Letting go of our pets is never easy but euthanasia by your veterinarian is humane and can allow your furry friend to die peacefully and with dignity. When your dog gets sick or old and is no longer enjoying a quality of life, learning how to put down a dog painlessly can be a saving grace.
Humane Dog Euthanasia
Euthanasia is the humane practice of using an overdose of barbiturates to stop your dog’s heart. It is administered by the vet through painless methods like an intravenous catheter or injection.
Here’s what to expect from making the decision to putting your dog down.
Making the Decision and the Dog Euthanasia Process
The decision to euthanize a family pup is very difficult. You are ending a life and it can be hard to know what is best. This is where your veterinarian can help you. They will be able to tell you if you’ve done everything medically for your dog and answer any questions you may have about the euthanasia process.
It may help you to look at your dog and take note of whether or not he is still enjoying life and spending time with the family.
Does he want to be around the family still?
Does he still recognize family members?
Is your dog sick or in pain?
Answering these questions honestly may help you recognize your dog’s quality of life. If your dog has a poor quality of life it may be time to let go. In the end, only you can make this decision.
Making the Appointment
Making the appointment to euthanize your dog is never easy. You have to say, out loud, what you need to be done, and this can be difficult and emotional. If you make the appointment with a veterinarian that knows you and your dog it may be easier because you will be among familiar people.
The veterinarian and staff see this every day and it is hard for them too, but the staff will be loving and understanding of what you need to do. Some people choose to leave their dog, others want to be there as it happens. It is up to you and what you think is best. The staff will not think poorly of you if you do not want to be present for the euthanasia.
Some veterinarians will perform house calls. If you think this would be better for your family, then talk to your veterinarian about whether they can perform dog euthanasia at home.
What to Expect at the Appointment
If you decide to euthanize your dog at the vets, you will be in an exam room with your dog and given a chance to say goodbye. The veterinarian or a staff member will come in and talk to you about what is going to happen.
Depending on your dog the veterinarian may suggest a sedative to make them more relaxed and sleepy. If this is not necessary the doctor will go ahead with the euthanasia.
The euthanasia is performed by an injection directly into a vein. A staff member usually assists in holding the leg for the doctor to give the injection.
You should be wherever you feel most comfortable. Many people want to hold their dog, others will stand nearby and scratch an ear or stroke their muzzle, and others will want to wait outside.
After the injection is given the dog falls asleep and is unconscious. The animal will often take a few deep breaths before passing away. Nerves may also twitch, this is common and shouldn’t frighten you. Also be aware that many times their eyes do not close. Sometimes the bowels release so you may want to bring a blanket to wrap your dog in.
After the Appointment
A decision will need to be made concerning your dog’s body. Many people ask the veterinarian to take care of the body for them. If this is the case most often the dog is cremated. Ask your veterinarian beforehand so you’ll know for sure. You can also take your dog home for burial or many places provide a service that allows you to get your dog’s ashes back in an urn.
A Good Dog Never Dies
A good dog never dies because they live in our hearts forever. While dog euthanasia is something most of us pet owners don’t want to think about, we should be prepared so that our pets do not suffer unnecessarily when sick or later in life.
As always, talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s condition so you know your options and what to expect.
Other recommended reads:
How to Choose a Vet for My Dog (The Right Questions to Ask)