Why Do People Put Down Dogs

Animal euthanasia, which means “good death” in Greek, is the act of killing an animal or permitting it to pass away without receiving intensive medical care. Incurable (and particularly painful) illnesses or ailments, a lack of finances to support the animal, or laboratory test procedures are some of the justifications for euthanasia. The procedures used for euthanasia are intended to be as painless as possible. Although the process is sometimes the same, euthanasia is different from animal slaughter and pest control.

This procedure is frequently referred to in euphemisms like “put down”[2] or “put to sleep” in domesticated animals.


Is killing a dog considered cruel?

Is it time to put your pet to sleep? is one of the hardest decisions that animal lovers must make. There is no right or incorrect response. Each pet owner must decide for themselves. As long as your friend is comfortable, you should keep them close, but if they are in agony, you should let them go.

Do dogs understand when they’re being put to death?

Ideally, your veterinarian would prepare an injection of anesthetic or sedative for your dog. This is typically subcutaneous, which means that it only needs to go below the skin or possibly into the muscle and need not enter a vein directly. It doesn’t have to be painful or stressful because it can only go into the leg or rump. This is a far more enjoyable method of entering peacefulness. Your dog won’t even be aware of what happened and will just start to nod off.

You’ll see that I stated “Ideally, your veterinarian will prepare an injection of anesthetic or sedative for your dog. Others don’t. Having witnessed both methods, the “The two injection method is without a doubt my favorite. Boycie frightened when the veterinarian moved him around to try to put the medicine into his vein because he hadn’t been anesthetized beforehand. He died instantly after the dose was administered. The tranquil and respectful farewell we had hoped for was not the case; it was needlessly distressing, undignified, and far too abrupt. The only time a sedative might not be required is if the pet is already falling asleep on its own.

Hold your dog tenderly as they start to nod off after the sedative has been administered. Make sure you support them without constraining them because as they become extremely drowsy, their legs may start to buckle and their head may sag down. They might resist a little or perhaps try to get off the table in response to their slight loss of control. Just make them as at ease and comfortable as you can.

They will start to feel really sleepy after a while, and you might want to hold them in your arms. While you enjoy your last moments alone, your veterinarian might exit the room. Typically, you have 10 to 15 minutes with your dog before they fall asleep deeply. This is a priceless time.

Your dog has only had sedation thus far. They may even snore sweetly while they are still awake but are sound asleep. Continue to be nice and quiet because they might still be conscious. Your pet won’t benefit from hysterics. Be bold. Their calm body and smooth breathing always make me feel at ease. I give them a final kiss and hug, thank them for their excellent company, and then I leave.

The crucial task for your pet is finally complete. Tell your vet how you feel if you feel you don’t want to be present during the actual euthanasia.

When should you euthanize your dog?

Knowing that your days with your best friend are almost finished aches. Knowing when to say goodbye can be challenging, but you want to make the best choice for your dog. Use of a “know when to put your dog down checklist” is therefore advantageous.

It’s never easy to lose a loving dog. Sometimes letting go is a sign of love. It may be less humanitarian to keep your dog when he is ill and in agony than to put him to death.

We have created a thorough when to put your dog down checklist to assist anyone in handling this difficult circumstance and to help you recognize the signals of a dog’s end of life.

It doesn’t matter if you’re searching for indications to put your dog to sleep or indications to put your dog down—there are times when it’s humane to do so when your dog’s quality of life starts to decline. When it comes to old age or other severe medical issues, there is no magic age at which you should put your dog to sleep.

However, it can be challenging to know when to put your dog to sleep, and in the end, only you have the power to make the distressing choice to put your dog to sleep. Use these 13 questions to help you assess your dog’s quality of life and decide whether it’s time to put your dog to sleep using our checklist for when to put your dog to sleep.

Do dogs who are put to death cry?

There are horrifying tales of dogs perishng on flights and pets perishing after consuming contaminated food. Then there are the horrifying tales of dog euthanasia procedures that went horribly wrong. What ties these stories together?

