How much does it cost to neuter a dog in the UK?

6 December 2023 - 8 min read
Group of dogs

Most of us choose to neuter our dogs. Almost seven out of 10 dogs in the UK are neutered according to the latest PDSA survey.

If your pup's not done yet, you might be wondering how much it'll cost you.

What is neutering and why is it important?

In males, neutering is known as castration and it involves removing both testicles.

In females, it’s known as spaying, and the traditional method is ‘ovario-hysterectomy’, which involves removing both the ovaries and the womb.

What types of neutering are there?

As well as the traditional methods of surgical castration and spaying, there are two newer types that are gaining in popularity.

Ovariectomy involves spaying a dog by removing just the ovaries, and this is usually done with a laparoscopic spay. That’s ‘keyhole’ surgery, which is less invasive and generally means an easier recovery for your dog.

Laparoscopic spaying is more expensive and fewer vets offer it.

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Finally, there’s chemical castration. Male dogs can be chemically castrated by placing a chip or implant under the skin containing a hormone medication called Suprelorin. The chemicals reduce your dog’s testosterone and it makes them temporarily infertile for six-12 months.

When you consider that you’ll have to have the chip renewed every six-12 months, it’s not really a cheaper alternative to conventional neutering which lasts a lifetime.

"Chemical castration isn't often used and when it is, the most common reason is to do a neutering 'trial run', to see how the surgery would impact your dog's behaviour," explains Veterinary surgeon Dr Cat Henstridge.

"Occasionally it is also used by breeders who know they want to stud their boy in the future but don't want to just yet!"

We’ll be looking later at what vets charge for chemical castration and laparoscopic spaying compared with traditional neutering surgery.

What is the difference between spaying and castration?

Don’t be confused by the terminology: both spaying and castration are neutering.

 Quite simply, spaying is the process of making a female dog infertile and castration is the process for male dogs.

What is the average cost of neutering a dog?

In November 2023, we checked the price of neutering and spaying dogs with 72 vets around the UK.

Our research shows that the average cost to neuter a male dog in 2023 now stands at £279.27, which is a 26% increase since we last surveyed vets in 2022.

The average cost to spay a bitch now stands at £369.70, up 24%.

We also discovered that the cost of neutering your dog varies quite significantly depending on:

  • Gender

  • Their size and weight

  • The area you live in

  • Your chosen vet practice

  • Choosing advanced treatments: laparoscopic spay or chemical castration

Why is spaying more expensive than castrating?

It’s around 32% more expensive to spay a female dog than to neuter a male. It’s because the surgery is more intrusive for a female, takes longer and more aftercare is needed.

While the nationwide average cost to neuter (castrate) a male dog was £279.27, the cheapest cost we found was £120 for a small dog at a practice in South Wales. The most expensive was £572 for a large dog at a vet in London.

The cheapest cost we found of spaying a bitch was £180 for a small dog at a Cardiff practice. This ranged up to £689.5 for a large bitch at a vets Glasgow.

The average cost of spaying is £369.70, but that’s just for a standard spay – laparoscopic (keyhole) spays are typically much more expensive so we’ve omitted them from our average prices here. We’ll look at typical costs for a keyhole spay later.

Neuter male dog Spay female dog
Lowest £120 £180
Average £279.27 £369.70
Highest £572 £689.50

Size of dog and neutering costs

One reason for this huge range in the cost of neutering is that neutering is cheaper for small dogs than for larger ones.

Average neutering costs for dogs 2023

Where vets only vote one price for neutering, we have used that for all size classifications of dog. But most give prices according to size brackets, so we have divided our average figures into small, medium and large dogs.

The most common pricing brackets were under 25kg for small, 25-45kg for medium and over 45kg for large, so we’ve used this as a guideline for our averages.

Where there is no middle figure, we have used the midpoint of the small and large price. Where there is more than one ‘middle’ price we have used the highest.

The bigger the dog, the more they cost to neuter.

The average price of castrating large dogs is £315.96 but for small dogs it’s just £248.97. 

Small dog Medium dog Large dog
Lowest castrate cost £120 £120 £120
Average castrate cost £248.17 £278.17 £315.96
Highest castrate cost £440 £500 £572

It’s the same story for spaying – large dogs are more costly than small ones. The average cost of spaying a large bitch is £413.55 and for a small one it’s £326.16.

