How Much Does A Dog X-Ray Cost? And Why Your Dog Might Need One

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Lab getting xrayed at vet office (Caption: Dog X-Ray Cost)

If your vet has recommended an X-ray for your dog, you’re likely wondering how much it will cost and what to expect with the procedure. X-rays are a fairly low-cost, non-invasive, and painless way for your veterinarian to gather important information to help diagnose your pup’s injury or illness. And in some cases, they can help save your dog’s life.

How Much Is An X-Ray For A Dog?

A dog X-ray can range anywhere from $75 to $500, with the average cost of a dog X-ray falling between $150 to $250. However, the cost can vary widely depending on many factors, which we explain below.

What Affects A Dog X-Ray Cost?

Several factors that can affect how much a dog X-ray costs include:


Dog Dental X-rays

Some dogs in extreme pain or are feeling nervous won’t be able to sit still enough to get a clear X-ray. If this is the case with your pup, sedation or anesthesia may be required. Other reasons for sedation include if the dog’s muscles need to be relaxed to get a clear image or when the X-ray is of the spine, skull, or teeth. The additional cost for sedation or anesthesia can range from $40 to $200.

Location Of Injury

Some parts of the body are easier to access for an X-ray than others. For example, a dog paw X-ray is much easier than an X-ray of the head or tail.

Number Of X-Rays Needed

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Sometimes vets need to see the area of concern from multiple viewpoints, so they require multiple snapshots. Each image raises the cost of the overall X-ray procedure.

Your Geographic Location

The cost of where you reside can affect a dog X-ray price. Like other veterinary services, X-rays are typically more expensive in urban and highly populated places than in rural locations. You may want to drive out of town to find lower costs. And the price of X-rays can vary by the veterinary practice in the same city, so you may benefit from shopping around.

Why Your Dog May Need An X-Ray

Vet with dog on X-ray table

X-rays are one of the best ways for your vet to see what’s going on inside your dog’s body. And there are a lot of conditions where an X-ray can be a powerful diagnostic tool. Here are some of the most common reasons your dog may need an X-ray.

Broken Bone

If your vet suspects that your dog has a broken bone, then an X-ray is the best way to confirm the exact location and severity of the fracture. The most common area of the body where vets see broken bones in dogs is in their legs.

Orthopedic Problems

It’s often necessary for your vet to order X-rays for suspected orthopedic issues, such as X-rays of dogs with hip dysplasia. This X-ray gives your vet a view into your dog’s hip to see how this hereditary condition has progressed and can help your vet determine the best treatment course.

Intestinal Blockage

Dogs are notorious for ingesting anything in their path. If your dog swallows a foreign object, and it’s not digestible, then it can potentially cause a serious problem for your pup. A dog stomach X-ray can give your vet a visual image of where this object is in your dog’s intestinal tract.

A major intestinal blockage can be life-threatening, so contact your vet if you think your dog has ingested a worrying foreign object. Sometimes, surgery is required to remove the object.


Larger bladder stones or kidney and gallbladder stones can show up on X-rays pretty easily. These X-rays can help your vet visualize how large they are and exactly where they’re located to help with the removal process. Vets also sometimes use ultrasound to visualize these types of stones.


Vet looking at X-ray

In certain cases, X-rays can help your vet spot some types of tumors, although many types of tumors don’t show up well on an X-ray. Still, an X-ray can be one of the first low-cost approaches to determining a diagnosis of cancer. For example, if your vet suspects bone cancer, an osteosarcoma dog X-ray can help identify a primary bone tumor.

Dental Issues

If your dog has a serious dental problem, X-rays may be the only way for your veterinarian to know exactly what’s going on under the gums. Sedation is usually needed with a dog dental X-ray. Even without any signs of dental issues, many vets recommend mouth X-rays at least once per year.

Lung Or Heart Problems

If your furry friend is coughing or having breathing problems, your vet may recommend a chest X-ray, which can help identify such conditions as a fungal infection, bronchitis, pneumonia, a mass, or other issues that require treatment. A dog chest X-ray is also a good diagnostic tool for any heart problems your dog may have.


Is it safe to give a pregnant dog an X-ray? Many vets X-ray pregnant dogs to see how many puppies the mom is carrying, to compare the fetus size to the size of the mom’s pelvic canal, as well as the fetus positions. The general consensus is that X-rays are safe once the puppies have reached at least 50 days of gestation.

How Do Vets Take X-Rays In Dogs?

This brief video sheds some light on what you can expect during a dog X-ray procedure. This video features a sedated Doberman Pinscher with an undiagnosed limping issue. What the X-ray finds isn’t what you’d expect.

How Pet Insurance Can Help

Pet insurance covers many diagnostic procedures like X-rays and other imaging your dog may require if he gets injured or becomes ill, as well as the treatment needed for his condition. Unexpected veterinary care can take a huge bite out of your budget, but if you have pet insurance, you won’t have to worry about your finances and instead get your pet the care he needs.

How are pet insurance costs calculated? What’s the average cost of pet insurance? How does claim reimbursement work? We answer all these questions and can help you learn about how pet insurance costs are determined and how you can adjust it to fit into your budget.

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