They all have in common the fact that they stand out from the norm and indicate a problem. Fortunately, these occurrences are relatively uncommon, but let’s try to grasp the situation, or at least come up with a plausible reason for why a dog’s passing was not as gentle as may be anticipated. The following are potential justifications.

Was Your Pet Anxious?

As previously indicated, pets can experience stress and agitation when seeing the veterinarian or getting poked with a needle. These animals may make the process complicated by moving too much, making it difficult for the veterinarian to locate the vein and administer the medication.

Although these animals may resist and make noise, this usually occurs prior to the injection. Once the shot is correctly administered, the animals nod off and die.

Since the majority of these animals have a history of being reluctant to visit the veterinarian in the first place, their behavior does not indicate that they are in pain as a result of being put to sleep; rather, they would have acted the same way whether they were receiving their annual shots or undergoing any other procedure.

Of course, we all wanted our dogs’ last moments to be calm, but certain animals are naturally apprehensive and sensitive to stress. If you have a pet like this and are anxious about the last day, keep reading because there are some ways to make the day less tense.

Was Your Pet in Pain?

Your pet may have vocalized from the anguish of his condition if he was already in pain and suffering. For example, a dog with severe arthritis may howl when the solution is injected into his leg, and a dog with a painful cancer may yell from the pain of even moving. Fortunately for these animals, euthanasia is frequently rapid, and they will soon be going to a world without agony.

Were Your Dog’s Veins Hard to Find?

Veins might be problematic in some situations. For instance, canines that are dehydrated, have low blood pressure, are very old and ill, or have restricted veins that are hard to identify or that may collapse when prodded, may have these conditions.

Repeated attempts to poke the vein only make matters worse, leading some dogs to become combative, vocalize their displeasure, and vocalize loudly.

These dogs will occasionally need to be restrained and held down against their will, which makes the final seconds less tranquil than anticipated.

Did Your Dog React to the Sedative?

The two-injection technique, which is frequently used by veterinarians, involves administering sedatives first, then injecting pentobarbital. These tranquilizers can be injected into a muscle, vein, or under the skin. The majority of veterinarians employ small needles. The goal is to make the animal comfortable or even unconscious before injecting the euthanasia medication.

The sedative effects can not start working for up to 20 minutes. After the sedative is administered, some dogs may move their heads side to side, have glazed eyes, and show other signs of drowsiness or confusion.

According to veterinarian Mary Gardner, some dogs may experience hallucinations and lose control of certain activities when taking sedatives. She asserts, “When you are “sedated,” you (and your pets) may become irrational and lose control of some bodily functions. Some canines have a bobbed head. As a veterinarian, I detest this because the owner is terrified, not because the dog is anxious or scared. I am aware that the pet is healthy medically, yet there are occasions when I am powerless to console the owners.”

Veterinarians may employ a variety of medicines prior to euthanasia. The finest anesthetics are those that render the dog unconscious, much like when you undergo surgery. One of the most popular options is a “pre-mix,” which combines the medications xylazine and ketamine. However, when given intravenously, these medications may sting. Another popular medication that promotes loss of pain and awareness and stings less than pre-mix is telazol (tiletamine and zolazepamis).

The main drawbacks of using sedatives instead of anesthetics for some veterinarians are the lack of pain alleviation and the absence of unconsciousness. Their use is therefore not as recommended as anesthesia. Acepromazine and xylazine are two examples of sedatives, and they are best used in conjunction with anesthetics to reduce the likelihood of adverse reactions. The Humane Society of the United States’ Euthanasia Reference Manual has more information about these medications.

Then there are the canines that experience unpleasant responses and adverse effects from the sedatives. As an example, certain dogs may experience seizures in response to “pre-mix.” When they experience seizures, dogs are unconscious. Telazol is preferred by certain veterinarians because the risk of seizures is lower.

Acepromazine may result in seizures, obvious balance problems, excitation, and even “paradoxical behaviors” like hostility.

