What You Need to Know About Dog Euthenasia

Dog euthenasia is a procedure that many dog owners have to face up to at one time or the other. Many pet dogs and faithful working dogs end up being put to sleep for a variety of reasons.

While the decision to put a dog to sleep can cause a lot of soul searching, one needs to try to put your emotions aside and think of the welfare and quality of life of the dog.

Many people ask me if they should stay with their dog during the procedure. Personally I would rather your last memory of your dog was of a living and responsive animal and thus I tend to advise against.

However, many people feel obliged to stand by their pet, and I respect that decision.

Here are some common questions with regards to dog euthenasia.

1)What is dog euthenasia?

This is when a dog is put to sleep using an overdose of anaesthetic that is injected intravenously.The anaesthetic quickly suppresses the respiratory, heart and nerve functions of the body which means that death is quick and painless.

2)Do the animals know they are being put to sleep?

While there are plenty of stories about this, I am not aware of any hard evidence that suggests that dogs know they are going to be put to sleep. Many dogs do display signs of anxiety, but no more so than dogs being put under anaesthetic for a routine op. The anxiety probably has more to do with being in a strange environment and surrounded by strangers.

In my experience, this anxiety is not improved by having the owner present, especially if the owner is also anxious.

3). What can you expect?

If you elect to stay with your pet during the euthenasia procedure, please be aware of the following:

a) It is better for trained staff to hold your dog for the injection as this will increase the chance of the procedure going off smoothly.

b) Once the injection has been administered, your pet will quickly slip into unconciousness but may twitch before going limp.

c) Thereafter they might gasp once or twice - this is normal and does not mean they are suffering or fighting for breath.

d) There may be emptying of the bladder and bowels.

e) Your pet's eyes may remain open even after it has passed away.

4) What happens after the procedure?

You will normally have a range of options with regards to disposing of your pets body. Please discuss these with your Vet BEFOREHAND so that you don't have to try to come to a decision when you are in an emotional upheaval.

The same goes for settling any bills - try to do that before the procedure so that if you want to leave straight away you can.

Dog euthenasia is often viewed with anguish by the pet owner, but perhaps if you look at it as helping your faithful companion to die easily and painlessly, then it becomes an act of compassion, which is far easier to cope with.