How Much Does It Cost To Euthanize and Cremate a Dog?

Article Summary:

Unfortunately, there are times when a veterinarian may recommend euthanasia for a dog if other options to reduce pain and distress are no longer helpful. The cost to euthanize and cremate a dog can vary depending on where the procedure is done, where you live, and what type of services you require. Here’s what you need to know about estimating (and financing) the cost to euthanize and cremate a dog.

For as long as humanity can remember, dogs have been branded “man’s best friend.” In fact, a recent study suggests that this is not just a colloquial saying; dogs have actually evolved in tandem with humans. This study found that the domestication of dogs happened before the agricultural revolution.

Other recent studies have shown that dog puppies respond to human beings completely differently than wolf puppies, even if they were raised the same. Researchers also suggest that the facial muscles of dogs evolved to incorporate a furrowed brow — an expression famously known as “puppy dog eyes” — which may have helped strengthen their bond with humans.

Today, dogs live alongside humans all over the world and remain an important part of many people’s lives. In many ways, they truly are our best friends — and that’s why losing a dog is one of the most heartbreaking events in any dog owner’s life.

How much does it cost to put a dog down?

When a dog is suffering from some incurable ailment or old age, its owner may choose to have it euthanized — a process colloquially known as “putting a dog down” or “putting a dog to sleep.” Euthanasia costs, as well as the subsequent cremation costs, will vary.

First, the owner must decide if the dog will be euthanized in a clinic or at home. If the dog is euthanized outside of the home, its owner must choose whether to take it to a clinic or a dog shelter.

After euthanasia comes the decision of what to do with the dog’s body. Some dog owners choose to put their dog’s body in a wooden crate and bury it themselves in a pet cemetery, but most owners will choose to cremate their dog instead. This cost will vary depending on how the cremated remains are carried and disposed of.

How to know when your dog needs to be euthanized

Alice Villalobos, DVM, DPNAP, is a veterinary oncologist who introduced a quality-of-life scale to determine if a dog needs to be euthanized. It is referred to as the HHHHHMM scale, which stands for the following:

  1. Hurt
  2. Hunger
  3. Hydration
  4. Hygiene
  5. Happiness
  6. Mobility
  7. More good days than bad

Each of these seven qualities should be ranked from 1 to 10 to determine if euthanasia is the best option. For example, a dog owner might consider euthanasia if their dog is experiencing intense chronic pain and has limited mobility. A dog that is perpetually thirsty and hungry, no matter how much sustenance its receives, may also need to be euthanized.

The main question a dog owner should ask is “What is my dog’s everyday life like?” If your dog has significantly more bad days than good days, then euthanasia may be the most humane option.

As unfortunate as it is for you and your family to have to say goodbye to your beloved dog, having a grasp of the costs involved can help you make the right decision. Here are some of the facts you should consider before you decide to put down your dog.

Clinic vs. at-home euthanasia

The first decision you need to make when considering euthanizing your dog is where the procedure will be carried out. Will it be in the comfort of your (and your dog’s) home, or will it be in a veterinarian’s office or pet hospital? Where you have your dog euthanized will affect the cost of the procedure.

At-home euthanasia

At-home euthanasia is usually the most comfortable option for a pet owner and their dog, especially if the dog is in a lot of pain and can hardly move. Furthermore, if you have a lot of family members who are attached to the dog, having it euthanized at home will allow for more space for your family to be with you and the dog during this trying time.

In-home euthanasia services tend to be more expensive than having your dog put down in a vet’s office. This is due to the expenses of travel and time for the veterinarian to come to your house to perform the procedure. The cost to have a vet come to your house to euthanize your dog tends to range from $100 to $500, so expect to pay around $300 to put your dog down at home.

Euthanization outside the home

For pet owners who want to save money and don’t want to deal with the emotional baggage of euthanizing their dog at home, there are less expensive options to put a dog to sleep outside the home. The majority of dog owners will opt for one of two options: a vet’s office or an animal shelter.

Veterinary office

Many pet owners choose to have their dogs euthanized in a vet clinic or a pet hospital. In many cases, a vet’s office is the best choice, especially if the veterinarian who performs the procedure has known the dog and its family for a long time. Different clinics will charge different rates for euthanization, but the price will typically range from $50 to $150.

Animal shelter

Unfortunately, euthanasia is fairly common in shelters, but animal rescue centers and humane societies will offer the lowest prices for euthanizing your dog. In most cases, the price for euthanizing a dog at a humane society or rescue center will cost less than $50, which makes it a good option for low-income pet owners.

