A dog’s quality of life might be greatly diminished by a fatal illness, serious injuries, or even “simply old age. For instance, the animal may be unable to walk, experience excruciating agony or suffering, refuse or be unable to eat or drink, engage in formerly greatly appreciated activities, or maintain regular bowel habits with ease and in the proper locations.
Most dog owners find it intolerable to witness their cherished pets suffering in this way and would much rather give them a calm, dignified, and pain-free death. Therefore, ending a dog’s agony and suffering is the primary motivation for euthanizing dogs.
On sometimes, a dog will exhibit unpredictable, violent, or aggressive behavior that puts other people’s safety and their own at risk (people, other animals, etc.). It could be necessary to put a dog to sleep if such aggression or violence cannot be changed with specialized behavior training or if it results in an attack or bite.
So, Why Do People Put Dogs to Sleep?
In a nutshell, dogs are typically put to sleep to put an end to their misery, stop them from hurting people, or, in the case of animal control/rescue agencies/shelters, because they cannot be adopted out in time and frequently have severe behavioral problems.
Is it cruel to euthanize your dog?
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.
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.
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!
Understand Your Pet’s Disease or Condition
This one I completed. How little I thought I had done for Pancho was one of the things I battled with the most when he passed away. I had to learn everything I could about meningitis as a result.
This was a huge help to me since it made me realize how little I could have done to aid him.
Despite being rare, meningitis is an illness that progresses quite quickly. By the time we realize this is the issue, the bacteria has frequently taken control of the brain to the point where there is little anyone can do.
Knowing what led to the final choice lessened my agony about what might have been done to alter the result.
The truth is that, regardless of what you did, the conclusion was likely going to be the same if your pet had to be put to sleep due to an illness, an injury, or old age.
Knowing this could make it easier for you to accept what has transpired. It benefited me!
Consult your veterinarian and learn as much as you can about the illness your pet suffered. Your pet’s illness and the prognosis that your cherished furry buddy may have been experiencing can be readily explained by your veterinarian.
Speaking with those who have experienced what you are may help you understand what to anticipate with your pet’s condition.
Realize That Your Decision Was The Best For Your Pet
Because they don’t believe they made the best choice, some people could feel guilty.
In retrospect, we’ll always question the things we did and the actions we took.
The truth is that no vet will euthanize a pet if there are better options available or will let a pet suffer in excruciating pain for a prolonged period of time without first consulting you.
So, if you and your veterinarian decided it was best to put your beloved pet to sleep, it was probably the right decision. It’s the perfect time—not too early, not too late.
Realize That You Have Given Your Pet the Best Life You Possibly Could
All that your devoted pet ever desired was your love, company, consideration, food, shelter, play, and pats.
You can overcome your guilt by realizing that you have done everything you can to ensure your pet’s happiness, health, and comfort.
It’s likely that you organized your life around them so that they would be taken care of.
I am sure I did. There were occasions when I had to postpone family vacations because I couldn’t find the appropriate caregiver for Pancho. In order to prevent Pancho from spending too much time alone, there were times when I would return home for lunch.
Take solace in the knowledge that you did everything in your power to ensure that your furry buddy had the greatest life you were able to provide for them, no matter how insane things you did to make them feel loved and comfortable.
Seek Out Other People Who Have Also Had To Euthanize a Dog
It made me feel less alone and helped me put things into perspective to talk to folks who had experienced the same thing as me but were further down the grief road.
You probably know someone who had to put down a pet, whether it was a dog, cat, rabbit, guinea pig, or any other type of animal.
They could support you while you struggle with your guilt. They can hear what you have to say and offer you suggestions for actions they took to assist them deal with any guilt.
Give Your Loved To Another Animal On Your Pet’s Memory
Okay, this might not be appropriate for everyone. Please tread carefully. Think about your options carefully.
After we lost Pancho, I was frequently advised to buy another dog. But I’m glad we never did.
I wasn’t ready to let another dog into Pancho’s house at the moment. right into Pancho’s domain. I felt even worse about it when my friends came to see me with their dogs. I believed that I was betraying Pancho.
However, that doesn’t mean that all the love and sorrow I was experiencing couldn’t help other creatures who needed some attention.
As a result, I work as a volunteer at an animal shelter rather than rushing to buy another puppy before I was ready. I could show love to another animal in this way without feeling bad about keeping them in Pancho’s house.
Giving love to an animal in need made me feel wonderful and actually helped me heal.
Focus on Your Intent.
Keep in mind how much you loved your pet and how nothing you did ever had the intention of hurting them.
Most likely, your pet was in excruciating agony and suffering when you decided to put them to sleep, leaving you with no choice but to euthanize them.
Quality of Life Over Quantity.
You want your dog to enjoy life, have fun, and live it to the fullest. Sitting in a cage where they can never get wounded or ill would never be enjoyable for your cat.
A cat’s quality of life is much improved when it may explore the neighborhood and interact with neighbors.
A life where a rabbit may jump around and explore the indoors and outdoors is one with an excellent quality of life. You comprehend my rift!
But it should not be overlooked that the kind of living you provided for your pet made them happy, satisfied, and offered them a life full of love and adventure.
Understand That We Do Not Know Why
Not all ailments can be diagnosed; occasionally, we lack the resources to investigate pricey treatments; or it could be that the tests are so expensive that we cannot pay them, which results in an inaccurate diagnosis.
The reality is that frequently, no matter how much money we have spent trying to help them, the end would have been the same no matter what has transpired that caused your pets’ death.
However, it is not worthwhile for you to focus all of your attention right now on something you cannot change.
Discovering the reason behind anything or repeatedly asking yourself “why” won’t help you heal or come to grips with what happened.
Take Time To Grief:
Although euthanizing your beloved pet is a difficult choice, you and your veterinarian came to the conclusion that it was necessary since, most likely, their quality of life had declined.
You’ll be able to view things more clearly and understand that you had no choice if you take the time to acknowledge your loss, embrace your new reality, and take care of yourself.
Some strategies for coping with grief include:
- Consult with loved ones who are sympathetic to your concerns and who understand them. You will be able to cope with your grief if you talk about what you’re going through.
- Spend some time during the day relaxing with some music and a cup of herbal tea. This is the ideal time to express what you have been trying to hold back all day: cry, laugh, or shout. No action is right or wrong in this situation. Simply acknowledge your grief by taking some time. Avoid consuming coffee, alcohol, and other drugs. These won’t assist you in overcoming the overwhelming sensation you are currently experiencing. They might worsen how you feel.
Grieving has no set timeframe. Each person has a unique experience with this. Grief might continue for a few weeks, a few months, or even a few years for some people. But taking each day and each step as it comes can aid in your recovery.
My sorrow over losing Pancho hasn’t subsided, and I don’t think it ever will.
He was, after all, my baby. But things have altered. I no longer experience stress. I no longer feel the need to break down in tears every time I hear his name or see a picture of him.
So keep in mind that as time passes, so will your pain. One day you’ll be able to appreciate life once more. For the time being, relax!