Often referred to as mercy killing among vets, euthanasia is extremely sensitive and a topic that no dog owners ever want to think about. The decision to do so will seriously drain your emotions and can be quite difficult. It is the ultimate resort and never a simple process. But then, there is a point when it may no longer be avoidable.
It is imperative to get ready for this procedure and make sure you know what your options are. Most importantly, never make this decision on your own. While your dog might look suffering and in distress, it is worth noting that many affections can be healed. Get in touch with your vet rather sooner than later to discuss options and find out what can be done.
As painful as it is, euthanasia should be done in a veterinary clinic. While some parts of the world allow euthanasia at home, there are a few reasons to avoid doing it yourself. A vet is experienced in this field and knows exactly what to do – no risks at all and no unexpected surprises. Your dog will pass away without experiencing any painful sensations or stress.
With all these, there are situations when doing it yourself might be the way to go. Whether you count the financial implication or your general options, going to a vet clinic may not even be a solution. Now, what should you know about this process? How do you get ready for it? What do you need to do to learn how to euthanize a dog?
Reasons to avoid euthanizing your dog yourself
There are more reasons wherefore educating yourself on this matter is important, but doing it in a vet clinic is the way to go.
Most importantly, consider the emotional aspect. Just thinking about letting your dog go can cause severe trauma and it may take you a while to get over it. You feel like crying even if you see a vet first and this option seems to be the most suitable one. Would you be able to kill the dog yourself?
Then, you need to consider your furry friend too. A vet has done this procedure dozens or hundreds of times. Your vet knows what to do in order to ensure a calm and peaceful death, rather than a stressful experience. You want to be next to it, so your dog can hear your voice for one last time. The last thing you want is your dog in pain, struggling to pass away – this image could tear your heart apart.
Unfortunately, there are situations when you may not be able to make it to the vet. If your dog has been through a severe accident and cannot be saved, you might have to do it yourself. There are also cases when the nearest vet clinic is too far, so your dog would not be able to survive the transportation. Unless you can get a vet over, doing it yourself is your only option.
Plus, consider the cost as well. While killing a dog does not seem to be an expensive procedure, the actual substances used in the process do not come cheap.
How to euthanize a dog – what to consider
There are more things to take into consideration when learning how to euthanize a dog. Some of them involve legal requirements, while others target your emotional and mental help – before, during, and after the unhappy moment. So, what should you think about upfront?
No matter which option you choose when the time comes, the aftermath is what takes many people down. As if thinking about this issue would not drain your emotions enough, the aftermath will make it even harder for you. Lots of people want to stick to that room, be in that room and relax in that room once their dogs pass away. It is perfectly natural, but it will also make things harder for you.
If you do it at home, stepping inside that room might be a bit too much to handle. The pain will last for weeks and can go up to months. It is challenging to see that room – the same spot where your dog passed away or its favorite toys.
Veterinary staff relies on various techniques to manage emotions. You will understand that this is the best option for the dog and you will learn to accept it and live with it.
While you may not necessarily want to go to a clinic, the process still requires a bit of medical assistance, so you should still get in touch with your vet. The vet ensures that your dog will not suffer throughout the process. Practically, the first step involves sedating your furry friend. The second step covers the final drug.
Most of these drugs come with side effects like pain, vomiting, and even seizures. When learning how to euthanize the dog, you want to do it efficiently or your dog will suffer even more. Practically, you need to learn about the process or even do it inside the clinic. Check with your vet.
Double-check the local laws – or simply ask your vet for advice – before even starting to learn how to euthanize a dog. In some states or countries, the procedure is not legal if you are not fully trained or licensed. In other places, you might be allowed to do it yourself, but with a vet nearby.
At the same time, many of the drugs needed to euthanize a pet might be sold with a prescription-only, which makes this venture even more complicated if you want to do it yourself. Such substances can be controlled, hence the necessity of a license.
Simply put, double-check all these factors upfront and get ready. The most important thing to ask yourself is whether the procedure or your plan is humane. Your dog is your best friend, so you do not want it to suffer – no matter what.
From many points of view, doing it yourself with a vet’s supervision could be the best middle option between various methods.
Steps to go through to euthanize your dog
There are a few steps you have to go through in order to learn how to euthanize a dog and each of them involves a few different scenarios. However, it is important to plan everything in small details to avoid potential problems.