Do you need a loan to finance these costs? Don’t go with the first offer you receive. Make sure you compare multiple lenders to ensure you are getting a good deal. The comparison tool below allows you to get prequalified loan offers from leading lenders without hurting your credit.

Pro Tip

Major cities will have the highest costs to euthanize a dog at a vet clinic or animal shelter, while prices will be much more affordable outside of urban areas. If cost is a factor in your decision to put your dog down, it may be worth the time to take your dog outside of the city to be euthanized.

How much does it cost to have a dog cremated?

After you’ve been through the unfortunate ordeal of having to euthanize your dog, you now have to decide what to do with its body. Pop culture will have us believe that pets should always be buried in the backyard when they’ve passed on, but in truth, this is relatively rare. Instead, most pet owners choose to have their pets cremated.

You have two options for pet cremation: a private or communal cremation service.

Communal cremation service

Communal or group cremation is the cheapest option to dispose of your dog’s body. Group cremation is typically offered to dog owners who have their dogs euthanized in a clinic or rescue center.

In a communal cremation, your dog’s body will be cremated with a group of other animals and then disposed of. You may be able to request some of your dog’s ashes, but in most cases, the ashes are all disposed of at once. The price of group cremation will span from $5 to $150, depending on the service being offered.

Private cremation service

Maybe you’d rather have your dog’s ashes returned to you instead of left among other pets’ remains. In this case, you can opt for a private cremation service.

In a private cremation, your dog is cremated individually, after which your dog’s remains can be placed in an urn. Private cremation is a popular choice, as many dog owners want to keep their dog’s ashes. An individual cremation for a dog will cost between $150 and $300, depending on where the dog is cremated.

Want to give your dog the ultimate homage but don’t have the cash to pull out all the stops? Here are some credit cards that can help you cover the costs of euthanizing and cremating your dog.

Additional costs after cremation

After you have your dog cremated, you need to think about the cost of keeping your dog’s remains. One option is to keep your dog’s ashes in an urn — perhaps an expensive, state-of-the-art urn, because your dog deserved only the best, after all. Some dog owners opt to put their dog’s remains into paw-print necklaces and other jewelry to have a keepsake of their animal friend on them all the time.

An average pet urn costs about $50 (but expect to pay more if you opt for that expensive urn with all the bells and whistles). Pet cremation jewelry will cost you anywhere from $20 to $100 online, depending on the site you buy from and whether you have the piece customized.

As for transportation, many pet owners will choose to pick up their dog’s remains themselves. However, if you don’t want to visit a facility where animals are cremated, delivery is another option. The transfer fee for a clinic or rescue center to deliver a dog’s ashes is typically between $50 and $75. Of course, if you don’t need the delivery to be so official, hiring an Uber driver to pick up your pet’s ashes could save you some money.

How to finance the cost to euthanize and cremate a dog



What is the cheapest way to put a dog down?

For pet owners, the cheapest way to put a dog down is to euthanize it at a dog rescue center and opt for communal cremation.

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

Depending on where the dog is euthanized, pet euthanasia usually costs between $50 and $500.

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

PetSmart’s pet cremation fees will be between $50 and $100.

What should I do if I can’t afford to euthanize my pet?

Dog owners can visit dog rescue centers and humane societies to get their dogs euthanized. The service will be very inexpensive or, in some cases, free of charge.

Key Takeaways

  • When a dog’s life is close to the end, its owner may choose euthanasia to avoid prolonging the dog’s suffering.
  • The HHHHHMM quality-of-life scale is a useful way to help you decide if your dog should be put to sleep.
  • The cost of euthanasia will vary depending on whether you choose to euthanize your dog in your home or at a vet’s office.
  • Should you choose to have your pet’s remains cremated, the cremation cost will also vary depending on whether you opt for a private or communal cremation service.
  • Many dog owners choose to keep their dog’s ashes in an urn at home, place the ashes inside jewelry, or bury their dog’s body in a pet cemetery.
View Article Sources
  1. Dogs Have Co-Evolved With Humans Like No Other Species – Discover Magazine
  2. Puppies beat out young wolves in one important skill – Popular Science
  3. Quality of Life to the End of Life: We Owe It to Them! – San Antonio Humane Society
  4. How Do You Know When to Put a Pet Down? – PetMD