Puppy Tips

What to Know About Spaying or Neutering a Puppy

Spaying and Neutering for Puppies: How Can Pet Insurance Help?

If you’re a first-time dog parent, then you probably have a few questions about spaying and neutering. Deciding to spay or neuter your pup can feel like a daunting decision for some, whether because of the procedure itself or the cost that comes with it. 

Is there a difference between spaying and neutering?

Yes, there is! If you have a female puppy, then spaying is the procedure to remove her ovaries and sometimes her uterus as well. This procedure stops the heat cycle altogether and ensures she will not be able to have puppies. 

On the other hand, having a male puppy means that when he is neutered, both of the testicles are removed. Neutering puts a stop to most breeding instincts in your pup as he continues to grow up.

Do I have to spay or neuter my puppy?

You're not obligated to spay or neuter your puppy, it's a personal decision that each pet parent has to make. But spaying or neutering your pet is recommended to help reduce the number of unwanted litters that could then end up in animal shelters.1

Moreover, neutering male pups prevents them from experiencing testicular cancer later in life, and spaying a female dog helps to reduce their risk of breast cancer and removes the risk of ovarian or uterine cancer.1 Learn more about cancer in dogs.

The biggest pro of neutering a male puppy is that it can help reduce aggressive tendencies that can develop as your puppy grows up. For example, aggression toward other male dogs.1

So, while you're not obligated to spay or neuter your puppy, there are a lot of benefits that can come from doing so.

At what age should I have my puppy spayed or neutered?

According to the ASPCA, the traditional age for a dog to be neutered is around 6 to 9 months old, however healthy puppies can be neutered as young as 8 weeks old. Make sure you choose a clinic that has experience spaying and neutering puppies that young.

One factor to consider before having your puppy spayed or neutered is breed. Experts say that some larger dogs take more time to mature than the smaller ones - so the timing can differ.1 Although adult dogs can be neutered, there’s a slightly higher risk or complications in older dogs, dogs that are overweight, or dogs with existing health problems.2 If you're not sure when your puppy is ready to be spayed or neutered, talk to your vet. They can help you narrow down the right timeframe for when to spay or neuter your pet.

For female pups, vets recommend that the procedure happen before their first heat cycle which occurs roughly between five to ten months of age.1 So if you're considering spaying your puppy, meet with your vet before they reach those ages. Before your puppy is spayed or neutered, make sure they have a checkup to help find any symptoms of underlying issues, and make your vet aware of any meds your puppy is on.

How can I help my puppy recover after being spayed or neutered?

Here are a few pointers recommended by the ASPCA on how to be there for your pup as they recover from spaying/neutering.

  • It’s good to keep your puppy indoors as it’ll help protect them from other dogs and reduce the risk of being attacked or injured.

  • Make sure that you keep an eye on your pup and prevent them from jumping and running around for at least two weeks or as long as your vet suggests. This can help prevent them from ruining their stitches.

  • Unfortunately for your puppy, a smart way to keep them from licking their wounds is by using a cone. If you don't want to put one on your puppy, here are a few alternatives to a cone.

  • Ring your vet immediately if you see any signs of diarrhea, vomiting, reduced appetite, or lethargy.

  • It’s okay if your dog stinks for a bit! Don’t bathe your puppy for at least ten days following the procedure.

  • Check with the vet whether your puppy needs any pain medications, just in case.

One good way to gauge your pup’s recovery is to see if their energy levels go back up after a couple of days. Are they energetic and playful? If you answered yes, then they are well on their way to recovering from the procedure. But however playful they are, remember not to let them run around. Follow these tips and your puppy is going to be fine in no time. 

Is it expensive to spay or neuter a puppy?

According to Rover, most animal hospitals will charge about $300 to $1,500 for the surgery. But it all depends on your location; some areas are more expensive than others.

You can search the ASPCA and SpayUSA national databases to find more affordable spay and neuter clinics in your locality.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Spaying and Neutering?

Spaying or neutering is not typically covered by pet insurance. Pet insurance plans usually cover unexpected illnesses, vet visits, and mishaps, but many pet insurance providers offer wellness add-ons that may cover the eligible costs of spaying or neutering. Research a provider that offers a wellness or preventive care plan as an add-on to your accident and illness coverage.

If you choose to enroll in a plan that helps cover neutering or spaying, keep in mind that you will likely have to pay upfront for the surgery. When you receive your invoice, submit a claim to your provider. Then, wait for your reimbursement of the eligible costs.


"Spaying in Dogs" VCA Canada Animal Hospitals, https://vcacanada.com/know-your-pet/spaying-in-dogs, Feb. 02, 2024.

"Neutering in Dogs" VCA Canada Animal Hospitals, https://vcacanada.com/know-your-pet/neutering-in-dogs, Feb. 02, 2024.

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