All you need to know about neutering

Getting your pet neutered is an important part of being a pet parent. When is the right time? How much does it cost? And should you get your pet neutered at all?

To help you decide what’s best for you and your four-legged friend, here are the ins and outs of this common pet procedure.

What is neutering?

Neutering is a safe and simple surgical procedure that prevents pets from reproducing. It’s carried out by a veterinary surgeon while your pet is under general anaesthetic.

It’s most commonly carried out on cats and dogs, but other pets can be neutered too, including rabbits and ferrets.

In female pets, the operation is called spaying. In males, it’s called castration.

What’s involved in the procedure?

When a female pet is spayed in the UK, the veterinary surgeon will typically remove its two major reproductive organs (the ovaries and uterus). This means that your female pet can no longer become pregnant.

When it comes to castration, male pets’ testicles are surgically removed, which helps stop the production of testosterone.

Most pets tend to recover quickly after spaying or castration. But like all surgical procedures, neutering does carry some risk of complications.

Why should I get my pet neutered?

Deciding whether to get your pet neutered is a big decision for any pet parent. But if you’re not planning on breeding, there are a number of benefits for you and your pet:

  • Your female pet won’t be in danger of having an unplanned pregnancy and bringing unwanted animals into the world
  • Reduced risk of infections and diseases, including cancer
  • Your female pet won’t come in to heat or season, which will reduce unwanted attention from males and prevent the effects of being in heat, including swelling and bleeding
  • Reduced aggression in male pets (if you think your pet may have a behavioural illness or disorder, you may want to consider behavioural therapy)
  • Less expensive veterinary fees – the cost of neutering is more affordable than being responsible for a pet’s pregnancy and caring for its litter
  • Your male pet is less likely to roam away from home – meaning less risk of your pet going missing and the expensive vet fees that come with accidents and injuries

When should I get my pet neutered?

There’s no agreed or widely recommended age for when’s best to get your pet neutered. All pets are different – and the ‘right’ age will depend on your vet’s preferences and your pet’s circumstances.

If you’re thinking about getting your pet neutered, the best thing to do is speak to your vet as soon as possible. They’ll help you decide when the time is right and recommend the best plan for your pet.

How much does it cost to neuter your pet?

The cost of castrating or spaying your pet will depend on the type of pet you have, the size of your pet and where you’re located in the country.

If you’re on benefits, animal charities, including Blue Cross and Dogs Trust, offer discounted and subsidised neutering that may help keep your costs down.

Your pet insurance and neutering

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance, doesn’t cover the costs of spaying or castration (or any complications that arise from these treatments). But there are some circumstances where neutering can play an important part in your insurance policy.

For example, when you take out pet insurance with us, we’ll cover the cost of any behavioral therapy or treatment recommended by your vet. However this does not apply if the behavioral problem could have been prevented by training, spaying or neutering. The amount we’ll pay depends on your policy.

Want more advice on neutering?

When you protect your pet with us, you’ll benefit from 24/7 vet assistance.

So if you want to know more about neutering and find out if it’s right for your pet, you can get in touch with a qualified vet nurse whenever it suits you – anytime, anywhere.

Other helpful guides

Whether you choose to neuter your pet or not, our handy guides can help keep your pet safe.

Pet insurance vs self insuring

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Pet gone missing?

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Pet health and wellbeing

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Check out our answers to some of our pet insurance customers’ most common questions.

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