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.
In May 2022, we checked the price of neutering and spaying dogs with 51 vets around the UK.
Our research shows that you'll need to budget about £200 to neuter a male dog and around £300 for a female.
We also discovered that the cost of neutering your dog varies quite significantly depending on:
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 35% 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’s needed.
The nationwide average cost to neuter (castrate) a male dog was £221.12.
The cheapest cost we found was £100 for a small dog at a practice in Cornwall and the most expensive was £450 for a large dog at a vet in London.
The cheapest cost we found of spaying a bitch was £150 for a small dog at a vet practice in Cornwall. This ranged up to £646 for a large bitch at a vets in East Sussex. That higher price is for a laparoscopic (keyhole) spay, which that particular practice offered as its standard procedure.
The average cost of spaying a bitch was £299.22.
|Neuter male dog||Spay female dog|
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.
There is a newer method of ovariectomy, which is the removal of just the ovaries, and this is usually done with a laparoscopic spay.
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.
The average price of castrating large dogs is £246.02 but for small dogs it’s just £196.29
|Small dog||Medium dog||Large dog|
|Lowest castrate cost||£150||£100||£100|
|Average castrate cost||£196.29||£221.06||£246.02|
|Highest castrate cost||£328||£368.69||£450|
The average cost of spaying a large bitch is £331.61 and for a small one it’s £267.03.
|Small bitch||Medium bitch||Large bitch|
|Lowest spay cost||£150||£150||£200|
|Average spay cost||£267.03||£299.04||£331.61|
|Highest spay cost||£600||£600||£646|
We found that most vets divided their pricing by small, medium and large. The most common pricing brackets were under 25kg for small, 25-45kg for medium and over 45kg for large.
These size classifications do vary from vet to vet though and some only give low-high range. We took those to be the price for small and large and chose the mid-point as a price for medium.
A few vets charge a fixed price for all sizes of dogs. For example the Animal Trust chain of not-for-profit vets charges £169 to neuter any size of dog and £239 to spay any size bitch at all its branches.
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.
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 £175.05 on average to neuter a small dog and £201.91 for a large dog.
The North wasn’t the cheapest area to castrate a medium dog though – it’s a little cheaper in the South West at £188.41. The South West 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|
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.
The cheapest area to neuter a female dog was the North. That makes the North the cheapest region for both spaying and castration. The South West 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|
The cheapest vet for neutering your dog
The very cheapest neutering price we found was £100 at the Redruth Vet Surgery in Cornwall.
This was for a male dog weighing up to 35kg so includes more dogs than the ‘up to 25kg’ smallest weight band quoted by many surgeries.
The price includes pain relief to go home with and a post-op checkup.
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 Rottweiller, 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 £25-35 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
Male dogs can be chemically castrated by placing a chip or implant under the skin containing a hormone medication called Supralorin. The chemicals reduce your dog’s testosterone and it makes them temporarily infertile for six-12 months.
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 £109.48 for a six-month implant and £218.96 for one lasting 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!"
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.
"In terms of cost, the implant is generally around the same price as a castration surgery," says Cat.
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 laproscopic spaying is that it’s significantly more expensive.
Only 10 of the vets we surveyed quoted prices for laparoscopic spaying. For medium-sized dogs the price of a laparoscopic spay is around £500-600, so generally £200-300 more than a standard spay.
The cheapest laparoscopic spay price we found was £413.18 for a small dog at a surgery in Bedfordshire . The most expensive price we found was £979.78 at a Welsh veterinary surgery, 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 are around two to three times 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
Also, your dog will also be less moody, as her hormones won’t be affected by coming into season
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.
Does pet insurance cover neutering?
Pet insurance doesn't cover routine or preventative procedures such as neutering.
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.
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.
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.