My Dog is Dying, and I Can't Afford a Vet: Should I Euthanize At Home? (2023)

My dog is dying, but I don’t have money for the vet. What should I do?

Lately, I’ve seen this question – or one like it – popping up more and more in pet owner forums.

You can almost hear the heartbreaking desperation in their words.

Fortunately, there are some options available, even if you’re unable to afford vet bills right now.

Let’s take a look.

My Dog is Dying, and I Can’t Afford a Vet

My Dog is Dying, and I Can't Afford a Vet: Should I Euthanize At Home? (1)

The past few months have hit families hard.

With so many families living paycheck to paycheck- and some living entirely without a paycheck at all- things like vet bills have become increasingly difficult to afford.

Normally, that just means putting off a routine vet visits until the economy picks back up.

However, for some owners and their pets, it’s a far more dire situation.

Increasingly, I’ve seen questions such as “Can I put my dog down at home?” or “How do I euthanize my dog at home?”

While it may make you cringe to read that, the harsh reality is that some people are having to watch their beloved pets slowly die, either wasting away or living in pain.

Worse, they just can’t see a way out for their four-legged family member.

Luckily, there are some options out there.

Today, we’re going to talk about those options as well as answering the questions I referenced above.

Should I Put My Sick Dog Down Because I Can’t Afford the Vet Bill?

My Dog is Dying, and I Can't Afford a Vet: Should I Euthanize At Home? (2)

The short answer to this is no.

(Video) Do Not Euthanize Your Pets!

It absolutely will not go the way you think it will, and you could end up facing animal cruelty charges, no matter your intentions.

When I worked at the vet, we had a case of an owner who was extremely poor.

They’d lost their job months prior. They were losing their house.

To make matters worse, their dog was dying, and there was nothing to do about it.

The owner loved their dog. They treated him like one of the family.

However, with no money, they felt their only option was to put him down at home.

To make a long, horrible story short, it didn’t work. The dog didn’t die.

He was in even more pain, and the owner ended up being charged with animal cruelty.

He was left paying both the fine for that as well as a bill at the local shelter for euthanasia.

The reality is that unless an owner is a vet, they simply don’t have the proper resources to euthanize their dog at home.

Euthanasia is a peaceful process…

I emphasize the word “euthanize” because shooting the dog – as you’ll hear suggested more than you might think – is not the same thing.

Euthanasia is a peaceful process in which the dog is first sedated and then given an overdose of anesthesia, resulting in a peaceful passing.

This is going to be hard to read, but it’s important to understand- shooting a dog doesn’t always work the first time.

It’s hard to know where to shoot to kill instantly, and if the owner is not a good shot, the dog ends up having to be shot multiple times.

It’s a bad end for the beloved family friend.

(Video) The emotional costs of euthanasia | Sarah Hoggan DVM | TEDxTemecula

And the worst part is that it’s not what the owner wants for their dog.

There’s one final thing to consider in this section. Emotional trauma.

There is a palpable emotional component to the process of putting our dogs to sleep at the vet, and that’s the peaceful way.

Can you imagine having to look your dog in the eyes and then take his life?

It’s almost guaranteed to scar you.

You should never try to euthanize your dog yourself.

We’ll discuss financially affordable options that will allow your dog to pass peacefully in just a few more paragraphs.

If you’re in this horrible predicament, don’t worry.

There are answers for you and your dog.

How Do I Euthanize My Dog at Home Humanely?

As I referenced above, you simply can’t do it.

The only humane way to euthanize your dog is to have a veterinarian do it the correct way.

It may seem repetitive to address this particular point again, but with desperation high among some owners, it cannot be overstated.

There’s no humane way to euthanize your dog at home. Period.

Procuring the drugs that are used to euthanize an animal is hard to do – if it can be done at all – and also highly illegal.

These are controlled substances.

In addition, as I referenced earlier, shooting the dog is also illegal in many states, and worse than that, it’s not a guarantee.

(Video) Local organization helps ensure pets aren't euthanized if owner can't afford emergency medical care

What to do When You Can’t Afford a Vet

My Dog is Dying, and I Can't Afford a Vet: Should I Euthanize At Home? (3)

So where does all of this leave an owner begging for an answer to “My dog is dying but I can’t afford the vet”?

The good news is that there are resources out there for those who are in this incredibly difficult situation.

These resources can help owners either reduce the cost of the euthanasia or get help paying for it.

