How Much Does it Cost to Put a Dog Down in Australia?
Saying goodbye to our beloved dogs is always a tough decision. And for some, it’s also a financial decision that feels gut-wrenching to make.
In this article, we’ll answer the question: How much does it cost to put a dog down in Australia?
We’ll talk about the traditional veterinary routes for euthanising a dog, as well as an often-overlooked alternative if you don’t have the financial means right now.
This may be a heavy topic, but you’re safe here.
We’re going to discuss everything you need to know in the kindest way.
How Much Does It Cost to Euthanise a Dog in Australia
This is what you came here for, so let’s talk about the financial aspect of putting a dog down. While money should never be the primary factor in making this decision, it’s naive to think it doesn’t play a small part.
Here is a breakdown of roughly how much you can expect to spend on dog euthanasia in Australia:
Euthanasia in Australia is carried out by a licensed vet. (1)
The cost can vary depending on where you live and the specific services you choose to have.
I’m going to list some ballpark cost ranges but it depends on your local veterinary fees.
The average dog euthanasia cost by a licensed vet at their clinic varies by weight.
Out-of-clinic services tend to have a higher rate.
The average mobile vet euthanasia cost is:
These values were gathered by taking an average of multiple veterinary clinic fees across Australia. Always check with your local vet for accurate values in your area.
These values also only include the euthanasia procedure itself (which I’ll explain a little later).
There are other costs to consider. The first is…
Emergency or after-hours costs
Sometimes, there’s an emergency. Euthanasia may need to occur outside of regular veterinary hours due to your dog's worsening condition.
Emergency or after-hours services can be more expensive, so it's essential to be prepared.
On average, you can expect to spend an extra $50 - $150 on emergency euthanasia services, unless conducted by an emergency veterinary hospital.
Cremation or burial costs
After euthanasia, you'll need to decide whether you want to cremate or bury your dog.
Burying your dog may seem like the cheaper option. But there are costs involved in the process of preparing your dog for burial. These costs depend on your vet. Some conduct this service for free.
If you choose to bury your dog at a pet cemetery, there will be a cost for the land.
Cremation costs can range from $100 - $300+.
It depends on whether you choose a private or communal cremation.
Communal cremations are when your dog is cremated with several other dogs. The ashes are not returned to you and may be disposed of, or scattered in a pet cemetery.
Private cremations entail the ashes being returned to you in an urn or other container for you to bury or keep.
Communal cremations tend to cost around $80 - $100 regardless of your dog’s weight
Private cremations cost around $200 - $400+ depending on your dog’s weight
If you have an at-home euthanasia, the cost of the service tends to include transportation to the crematorium.
Sometimes, the vet performing the procedure will prescribe medications to to keep your dog comfortable in the days or hours leading up to euthanasia.
They are typically sedatives and pain medication.
These medications can add to the cost of the procedure. However, some services include these medications in the overall price.
Discuss the financial breakdown in detail with your vet so you know what’s included.
Private euthanasia services
In Australia, your dog must be euthanised by a licensed vet.
But that doesn’t need to be your vet.
You could choose to have a euthanasia specialist conduct the service for you.
These euthanasia specialists are skilled at helping you with your grieving process and providing a peaceful in-home euthanasia experience for your dog.
Services may include cremation, grief support, and the creation of keepsakes after your dog’s death.
These services typically cost $400 - $1000+ depending on the services involved.
Though a premium service, many find private euthanasia services more comforting. But of course, this depends on your budget.
What If I Can't Afford To Put Down My Dog?
Putting your dog down is heartbreaking enough. But what if you can’t afford the procedure at your local vet? Fear not, here are some alternatives you can explore:
If you have pet insurance, check your policy to see if it covers euthanasia costs. Some policies provide partial or full coverage of the cost of this procedure if done by a licensed vet. That should help lower the costs.
But always read the fine print. Euthanasia costs may only be covered in certain circumstances – for example, in case of emergency. If in doubt, contact your insurance provider for guidance.
Check out our article on dog insurance in Australia to learn more about different policies.
Shelters and veterinary programs
Some charitable shelters and vets offer low-cost or free euthanasia procedures. You will need to check the available options in your local council as the availability of such services varies widely across Australia.
Your vet is the best source for recommendations. You can also contact local animal shelters for guidance.
If you're facing financial difficulties, don't hesitate to discuss your situation with your vet. Some veterinary clinics offer financial assistance programs or may be willing to work out a payment plan depending on your situation.
Speaking up will allow your vet to work with you to find the best solution. After all, neither of you wants your dog to suffer unnecessarily.
Now that we’ve discussed the financial aspect in detail, let’s talk about the process of euthanasia.
What to Expect When Your Dog Is Euthanised
Money aside, deciding to euthanise your dog is devastating. In this section, we’ll talk about what you can expect during the process.
Quality of life assessment: When is euthanasia necessary?
The primary consideration when deciding whether to euthanise your dog is their quality of life.
This decision must be made by you and your vet.
Legally, a vet must sign off on your dog’s quality of life before euthanasia can happen.
The questions that both of you face are:
Understanding your dog's suffering is crucial in making this decision.
Your vet should give you an honest assessment and professional recommendation.
Now I want to address something that many bloggers feel scared to touch on.
