your dog is in heat, the spay procedure can be a little more difficult. This extra effort can often cost approximately $25 more than your listed price. While some won’t know that their dog is in heat (for whatever reason), the best thing is to wait until you know that she isn’t in heat to avoid this cost.

Your dog is pregnant

You’d be surprised how often this happens! If a dog is pregnant, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50-$125 or more in addition to the stated fee. This is because the vets will need to either abort or deliver the puppies, depending on where she is in her cycle. This will cost more, as you can imagine.

Your dog is obese/exceptionally large

If your dog is overweight or obese, there will be a varying charge on the spay surgery. It makes the surgery more difficult, high-risk, and more needed when it comes to the anesthesia, the pain medications, and so on. The amounts will depend on how large your dog is.

There is a complication pre/post-op

Complications can arise from nowhere, either before or after the operation. For instance, some dogs have a bad reaction to the anesthesia and require medical intervention and another way to sedate them for surgery.

Sometimes there will be post-op complications, too, like a ripped stitch before they go home or other ones like that. These will all cost extra.

Your dog needs extra pain medication

Whether due to a complication or just in general, some dogs require more pain medication than others. If yours does need more, there will be an extra charge since it would be more than the expected amount!

Your dog will need additional check-ups

If you have a complication in her recovery process from her spay, or you are just concerned about something that you want a professional to have a look like, these additional check-ups will tack on a little extra to the bill.

How to save when spaying your dog

Okay, so paying even $300 is still going to be a big number for one procedure, right? If you are looking at the idea of trying to save some money on the surgery, then there are three main avenues that you can consider. These include:

  • Adoption centers
  • Low-cost spay clinics
  • Proper post-op care

Adoption centers

Most will buy their dogs from breeders or friends, etc. However, adoption centers will often include a spay in their adoption fee. This fee could be $100-$250, but it would include the operation and all of the care needed afterward, including pain medications. If you want to do your part to adopt a dog in need of a home and help keep your costs down for the spay surgery, this is a great way to do both!

Low-cost spay clinics

You can also consider a low-cost clinic specifically for spay surgeries. These exist in many shops and community centers. These will have some differences in their standard way of the procedure (more on that below), but they are options that are often priced below $100 if you are strapped for cash.

Proper post-op care

Lastly, following instructions for your dog while she recovers from her spay surgery will be essential for ensuring no additional charges, such as extra pain medications, extra stitches, or check-ups. While this is not a guarantee, one of the best and easiest approaches to helping keep costs down from a traditional spay is to follow all of the instructions given.

Differences between low cost and “regular” price clinics

Now, the differences between low-cost spay clinics and the classic spay prices that you’d find in your average vet clinics.

The main difference for the price is that they strip as much possible out of the package as possible for affordability. This means, in many cases, that dogs won’t have pre-operation bloodwork, a physical exam, supportive IV fluids during and after the surgery, and vital sign monitors. In other words, the specialists performing the procedure will do only what they need to do and nothing more.

Low-cost clinics also will opt for a different kind of anesthesia rather than inhalation-based options (which are standard). These may not work as well in some dogs, but they won’t know this since their vitals are monitored.

These clinics are also designed to take on many different spays in one day, so they won’t have as much time to give you post-op care. It will often feel rushed and hurried to the anxious pet parent. 

Lastly, these clinics often will not offer any other kind of care. You will still need to have your regular vet for routine immunizations and even for the post-op checkup if your dog needs one.

How to find a low-cost spay clinic

If this sounds like exactly what you are looking for, your vet is going to be the best professional to recommend you to a local low-cost clinic that will be able to help you book a cost-effective spay surgery. The quality of care may or may not be different from what you are used to receiving at the vet, however, so don’t use this as a “sure thing” for professional care.

You can also check online using local searches with standard stores like PetSmart and Petco. These offer a list of cost-effective places where you can take your dog to get a spay that is priced lower than a vet’s office.

What should I think about when choosing where to spay my dog?

Feeling a little uncertain on just how to determine whether you should take your dog to a vet or a low-cost clinic? Making the right decision is always specific to a patient and a dog’s needs. However, some of the most crucial focus points include:

  • A need for follow-up care
  • A comprehensive history for your dog
  • Your dog’s overall comfort during their time at the surgery
  • What your most important focus point is

A need for follow-up care

Whether it’s post-op care that needs a professional’s eye or just general long-term care, a low-cost clinic won’t offer either, in many cases. It’s more of a “one and done” situation. If you want to know that you can bring your dog to the same place multiple times for a medical history, then a vet will be your best call.

A comprehensive history for your dog

Some dogs have sensitivities to different products, prefer different approaches to their comfort needs, etc. A low-cost clinic will not know those kinds of things and often will not ask about them. If your dog is, for example, very scared of needles or responds better to females rather than males, a vet will be your best choice for personal and targeted care to help with your dog’s medical and personal history.

Your dog’s overall comfort during their time at the surgery

Since there isn’t quite the same attention paid to your dog during the surgery itself, you must factor in your dog’s overall comfort. To be clear, both low-cost clinics and vet hospitals are equally qualified and professional to give your dog the surgery. But, the vet hospital will be more specific on just what is monitored to be aware of any complications as they may arise.

What your most important focus point is

For some, the most important thing right now is going to be saving funds. In that case, a low-cost clinic is a great choice. For others, they want to keep their dog’s comforts front of mind. In this case, a classic vet is going to be the best option.

Overall

A spay surgery at a vet hospital will cost more than one at a low-cost clinic.

The range will fluctuate from $35-$400. It will vary depending on what kind of focus and attention you want to have for your dog’s comfort and monitoring during the spay surgery. Making the right decision is vital for comfort as well as your dog’s medical needs!

While a spay surgery can be expensive, it’s nice to know that more cost-effective options are available if need be. It also helps to know why they’re priced the way they are!

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Hi, I'm Andre and I'm the owner of Sula the Border Collie. I love writing about this amazing dog breed here. I joined the Council to be able to reach and educate more people on the joy of having a pet dog.