Thankfully, there are more resources out there than most people realize.

So, it’s easier than it seems for owners in dire straits to help their dog pass peacefully.

Talk with the Vet

Most vets are just as much in love with their animals as their clients.

They understand that things happen and that some of them are out of an owner’s control.

If an owner has a good relationship with their vet, the first thing they should do is speak to him or her.

In many cases, the vet might consider reducing the cost, setting up a payment plan, or even referring the owner to a rescue or low-cost vet.

Visit the Local Shelter

Many animal shelters offer drastically reduced pricing for their vet services, including euthanasia.

Often times, the pricing can be as low as $50 to $75 for a basic euthanasia that will allow the family pet to pass peacefully.

Website Resources

There are non-profits and crowdfunding options out there for owners who are in desperate need of help, as well.

These sites can help mitigate the cost of euthanasia or pay for it altogether.


GoFundMe is used for all kinds of crowdfunding, one of those being to help those in financial trouble.

Owners can set up an account, detail why the need the money, and hopefully people out there will help.

(Video) What To Do When You Can't Afford A Vet

You might be surprised by the number of people willing to pitch in for your dog.

It’s enough to restore your faith in humanity.


RedRover is committed to helping owners in need and their pets.

They have grants for people who need financial support ranging from foster owners to those who own their own pet.

They have disaster relief programs, as well.


Waggle is a crowdfunding platform developed specifically for pet owners to help one another.

Owners in financial need for their pet’s care can post here to get financial assistance from other owners.

Humane Society

The Humane Society website has an extensive list of resources for owners in financial crisis.

My Dog is Dying. Help Me

My Dog is Dying, and I Can't Afford a Vet: Should I Euthanize At Home? (4)

Hopefully, this post did just that for anyone in this situation.

It’s hard to see your pet suffering and feel like there’s nothing you can do.

Or worse, feel like you only have one drastic option remaining.

For those Googling “My dog is dying, but I can’t afford the vet”, the above resources should be able to help.

There is hope out there for those who are facing this difficult time with their dog.

If you’re in dire need, try the resources and tips above.

Do you have any other resources to share for people asking, “What do I do when my dog is dying and I can’t afford the vet?” Share below.


How can I help my dog pass away peacefully? ›

Comforting a Dying Dog
  1. Stay Close to Them. Many dogs will seek comfort during this time and may desire more attention and care. ...
  2. Don't Introduce Your Dog to New People or Places. ...
  3. Maintain Normal Activities as Long as Your Dog Is Able. ...
  4. Talk to Your Vet If Medication Is Needed.
Aug 16, 2018

What is the cheapest way to put a dog down? ›

The least expensive way to put a dog down is by approaching veterinary service companies, charities, and local veterinarians to see if they can provide euthanasia at a discount or even for free. If you are in a particularly difficult financial situation, make that clear to the provider. It never can hurt to ask.

How long does it take to euthanize a dog with Tylenol PM? ›

Yes, Tylenol can kill a dog or cat – but it's very slow in killing. The point is, very few poisons kill humane and acutely – it typically takes 24-48 hours before your pet dies, and it's not a good way to go. When in doubt, please contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for advice, and talk to your veterinarian.

How do I know if I should euthanize my dog? ›

Some common signs that it may be time to put your pup down include the inability or refusal to eat or drink, labored breathing, an inability to get up for potty times without help, urinary or fecal incontinence, and immobility. Essentially, this can come down to your dog's quality of life.

What should I do with my dog before she dies? ›

Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Visit a favorite place together one last time.
  • Give your dog treats or favorite foods, and spoil your pup.
  • Surround the dog with favorite toys.
  • Do a cherished activity together or cuddle.
  • Make an exceptional bed help ease your dog's last days.

How long does it take for a dog to pass away naturally? ›

Veterinarians will be able to make them as comfortable as possible and manage their symptoms with medication. But it could take days, weeks or even months before they eventually die 'naturally'.

How much does Petsmart charge for euthanasia? ›

Based on the online price estimates, you can expect to spend around $120–140 for a euthanasia package for a cat or a dog. Taxes and additional fees may apply depending on the area you live in.

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

The price to travel to a person's home and have the dog put to sleep in the owner's home costs usually between $85 and $125. In-office euthanization ranges anywhere from $60 and up.

