Even when our pets live long and happy lives, it’s really never long enough. The decision to let a beloved pet go is never an easy one, but if your dog is suffering, putting your dog down is the most compassionate thing to do.
What is euthanasia?
The term “putting a dog down” is common but somewhat old-fashioned and impersonal. “Putting a dog to sleep” is also commonly used. Most veterinarians and pet parents prefer the term “euthanasia.” But all of these terms boil down to the same thing: to humanely end a pet’s life in order to stop or prevent unnecessary suffering due to an incurable medical condition or injury.
How much does it cost to put a dog down?
The cost of euthanasia varies depending on where you have the procedure done and where you live. Generally speaking, rates can start anywhere from between $50 to $150, but there are other factors to consider, such as the dog’s weight and the types of instruments used. Some vets combine all these factors into one package.
Dr. Ernie Ward, an internationally recognized veterinarian and author of The Clean Pet Food Revolution, says he always believed in a single fee for euthanasia. Currently, my old clinics charge about $150 (in rural North Carolina), he says. The pets at his clinics are always sedated prior to the procedure and an IV catheter is placed to administer the euthanasia solution. Pet owners are encouraged to remain with the pet throughout the entire procedure.
Does it cost more to euthanize my dog at home?
Some pet parents opt to have the procedure done at their home, where the dog is surrounded by family and familiar sights and smells. This can cost anywhere from about $150 to upwards of $300. My sister recently had to have her beloved cat euthanized and opted to have the procedure done in her home in Los Angeles. She says the $350 procedure (and $285 cremation) was definitely worth it.
If the expense is an issue, approach veterinary service companies, charities and local veterinarians to see if they can provide euthanasia at a discount. It never hurts to ask!
Many animal shelters also offer euthanasia services. Pricing can be as low as $50 to $75 for basic euthanasia.
Should I bury or cremate my dog?
Burial is the most expensive option, which can run from about $200 to $2,000. Costs include the burial plot, casket, headstone, etc.
Dog cremation is the most popular, and less expensive, option. There are two types:
- Communal cremation: In this process, multiple animals are cremated at one time, which means you can’t keep your dog’s ashes. This option is the least expensive, running about $30 to $70.
- Private cremation: In this method, your dog is cremated alone, and the ashes are returned to you to keep as a remembrance. Prices can run anywhere from $175 to $250. Dr. Ward uses an outside cremation service provider for those who want it. The pet cremation service charges $175 to $285 based on the size of the pet.
There’s no way around it – choosing to end your beloved dog’s life is a hard choice, but it’s also a compassionate one when your dog is suffering and in pain. Being prepared, discussing your options and knowing the costs will help when the time comes to make this difficult decision.