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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insu...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Feb 17, 2021

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Dog with paw covering nose looking worried at the vetrinarian

Introduction

If you are a pet owner, you’ve probably had the conversation at least once with your veterinarian about making the best decision for your pet’s reproductive health. For male cats and dogs, that means neutering them. 

When purchasing pet insurance, you want to make sure you’re getting the right plan in place to protect your pet’s health. Does pet insurance cover neutering? Let’s have a look at what pet insurance covers and if neutering is included.

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What Does Pet Insurance Cover? 

There are a few different plan types you can choose from when getting pet insurance. Comprehensive pet insurance provides coverage for accidents and illnesses. 

Accidents include:

  • Swallowing foreign objects
  • Cuts
  • Burns
  • Broken bones
  • Bite wounds
  • Poisoning
  • Torn nails

If it’s not an accident, most medical events can be classified as an illness. Except neutering isn’t an accident or an illness, so is it covered? Not exactly, but there’s another option available.

A wellness plan bridges the gap found between comprehensive coverage and no coverage by including preventative care:

  • Annual exams
  • Flea, tick, and parasite medication
  • Vaccinations 
  • Certain diagnostic testing
  • Dental work
  • Procedures like neutering

Wellness plans are inexpensive compared to comprehensive and accident-only coverage. Purchasing a wellness plan with accident and illness offers the widest range of coverage for your pet’s health to help you control out-of-pocket veterinary costs.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Neutering?

Removal of the reproductive organs is a surgical procedure that veterinarians consider preventative care. Pet insurance companies may not agree, with some placing neutering under preventative care while others consider it an elective procedure.

Regardless if a pet insurance company considers neutering preventative care or an elective surgery, it’s usually not covered by pet insurance. However, there should be some coverage with a stand-alone wellness plan or add-on to accident or illness coverage. 

Just make sure the wellness plan reimburses for neutering before you buy it. We evaluated over 30 pet insurers to find the top seven best wellness plans to help you decide.

What Does it Mean to Neuter a Pet?

Neutering a pet means removing their reproductive organs, also known as sterilization. In the case of a male pet, neutering involves removing the testicles, also called castration or orchiectomy.

Costs for this procedure vary by location and veterinarian, but can be offset by purchasing pet insurance coverage with a wellness plan.

What if My Pet Has Complications?

This depends on the company you choose to purchase pet insurance from. Some will cover complications from surgery if it occurred while the policy was in force and not during a waiting period.

Even though neutering is a common medical procedure, it’s not without its risks or complications. Here are a few things that could go wrong:

  • Infection 
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Bleeding or hemorrhage
  • Swelling
  • Pain 

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of neutering with your veterinarian. If you go through with the surgery, aftercare is crucial and can greatly reduce the chances of complications. Keeping your pet calm and away from the surgery site in the weeks following the procedure is the best way to limit the likelihood of needing coverage for a postoperative complication.

When Should Pets be Neutered

Now that you know the type of coverage needed for neutering your pet, when is the best time to schedule the procedure? This varies by type of pet and breed. 

In general, it’s safe to neuter dogs between six and nine months old. Some vets may recommend a later age, especially with large breeds, as they tend to take longer to fully become an adult compared to smaller breeds.

Neutering usually takes place at a younger age for cats, between 8 weeks old and prior to them turning six months old. To know the ideal age to neuter your pet, consult with your veterinarian before scheduling the procedure.

Why Should I Neuter My Pet?

Neutering your pet is more than just controlling the pet population. There are also health benefits for your pet, including:

  • Preventing testicular cancer
  • Reducing the risk of prostatic diseases
  • Eliminating unwanted behaviors including marking of territory, roaming, and aggression

An unaltered male dog or cat can create countless unwanted litters of puppies and kittens. While cute, the reality is, many pets end up in shelters every day, especially in lower income areas

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 6 to 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters every year. As many as half of the cats and dogs there never leave and are instead euthanized. 

We can curb this unfortunate reality by ensuring we neuter our pets at the appropriate age and not letting them roam free. Pet insurance with a wellness plan can help offset the costs of keeping the pet population manageable, reducing the amount of euthanized cats and dogs each year.

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Summary

Purchasing pet insurance is a great way to keep costs manageable when your pet needs medical attention. Considered an elective procedure that can fall under preventative care, including a wellness plan, can ensure you’re reimbursed for part or all of the costs associated with neutering your pet.

Neutering your dog or cat can help with population control, but that’s not the only benefit. Neutered cats and dogs are less likely to want to roam, mark their territory, and become aggressive. They are also protected from certain prostate diseases and testicular cancer.