How Much Does it Cost to Put a Pet to Sleep?
Deciding how and when to say goodbye to a beloved pet is overwhelming. Our guide simplifies pet euthanasia costs for a dignified farewell.
July 30, 2023
Deciding how and when to say goodbye to a beloved dog or cat is overwhelming in and of itself and can be compounded when trying to determine how much euthanasia will cost. How much to budget for euthanasia is an unavoidable consideration that we hope to simplify in this comprehensive guide to how much it costs to put a dog or cat to sleep.
Part one of this guide to the cost of pet euthanasia provides general guidance regarding the average cost ranges that most pet parents incur when putting their pet to sleep. In part two we will take a deeper dive into the cost implications of the decisions you will make during the end-of-life process. Finally, the third part provides guidance on how to mitigate end-of-life costs if they present a financial challenge for you and your family.
Part One: Average Cost Ranges for Pet Euthanasia and Cremation
Depending on where you live, the type of veterinary provider you select, and whether your pet will be cremated, the cost to put a pet to sleep can vary widely. However, the vast majority of pet parents fall into one of four cost categories:
The cost to put a dog to sleep will typically range between $35 and $100 for pet parents utilizing local animal shelters, between $125 and $250 for pet parents visiting their primary veterinary provider during normal business hours, between $200 and $400 for pet parents visiting an urgent-care veterinary provider, and between $300 and $475 for pet parents seeking in-home euthanasia.
Which city you live in will have the largest impact on the prices for local providers in your community. Based on a survey of top euthanasia provider’s in the United States, here is how much pet euthanasia near me costs within the ranges provided:
However, the provider you choose will also have a meaningful impact on the cost of at-home euthanasia, so it’s important to get a personalized price from the provider you are considering. For example, you can see how much pet euthanasia near me costs on CodaPet by providing a zip code or full street address through its online booking tool.
Additionally, communal cremation, in which the pet’s ashes are not returned to the family, will typically cost $50 to $150 (depending primarily on the pet’s weight), and private cremation, in which the ashes are returned to the family, will typically cost $100 to $300 (again depending on the pet’s weight).
Cemetery burial is an additional option, with costs typically ranging from $500 to $700,usually covering the burial plot, marker, and care of the site. Home burial may be allowed in some jurisdictions, but local regulations should be checked for guidance.
Part Two: A Deeper Dive into the Cost Implications of Important Pet Euthanasia Decisions
Although some factors in the cost of pet euthanasia, like your pet’s weight and where you live, are ones you cannot control, there are several important decisions you will make that will impact the total cost. So it’s important to understand these choices:
The cost to euthanize your dog or cat will be most heavily influenced by which veterinary services provider you use, the method of cremation, and any additional memorabilia or services you may select.
Choosing a Veterinary Service Provider for Pet Euthanasia
Animal Shelters: Some local animal shelters offer euthanasia services, typically at lower costs than veterinary clinics. The cost range is usually between $35 and $100. While this is a more cost-effective option, it may not provide the intimate, compassionate setting that a private veterinary clinic or at-home service can offer. Additionally, the procedure may be performed by a veterinarian or by a qualified staff member at the shelter.
Non-Urgent Veterinary Providers: General practice veterinary clinics offer euthanasia services during normal business hours. The cost typically ranges from $125 to $250. Euthanasia in a veterinary hospital may be preferred if you and your pet have an established relationship with the clinic and the pet is already familiar with the environment and staff. This can make the process less stressful.
Urgent-Care Veterinary Provider: These providers operate beyond normal business hours and are essential if immediate euthanasia is necessary. The cost typically ranges from $200 to $400. Though it's more expensive, the access to immediate, professional care can be invaluable in an emergency.
At-Home Euthanasia Providers: At-home euthanasia services allow your pet to remain in a familiar and comfortable environment during their last moments. The cost ranges from $300 to $475. While this is the most expensive option, the emotional benefits for both the pet and the family can be worth the additional cost.
Selecting The Body Care Option That is Best For Your Pet
Choosing the right cremation method for your pet largely depends on your personal preferences, budget, and the importance you place on having your pet's ashes returned. Here are the most common options:
Group Cremation: Group or communal cremation is a more budget-friendly option, typically costing between $50 to $150. This method involves cremating several animals together at the same time. Due to the shared nature of this process, you won't receive your pet's individual ashes back.
However, some crematorium providers scatter the communal ashes in a designated memorial area, offering a place where you can go to remember your pet. This option can be comforting for those who do not wish to keep their pet's ashes at home but still want a place to visit and remember departed loved ones.
Individual Cremation: This is a more personalized service where your pet is cremated separately. The cost typically ranges from $100 to $300, depending on the size of your pet. After the process, your pet's ashes are collected and returned to you, usually in a simple urn, although some providers offer a variety of urn options for an additional cost.
