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How Much Does It Cost to Put a Pet to Sleep at Petsmart? (2024 Update)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

veterinarian with a syringe euthanizes a pet

Euthanizing your pet, or “putting it to sleep,” is the final gift you can give to your loved one when the time comes. Aside from the emotional impact of euthanasia, the cost may be a factor. The price of euthanasia can vary by location, plus farewell packages like a private cremation, urns, and clay paw prints can add to it.

Fortunately, PetSmart’s Banfield Hospital locations offer convenient and affordable veterinary services for pet owners, including euthanasia. The procedure ranges from $50 to $100 for the euthanasia itself, but farewell packages may cost extra.

The Importance of Putting a Pet to Sleep

Though it may be difficult to think about, euthanasia is often part of pet ownership. Dogs and cats with terminal illnesses, pain, or poor quality of life can be euthanized to end their suffering and give them a humane and dignified passing.

Euthanasia may be considered if the cost of treatment is too much for a pet owner, which is called economic euthanasia. In these cases, treatment is necessary to either cure the pet’s condition or treat its symptoms to improve its quality of life, but it may be too expensive or may have a poor outcome. Economic euthanasia is an option to relieve suffering if treatment is not an option.

Sometimes, pet owners prefer for their pets to have a “natural death” instead of euthanasia. In most cases, this isn’t recommended. Natural death can be scary, stressful, or painful for your pet. Euthanasia offers a controlled setting for your dog or cat to “go to sleep” surrounded by its beloved family members. Typically, pets are given medication to relieve pain or anxiety and make them comfortable. Then, they are given a high dose of a death-inducing drug. Death is quick and painless.

close up ginger Scottish Fold cat with bump on its nose
Image Credit: Nana Trongratanawong, Shutterstock

How Much Does Putting a Pet to Sleep Cost?

Euthanasia at PetSmart Banfield Hospital locations can range from $50 to $100 for the procedure itself. The price may be based on the weight of the pet and your location. Several factors can impact the cost, including taxes and fees, end-of-life packages, and more. Vets are required to conduct an exam if they haven’t seen your pet before, so the total cost may include the exam fee.

These costs are on par with euthanasia services in animal hospitals all over the country, but some hospitals may charge more or less than PetSmart. For example, animal hospitals in cities or areas with a higher cost of living may charge up to $300 for the medication alone, with additional charges for end-of-life packages.

Small animals, such as hamsters, rats, ferrets, birds, snakes, and lizards, may be more or less, depending on the size of the pet and taxes or fees. Euthanizing these animals often involves a different procedure than a dog or cat, however, so it’s important to check that your local Banfield location offers small animal euthanasia services.

Additional Costs to Anticipate

The cost of euthanasia is only for the procedure itself, not including any end-of-life services. The costs can vary according to what you choose for your pet’s remains.

For example, a communal cremation is a cost-effective option in which your pet is cremated with other animals, but you won’t get cremations back. The cost for communal cremation can range from $50 to $135, depending on the size of your pet.

Many pet owners choose private cremation, in which your pet is cremated alone, and you receive the ashes back as a keepsake. Cremains typically come in a container, but you may wish to purchase a personalized urn for your pet. Private cremation can range from $100 to $200 with additional costs for the urn, plaque, or other services.

There are other options for your pets’ remains, such as burial at a pet cemetery. The costs can vary depending on whether you choose to purchase a headstone with engraving and other keepsakes or have a memorial service. Overall, this option can cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Pet burials are less common than they once were, but the service is available in some locations.

Most Banfield locations don’t offer home visits for euthanasia, but some vets do. If you choose to have a vet come to your home to euthanize your pet, you may have additional fees for the home visit.

Finally, if you have to euthanize your pet after a veterinary exam and diagnosis that involved testing or procedures, such as bloodwork, imaging, or wound dressing, you will still be responsible for any treatment it was given.

sedated tabby cat in the vet clinic
Image Credit: GaiBru Photo, Shutterstock

What to Expect When Putting Your Pet to Sleep

Whether it’s your first time or you’ve been through putting pets to sleep many times, it doesn’t get easier. Knowing what to expect can make the situation less stressful, however.

First, you have to decide if you want to be present for the procedure. Most vets recommend the owner stay with their pet during euthanasia as it’s less stressful for them and provides comfort in their final moments. You can also decide if you want friends or family members with you.

Prior to the procedure, you may have to sign consent forms and decide on your farewell plans for cremation, burial, or taking your pet’s remains with you. If you choose cremation, the vet will let you know when you can expect to receive cremains.

It’s best to take care of all these details in advance and settle the bill. Then, after the euthanasia is complete, you can simply leave and take time for yourself to grieve. You won’t want to be filling out paperwork and handling payment in the moments right after your pet’s death.

Once this is all taken care of, you can take some time to say goodbye and express your love for your pet. The vet and staff will likely leave you alone for a few minutes prior to the procedure and will continue when you’re ready.

During euthanasia, your pet will receive an IV injection of a sedative followed by medication to stop the heart. The vet may prefer to have an IV catheter placed for access to the vein to make the process quick and painless.

When you’re ready, the solution is injected into your pet’s vein. Within seconds, your pet will lose consciousness and be free of pain and suffering. Breathing will slow, followed by the heart stopping. The procedure takes about 30 seconds to complete, but your pet will be pain-free and unaware of what’s happening, so there won’t be any fear.

The vet will then listen to your pet’s heart to confirm that it has passed on. You may have the option to be alone with your pet for a few minutes if you choose. Stay as long as you feel comfortable.

Sometimes, your pet’s body will release urine, feces, or other bodily fluids. This is because all of the body’s muscles relax after death. Its eyes may be open, and you may see muscle spasms or hear sounds. Rest assured that this is normal after death, and it doesn’t mean that your pet is still alive or suffering.

pet insurance coverage
Image By: Rawpixel.com, Shutterstock

Does Pet Insurance Cover Euthanasia?

Fortunately, most pet insurance companies have plans that cover euthanasia and end-of-life costs. Depending on the company and policy, the plan may cover euthanasia but not cremation, both, or a portion of the total costs. Some insurance companies offer coverage for hospice or palliative care for terminally ill pets as well, which may or may not include euthanasia and farewell packages.

Another aspect to consider is that insurance companies may have stipulations for euthanasia. Some will pay for euthanasia if it’s necessary for medical reasons, but not behavioral ones, for example. It’s important to review your policy to determine what’s covered for end-of-life care.

Conclusion

Euthanasia is the last gift you can give to your pet and a dignified way to pass on free of pain and suffering. Cost may be an issue, but PetSmart’s Banfield Hospital locations offer affordable euthanasia services that range from $50 to $100. It’s always good to set aside an emergency fund for unexpected emergencies and euthanasia, so you can give your pet this final kindness when the time comes.


Featured Image Credit: fukume, Shutterstock

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