Does Pet Insurance Cover Neutering?
The stray pet population is an unfortunate problem with a very simple solution: every pet owner who doesn’t plan on breeding their animals should spay and neuter their pets. Shelters all over the country are under constant stress, their resources stretched to the limit, full to the brim with puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats that have a slim chance at finding a forever home. And you can help reduce this problem by getting your precious pet neutered so that they won’t sire offspring which neither you nor your local shelter can care for.
Sometimes, we as humans project a lot onto our animals. The idea of neutering may be uncomfortable to some pet guardians for that reason. But it’s important to understand all of the potential benefits that neutering provides. Fixing your pet so that it can’t accidentally breed has a very different effect on their bodies compared to what it would do to a human. They actually live longer, happier lives in the long run – so there’s virtually no downside to getting your pet neutered as soon as it reaches breeding age.
Having said that, neutering for dogs and cats can be a very different process. In some situations, you may have to wait a lot longer than you thought or pay costs you didn’t anticipate. But there are ways to navigate the process so that it’s easy, affordable, and done in the healthiest possible way for your animal.
The Medical Benefits of Neutering Your Pet
Like we said earlier, neutering your dog or cat is not the same thing as performing a sterilization procedure on a human. There are a ton of health benefits which your animal will enjoy. Whether you’re talking about dogs or cats, neutering your male pet can help with the following health risks:
- Fewer urine accidents to clean up. When male dogs and cats are left intact, they become more territorial. They way they claim their territory from rival animals and potential predators is to “mark” their territory with urine. But neutered males are much calmer and less territorial, reducing their urge to mark down to almost nothing.
- They’ll be less likely to roam and/or escape. Intact male animals are left with the hormonal urge to breed. This means that your dog or cat will be chomping at the bit to escape their home environment and go roaming around in search of fertile females to impregnate. Roaming around in the wild poses several health risks to your pets, including the risk of injury or death from fights with other animals, getting hit by a car, or coming in contact with violent humans who think that the animal is trespassing on their property.
- Neutering helps reduce the risk for certain diseases. The risk of your dog or cat developing testicular cancer is virtually eliminated, and they’re much less likely to suffer from prostate diseases compared to those animals who are left intact.
- You’ll help reduce the unhomed pet population. As we said earlier, the overpopulation problem with dogs and cats is a strain on the system and a horrible experience for the animals who cannot find homes. Getting your pet neutered is especially effective because male animals can impregnate more than one female at the same time, causing a much larger population surge if left intact.
- Neutered male pets are much less aggressive. Intact males, on the other hand, are still subject to the whims of their hormones, making them much more territorial and aggressive. They are more likely to fight with other animals and/or physically harm humans if left intact. Statistics show that on average, over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the US alone, with the majority of those bites coming from intact animals. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that you could be sued if your animal physically harms a person or a neighbor’s pet to the point of requiring medical attention. The authorities may even get involved and euthanize your animal if they think it is a danger to those who live near you.
- Neutered animals live longer. For dogs, your animal companion could live upwards of 3 years longer than an unneutered male. And for cats, it can extend their lifespan by up to 5 years. So if you have a strong bond with your pet and you want to keep them around for as long as possible, neutering is the best way to go.
How and When to Get Your Dog or Cat Neutered
Neutering is a surgical procedure, so you will have to take your animal to a qualified veterinarian in order to get the operation performed. The operation starts with a trained veterinarian making an incision into the animal’s scrotum using sterilized tools in a sterilized environment. The testicles are then physically removed to make it easy to see from a distance that the animal has, in fact, been neutered. Once the procedure is complete and the animal has woken from its anesthesia, he will be ready for you to swing by the vet’s office and take him home.
Depending on how the procedure is performed, you may have to keep an eye on your pet for several days while the incision heals. An animal’s natural instinct is to lick or chew at the incision site, especially if they experience itching or physical discomfort while their body is healing itself. But the bacteria in their mouths could cause an infection if you aren’t careful. Many vets will suggest either purchasing a “cone of shame” from your local pet supply store or will provide one for you in order to prevent this from happening.
It should be noted that the timing of the procedure is different for dogs and cats. Cats reach breeding age much more quickly than most dogs, so the general rule of thumb is to get male cats neutered as soon as they weigh at least 2 lbs. Any sooner, and they may not survive the anesthesia. For dog owners, on the other hand, it can cause health problems for your pet later in life if you get the animal neutered too early. For the best advice on when to get your dog neutered, consult your local veterinarian.
How Much Does it Cost to Neuter a Pet?
There are many different factors which play into the overall cost of getting your pet neutered. Some of those factors include:
- Your animal’s weight – the heavier your animal is, the more anesthesia they will require in order to be put under for the procedure. And the anesthesia costs are some of the most expensive costs of the whole operation
- Where you live – the area where you live may have more expensive health care costs for pets compared to other cities and states. Also, veterinarians have more wiggle room to charge what they like, so it’s important to shop around if you are trying to get your pet neutered on a budget
- What animal welfare plans are available – in certain communities, especially those which are already suffering from a pet overpopulation problem, there may be local programs which will offer discounted or free spaying and neutering services. It’s definitely worth looking into it and making some phone calls to find out if you are eligible
The average cost of neutering your dog can start out at $100 for small dogs and run upwards of $350 for larger breeds. It’s much cheaper for cats, though – with the average cost of neutering a male cat ranging between $35 – $50.
Neutering is Fantastic Preventative Care for Dogs and Cats
Neutering your animal is considered a form of preventative care – a distinction which will be important in the next section. Neutering your animal can prevent a whole host of health problems and other negative consequences which can shorten their life, so other than the actual financial cost of the procedure, there’s virtually no reason not to make sure your male animals are neutered. It’s the best thing to do for their health, their longevity, their safety, and the safety of you and your neighbors.
So how do pet owners pay for this procedure? You may think that the best answer is to purchase a pet insurance plan – but you have to make sure you purchase the right one in order to get the procedure even partially covered.
Many Pet Insurance Policies Don’t Cover Neutering Services
Despite the many reasons why it makes sense to neuter your animals, most pet health insurance plans consider these to be elective procedures. Because of this, it can be difficult to get even partial reimbursement from your health insurance provider, much less the full cost of the procedure covered. Most pet insurance companies will sell you a more expensive plan which provides for preventative care (under which spaying and neutering is included). These plans can cost anywhere from $25 – $30 per month per pet.
On top of that, most will only provide a limited amount of reimbursement for the procedure – somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 – $150 worth of reimbursement. But if you would like help finding out which pet insurance is the best for helping you neuter your pet (or pets), don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We can help you compare plans in your area which can get your animal neutered safely and cheaply so that you can enjoy a longer, happier life together.