Facing the difficult decision to say a final goodbye to a beloved family pet is made even more difficult when finances must be considered. Our dogs are there when we wake up every morning, eagerly waiting for us to arrive home from school or work every single day. When the end finally comes, it can be heart-breaking. It’s especially challenging when we need to consider how much it can cost to put a dog down.
Placing a monetary value on ending their suffering almost seems selfish. But costs are real, and may be part of the conversations when it’s time to make to final choices regarding your pets.
What Types of Costs do I Need to Consider?
The cost to put down a dog is largely dependent upon the services you choose and who performs these services. The services typically include:
- Cremation: group cremation or individual cremation (where the ashes are returned to you).
What Are the Costs?
The costs to put your dog to sleep depend on the service provider:
- Humane society – a nationwide non-profit association offering euthanasia services at low cost ($75-$190 for euthanasia with group cremation. Prices vary based on your dog’s weight)
- Petsmart / Banfield hospital network ($120-$160 with group cremation)
- Your veterinarian’s office ($130 to $350. Prices often vary based on your dog’s weight)
- At home veterinarian euthanasia services, with a vet coming to your home ($320-$650)
We have outlined the costs below, along with estimates in US dollars:
|Euthanasia only (owner takes pet back)||Euthanasia and Group Cremation (No ashes returned)||Euthanasia and Individual Cremation (Ashes returned)|
|Humane Society||$35-$145, depending on size||$75-$190||$130-$270|
|PetSmart / Banfield||$50-$130||$120-$160||$250-$290|
|Vet Office||$80 to $195|
|At-home Vet Visit||$240-$375||$320-$650||$420-$800|
Below is an infographics summarizing these costs. As you can see, prices can vary significantly. The reason is that costs often vary based on your dog’s weight (keep reading to find out what the costs are based on your dog’s weight in pounds):
As you can see, the price ranges in the table above are pretty wide. This is because euthanasia and cremation costs will often vary based on your dog’s weight. Since you already know your dog’s weight approximately, let’s now review the costs to put your dog down based on your dog’s weight.
Costs to Put Your Dog Down – Based On Your Dog’s Weight
The Humane Society of the United States (or various other locations) is typically the cheapest way to put your dog down with low-cost euthanasia services. The costs usually range from $75 to $190, depending on your pet’s weight.
The table below shows an estimate of the costs to euthanize your dog at the Humane Society. Please note that these numbers are estimates only, and your price can vary significantly by location.
|Your Dog’s Weight||Euthanasia Only (owner takes pet back)||Euthanasia and Group Cremation (no ashes returned)||Euthanasia and Individual Cremation (ashes returned)|
|up to 10 pounds||$50-$70||$75-$130||$110-$180|
|11 to 50 pounds||$60-$80||$130-$170||$190-$230|
|51 to 100 pounds||$70-$90||$180-$220||$240-$280|
|101 to 150 pounds||$90-$110||$200-$240||$250-$325|
(See information about the Humane Society End of Life services)
Euthanasia Services By Providers
Euthanasia packages with group cremation usually costs around $130-$160 at PetSmart’s Banfield animal clinics. You can use their price estimator, along with your Zip code, for the price at your location (look for the “Euthanasia package” price, which includes group cremation based on our phone calls – additional costs of approximately $130 will apply if you want individual cremation with ashes returned to you).
2. Your veterinarian’s office
Your average cost could range from $80 to $195. The cost varies based on your pet’s weight and the facility’s location.
WATCH: 3 Important Tips To Care For an Old Dog [VET VIDEO]
3. At home euthanasia
Many dogs find a veterinarian’s clinic stressful regardless of what you do, making a completely stress-free euthanasia impossible. At-home euthanasia offers a much more intimate, private, and stress-free solution.
While this is often easier for your pet, there is more preparation required and the overall time commitment is significantly greater. On average, at-home euthanasia ranges from $240 to $375.
More About Aftercare Services (Cremation and Burial)
Aftercare services include pet crematorium transportation or either communal, private, or memorial cremation. Cremation services will add an additional fee, usually based on your pet’s weight.
This normally costs between $75-$550.
Your pet is cremated individually, privately. Then ashes can then be returned to you. Facilities and location determine specific costs.
When you make this decision, your pet will be cremated with others. Individual ashes won’t be returned. Ashes are disposed of in either facility grounds or on a specified memorial area by crematory staff.
Pet cemetery burial
Depending on the area you live, burying your pet in your backyard is often illegal. However, you still have the option of a pet cemetery burial.
This includes a burial plot, optional burial stone, and several options for a casket. Your average cost could range from $400 for a small pet to several thousand dollars, depending on the options you choose.
Who is legally allowed to euthanize domestic pets?
Currently, 49 out of 50 states in the US have passed legislation regarding pet euthanasia, mandating it only be carried out by a licensed Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or veterinary technician, though specific regulations can vary by state.
Owner-induced euthanasia (you euthanize your dog yourself at home) is almost always illegal. This is only an option in certain states if your pet meets very specific criteria:
- Severely injured or so sick death is imminent
- Medically “unfit” for living (losing several limbs, severe brain damage)
What is the euthanasia process?
Euthanasia involves humanely ceasing a dog’s vital life functions, allowing the animal to peacefully pass and ending its’ suffering. The process is meant to offer both pain-free and stress-free relief for animals in extreme discomfort or suffering from a chronic and incurable health complication.
First, the animal receives a sedative, allowing him to calmly enter a sleep state. Then, most veterinarians will intravenously give a seizure medication called pentobarbital. Finally, the animal’s heart, lungs, and brain functions should cease within two minutes.
Your pet may feel the initial needle prick. After that, your dog slowly drifts off while asleep, free from pain and distress.
Why is owner-administered euthanasia a bad idea?
Choosing to euthanize your pet yourself is a terrible idea. While it may be tempting to save on costs, there are many reasons to get your pet to professional.
Disclaimer: This website's content is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your local veterinarian for health decisions. Learn more.
Legality: First, owner-administered euthanasia is nearly always illegal. The punishment will vary depending on state legislation, but you could be looking at prison time and a fine.
If your actions are considered animal cruelty, you could be facing a much harsher punishment.
Difficulty: Second, most owners do not have a sufficient background in medicine to make sure owner-administered euthanasia is humane. Without proper training, you may cause your animal unnecessary pain and suffering.
Managing remains: Finally, because of other predatory animals, water contamination, and other unforeseen complications, many states prohibit at home burials. Owners at home struggle to respectfully manage their pet’s remains.
True euthanasia offers pain relief to an animal suffering from a severely diminished quality of life.
Sometimes, this is ultimately the kinder, gentler option. No one wants their precious furry family member to needlessly suffer until the end.
In the end, while financial matters can’t be ignored, decisions should be made for the good of our pets. They deserve nothing less.
Related Posts about Euthanasia & Putting A Dog To Sleep:
Disclaimer: This website's content is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action. Read More.