The initial consultation with your vet
You should talk to your vet before even deciding to euthanize the dog. Arrange a consultation, so the vet can examine your furry friend and determine whether this is the right thing to do. While your dog might be ill, the affection could be treatable, so you might have to avoid this procedure. Once the decision is made, the vet can also assist you further and give you more details about the procedure.
Since you are there, you can also ask the vet for your options – in a clinic, at home or at home with specialized monitoring.
Getting your family ready
Both you and your family should prepare for this procedure in case this is the case. At the end of the day, you will never be ready to see your dog go. But it will happen, whether you want it or not. Talking to each other and showing each other compassion can help you deal with this unfortunate issue.
Pay special attention to the sensitive members of your family. For example, children are more likely to be traumatized by this problem, so take their feelings into consideration. Explain to them what you are about to do and help them understand why – encourage them to share their emotions as well.
You should also make a decision regarding the people who will assist during the procedure. If someone is too sensitive or children are too young, they may not want to witness this sad moment.
Getting ready for the procedure
Arranging the procedure can be a painful process, but it has to be done. If the vet agrees to assist you, ask all the question you may have. Find out what is going to happen, how you have to do it, how long it takes and so on. Inquire about any potential preparation.
Everything must be ready before you go through the procedure. Having everything ready will make it simpler for everyone involved, including your dog.
Making your pet comfortable
This is when the real emotional pain begins. You know those are the last moments with your pet, so you inevitably feel your eyes clogging with tears. It is part of the game and everyone goes through the exact same issues. Your dog has given you years of loyalty and love. This is the best moment to show it the exact same level of affection. The last day should be as pleasant as possible for your pet’s comfort.
When learning how to euthanize a dog, you will understand that your pet needs its favorite things around. Get a nice blanket for your pet to lie down – preferably its favorite blanket from its bed. Come up with a bed of pillows or simply add more blankets. You should also have some of your dog’s favorite treats around – make sure it gets plenty of them. This is not the time to worry about health or sugar content. Hugs and kisses are also part of the game.
Some dog owners (pet owner) may not necessarily want to be around during the procedure. However, it is essential for at least one familiar face to be there. The last thing you want is to have your dog pass away lonely and surrounded by strangers. This is the moment when you have to beat your emotions and simply be there no matter what – your dog needs you.
Going on with the procedure
The last step covers the final procedure. If your vet does it in a clinic or at your house, ask if there is anything you can do to assist. If you do it yourself under a vet’s supervision, ask if everything looks alright upfront.
It might be handy petting and talking to your dog during its last moments. It will calm your friend down.
Now that you are aware of the steps you have to go through, what happens when it comes to actual euthanasia?
What happens during an actual euthanasia
It helps to take some time off to overcome this problem. Take the day off work. You will find it extremely hard to go to work after euthanizing your dog. You will feel sad and start crying out of nowhere, so it helps to take the day off. In fact, you might want to have the next few days off too. You know yourself better than anyone – some people need to get distracted right away to overcome pain, while others need to grieve.
If euthanasia is done in the clinic, it might be alright to arrange with the receptionist to get there at a quiet time. It helps to bring a friend or a family member with you for support. If the vet wants to make a home visit, the whole situation might be a bit easier.
If the dog is hospitalized and does not seem to recover, just pay a visit and say goodbye. Everyone wants to get the last kiss from their dog, but if your dog is already sleeping under anesthetic, you can go on with euthanasia without having to wake it up. It is simply the kinder option, even if it feels more painful.
The process can be more distressing for you than for your dog. But there is one thing to remember – if your dog is awake, it will lose consciousness within a few seconds. It will not feel any pain, so everything that happens later is irrelevant.
Most vets will ask you to sign a form before the procedure goes on.
Euthanasia normally involves an injection. The vet will give your pet anesthetic overdose. One of your dog’s front legs will be slightly shaved for the vein to be visible, yet other parts of the body are also accepted. The leg allows the dog to see what happens, so it will feel calmer. The only pain involved is the needle prick, which is not that harmful. The actual injection involves no pain at all.
Some dogs will whine during the injection because of the needle prick. If your dog has always hated needles, expect the small cry. Your pet will then feel dizzy. Seconds later, it will be unconscious. Sometimes, unconsciousness kicks in before the vet gets to finish the injection. It takes a minute or two for death to occur. Once the heart has stopped beating, your dog is dead.
