When to Euthanize a Dog?Before we look at low-cost options, let’s first discuss when it’s time to choose euthanasia. This may be one of the most frequently asked questions of veterinarians. Fortunately, in some cases, the answer is very obvious, but sometimes it’s not quite so easy. You’ll want to base your euthanasia decisions on your dog’s quality of life. In general, you will know it’s time to discuss euthanasia when:
- Your dog is in pain that can’t be alleviated. This may be due to a sudden injury or to a prolonged disease. Either way, if your dog is in constant pain that can’t be helped, their quality of life vastly deteriorates.
- Your dog is no longer eating. Most puppies live for food, they love to eat! When your dog stops eating, whether it’s due to an illness or injury, again, their quality of life is decreased. If that not eating lasts long enough, they may eventually succumb to starvation, which isn’t a good way to go.
- You can’t afford treatment. Unfortunately, money is a major reason for euthanasia. The fact is that most of us aren’t made of money and we sometimes can’t afford an emergency surgery or lifelong treatment that is required for our canine companions.
- A prior plan that you have determined. Maybe you and your veterinarian or family members have already decided on a plan for your dog. This is usually the case for dogs with chronic diseases. You may have a trigger point, such as when they can’t get up without help, or a time of the year in mind, such as before it gets cold. Having a euthanasia plan ahead of time will help you prepare for the emotional burden and financial obligations that come with euthanizing a dog.
Where to Euthanize a Dog for Free or Cheap?If you’re faced with the decision to euthanize your dog the last thing you’ll want to worry about is money. Look into the following options for low or no-cost euthanasia.
Ask Your VeterinarianEuthanasia might not be as expensive as you think. You’re first stop should be your veterinarian. Not only will they help you decide if and when the time is right, they may offer a reasonable rate or even a reduced rate or payment plan for those that qualify.
Pet InsuranceIf you have health insurance for your pet, depending on your plan and policy, euthanasia may be covered. Certain policies will cover the euthanasia process while others will also cover disposal or cremation. If your pet insurance policy doesn’t cover end-of-life care, look into the possibility of purchasing additional riders that may cover it.
Humane SocietiesOften humane societies and animal shelters will offer free or low-cost euthanasia. Most of the time, this will require you to surrender your dog, but you will often get a choice of disposal or cremation afterward. Depending on the humane society in your area, they may offer a variety of services for end-of-life care. While humane societies may operate differently, they are committed to caring for animals, even in this difficult next step. The cost of euthanasia services often varies by the weight of the dog. For example, a dog under 25 pounds may cost only $40 while a dog that is over 70 pounds may cost more like $80 to euthanize. In addition to euthanasia, the humane society in your area may also provide cremation services. They may offer options for a collective memorial cremation, which involves other pet owners. Often, this approach does not add on an extra fee for cremation. Choosing a simple cremation process where the remains are not returned to you can be a great way to save money. Additionally, a humane society may provide cremation services that are semi-private or private, which do incur an extra cost for cremation. That cost is often dependent on the size of the animal, as larger animals take more energy. These ceremonies often include returning the remains to you in a decorative tin. If you are unsure what humane societies or animal shelters are available in your area, search Adopt A Pet or the ASPCA.
Animal SheltersLike humane societies, animal shelters are committed to serving animals right up until the very end. Some animal shelters may offer reduced-cost pet euthanasia services with proof of your income, such as showing a W-2 or other documentation. Often, these reduced costs range anywhere from just $30-50. Similar programs in your area may also be open to discussion what options you may have to euthanize your dog for free or at a low cost. Connect with rescues, animal shelters, or other nonprofit dog organizations near you.
Good Samaritan FundSome veterinary clinics or animal shelters will have a Good Samaritan, or otherwise named fund, that is funded by donations and used at the organization’s discretion. The money in these funds may be given to dog owners that possess a need for pet health care, including euthanasia. Using these funds often requires that you fill out an application and meet certain financial criteria. This means that they may not be a great option for those emergency euthanasia needs. However, if you have an ailing or older pup and the time to wait for approval, a fund like this may be very useful.
Ways to Reduce the Cost of Euthanizing Your DogEven if you can’t find a low or no-cost euthanasia service in your area, there are ways of reducing the cost when you euthanize a dog.
- Burial vs. Cremation: If you have the ability, burial at home is usually a less expensive option following euthanasia. Cremation, especially with ash retrieval, can be a significant financial addition. If burial isn’t an option for you, your veterinarian or animal shelter may have other, less expensive, options for disposal that might be worth looking into.
- Clinic vs. At-Home Euthanasia: Some veterinary clinics will offer an at-home euthanasia service. While this is usually a more comfortable and convenient option, it may also be more expensive than an office visit. On the other hand, at-home euthanasia services may to discounted. It all depends on the clinic or shelter that is providing.
- Timing: Believe it or not, waiting too long to euthanize your dog may come with extra costs. This is because it may take extra medications or help to properly perform the procedure. This is especially true in chronic diseases as the longer the illness progresses, the harder it may become to make your pup comfortable and to find a serviceable vein.
Conclusion for Where Can I Euthanize a Dog for Free or Cheap?The decision to euthanize your dog is never an easy one, especially when money is a concern. Confiding with your veterinarian is a great first step in finding low or no-cost euthanasia. If they can’t help you, they can probably help you find other options in your area that will be more affordable. A high cost for euthanizing your dog is perhaps one of the last things you want to think about during a sad and difficult season. While finding a place to euthanize your dog for free maybe a bit of a challenge, there are several low-cost options that can work for all budgets. When it comes time to say goodbye to your dog, the last thing you want to worry about is money. Euthanasia can be an expensive process if you’re not careful. By looking around in your own area for free or low-cost options, you can find a path forward to put your dog down without the financial burden that results. During a difficult season, focus on caring for your dog in their last days. Be encouraged in the decision you’re making for them and reflect on the memories and good times you’ve had together. Focusing on the joy they’ve brought to your life, rather than the financial cost, can make the process much easier. Other articles you might like written by our veterinarians:
- Should I Euthanize a Paralyzed Dog?
- Signs that You Dog With Diabetes is Dying
- When to Euthanize a Dog With Hemangiosarcoma?