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Understanding Dog Euthanasia

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Authored by Kristian Keefer in Dogs
Published on 05-23-2009

If you have a beloved dog that is very ill, you might be facing the decision of whether or not to allow your dog’s veterinarian to put your dog down. People often refer to this as putting your dog to sleep. Understanding dog euthanasia can help you to make your decision. It is not an easy decision to make for everyone. You should have a vet who you are comfortable with to help provide you and your pet with the compassion you need if you do decide to put your dog to sleep.

Please know that vets do not like to have to put pets to sleep. If your dog’s doctor does suggest euthanasia for your dog, it is because they believe he or she will continue to suffer from their illnesses. They consider the act one of compassion for a pet who is very ill or very old. In the end, however, the decision is entirely up to you.

You should know that you do not need to be there when your dog is put to sleep if it is too difficult for you. You can drop your pet off with the veterinarian or you can wait out in the waiting room while your dog is put to sleep. It is possible to be there while the vet prepares to euthanize your dog but then to leave the room before your dog passes away. You should know that your vet will treat the dog kindly in his or her final moments of life.

Some veterinarians offer services in which they will come to your home in order to euthanize your dog. As you can imagine, it does cost more money to have this service. The vet might come at a time in the day before or after their clinic hours. Some people feel more comfortable opting to have their dog put to sleep in their own home and environment.

A dog is put to sleep by injecting medication that will put them into a state of being unconscious. Your dog’s heart will stop beating soon after. It only takes a few seconds for your dog to go unconscious after being administered the medicine, however, it can take a few more moments for them to completely stop breathing. Your dog is not suffering during this passage of time.

Your veterinarian will allow you to take a few minutes to say your goodbyes to your pet after they pass away. You will need to determine if you will take your pet home to bury or if you will leave him or her with the Vet. You can even have your dog cremated. The decision as to how to handle burial is entirely up to you.

You should give careful consideration to how you want to handle your dog’s euthanasia if you decide that it is necessary. Try to determine in advance if you will stay with your pet through the whole process. Decide whether or not you want to bury your dog at home. Try to say most of your goodbyes before you take him or her to the vet.

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