Dog Euthanasia

'Dog Euthanasia', 'putting a dog to sleep', 'putting a dog down', however you prefer to term it, can be one of the hardest decisions you may ever have to make. If one is lucky enough to have a dog that lives into his or her senior years, the decision to allow our pets to live or die eventually may have to be faced. This is an extremely difficult decision, one that causes doubt, fear, anger and grief.

Sometimes, pet owners are forced into considering dog euthanasia due to factors ranging from the pain or suffering of their pet, to their personal financial burdens or challenges. Every situation is unique, and varying considerations should be assessed before making the decision to euthanize or not to euthanize.

At which point is euthanasia for dogs the best choice? First, assess your dog’s current quality of life. If your pet is in constant pain, cannot eat or drink or cannot move independently, euthanasia may be the best choice. Your veterinarian is indispensable in assisting with this assessment. They can provide you with both a medical and objective evaluation, while helping to mitigate your natural yet highly volatile emotional opinion. A dog owner may be in denial when faced with the ultimate decision to allow their pet to die. Choosing to prolong a pet’s life simply to avoid the inevitable grief or guilt that will be experienced when a pet dies, may not be the best reason to avoid euthanasia.

One of the implicit benefits of dog euthanasia is that pet owners are able to be present and supportive in their friend’s final moments. Many veterinary clinics that provide euthanasia services on-site also provide grief counselling or services to assist the pet owner with their grief. Vets may additionally assist with burial or cremation arrangements for your pet. Some veterinarians will even come to your home to perform the euthanasia procedure. Knowing your pet’s personality will help you decide which options are best suited to your dog’s unique needs and wishes.

Dogs spend their whole lives entrusting their owners with the all important responsibility of making critical decisions in their best interest. As with other significant choices, dog euthanasia is yet another one of those crucial decisions that senior dog owners must sometimes face. Our companions depend on us to care for them throughout their life as well as their eventual death. Allowing friends to die in peace is never an easy decision, but dog owners owe it to their lifelong companions to weigh all choices available, and rate the comfort and overall quality of life of their beloved pets as the highest requirement.

What usually happens when the decision is made to euthanise?

First of all you will usually need to sign a consent to euthanasia form at your veterinary surgery. Next you will need to decide what you will do with your pets body after the procedure has been carried out. The available options are usually as follows : You can either take your pet home for burial(if local laws allow), have your dog buried in a pet cemetery, or have your dog cremated alone or as part of a group cremation. Most dog owners opt for cremation. An individual cremation can mean that you will get your pets ashes back to do as you please however this is usually a much more expensive option and in some cases it can be double the cost of a group cremation. In a group cremation your dog will be cremated with a number of other dogs which have passed away and usually been collected from a few veterinary surgeries in your area. Obviously you will not get your dogs ashes back. The cost and your feelings regarding cremation play an important factor regarding your decision. If you would like to scatter your dogs ashes then an individual cremation would have to be a top priority.

After the consent to euthanize has been signed your vet will talk you through the rest of the procedure. Your dog is usually given a sedative first to relax them, especially if they are anxious. An intravenous catheter which is placed in the main vein in the foreleg is often used to deliver the sedative and the euthanasia solution. When the sedative has taken effect some time is allowed for you to say your final goodbyes before the euthanasia solution is administered. You must decide whether you wish to be present when the euthanasia solution is delivered. Some people like to be present and comfort their dog but some may not feel they are able to be present. One thing to bear in mind when you make this decision is that after the solution has been administered and takes effect the dog can often lose control of their bowel and or bladder. This happens at the point of death when all of the major muscles are relaxed and can be distressing for some. Your vet will usually inform you about this before the procedure takes place and assist you in making your decision.

The procedure is over very quickly and your pets passing will be very quick and painless.

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