- Pets need to be spayed or neutered to prevent unintended breeding
- Spaying and neutering can also help prevent serious health problems
- Typical pet insurance does not cover spaying or neutering
- Many optional wellness plans do provide a spaying and neutering benefit
- Wellness plans provide a number of other worthwhile benefits
Does Pet Insurance Cover Spaying and Neutering?
No. Standard pet insurance policies cover accidents, and some plans also cover illness. But spaying and neutering are neither illnesses nor accidents; they’re a preventative measure, and an expected part of owning a pet. If the shelter or previous owner didn’t do it and you want it done, you’ll need to get your dog or cat fixed.
Thankfully, there’s an alternative way to get the cost covered. Many insurance companies offer an optional add-on package called a wellness plan. Wellness plans provide a number of benefits you can’t get from ordinary pet insurance, including reimbursement for spaying and neutering.
What Does it Cost to Spay or Neuter a Pet?
Before we talk about what kind of coverage you can get, let’s talk about the basics; what does it cost out of pocket to spay or neuter your pet?
- For dogs, the cost can range from $35 to $500. This depends in large part on the size and age of the dog. Spaying also tends to cost more than male neutering.
- If you happen to be a cat owner, a male neutering operation averages around $200, while spaying a female cat costs between $300 and $500.
These represent rough averages of costs for operations at a full-priced veterinary practice. There are also many nonprofit organizations that offer spaying and neutering services for a small fee. Depending on where you live, you may pay as little as $50. If you adopt an animal from a shelter, they will sometimes contribute towards the cost of the operation, if the pet is not already neutered.
Which Pet Insurance Companies Cover Spaying and Neutering?
There are many pet insurance companies, and they’re constantly changing their offerings. That said, here are some insurers that offer wellness plans that cover spaying and neutering:
|Insurer||Monthly wellness plan cost||Spaying and neutering benefit|
|Figo||$10 (cats)$17 (dogs)||$40 (cats)$75 (dogs)|
|Prudent Pet||Variable||$40 (cats)$60 (dogs)|
*TrustedPals has a $750 annual limit for all treatments – including neutering and spaying.
What Else Does a Pet Wellness Plan Cover?
Pet wellness plans cover a number of preventative treatments and diagnostic techniques. Every plan is different, but you can expect to see some of the following coverages:
- Fecal tests
- Flea, tick, and heartworm medication
- Nutritional counseling
- Prescription foods
- Regular checkups
- Routine dental cleanings
When Should I Spay or Neuter My Pet?
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, cats should be neutered or spayed at five months. This minimizes the risk of unintended pregnancies, since most females don’t go into heat until five or six months. It’s also early enough to forestall spraying in male cats.
At the same time, it’s late enough that the kitten has been able to grow. A five-month-old kitten is robust enough to recover from surgery quickly, and less likely to experience complications than a younger kitten.
For dogs, it largely depends on body weight. Smaller dogs – those that are expected to grow to 45 pounds or less – should be spayed at five to six months (before their first season), or neutered at six months.
With larger dogs, it gets a little more complicated. Dogs need their reproductive organs to grow to a healthy adult weight.
Depending on the breed and the individual dog’s lifestyle, they should be fixed between 9 and 15 months of age. Talk with your vet to determine the best time to spay or neuter your large dog.
Is a Neutered or Spayed Pet Cheaper to Insure?
No, but it’s still smart to get your pet neutered or spayed. Cats and dogs who aren’t fixed face unique health hazards, especially later in life.
Spayed females have a reduced risk of breast cancer and uterine infections, and neutered males don’t have to worry about testicular cancer. Neutering also reduces the risk of enlarged prostate glands which, while not life-threatening, can be very painful.
Is it Worth it to Get a Pet Insurance Policy for Spaying or Neutering?
If the only reason you’re thinking about pet insurance is to pay for spaying or neutering, you should reconsider. For one thing, you’ll need to sign up for the base policy as well as the wellness plan. This will exceed what you get from any neutering or spaying reimbursement.
That said, if you already plan on buying pet insurance, a wellness plan can be a good value. But it’s still not worthwhile for the surgery alone.
Most wellness plans cost in the neighborhood of $20 to $25 per month, or $240 to $300 per year. The average reimbursement is only $150, so you’re actually losing money. Your pet will only need to be neutered once, so you’ll also lose this benefit in the following years of your plan.
Then again, the other benefits of a wellness plan can well be worth it. By the time you get reimbursed for dental cleanings, checkups, and vaccinations, you’ll have more than made back your investment.
If neutering or spaying your pet is a financial obstacle, you may want to reconsider buying a pet altogether. A few hundred dollars for an operation is nothing compared to the cost of caring and feeding for an animal over the long term.
You may also want to consider adopting from a local shelter. Many shelters neuter and spay their animals before adopting them out, and even give them their first set of vaccinations.
Should I Insure my Kitten or Puppy?
While pet insurance doesn’t cover spaying or neutering, your pet may experience complications during the surgery. In that case, insurance can cover any follow-up care.
You should also keep in mind that pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. If your puppy or kitten gets injured or sick, it will be too late to buy coverage. If you buy insurance as soon as you can, nothing will be “pre-existing.”