Small bitch Medium bitch Large bitch
Lowest spay cost £149 £149 £149
Average spay cost £326.16 £368.69 £413.55
Highest spay cost £509.50 £619 £689.50

How much does neutering cost around the UK?

Where you live in the UK can make a huge difference to how much you’ll pay to have your dog neutered.

The areas in the UK with the highest cost of living tend to also be the areas with the highest neutering costs as veterinary care is more costly in these areas.

That means that dog owners in London and the Central Region (including the Home Counties) pay the most for neutering, while pet parents in the North and South West pay the least to get their dogs done.

Cost of neutering a male dog in Great Britain 2023

London was the most expensive area overall for neutering a male dog. On average it costs £235.03 to castrate a small dog, £277.03 for a medium dog and £323.86 for a large dog.

The cheapest area for neutering a male dog was the North of England, where it’s £217.50 on average to neuter a small dog and £265 for a large dog.

The North wasn’t the cheapest area to castrate a medium dog though – it’s just a fraction cheaper in Wales at £240.01. Wales was the second cheapest area overall for neutering costs for male dogs.

Here are the average costs by area to castrate a male dog:

Small dog Medium dog Large dog All sizes
London £299.57 £342.10 £410.90 £350.86
South East £232.49 £262.35 £296.25 £263.70
South West £251.78 £288.39 £331.69 £290.62
Central Region £251.21 £277.79 £305.15 £278.05
North £217.50 £240.83 £265 £241.11
Scotland £268.61 £304.41 £346.69 £306.57
Wales £222.19 £240.01 £268.89 £243.70

Neutering female dogs was significantly more expensive than males nationwide. The Central region, including expensive counties like Berkshire and Hertfordshire is the most expensive place to have your bitch spayed, closely followed by the South East.

Cost of neutering a female dog in Great Britain 2023

The cheapest area to neuter a female dog was the North. That makes the North the cheapest region for both spaying and castration. Wales is the second cheapest area to get your dog spayed in.

These are the average costs in different regions to spay a bitch:

Small dog Medium dog Large dog All sizes
London £364.90 £413.80 £481.52 £420.07
South East £305.12 £348.22 £398.03 £350.46
South West £342.72 £406 £456.74 £401.82
Central Region £316.43 £353.97 £391.188 £353.86
North £302.07 £331.81 £361.30 £331.73
Scotland £352.94 £405.49 £456.89 £405.11
Wales £308.40 £337.98 £371.94 £339.44

What does the cost of neutering include?

If you’re comparing prices at vets near you to find the best neutering costs, make sure you compare like-for-like.

Some veterinary practices might state ‘prices from’ which are for a very small dog. If you’ve got a large Labrador or Rottweiler, you’ll probably find the price you pay is significantly more.

You also need to double check with the vet whether the quoted price includes pre- and post-operative check-ups. Most do, but if they’re charged separately they can add around £40-60 per visit, significantly increasing the cost.

Finally, ask whether the cost of pain relief and a cone is included in the cost. Again, it usually is, but if it’s extra it can add quite a lot to the neutering price you see on a website.

The price of chemical castration in dogs

As the procedure isn’t widely available in the UK, most vets don’t list the price of chemical castration. New Priory Vets in Brighton offers the procedure and chemical castration costs £148.60 for a six-month implant and £275.43 for one lasting 12 months.

Not all vet practices offer chemical castration for dogs. If you need to travel to a vet further afield to get the procedure done. This can add to the costs.

So in terms of cost, the implant is generally around the same price as a castration surgery and remember the procedure will need to be repeated every six-12 months..

The cost of laparoscopic spaying

Laparoscopic spaying is a type of keyhole surgery. It’s much less invasive than conventional spaying, which means it’s likely to give your female dog fewer complications and an easier recovery.

Only the ovaries are removed with a laparoscopic spay, instead of the ovaries and uterus.

"The main benefit of a lap spay over a traditional one is the post operative pain and recovery time, " says Dr Cat.

"Because the holes for the keyhole procedure are smaller, they're less painful and heal rapidly, so your dog can get back to her normal levels of exercise in just a couple of days.

