What Does it Cost to Euthanize a Dog? (Explained)

What Does It Cost To Euthanize A Dog? Photo of a dog laying down looking like it was euthanized.

Euthanizing your dog does come at a cost, emotionally as well as financially. Since covering the cost will be an essential factor when making your arrangements, research is vital! Here’s what does it cost to euthanize a dog and everything else you need to know.

Euthanizing a dog can vary anywhere from $50 to $1000. The cost will vary depending on whether you take your dog to a charity clinic or a vet’s office. There are also variations based on doing it in the clinic or at home, cremation services (often by weight), and more.

When deciding what the best choice is for you and your dog, you’ll want to know what to expect in extra charges and how to make your decision based on your dog’s needs. More below on that.

How much does it cost to put down a dog?

The cost for euthanizing your dog will vary based on where you go to actually get it done. There are three main avenues that you can consider. These are, in order of affordability:

  • Charitable organizations
  • Vet hospitals/clinics
  • In-home services

Charitable organizations

There is any number of these, and you can find lists online or ask your vet for a list of them. Most are happy to provide the lists since they understand that cost is always a factor.

Many SPCAs and pet hospices will offer discounted rates subsidized through donations and grants.

The average price tends to be between $30 to $150. Since these are intended for those who need help affording the procedure, you may need to prove your financial situation through bank statements or tax forms.

These services don’t tend to offer all of the exact additional costs, such as cremation/caskets, urns, and at-home procedures. However, if cost is the main factor, these are significant considerations.

Vet hospitals or clinics

This is the most popular choice since most vets can offer the service, and there is something to be said about taking your dog to a vet you know and trust.

Many vets will do what they can to offer some savings here and there, and they’ll also be able to give you a concrete cost beforehand, too, based on how you answer their questions on the services you’d like to opt into or out of.

The cost will often range from $50 to $500, depending on your vet and the services that you need to be done.

You can have some serious savings if you decide to remove your dog from the premises and care for their remains yourself. If you’d like to have them cremated and given to you in an urn, this will push the price higher.

Your dog’s weight will also factor in since more of the sedative and drugs will be required to complete the procedure.

Going to your usual vet clinic gives you an automatic relationship with the person performing the procedure, too, which can offer a lot of comfort to you at the moment of the procedure.

In-home services

The most expensive of our options is an in-home service. This is often done through your regular vet clinic, but you can find charities that will offer this.

This is often the choice for those with dogs that are very sick, unable to move, terrified of vet hospitals/new people, or for huge dogs. It also offers comfort to all people to do things in their own space where it is private.

The cost for this will range from $400 to $1000. This will vary depending on transportation fees, additional services such as removing your dog’s body from the premises, and cremation services.

While it does have a hefty price tag, it can offer comfort for both dogs and humans in certain situations.

What Are The Additional Costs Of Euthanizing Your Dog?

As you can see, the price varies greatly, and there are a lot of additional costs and fees to think about when making your decision. Some of the additional costs include:

  • Cremation services
  • Communal versus private cremation
  • Urn or casket price
  • Transportation fees (for in-home services)
  • Breed-specific costs (size, weight, etc.)

It sounds macabre to think that your large dog would cost more to put down than your neighbor’s small dog, but that is how it works.

As mentioned, you can get a concrete price upfront so that these fees and additional charges are communicated to you beforehand. You can also opt-out of additional charges outside of the procedure yourself if money is your core issue.

Coming from the list above, the approximate list of additional charges that you can expect generally are:

Cremation services

Most charities and clinics will offer some form of cremation services. They would cremate your dog respectfully so that you don’t need to transport your dog’s body home.

This is a popular choice for many pet parents for obvious reasons. The cost often starts at $70 and can be up to $500, depending.

The main factor with cremation is whether you wish to do communal cremation or private cremation—more on that next.

Communal versus private cremation

Communal cremation will cost less, often $70 to $250. In this kind of cremation, your dog’s body will be cremated along with the other deceased animals.

The main concern is that if you choose to have their ashes returned to you, they will technically be blended with other people’s pets. This can make many, understandably, prefer private cremation.

The cost for private cremation often stretches between $210-$500. These prices will vary depending on the availability of the equipment or materials and much space is needed (relating to the size of your pet, since larger pets will take longer).

Urn or casket price

Many charities and clinics will include the price of the casket or urn in their procedure or cremation services. If you opt out of cremation, the box to bring your dog home is often included at no additional cost.

It is plain and simple, but you can choose to purchase a box privately for something fancier before burial. Urns tend to be plain, too, often a sparsely decorated jar with a tight sealing lid containing your dog’s ashes.

