How Much Does it Cost to Put a Dog Down? What to Know

How much does it cost to put a dog down?

Putting a dog down is already an emotional decision, and the stress of working out the details can be difficult.

We sympathize with you and hope we can offer some advice to make this easier for you.

Common questions we get when owners realize a suffering dog needs to be put down involve expenses, how to have it done humanely, and what to do with the dog once it has passed away.

What Does it Mean to Put Your Dog Down?

sleeping dog
Euthanasia is sometimes the only humane option to alleviate pain for a suffering dog.

The act of putting an animal down is also known medically as euthanasia.

This is a procedure performed by veterinarians and professionals in humane societies to prevent further pain when death is already on the horizon for your pet.

It’s a sad situation, however when a dog is old, struggling to move, suffering from a terminal disease, or eating has become too difficult, it can sometimes be the only humane option to stop the suffering. 

When Should I Consider Putting My Dog Down?

There are many possible situations where you may need to start considering euthanasia for your dog. Most of these are health-related and are usually difficult to solve.

Here are some situations where you may need to consider putting your dog down.

  • Constant pain and medications are no longer working
  • Has lost interest in food and eating with no medical cure
  • Experiences difficulty breathing 
  • Cannot control its bowels due to age or disease

Many dog owners choose euthanasia to avoid any kind of long-lasting, and worsening pain for their dog.

Most professionals suggest it when a dog no longer has a chance for a good life.

Another aspect of this is obviously your mental health as the owner.

When your dog is sick and getting worse, it can be emotionally difficult to witness your dog’s pain and struggle with no solution in sight. 

The important thing is to consider whether euthanasia is a reasonable option at that time.

When no other solutions are available, putting your dog down may be the only humane thing left to do.

What is the Process of Euthanasia?

When you arrive at the veterinarian to put your dog down there is a procedure that is commonly followed.

First, the veterinarian will administer a sedative to put your dog to sleep to ensure that it doesn’t feel any pain.

After the sedative has taken effect, they will then administer a very powerful drug called sodium pentobarbital, which is designed to stop the heart within 30 seconds.

It sounds harsh, but it is the quickest and most humane way to end the animal’s life, and because the dog is asleep it will never know what happened or feel any pain. 

Something to consider is whether or not you want to spend time in the room with your dog before he goes.

Most veterinary services allow you to have a moment alone to say your goodbyes after the sedative has been administered and before they administer the final drug.

Can I Bury or Cremate My Dog After Euthanasia?

Dog being injected with a sedative
Once your dog has passed, you can take your dog home and bury it or have it cremated.

Many veterinary services offer cremation and burial arrangements.

When your dog has been put down they will generally wrap and prepare your dog for burial, and you can take the dog to the burial site you choose. 

If you want to cremate your dog, they will keep it at their facility, and will either do an individual cremation, or they will perform a communal cremation. 

An individual cremation will allow you to have your dog’s ashes, while the latter is done with multiple animals meaning you will not receive your dog’s ashes.

If you do cremate your dog there are many services that offer urns, and possible engravings.

All of these options have different prices and can cost anywhere from $150 – $450.

This is also a place to purchase engravable urns that we think are really lovely.

Can I Euthanize My Dog at Home?

You cannot euthanize your dog on your own. In many states, it’s illegal to have anyone but a professional put down an animal.

There are a couple of reasons for this. One is the specific drugs used to effectively put down your dog.

A lot of over-the-counter drugs may seem like a cheap and effective alternative, but in the process, you run the risk of putting your dog in more pain. 

No owner wants to increase their dog’s suffering in the end.

The other issue is that if you don’t use the proper procedure you may fail at putting your dog down, and now you have caused your dog even more pain and suffering.

If you hate the thought of having your dog die at the vet clinic, here are services that provide in-home euthanasia, although they will be more expensive due to the time and travel required. 

However, if you would like the final moments of your precious pup to be spent in a warm and familiar location this is a lovely option that we highly recommend.

It can cost anywhere from $300 – $500 for in-home euthanasia. 

How Much Does It Cost to Put a Dog Down?

Dog with IV fluid
The hardest part is saying a final goodbye and letting go of your friend.

This varies from state to state and service to service, however, euthanasia can cost as low as $50 and as high as $500

The cost depends on where you have the euthanasia performed – vet clinic, animal shelter, or in-home – and optional services such as burial and cremation.

Read More: How Long Do Shelters Keep Lost Dogs? Discover the various factors that play a role in how long a dog will stay at a shelter.

What is the Most Affordable Option?

In general, if you want to give your dog a pain-free and humane end, one of the most affordable options is to take them to a humane society.

Many humane societies charge around $40 to euthanize your dog, and that’s a flat rate for any weight.

If you want to add cremation or burial that will cost more and will depend on the weight of your dog.

Some euthanasia services will also give the option of putting your dog down on a holiday if an emergency arises and it can’t wait, but it will require an extra fee.

Read More: Do Animal Shelters Put Dogs to Sleep? If they are kill shelters, yes. Here’s why and how.

Final Thoughts

We hope this has given you an opportunity to see the next steps clearly.

If you’re in the process of putting your dog down we are sorry, and know that it can be a very hard time in your life. 

Your dog has given you a lot of love over the years, and to experience those final stages of their life can be difficult, especially when you have to make such a difficult decision. 

However, remember that the final moments are just as important for you as they are for the dog, and the peace of mind you receive from its final moments will last a lifetime, just like the memories they gave you.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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