Deciding if and when you want to have your dog spayed or neutered is a big decision all pet owners have to make. Recent studies have shown that getting your dog neutered before it’s a year old can stunt their growth. Meanwhile, it is said that the best time to have your female puppy spayed is before their first heat.

Are you considering getting your pet neutered or spayed? Wondering how much these surgeries cost and if pet health insurance covers them? Today, we’ll look at the top questions pet parents should consider.

What Does it Mean to Get Your Pet Neutered or Spayed?

It is always recommended to spay and neuter your animals to battle overpopulation problems in animals. Animal shelters are overwhelmed, and we need to do our best to ensure our animals are not mating and having puppies or kittens.

If it’s your first time with a new puppy or kitten, the difference between spaying and neutering is based on the animal’s gender. Female animals are spayed, which means the procedure removes their ovaries and uterus. Neutering is the removal of the testicles of male animals.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Neutering and Spaying? How Much Do These Procedures Cost?

It can cost a couple of hundred dollars to get our animals spayed or neutered. Unfortunately, this procedure is not covered by most pet insurance for dogs or cats, or by pet wellness plans. This is another cost you must keep in mind before adopting or getting a puppy or kitten.

When Should I Get My Cat Spayed or Neutered?

Female cats will typically go through their first heat cycle as soon as four months of age, but it typically takes place closer to five or six months old. Getting your female pet spayed at five months old is usually a good time to ensure they can’t get pregnant.

Spaying your pet also greatly reduces their risk of developing mammary cancer. Kittens spayed at five months bounce back a lot faster than an older cat.

The time frame to get your male cat neutered is around the same, four to six months of age. If you neuter your male cat before he is 10 months old, he’s much less likely to begin spraying and urinating on things. Cat urine is hard to clean up and can also be a tough habit to break even after neutering.

When Should I Get My Dog Spayed or Neutered?

When deciding to get your puppy spayed or neutered, you can use their weight as a guideline. Small-breed dogs that are, or will be, under forty-five pounds can be spayed or neutered at six months of age. Larger breeds of dogs that will be over forty-five pounds should be neutered once their growth stops. This can be between the ages of nine and fifteen months.

This decision could also depend on the dog’s breed and its risk of disease. These factors could either widen or narrow the window of when you should spay or neuter them. Pet insurance for dogs covers pet owners for many procedures required as a result of breed-related diseases, such as hip dysplasia.

If you’re unsure or have any questions make sure to contact your veterinarian. With a pet wellness plan, you can get initial trips to the veterinarian covered, as well as the vaccinations your puppy will also require.

What Are the Benefits of Spaying or Neutering My Pet?

Many believe that for an animal to feel fulfilled, they must experience motherhood. Or that their male animals will feel less masculine after being neutered. This is simply not true. Animals don’t think like humans. The reasons to spay or neuter far outweigh the risks of not doing so.

The American Animal Hospital Association created a list of the benefits that come along with spaying and neutering:

  • “Spaying your female pet drastically slashes her risk of mammary cancer, which is fatal in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats.
  • Neutering your male pet eliminates his risk of testicular cancer.
  • Spaying and neutering limit pet overpopulation.
  • Spaying your female pet prevents heat cycles and eliminates yowling, crying, erratic behavior, and bloody vaginal discharge.
  • Neutering your male pet reduces inappropriate behaviors, such as roaming to find a mate, marking inside your home, and fighting with other males.
  • Spaying and neutering are more cost-effective than skipping the surgery. A uterine infection that requires emergency surgery to save your female pet’s life easily can cost several thousand dollars if you don’t have good pet insurance for dogs or cats. Even a simple tomcat neuter costs much less than products needed to eliminate urine odors after your home has been well-marked by your territorial male cat.” - AAHA

What If I Choose Not to Spay or Neuter My Pet?

If you choose to not spay or neuter your dog or cat, you may be inviting unnecessary risks. Many pet parents may require pet health insurance plans to deal with the infections and conditions that can arise in unneutered pets. Some of the risks that can arise from not neutering or spaying your pet include:

  • Unneutered males will roam from home more often, looking to mate. This can increase their odds of being killed by a car or other animals.
  • Unneutered males are usually more aggressive than neutered males.
  • Females going through heat (once every three months) are anxious, loud, and demanding.
  • Unspayed females can have up to three litters a year, increasing overpopulation.
  • Many unspayed females develop mammary cancers by the time they are six or seven. Make sure to get any lumps checked by a vet.
  • Unspayed females are prone to pyometra, a uterine infection that can move into the bloodstream and be fatal.
  • Unneutered males can develop serious infections of their prostate and/or testicular tumors.
  • Unspayed female dogs will bleed during heat (not so common in cats), so you need to be prepared with diapers and to help them stay clean and avoid infections. Some dogs bleed a lot, while others bleed very little. Dog health insurance is essential if you decide to skip spaying your dog.

While Wagmo pet insurance plans and wellness plans don’t cover spay or neuter surgeries, this does not mean they’re not important. If you do decide to skip neutering or spaying, it is more important to sign up for pet insurance for dogs and/or pet insurance for cats. These plans will cover you in case they get pregnant, develop cancer, or experience any complications with their cycles and hormones.

If you just got a puppy or kitten and are looking into the cost of care, getting them spayed or neutered might sound expensive upfront. However, you will be saving thousands of dollars on medical costs down the road. Wondering how you can save on pet expenses with pet insurance for dogs or pet insurance for cats? Take our coverage quiz to find out.