These negative impacts can affect either humans or animals. Not to mention that these medications tend to sting when administered intramuscularly (in the big muscle of the back thigh or the lumbar muscle down the spine), but this is less likely if administered slowly or via an IV. Fortunately, the discomfort, adverse reactions, and side effects only last until the last injection.

Did the Solution Go Outside the Vein?

A burning feeling could develop if the euthanasia solution is unintentionally administered outside the vein. This happens because the solution, which is thick and extremely corrosive to the body’s tissues, is intended to be injected into a vein. How does it manage to circumvent the vein?

Alhdvm, a veterinarian with Just Answer, hypothesizes that a vet may be injecting the solution when the dog moves (though it’s not required), and soon after that, there’s a hole that causes the fluid to travel outside the vein rather than within. The dog might scream in agony as a result of this.

This is probably what is happening if the screaming reaction appears as soon as the injection begins. It’s more likely that something else, like a “hallucination,” is happening if the vocalization begins after the majority of the solution has already entered the vein.

Another option is that the animal just detects the remedy. Dogs may frequently feel the solution simply because it is not the same temperature as their blood supply and it may seem “strange” to them, according to veterinarian Mary Gardner. This is similar to how people “feel” the liquid going into their veins while receiving IV drugs or fluids.

As a result, because they don’t understand what is happening to them, animals may find this to be rather terrifying; nevertheless, humans can make sense of what is occurring and feel reassured.

Notably, none of these medications create a “awake kind of paralysis,” according to Petmd.

Did Your Dog React to Pentobarbital?

Dogs may react to the euthanasia solution slightly differently, as they might to any medication. Keep in mind that anesthetic overdose is the euthanasia solution.

There are brief stimulation episodes that are marked by loss of voluntary motion, as detailed in the Euthanasia Reference Manual’s descriptions of the various stages of anesthesia. The stages are not as noticeable as in the case of anesthesia because the euthanasia solution is an overdose and takes effect rapidly, but they may occasionally appear, such as in older, sicker dogs with poor circulation.

Such dogs may experience a more pronounced process and a longer time for the injection to take action. The owner is more upset by the sight than the dog, which is likely unconscious and not even conscious of its own actions. Even people can behave strangely while under anesthesia, albeit they won’t remember it because they were unconscious at the time.

Did Your Dog Have Normal Reflexes?

Finally, it’s typical for some responses to occur when death happens. Most vets will advise against these. The dog might vocalize, quiver, gasp for air, or take one last deep breath. Some animals may urinate and poop.

Unconscious breathing may last longer in older and sicker animals. According to Dr. Cherie Buisson, these are normal reflexes that also occur during the natural death of dying canines. Reflexes do not indicate pain. These appear to be signs of pain and “fighting for its life” to inexperienced eyes, yet they are actually deliberate, unconscious reactions.

The purpose of these responses is explained in her own endearing ways by veterinarian Cherie Buisson. She explains that twitches are the canines’ natural method of expending energy, heavy breathing is “where they reach the Rainbow Bridge racing,” and lip twitches represent the puppies’ smiles as they cross the bridge. Her customers, according to her, “enjoy hearing that their dog is at the rainbow bridge, smiling.”

Will I feel bad about killing my dog?

I am aware that this saying is overused. This adage is frequently used. But the reality is that it functions. Having those optimistic thoughts includes doing this.

We can overcome our guilt by reflecting on the wonderful experiences we shared with our cherished pets.

When Pancho died, I first couldn’t stop thinking about the last few days of his life. On the agony he felt, the fatal seizure he had, the nausea and confusion he began to experience as the infection spread throughout his brain.

My regret over not being able to recognize the gravity of the situation in time, failing to give him more cuddles, or missing the seizure consumed me.

As soon as my friends and relatives realized how depressed I was, I began to receive lovely images of Pancho living life to the fullest, running around, and getting into mischief with other dogs.

With time, I began to feel ready to see images of Pancho in order to recall the many wonderful times we had by the river, playing ball, and playing hide-and-seek (he used to adore it when we hid and would start calling for us to be found). His tails began to wag quite quickly, but the best part was when he came across us. We have a lot of leaks. Oh god, how I cherished that dog and how much he supported my family!