Some dogs with severe conditions or poor circulation may take more than two minutes. There is nothing to worry about in terms of pain – it will not feel anything.
If your dog is restless before the procedure, some vets proceed with a sedative. However, once sedated, the vein might be more difficult to find. The injection will also take a bit longer to work.
Minutes after death, there might be moments that will shock you a little. Practically, you will see muscle movements and reflexes. Such signs do not mean that your dog is still alive. In fact, they tell you that your dog is dead. These are reflex muscle movements and have nothing to do with life. Sometimes, your pet’s eyes remain open. While not a general rule, the bladder might empty as well. Again, this is not a sign of life.
Over 99% of all cases are smooth and quick. The pet will not experience any stress or pain at all. Even if the procedure has a few difficulties, the actual result is still fast and easy. Most importantly, it will save your beloved pet days or even weeks of pain and suffering – which will inevitably lead to a painful death.
This is basically what you have to remember – you are doing this for your dog. You never want to see it go away, but you have to show your furry friend the love and respect it deserves.
How not to euthanize a dog
There are parts of the world where you might be allowed to euthanize a dog at home. It is still not a good idea and you should still get in touch with a vet, even if it implies making an effort. Most of these options are cruel and never recommended.
Tylenol pm is a sleeping pill that can euthanize pretty much every pet out there. Pets are most commonly euthanized when they are severely ill and in pain. Unfortunately, this method will cause even more pain and is highly contraindicated in the process.
A small dosage will kill any dog in a harsh way. It practically damages internal organs. Kidney failure and liver failure are only seconds away, meaning your dog will experience harsh pains. As harsh as it sounds, it is less painful to simply shoot the dog in the head.
If you consider this option, make sure you discuss it with your vet first. There are plenty of other solutions out there and most of them are less painful.
Sleeping pills are also known as a last resort option. You should rely on this solution if you are in the middle of the desert by yourself, your dog is severely injured and you only have some sleeping pills on you. In other words, it is not a good idea to use sleeping pills on your dog.
Professional vets would use pentobarbital sodium in this case. It is a powerful anesthetic drug and can be used when learning how to euthanize a dog. However, this drug is painful and will cause even more discomfort for your furry friend. When used, it involves lots of sedatives upfront.
Benadryl is another bad idea when learning how to euthanize a dog. It is most commonly used against anxiety and various allergies, yet it has the power to kill an animal too. It is an aggressive drug that will give you a bad last image of your dog. Practically, the heartbeat will increase, while most dogs will hyper salivate. Dry mouth may also occur.
You want your dog to be calm and relaxed. You want to be able to give your farewells in a calming and soothing manner, rather than a stressful experience.
What happens after euthanasia?
So, what happens after euthanasia? Some people can get communal cremation arranged. You can get the ashes returned – it will cost you, but it is worth having your pet’s remains around. You can also arrange cremation yourself. Then, there are pet cemeteries as well – ask your vet for some details. No matter what you want to do, you can ask for a lock of hair or perhaps a small ceremony. There is nothing to be embarrassed about – most people ask for something similar.
Emotions are part of the game, so do not be embarrassed to let them out. After all, your pet is a family member. Do not feel guilty about it, as you have made this decision with your dog’s best interest in mind. You might feel some doubt, but it will ease.
Get mentally ready to find the house empty and get used to it. The experience is upsetting for the entire family too – from kids to teenagers and adults. If you have more dogs, they will also notice the loss.
Frequently asked questions
Here are a few things you might want to know about the procedure.
How much Benadryl do I give a dog to put down?
The general dose is 1mg for every pound of body weight. Get in touch with the vet first.
How can I help my dog pass away?
Always put your dog’s interest at heart and try to make it feel as comfortable and calm as possible.
Should I euthanize my dog?
Never make this decision by yourself, but always consult a vet first. There might be other solutions that will keep your dog nearby for months or even years.
Can you kill your dog with Benadryl?
Yes and while still used, this option is not necessarily the best for your pet, as it causes all kinds of reactions and pains.
The bottom line, learning how to euthanize a dog will give you some options that work, but always keep your dog’s comfort and loyalty in mind. In other words, it pays off spending money and reaching a vet, rather than trying to do it yourself. Doing it yourself is more painful for both you and your dog.