A Realistic Look At The Cost Of Dog X-Rays

It’s a scary time. Your beloved canine companion is hurting and you know they need an X-ray.

But owning a dog isn’t cheap and neither is its healthcare! We’re going to give you all the information you need about your best friend’s X-ray. 


My Dog Needs An X-Ray – How Much Is It Going To Cost? 

The cost can range from anywhere between $150 to around $250. It isn’t actually the X-ray that costs the most money.

Unlike us, it’s not going to be easy for a dog to remain still during the X-ray, so a dog typically requires sedation for safety reasons. 

It’s because of the sedatives (and therefore the sedation) that the bucks start to tally up. If your cuddly buddy is bigger, they may need more sedatives… and that means more money.

Same applies if your dog is more anxious about the veterinarians. 

This is still far cheaper than other imagery tests. Live imagery tests such as an ultrasound (usually for dog pregnancy or to check organs) could cost in the region of $300-$600. 

What About Pet Insurance?

The average cost per month for pet insurance is nearly $50. Depending on your policy, this could be a saving in disguise.

If it is discovered after an X-ray that your dog has something more serious than initially thought – you could be paying hundreds (even thousands) of dollars. So insurance is worth considering!


How Exactly Do X-Rays Work?

X-rays (sometimes referred to as radiographs) allow for internal imagery, to try and get to the root of your pet’s problem.

They work by beaming X-rays through your pet’s body and photographing the results. The procedure usually takes around 10 minutes.

This means your pet will be exposed to a minute amount of radiation. Don’t let that worry you – it’s typically no more radiation than they’d be exposed to over 10 days and is considered safe. 

X-rays differ from the other imagery tests as mentioned earlier. Ultrasound is a type of imagery test that involves sound-beams passing through your dog.

Sometimes an ultrasound will be performed if an X-ray fails to provide a vet with sufficient information. 

Other similar tests include MRI and CT scanning. A CT or “cat-scan” is another type of X-ray test.

In short, the test takes multiple short images to allow for a fuller picture. Usually this type of procedure is better for chest or head injury and illness.

An MRI uses radio-waves, not X-rays. This type of exam is usually used to investigate internal bleeding or abnormalities (often in the brain).

Making the decision as to what procedure will be required is normally informed to you by your veterinarian. In some cases, it may be necessary to use more than one of these methods. 

What Good Is An X-Ray For Your Dog? 

Due to its unique method, X-rays provide a perfect insight to the internal health of your dog.

This means that any trained professional should be able to provide an accurate diagnosis. Anything from a broken bone to locating a swallowed chew-toy. X-rays are completely painless and don’t take too much time. 

X-rays can also allow your veterinarian to assess more potentially complex situations, such as breathing problems or cancers. It’s almost like the search engine of your dog’s problems. 


Are There Any Downsides Or Risks? 

Although X-rays can provide a huge amount of information, it may not be able to show the full picture. A veterinarian could think it is more beneficial to conduct other tests such as urine or blood for particular suspected illnesses. 

In terms of risks, X-rays are an incredibly common procedure. They are not hazardous to your furry friend and they are 100% worth having if you suspect your dog is struggling with injury or illness. 

Should I Prepare Myself Or My Dog?

It can be worrying waiting on the answers to the unknown. However, there isn’t really much to do in the way of preparation. However, you can:

  • Ensure you have booked your dog in as soon as possible to minimize discomfort
  • It is best not to feed your dog before an X-ray 
  • Plan your payment method. Do you have pet insurance? Have you spoken with them?
  • Prepare for a friend or family member to look after your dog, should you need to leave for work
  • Try not to panic or worry
  • Above all, make sure your dog is getting enough rest and comfort before the appointment

Other FAQs

What Is A Radiologist? 

A veterinary radiologist is a trained professional who performs X-ray imagery tests on pets. They are vets who have also further studied radiology for years.

It may be necessary for your veterinary general practitioner to send X-ray results to a veterinary radiologist – but don’t worry – the vet will explain why they feel it is the right decision!

Typically, it could be for a second opinion. 

I Want To Hug My Dog During The X-ray. Can I?

No. It is for safety reasons that this cannot be done.

Can I Ask For A Copy Of My Dog’s X-ray Results?

Yes! Your vet should be more than happy to provide these to you in a reasonable amount of time. However, be aware that there may be a small fee. 

What Happens If The Vet Finds Something? 

The vet will discuss your dog’s problem and will suggest treatment. The vet will give you costs of potential procedures and what your options are.


The choice to have your dog X-rayed is ultimately up to you and it can be concerning. However, veterinarians and radiologists are highly trained professionals who have years of experience.

Your dog will be in very safe hands. 

It’s important to consider why you need (or think you need) an X-ray for your dog and ensure a consultation with a veterinarian as soon as you can. 

If you have any questions before or after the procedure, your vet will be more than happy to answer them. 

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