Don’t get me wrong, I used to get upset every time I saw the images, but as I did it more, my mind began to concentrate more on the wonderful times we shared with him and less on the latter weeks of his life.

So, take some time to consider the amusing encounters you might have with your friend as well as the enjoyable activities you would enjoy doing with your pet.

You could feel less guilty if you were able to take some time to think back on the years you spent with them and all the happiness and excitement you brought into their lives.

Recalling your lovely life and the amazing moments you shared with your beloved friend will aid in your recovery.

Give Your Brain a Distraction

Your daily schedule will unavoidably change. This is the hardest time for pet owners to deal with the loss of their animals.

In the 1980s, Quackenbush and Glickman conducted a poll of 138 pet owners who had recently lost a pet. 93% of pet owners questioned said that their daily routines had been disrupted in some way, with 70% of respondents saying that their social lives had decreased (source: Voice of Bereavement).

This sudden shift will plunge you into a pit of hopelessness. Try to give your brain something else to think about to assist you deal with that absence. This could be:

  • Volunteer in a refuge for animals,
  • begin a new interest, or
  • Start working out. When I need to clear my head, I find that running is useful.

Your Guilt Is A Sign of How Much You Cared

Recognize that it’s normal to feel bad about euthanizing your pet and that it is one of the telltale symptoms of how much you really cared.

Be nice to yourself and keep in mind that you took the necessary steps to prevent your pet’s suffering.

Forgive Yourself

You can be feeling bad because you couldn’t afford everything or because you feel like you could have done more.

The day Pancho died, I can tell you that I started to feel awful when I was out for a stroll.

I kept asking myself, “How come I didn’t press the vets for additional tests?,” in my brain. Why did I not notice how ill he was becoming? I ought to have taken him to a different vet! The ideas kept coming to mind. I thought I had let him down.

Therefore, acknowledge that you gave your pet the finest care possible and forgive yourself for whatever guilt you may have felt because the scenario did not turn out precisely as you had hoped.

Talk About Your Feelings

However, if these emotions overpower you and your thoughts drift to fear or even suicide, seek help immediately. You need to talk to someone since your guilt is getting the better of you.

Speak to your spouse, a friend, or the personnel at your local veterinary clinic. Many of them might have had the same guilt problems after having to put down a pet.

There are pet loss hotlines that you can call if you don’t have someone to talk to, if you want a professional to help you, if it’s late at night and nobody is available to talk. Many of these are available 24/7 and will talk to you whenever you want.

You can get in touch with these two well-known pet support helplines if you live in the USA:

  • the ASPCA at (877) GRIEF-10
  • (855) 955-5683 Lap of Love

Memorialise Your Pet

Memorializing your pet is a terrific way to ease the guilt of having to put them to sleep.

  • In your garden, you might designate a memorial area. someplace where you may think back and cherish the wonderful days. I made this one, and I really like it. I enjoy enjoying a cup of tea in my memorial garden on a sunny morning.

Check out my article on the “Best Garden Plants For Pet Memorial” if you decide to go with this option. This is a guidance on where to put a monument depending on the light, shade, soil, temperature, etc. It also gives you suggestions for some lovely plants you can use!

  • You might want to have a brief memorial service. This is especially advantageous for households with small children. Try to involve the child as much as you can. In this manner, they can bid their best friend farewell.
  • Some people elect to cremate their dogs and scatter the ashes in a sacred area. Just be cautious about where you scatter the ashes because they can kill plants. Why not think about storing the ashes in a biodegradable urn and allowing them to slowly and delicately meld with mother earth? No plants are harmed in this manner.
  • Some folks could decide to establish a unique memorial space in the house and preserve the cremated ashes in an urn at home.

These are just a few suggestions for memorializing your pet. Check out this article for more suggestions.

Make sure that whatever you decide to do, you are following your instincts. If you need to cry while creating your memorial garden, feel free to do so. It’s acceptable if you need to chuckle at the memorial service. Don’t hold back your emotions. All of your emotions are valid as you grieve!