Though it is never recommended or supported by the vet community, some people turn to “economic euthanasia”.
I understand that canine medication may be costly and complex. But you have so many options before considering euthanasia.
If you are considering euthanasia because you are unable to afford your dog’s medication, please reach out to local shelters and dog charities for financial assistance.
Alternatively, consider rehoming your dog to a family that has the financial means to care for them.
Key takeaway: Euthanasia is a last resort for dogs that are so unwell, they cannot be saved. You need a vet’s sign-off to legally choose to euthanise your pet.
Discussion with your vet
Your vet can provide insights into your dog's prognosis and treatment options.
If euthanasia is a likely recommendation, they will outline the options available to you within their clinic.
They can also guide you through the euthanasia process, answering any questions you may have about what to expect ahead of the appointment.
If your dog is worsening at home, call your vet to discuss in-home services. They may not offer that service but can recommend another mobile vet for euthanasia.
Next, we’ll talk about the typical process. But always check with your vet for accurate information.
The Process of Euthanasia For Dogs
Here is the typical process of dog euthanasia:
“Most euthanasia solutions are a combination of a barbiturate anaesthetic (pentobarbital) and an anticonvulsant (phenytoin). This causes complete muscle relaxation and a quick and painless termination of all nerve transmission to the brain, which leads to cardiac arrest (the moment at which the heart stops beating).” T.J Dunn, DVM, PetMD (3)
The pentobarbital makes sure that your dog is completely unconscious and unaware of what’s happening.
That said, consult your vet on what medications they’ll be using and how they work if you are interested/concerned.
Now why do I keep stressing the need to discuss the process with your vet? How much variation could there be?
Well, quite a lot.
A study conducted on Australian vets showed that female vets in inner cities are the most likely to administer sedative meditation prior to euthanasia. The same study showed that mixed animal practices (i.e. vets that see a wide range of animals from horses to hamsters) are less likely to give sedative medication prior to euthanasia. (4)
So each vet is different in their processes and preferences.
By asking your vet about their specific process, you can feel more comforted or help make decisions around how your dog is euthanised.
If you ask well ahead of time, you can choose to have another vet euthanise your pup or choose a private at-home euthanasia specialist who follows a process you resonate with.
What Happens After Your Dog Is Euthanised
You have three main options after your dog has been euthanised.
- Home burial
If you would like to bury your dog in your home or another natural environment, check with your local council that this is permitted.
Many find home burials to be comforting as they can perform a funeral for their beloved pet at home.
You can pay a fee for the vet to transport your dog to your home. Or you can transport your dog yourself. Your vet may give you an eco-friendly pouch to transport your dog’s body.
- Council/communal cremation
This is when your dog is cremated with other dogs and the ashes are not returned to you. Sometimes the council carries out this service. Other times it’s the local veterinary hospital. This tends to be a cheaper option than private cremation. (See section above)
- Private cremation/pet cemetery burial
Private cremation or burial is the priciest option. However, it can be a beautiful way to say goodbye to your pet. Some services even include poems, grief counselling, and keepsakes of your pet.
Seeking Emotional Support
We can’t ignore the emotional cost of euthanising a dog.
It can be overwhelming and my heart goes out to you.
Here are three ideas to help you through this difficult time:
- Reach out to friends, family, or support groups dedicated to pet loss
Talking to others who have been through similar experiences can provide comfort and understanding during this challenging time.
- Seek bereavement counselling or therapy
Therapy can be an extra financial burden but it is hugely effective for dealing with grief.
- Pour into creative pursuits
Painting, writing, drawing, playing musical instruments – these are all ways you can express yourself and process your emotions. It's crucial to understand that this is a deeply personal and painful process so be gentle with yourself. It will take time to recover from the loss of your dog. But you will get through!
Final Thoughts: How Much to Put a Dog Down in Australia?
Making the decision to put a dog down is an agonising journey, filled with emotional turmoil and difficult choices. While finances should not be the primary factor in this decision, they are a reality that pet owners must consider.
We hope this article was helpful for you in understanding how much it costs to put a dog down in Australia.
In the end, what matters most is ensuring that your dog's final moments are filled with love, compassion, and peace.
It is legal for a vet in Australia to recommend and carry out animal euthanasia. However, it must be signed off by a licensed vet and the animal must be put down humanely.
No, euthanasia is painless for dogs. This is because of the drugs that are used to euthanise. One is an anaesthetic that ensures your dog is completely unconscious during the procedure.
- AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition. Retrieved August 27, 2023. 2020-Euthanasia-Final-1-17-20.pdf
- Winthrope, S. “When Money Means A Life Or Death Choice For Our Dogs”. The University of Melbourne. Retrieved August 27, 2023. https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/when-money-means-a-life-or-death-choice-for-our-dogs
- Dunn, T. November 17, 2022. “Pet Euthanasia: Everything You Need to Know”. PetMD. Retrieved August 27, 2023. https://www.petmd.com/care/pet-euthanasia
- Pepper BM, Chan H, Ward MP, Quain A. (2023). “Euthanasia of Dogs by Australian Veterinarians: A Survey of Current Practices”. Veterinary Sciences. 2023;10(5):317. . doi:10.3390/vetsci10050317 . Retrieved August 27, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10224218/