"For a routine spay, the usual advice is for her to remain on the lead on walks for two weeks to allow the muscle to knit back together properly."

We haven’t included average prices for it simply because not every vet offers it. The main downside of laparoscopic spaying is that it’s significantly more expensive.

Only 12 of the vets we surveyed quoted prices for laparoscopic spaying. For medium-sized dogs the price of a laparoscopic spay is around £700, so generally £300 more than a standard spay.

The cheapest laparoscopic spay price we found was £550 for a small dog at a surgery in Cheshire. The most expensive price we found was £1,075 in London, but it was for a dog of any size.

"Because of the high degree of surgical skill required and the complexity of the equipment, lap spays can be double the price of a normal spay and not every practice will offer them," says Cat. "Those that don't will always be happy to refer you to one that does though – just ask!"

Should I neuter my dog?

Always check with your vet about neutering your pet. There may be different risks and benefits depending on the age, health and breed of your pet.

Neutering your dog can have positive benefits.

For males these are:

  • It reduces the risk of prostate cancer, and other cancer types

  • It reduces ‘humping’ behaviours

  • It reduces urine marking and roaming

  • It reduces the risk of more unwanted pups being introduced into the world.

The positives of neutering (spaying) a female dog are that:

  • It prevents unwanted pregnancy and phantom pregnancies

  • Removes the risk of womb infections known as pyometra

  • It reduces the risk of mammary cancer

  • It prevents ovarian tumours

What age should a dog be neutered?

A male dog can be castrated from around six to seven months, but it can vary depending on the breed and their size. Speak to your vet for advice on the best time for your dog.

A female dog can be spayed from around six months old. Again, this can differ if you have a larger dog.

Always speak to your vet for advice and clarification.

Delaying your dog's spay un-necessarily could lead to more problems, such as the increased risk of mammary cancer after she’s had her third season.

Help with neutering costs

If you’re on eligible benefits and your dog is an eligible breed, you can qualify for help towards the cost of neutering and other vet care with Dog’s Trust.

You might also find reduced cost or free neutering if you’re eligible to have your dog treated at PDSA hospitals or can apply for means-tested vouchers from the RSPCA.

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Help your dog recover from neutering

These are Cat the Vet’s top tips to help your dog recover from being spayed or neutered:

  • Preventing your pet licking their stitches is really important because they will introduce infections, cause swelling and may even require further surgery to repair the damage. Ways to stop them interfering are buster collars, blow-up ring collars (although these aren't always enough for long-nosed breeds) or 'medical pet shirts' which are a doggy bodysuit.

  • Keeping them calm is often the bigger challenge! If you can't exercise their bodies, exercise their minds instead. Use Lickimats and snuffle mats for meals and play some chilled-out games at home to keep them occupied.

  • It's also really important, particularly for the girls, that they don't jump or climb stairs as that will put the stitches in the muscle under a great deal of pressure. This can be challenging, so at the very least try to keep it to an absolute minimum, especially for the first few days.

  • You'll be able to take them for walks but, particularly in the early days, keep them short and let them sniff. We call these 'sniffaris'. Dog's love to have a good snuffle. Aim for a couple of short walks a day and go to different areas in your neighbourhood, so there's always something new for them to discover.

  • As the healing progresses, you will be able to go further but keep to a walking pace until they have been fully signed off by your vet.

Does pet insurance cover neutering?

Routine or preventative procedures, including neutering, aren’t covered by Pet insurance.

In rare circumstances, the procedure might be recommended by a vet as essential treatment for another health problem ManyPets can consider a claim for it if that’s the case.

If your dog’s unfortunate enough to suffer complications during their routine neuter, ManyPets pet insurance can cover the cost of the vet treatment needed to treat the complication.

Our Complete policy has up to £15,000 cover for vet fees annually. Consider taking out cover well in advance of routine procedures like neutering so your dog’s covered in case of complications and for any other issues that might crop up with their health in the future.


Derri Dunn
Content marketer

Derri is a personal finance and insurance writer and editor. After seven years covering all things motoring and banking at GoCompare, Derri joined ManyPets in 2021 to focus on pet health. She has fostered cats and kittens for Blue Cross and Cats Protection and is owned by tabby cat Diggory and two badly behaved dogs.