What drugs are used to euthanize dogs? ›

We use phenobarbital as a euthanasia drug, a seizure medication. In a large dose through an intravenous catheter administration, the drug will render the pet unconscious and will shut down heart and brain functions within one or two minutes.

Is there a pill to put my dog to sleep? ›

The euthanasia medication most vets use is pentobarbital, a seizure medication. In large doses, it quickly renders the pet unconscious. It shuts down their heart and brain functions usually within one or two minutes.

Can you put dogs down with sleeping pills? ›

Over-the-counter available sleeping pills can make dogs sick and particularly distressed. Most of them are known to cause: vomiting, seizures, foaming from the mouth, increased salivation, severe agitation. Last but not least, having your dog euthanized on your own is against the law in many countries.

How can I sedate my dog at home? ›

Give your dog melatonin for a natural, over-the-counter option. This natural supplement that many humans take to help them sleep can be helpful for sedating dogs as well. If your dog weighs less than 5 kg (11 lb), give it 1 mg of melatonin. If your dog weighs 5–15 kg (11–33 lb), give it 1.5 mg.

Do dogs cry when euthanized? ›

Just Answer veterinarian alhdvm theorizes that a vet may be injecting the solution and then the dog moves (but not necessarily has to) and soon there's a hole causing the solution to go around the vein instead of inside. This may cause the dog to cry out in pain.

Is it wrong to put your dog down? ›

It's one of the hardest calls animal lovers have to make: Is it time to put your pet down? There's no right or wrong answer. It's a personal matter for each pet owner. The goal is to keep your friend with you for as long as they are comfortable, but let them go if they are in pain.

Can you request to have your dog put down? ›

Can you ask the vet to put your dog down? You can speak to a vet about putting your dog to sleep. The vet will have a respectful conversation with you, which might include discussing alternative options if appropriate and will then explain the process to you.

When should you let your dog go? ›

Persistent and incurable inability to eat, vomiting, signs of pain, distress or discomfort, or difficulty in breathing are all indications that euthanasia should be considered. You and your family know your dog better than anyone else, so try to make a reasoned judgement on his or her quality of life.

Will my dog know he is being put to sleep? ›

Your dog will hardly know what happened and will simply start to feel pleasantly drowsy. You will notice that I said “Your vet will hopefully prepare an anaesthetic or sedative injection for your dog”. Some do not.

Should I put my cat down for peeing? ›

That's right, cats are brought to veterinarian's offices and shelters everywhere to be euthanized, or relinquished and consequently euthanized, because they urinate outside of the litter box. This has got to stop. This is most often a treatable problem with a positive outcome.

Is it Pets Mart or Pet Smart? ›

PetSmart on Twitter: "@kidbloomusa It is PetSmart - pronounced pet smart.

How much does it cost to put a cat down at home? ›

Typical costs: Euthanasia performed in a veterinary office costs between $50 and $100. At-home euthanasia, when the veterinarian comes to the home to perform the euthanasia, costs between $150 and $400.

What are reasons to put a dog down? ›

One of the most obvious reasons to consider humane euthanasia is when a pet has a terminal disease, such as heart failure, cancer or another incurable condition. It's important to talk to your veterinarian about how they will manage the disease — in some cases a specialist may be necessary.

Do dogs know when they are dying? ›

She says it's tough to know how much a dog understands or is feeling near the end of their life, but some behaviors might be more apparent. "Many dogs appear to be more 'clingy' or attached, following you around consistently and remaining close," Bergeland says.

How do I euthanize my dog at home with tramadol? ›

No, you cannot easily euthanize your dog with Tramadol. Tramadol is prescribed for pain and inflammation, and you would need an extremely large quantity of tablets to euthanize your dog. At these high dosages, your dog would have other side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures.

Can you help your dog pass away at home? ›

"Many vets provide an in-home euthanasia visit, where your pet can be euthanized in comfort and the loving environment of their home." At-home euthanasia can let you give your ailing pet his final peace surrounded by family and free of anxiety and fear.

Do dogs know they are dying? ›

On her website, Beside Still Water, she assures owners, “Animals know when they are dying. They are not afraid of death, at least not in the sense that we people are. Nearing death, they come to a place of acceptance and try to communicate that to us.”

Can't stop crying over dog's death? ›

Within the acute phase of death, or immediately following a loss, it is common to cry uncontrollably with intense duration. This is because our bodies are processing through the shock of loss and working hard to reduce the overwhelming emotional experience we are going through.


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