Confused about dog neutering? We’re not surprised, neutering is a contentious subject that it seems like everyone and their dog (pun intended) has an opinion on, and they are very happy to give you that opinion, whether you want to hear it or not. We know, we’ve been there, on the receiving end of the experts in the park! 

On a basic level, neutering your dog is generally a good idea. It has numerous health benefits and it might actually extend their life span too! There are some down sides you need to be aware of, just so you’re prepared. We’re here to help you unravel some of the confusion and tell you all you need to know about dog neutering.

This article will cover:

  • The benefits of dog neutering
  • When should you have your dog neutered
  • How does it work? Preparation and aftercare
  • Dog Neutering complications
  • Dog Neutering and Spaying cost
french bulldog sitting on kitchen counter
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

What is dog neutering and spaying?

So what is neutering? Castration? Spaying? ‘The snip’? Being done? What do these terms mean? Basically they all mean the same thing…taking away the ability to reproduce young, in this case stopping them having puppies. Neutering is a general term applied to both male and female dogs, castration is the removal of the testicles in male dogs and spaying is removal of the ovaries and womb in females. It may sound traumatic but it’s actually a very routine procedure with many health benefits. 

What are the benefits of dog neutering

Neutering is an important decision to make for your pet, not only does it prevent unwanted pregnancies, it also protects against a number of health issues and can even have some behavioural benefits. Here’s some of the benefits:

·        Reduces the chance of female dogs developing mammary tumours i.e breast cancer.

·        Prevents Pyometra which is a dangerous womb infection in female dogs.

·        Stops males from developing testicular cancer.

·        Reduces the risk of prostate disease in male dogs.

·        Can reduce roaming behaviour, humping and some aggressive behaviours.

. Reduces the unwanted puppy population.

·        Female dogs no longer come into season once they have been spayed.

When should you neuter your dog?

The best age to neuter your dog will vary on a few factors such as:

  • Breed size – neutering large breed dogs is generally done later to reduce the risk of any joint problems.
  • Temperament and personality – for some dogs neutering sooner rather than later is better, whereas others need a bit more time to mature. Every dog is different, right?
  • Your lifestyle – Many doggy daycares, pet sitters and boarding kennels require dogs to be neutered by a certain age to have them as clients.
  • What your vet advises – best to ask a professional really! 

There’s a nice paper on Assisting Decision-Making on Age of Neutering, which compares various studies, do have a read and make your own mind up. 

There really can be a lot of conflicting advice about when it’s best to neuter your dog. Really, consulting your vet is the best option for deciding when. Your vet will consider your dog’s age, breed type, temperament and lifestyle, way more personal than asking google. 

For female dogs, many vets recommend allowing them to have at least their first season before spaying, then waiting 3 months after this season has finished. 

Don’t feel pressured or rushed to neuter straight away – they’re your dog after all. 

For males there are alternatives like the Suprelorin implant, which is a temporary way of seeing how neutering may affect them. 

puppy smiling at camera
Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash

How does dog neutering work?

So you’re all booked in, what happens next. On the day of surgery your dog will be admitted to your vets as a day patient and given a general anaesthetic for the operation. 


Either a few days before or on the morning of the operation your dog will require a pre op check, this is just to ensure your dog is as healthy as can be before having the surgery. 

Unfortunately for them, having a general anaesthetic and operation must be done on an empty stomach, so you’ll have to ignore those puppy dog eyes! Your vet will advise exactly how long for, but most often it means no breakfast on the morning of the op.

The procedure 

In male dogs, the testicles are removed along with the sperm ducts and blood vessels. 

In female dogs, the surgery is more complex and involves complete removal of the ovaries and womb via an incision in the abdomen, this is called a traditional spay.

Spaying a female can also be carried out through keyhole surgery; this is called a laparoscopic spay, and is also known as ovariectomy. It involves removing the ovaries via a few small incisions, this is less invasive than the standard spay and the recovery time can be shorter, keep in mind it is more expensive! 


When you collect your dog post surgery they will often:

  • Be quite groggy from the anaesthetic, so wrap them up and let them sleep it off.
  • Have a prescription for pain medication for the days ahead, as well as a dreaded ‘cone of shame’ to stop them bothering the stitches – you may also be offered a surgical bodysuit, which will be much comfier for your dog! 
  • Take around 5-7 days to recover for males, and around 10 days for females.
  • Be required to come back for a post-op check and to have their stitches removed.

Dog neutering complications 

Dog neutering is a very routine procedure and complications are rare, however as with any surgery, they can arise. The most common complications from dog neutering are:

  • Complications from the anaesthetic
  • Infection 
  • Hernias in female dogs 
  • Delayed wound healing 

Complications are rare and the benefits of dog neutering vastly outweighs any risk. Most complications can be avoided by following your vets advice regarding aftercare. 

Dog neutering cost 

In the UK, it can cost between £100 and £250 to castrate a male dog and between £150 to £500 to spay a female. In the US, the costs vary across states from $50 to $200 for males and $100 to $500 for females. Costs vary so widely due to the following factors.

·        Breed type –  more anaesthetic will be needed for larger dogs therefore the larger the breed the higher the total cost.

·        Location – where you choose to have your dog neutered will affect the cost, there are regional variations in the price.

·        Vet practice – there are cost variations across practices, some of the larger national chain vet practices can be cheaper as they buy the drugs used in bigger quantities than independent practices.

·        Type of procedure – female spaying can be carried out through keyhole surgery. The recovery time can be faster but it is a more specialist and therefore more expensive procedure.

·        Drugs used – there are many variations of the drugs used during and after surgery which can affect the end cost of neutering.

So there you go, we think we’ve told you everything you need to know about dog neutering. It’s a simple procedure, with loads of health benefits for your dog as well as helping keep unplanned puppies out of shelters. 

jack russell sitting on grass
Photo by Gemma Regalado on Unsplash

We hope this article has helped you learn about dog neutering and its benefits. You might also be interested to learn about how often you should worm your puppy and lucky for you, we have an article for that too.

For more information on all things puppy, as well as training tips and dealing with problem behaviours, why not download our puppy training app? You’ll also get access to a team of qualified and experienced Puppy Training Experts, to help you with any of the struggles you have, they’ve heard it all, and will be happy to help!