Private cremation allows you to keep your pet's remains, which you can choose to scatter in a special place, bury, keep at home, or use for the creation of special keepsakes. This option offers a more personal connection and can be especially comforting if you'd like to maintain a tangible connection to your pet.
Aqua cremation (also known as water cremation, alkaline hydrolysis, or aquamation): Aquamation is a less conventional, yet increasingly popular method. Instead of using heat from flame, aquamation uses water and alkalis to break down organic matter. This process is considered more environmentally friendly because it uses less energy and does not release harmful emissions.
Aquamation can cost between $150 and $350, but prices may vary depending on the provider and your location. With this method, you'll also receive your pet's ashes, which tend to be lighter in color and more voluminous than those from flame-based cremation.
Cemetery burial: Pet cemeteries offer another aftercare option for your pet, with costs typically ranging from $500 to $700, covering the burial plot, marker, and care of the gravesite. Home burial may be permissible in some jurisdictions, but local regulations should be checked for guidance.
Each of these options provides a dignified and respectful farewell for pets. Your choice largely depends on your personal wishes, budget, and how you prefer to remember your pet after they have passed. It can be helpful to discuss these options with your chosen veterinary provider or pet aftercare professional, who can provide further guidance based on your specific desires and circumstances.
Memorabilia and Additional Services
Some pet parents choose to create one or more keepsakes to commemorate and honor their pets. There are dozens of ways you can memorialize a pet,some ideas include:
- Urns: Choosing a special urn can provide a beautiful final resting place for your pet's ashes. These can range from simple, functional designs ($20-$50) to ornate, custom-made urns that can cost upwards of $200.
- Paw Prints: Many pet parents choose to have a clay or ink paw print made. This physical memento of your pet can be a source of great comfort and usually costs between $20 and $50.
- Jewelry: Memorial jewelry, such as a locket or pendant that can hold a small portion of your pet's ashes, allow you to carry a part of your pet with you at all times. These pieces can vary widely in price depending on the material used, starting at around $50 for simple designs and going up to several hundred dollars for items made of gold or silver.
- Custom Artwork: Unique and beautiful paintings or sketches can be commissioned to capture your pet’s likeness. With many artists offering the service, you can select a style that suits your taste. Prices may start at around $100 and increase based on the complexity and size of the artwork.
- Plaques or Memorial Stones: These can be used to mark your pet's favorite spot in the garden or to accompany ashes if you choose to bury them. They typically cost between $50 and $150.
Additional End-of-Life Services: These are optional services you may wish to consider. While they do add to the overall cost, they can provide emotional support and create lasting memories:
- End-of-Life Photography: Professional photographers can capture touching, peaceful images of your pet in their final days. These images can serve as a cherished keepsake, reminding you of your pet's . Packages can start from around $100 and go up, depending on the photographer's experience and the session's length.
- Grief Counseling: Losing a pet can be emotionally devastating. Grief counseling services, either individual or in group settings, can provide much-needed support during this difficult time. Rates generally start at $60 to $120 per session.
- Memorial Services: Some pet parents choose to have a small memorial service for their pet. Costs can vary, but expect to pay for the venue, any decorations, and catering if you choose to provide it.
Every family and every pet is unique. The most important thing is choosing what feels right for you, brings you comfort, and honors your pet's memory in a way that feels fitting.
Part Three: How to Minimize the Financial Burden of Pet Euthanasia
If the cost of pet euthanasia presents a financial challenge, there are options available to help minimize the burden. Local animal shelters and humane societies often offer lower-cost euthanasia services compared to private veterinary offices. These organizations may also be willing to provide assistance to alleviate financial constraints.
Additionally, pet health insurance policies may cover euthanasia, so it is advisable to consult with your insurance provider to determine the extent of coverage on your plan.
No matter your decisions, it’s important to know that every pet loss journey is different, and however you choose to say goodbye to your pet, they will be cared for with respect and dignity.
Dr. Gary graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. After graduation, he moved west. Dr. Gary spent a year at a mixed animal practice in Oregon before moving to Fresno where he worked at All Creatures Veterinary Clinic from 2011-2021. Dr. Gary grew up constantly learning and finding ways to help others. He loved everything animal related, whether it was watching wildlife or visiting pet stores. His parents allowed him to have a variety of pets growing up from hamsters, fish, and parakeets to iguanas... as long as they did not need live food. Dr. Gary believes precious memories with your pet should never be overshadowed by a stressful goodbye. He has firsthand experience with the stress of saying goodbye to his first dog Willy at the clinic, and since then being able to say goodbye to two other dogs at home. This is why a peaceful passing at home is so important to him. In his free time, Dr. Gary enjoys family time working around his small hobby farm, watching sports, and hiking around the Sierras. Read More