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How Much Does It Cost to Euthanize a Dog? A Comprehensive Guide

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

veterinarian with a syringe euthanizes a pet

It’s the decision that every dog owner dreads. At some point, you’ll have to say goodbye to your best friend.

You’ll never be prepared for that moment, but it can be made even worse if the financial impact of putting your dog down wrecks your budget. That’s why it’s best to know how much euthanizing your dog will cost ahead of time, so there aren’t any nasty surprises on one of the worst days of your life.

Below, we’ll walk you through what to expect from the whole process, including the costs associated with the procedure. So how much does it cost to put a dog down? Let’s find out:

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How Much Does It Cost to Put a Dog Down?

The answer to this question will depend in large part on who’s doing the euthanizing.

If you go through an animal shelter or the Humane Society, you can expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $150. This is likely your cheapest option, but it’s also likely to be rushed and impersonal.

Dog being euthanized_Shannon Y_shutterstock
Image credit: Shannon Y, Shutterstock

If you decide to take your dog to the vet to have the procedure performed, the prices can range from $50 on the low end to $300 on the high end. But the vet’s office is likely a source of stress for your dog, and you may not want their last moments to be spent in such an environment.

You can always have a vet come to you and put your dog down at home. This allows you to spend more time with your pooch in the place where they’re most comfortable, so they’re most likely to slip away peacefully. This is the most expensive option, averaging $300 to $350.

You may be able to find discounted rates through certain vets or animal welfare groups, but the above numbers should give you a decent idea of how much each service will cost.

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What About Cremation?

Unfortunately, your expenses don’t stop with just the euthanization. You also have to think about cremating the remains.

If your dog is euthanized by an animal shelter or the Humane Society, they’ll likely cremate your dog with others. You will not receive your dog’s ashes, but this will be the least expensive option. Still, it will cost anywhere from $75 to $100.

Many vets also offer communal cremation, and the cost will depend on the size of your pet. Small dogs can be cremated for as little as $75, while larger breeds can run as much as $125.

There are two other types of cremation, both of which you’ll only find through a vet or private cremation service. These are individual cremation, in which several dogs are cremated individually (this can lead to remains getting mixed), or private cremation, in which only your dog is cremated and their ashes are returned to you without any other remains mixed in.

These are more expensive. An individual cremation of a small dog can cost $145, while a private cremation of a larger one can be as much as $700.

Image Credit: VP Photo Studio, Shutterstock

Other Costs to Think About

You may be offered other add-ons at the time of euthanization or cremation. These include keepsakes, like your dog’s paw print encased in plaster, or decorative pieces, like a ceremonial urn in which to store their ashes.

None of these are necessary, but they may be worth it if they give you peace of mind at a difficult time.

Many vets will include the paw print free of charge, but anything beyond that will cost extra. How much extra will depend on what you want and the vet’s prices.

Urns can vary wildly in price, depending on their quality. You can pay as little as $25 or as much as several hundred dollars for a receptacle. Also, remember that you can buy your own urn rather than getting one from the vet or cremation service; this may allow you to save a few bucks without sacrificing quality.

How Will I Know When It’s Time to Put My Dog to Sleep?

This is a decision that should be made in conjunction with your veterinarian. They’ll have a much better idea of how much pain your dog is in and whether it’s humane to allow them to keep suffering.

Chances are that you’ll be too emotionally attached to your dog to view the situation clearly. You may be so opposed to parting with your best friend that you keep them alive longer than they should, thereby prolonging their suffering. However, you may also be so adamant about not causing them undue pain that you sacrifice a few more years with your pup.

Ultimately, though, it’s your decision — and you’ll know when you know.

That said, here are a few signs you can look for that may indicate that your dog is losing their quality of life:
  • They’re in chronic pain.
  • They have limited mobility or they can’t stand or walk.
  • They’re vomiting or suffering from diarrhea frequently.
  • They’ve lost interest in food or water.
  • They’ve become incontinent.
  • They’re no longer interested in their favorite activities.
  • Their breathing has become labored.
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Is There Anything I Can Do for My Dog in Their Final Days?

If you suspect that your dog may not have much time left, you’ll want to make their last few days on this Earth as special as possible. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to help make your pup’s final moments some of their best.

It’s very important that you listen to your vet. Follow their instructions to the letter, and stay on top of your dog’s medication needs, especially their pain meds. This is the best way to ensure that your dog feels as good as they possibly can.

Make them as comfortable as possible. This may mean buying a new bed, or you might allow them on your bed for the first time. You may also want to remove their collar or anything else that might be causing them discomfort.

Most importantly, though, you should spend as much time with them as possible. You’re their entire world, after all, and there’s nothing that they’d like more than to spend as much quality time with you as they can. Lavish them with love and affection — they deserve it.

If you have obligations that will take you away from your home, try to arrange for someone to be there with them at all times. This will ensure that they have help if they need it, and it also guarantees that they won’t be alone if their time comes while you’re unable to be there.

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Saying goodbye to your dog is one of the most heartbreaking things that you’ll ever do, and there isn’t much that can be done to diminish the pain. You’ll have to work through your grief on your own, and in a cruel irony, the one friend that you’ll need the most is the one you’ll be missing.

However, it’s important to realize that that’s something worth celebrating as well. After all, any loss that can leave such a massive hole in your heart speaks to just how much that friend meant to you.

Nobody wants to lose their best friend. But if that’s the price that must be paid to have these wonderful companions in our lives, it’s hard to say that it’s not worth paying.

Featured Image Credit: fukume, Shutterstock

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