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Pet euthanasia

Understand how this procedure can ease pain and find out which end-of-life expenses to expect.

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Pet euthanasia is the act of letting a vet withhold life-saving measures when a pet’s suffering can’t be managed or inducing a humane death when medically necessary. The euthanasia procedure that most vets use is designed to ease your pet’s pain, offering extra comfort and care throughout the process. On the financial side, you can find both cost-effective and comprehensive end-of-life services, based on your needs and preferences for dealing with your loss.

What to expect during the euthanasia procedure

Understanding the process for euthanasia can prepare you ahead of time, knowing that your pet isn’t in as much pain. Vets typically use a two-step process designed to lead your pet to a gentle and peaceful death. They use this same general process for dogs, cats and horses:

  • Sedation. The vet will give your pet a relaxant to calm them and encourage a sleep-like state. During this time, you can spend the last few minutes stroking or cuddling your pet.
  • General anesthetic. When it’s time to say goodbye, the vet will administer a large dose of general anesthesia that will cause your pet to slip into a deeper sleep. Death will happen in a matter of minutes.

How much does pet euthanasia cost?

Pet euthanasia can cost under $100 if you go through your local animal shelter, or over $200 when going through a vet. Some end-of-life services come in packages that include cremation. Others offer only the euthanasia, and you’ll need to consider what to do with your beloved pet after the procedure.

The price for euthanasia itself can vary based on:

  • The size of your pet. Larger animals may require higher doses of sedation and anesthesia.
  • Where the procedure happens. Mobile vets may charge an additional call-out fee.
  • The vet. Prices vary wildly by the vet, so you might want to call several clinics for the best pricing or specific services. Some vets specialize in ceremonial-style euthanasia, charging more for those services.

What other end-of-life expenses will I pay?

Prepare ahead of time for several secondary costs that can help you cope with your loss:

  • Additional treatment. You’ll need to pay for any treatments that ease your pet’s pain or prolong their life before you make your final decision. Or if your pet experiences a sudden condition like a seizure, you’ll pay for any attempted treatments before the euthanasia.
  • Cremation or burial. Cremating or burying your pet is a service that requires a fee, ranging from $100 to $200 or more in some cases.
  • Memorial items. You should plan on the cost of an urn or casket, burial spot or other memorabilia like a paw print cast based on how you’d like to cope with your loss.

Does pet insurance cover euthanasia?

It depends on which pet insurance policy you choose, so you’ll need to check your list of coverage. Many policies will pay for euthanasia, and a few include cremation costs as part of that coverage too. If covered, these services will be listed in your policy documents. To get reimbursed, your vet has to deem the procedure essential and humane.

However, if you don’t have pet insurance, and seek insurance to cover the costs, an insurance company could consider this situation a pre-existing condition and deny euthanasia coverage. You’ll likely need to pay out of pocket if you don’t already have pet insurance.

What other end-of-life expenses does pet insurance cover?

Not only does insurance protect your pet throughout its life, but it also covers end-of-life care including:

  • Diagnostics
  • Vet consultation
  • Pet ambulance and hospitalization
  • Emergency treatment like surgery
  • Veterinary specialists
  • Prescription medication, including for pain relief

How to grieve the loss of your pet

Grief is a personal process, and there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. You’ll experience some level of grief that you might be able to ease in a few ways:

  • Think ahead. If you know that you need to put your pet down, make burial arrangements and order memorial items ahead of time. Then, you can focus on coping with grief after the euthanasia.
  • Plan the day. Again, if you know ahead of time, you can plan special outings and treats for your pet before the euthanasia happens. This has helped many pet parents cope with losing their cherished pets by providing closure and happy memories.
  • Consider the moment. Some people hold a ceremony with close family and friends for support. Others choose to spend quiet moments remembering their pet. Consider whatever approach will help you heal from your loss.
  • Give yourself time. You can’t predict how you’ll react in the days or weeks after your pet’s death. If you can, avoid major commitments for a few weeks so that you can work through emotions.
  • Find support. Rely on family and friends for emotional support and let others help with daily responsibilities. If you’re putting your pet down at home, you can invite your support network to be with you and your pet during those important moments.
  • Talk to your children. The death of a pet can affect young children, especially if they haven’t experienced a loss in their lives. Tell your children what to expect before your pet is put to sleep and encourage them to talk about their feelings.
  • Reach out for professional help. There’s nothing wrong with getting professional guidance on dealing with your emotions during this time. If you need advice, feel free to call P&G Pet Care’s loss support helpline at 888-332-7738.

Compare pet insurance with euthanasia coverage

Name Product Pets covered Seniors accepted Hereditary conditions Chronic illness
Petplan
Dogs, Cats
Cover unexpected vet bills from emergency exams, injuries, surgery and more.
Embrace
Dogs, Cats
Enjoy extra benefits with coverage for exam fees, curable conditions and wellness visit reimbursement.
Pet Assure
Dogs, Cats, Horses
Save up to 25% on all vet bills including wellness and dental visits for as little as $10/month.
Pets Best
Dogs, Cats
PetFirst
Dogs, Cats
Get coverage starting at $9 per month for cats and $15 for dogs. Talk to an agent at 888-738-0683.
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Bottom line

Find comfort in relying on personal and professional guidance for making the best decision for your pet. Then, you can find grief support to help you cope with your loss and remember the happy times with your pet.

Common questions about pet euthanasia

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