Similar to what we talked about above, you can choose to upgrade it later with a private purchase if you wish. Make sure you confirm whether the urn is included with the cremation price, as they can sometimes cost $80 in addition.

Transportation fees (for in-home services)

Whether you are using in-home services from a charity or a clinic, you will often incur some transportation fees if you are so many miles (or kilometers) from the location of the charity or clinic.

Many start with $20 for every 5 miles. Some will also add in a $100 surcharge for after-hours procedures.

You can ask for those fees ahead of time, however, so that you’ll know what to expect. These are often added after the fact, so make sure that you’re aware of them.

Breed-specific costs (size, weight, etc.)

As we’ve talked about, larger dogs will cost more to euthanize than smaller dogs. The same goes for cremation services and transportation services.

Since the professional responsible for the euthanasia will know this ahead of time, they will often quote you for this early to know what you are dealing with.

Photo of a dog after being euthanized.

How much does it cost to put a dog to sleep and cremate?

Assuming that you are dealing with the average size dog and looking at communal cremation that includes an urn, you can expect to pay approximately $500.

This is often seen as a reasonable price for euthanasia and cremation at a clinic. It can be lower if you qualify for low-income savings, such as with a charity. 

How much does it cost to put a dog down at PetSmart?

This pet shop offers both euthanasia and cremation. The price averages $100, which is often cheaper than many vet practices. Make sure that you know ahead of time about any additional costs.

For example, the cost of the urn, how long the standard appointment is (if you choose to sit and reflect on your pet’s life before or after the procedure), and more.

Many stores can add on extra fees with little warning, which will understandably add to their distress.

What is the cheapest way to put a dog down?

If you are looking at cutting costs as much as possible — there’s no shame in that, remember — then you can do so by opting for a charity procedure and skipping the cremation. The cost will just be for the procedure itself.

Since most boxes for burial don’t cost extra in most situations, you can simply bury your dog at your own cost (or lack thereof).

Where to euthanize a dog for free

The only place that advertises offering euthanasia and cremation services for free is a non-profit called Sugar’s Gift. They have five different locations, spanning California to Colorado, Florida, and Nevada.

There are probably local charities that will offer low-cost options, too—some even below $50. Check with your vet and local animal rights centers for more low-cost or free options!

What to do if you can’t afford to euthanize your dog?

If you just can’t get to a free location, or you don’t qualify for these subsidized programs for whatever reason, you might feel like you’re out of luck.

If you just can’t afford to do it, the first thing that you can do is double-check that you’ve asked all of the charities. Every charity has different options, after all.

Another suggestion is to consider crowdfunding. No one wants to ask for donations, but you’d be surprised how many people can and will come together to help out a pet parent in need of what is right for their dog! Consider this seriously, as this is what these kinds of services are for!

Lastly, consider whether euthanasia is required for your dog. While your vet often recommends it when they feel it is the kindest thing to do, it isn’t required.

You can opt for pain medications and then do your absolute best to keep your dog comfortable at home until they pass away. Of course, there will be an expense to the pain medication, so keep that in mind. 

Is it legal to euthanize your dog at home?

Many people consider euthanizing their dog at home for many very noble and personal reasons. You can legally euthanize your dog at home as long as a professional vet or (occasionally) vet technician is the one to do it.

It is illegal for you to perform euthanasia yourself. The only exception is if you are trained professionally and currently licensed to do so.

Is euthanasia worth it?

Let’s be honest, the price is pretty high no matter how much we want to think that it isn’t. It’s okay; it’s no secret.

“Back in the day,” people used to simply wait for their dog to pass away or intervene themselves. Times have changed a lot since then, and simply taking them out back with a shotgun can be a formal offense in many states.

Saving money is admirable and understandable, but there is a proper way to do things. While it will always be a personal decision for you, your financial situation, and your dog, many pet parents and vets alike will readily say that euthanasia is worth it, even if it takes some distance and time to see that for what it is.

In Closing

Several options will create a scaleable cost for euthanasia, including charities, clinics, and in-home services.

The cost of euthanasia will often fall between $50 and $1000. This can include the procedure cost, location of the procedure, and cremation arrangements.

There is a lot to know about extra fees and protecting savings.

The price of euthanasia will vary depending on what kind of service you choose to go with, but it is a necessary end-of-life cost for those pet parents who want to give a humane end of life to their dogs.

Know someone who is facing this decision soon? This can help offer them some choices.

Writer, Editor and member of the Council, I am a dog person and I thrive to get the answers that will help you provide the best care a dog can have. You can also find me on my personal blog here.