Canine euthanasia - putting a dog to sleep - is a decision that most dog parents do not want to have to make but unfortunately will probably need to face.
For dog parents with an old or terminally ill dog, the decision for euthanasia may be more immiment. But even for dog parents whose dogs are young and healthy, accidents could occur and the decision to whether or not euthanize a seriously injured dog may fall upon us any time.
This page takes a look at the following topics:
Euthanizing a dog is a very personal decision - no one, not even your vet, can make that decision for you. It is indeed very difficult to decide the "best time" to put your dog out of his misery.
Many veterinarians suggest that we should consider letting go of our pets when they can no longer enjoy a reasonable quality of life.
One way to assess your dog's quality of life is by considering the following questions:
Consider also some practical issues, such as:
I have prepared a checklist to help you arrive at your decision. Download it here. It's not easy but try to answer all the questions honestly.
These days, most vets first use a sedative to relax and calm the dog down before actually giving the final injection of euthanasia drug. (This was what my vet did when we had to euthasize our dog Hana.)
Once the dog is sedated, the vet will proceed to inject the euthanasia drug, which usually is an overdose of phenobarbital. This causes the dog's heart and breathing muscles to stop. The drug may be given to the dog as an injection, or it may be given via an IV catheter.
Within a few seconds (15-60 seconds), the dog loses consciousness, slumps over, and soon afterward the vital functions cease. It is considered painless.
If you decide to witness the whole euthanasia process, be prepared for the following as death occurs:
Homeopathic remedies can be used to help a dying animal.
Please note that the homeopathic remedy does NOT cause death. It is NOT a drug to euthanize a pet. It only helps ease the transition by relieving pain, anxiety, restlessness and makes the process as smooth as possible so that the animal can pass peacefully.
If you are considering euthanasizing your dog, perhaps it is a good idea to find a holistic vet to perform the procedure. That way, s/he can advise you on the proper choice of a homeopathic remedy that is suitable for your dog after considering the dog's mental and physical states at the time.
As a reference, here are the most useful remedies that may help ease the transition during euthanasia:
If you have an older dog or if your dog has been diagnosed with a serious disease such as cancer, it is better to think ahead and decide what to do in case you need to put him to sleep.
Of course if euthanasia was performed due to serious injuries caused by an accident, you would have to make a quick decision as to what to do after his passing.
Do you want to have his body cremated? Would you like to have his ashes back? If so, a private cremation will be carried out, and it takes about five to seven days for the ashes to return home.
There are now many options for taking care of a dog's remains, for example, besides cremation, there are also memorial gardens, and cemeteries for pets. Discuss with your family ahead of time and make the necessary arrangement before euthanasia.
Losing a pet is of course sad and painful. Some dog parents also have a tremendous feeling of guilt after having to put their pet down because they feel that they have taken the life of their pet.
Very often, dog parents think that they have euthanized their dog "too soon" or for "selfish" reasons. Many have doubts as to whether they did the right thing, or they keep wondering if they could have done more or tried harder.
Please read this page to learn more about the grieving process and what you can do to deal with the emotions.
I have also set up this Pawsome Angels Pet Loss Support Group to support dog parents who have lost, or are going to lose, their beloved dogs.
It is very helpful if you write about your feelings in a journal like this one.