Having a dog for a best friend is a wonderful gift very few will get to experience. But sometimes, as dogs near the end of their short time with us, we need to make drastic decisions. Here at The Wise Pup, we want you to know you don’t have to make these veterinary choices alone. This guide will try and answer the most difficult questions you will face before saying goodbye due to word no one wants to hear murmured, euthanasia.
When is it Time?
A lot of things can factor into figuring out if your dog needs euthanasia. It is easy to feel lost. You may want to talk to your family and vet about alternative treatments that might help your beloved pet. A good veterinarian has done this before and can offer a lot of resources.
You have to look at your pet’s quality of life. How interested are they in things they used to love? Do they still eat and drink correctly? If there are problems with any of these, your pet may be sick and in pain. You have to figure out the best way to alleviate the situation.
Euthanasia may be the right solution to stop your pet’s suffering. It is a painless death, and it can eliminate all your dog’s pain. However, it is a final act, so use all the medical resources available to make the call in the most humane way possible.
Quality of Life
Is your dog still aware of its surroundings? Do they seem present with children or other family members? Are they enjoying their outdoor time, getting pets, and hanging out? Are they suffering from unbearable pain?
A dog can’t tell you their quality of life is low, but as a pet owner, you know when they’re in pain, and you have to assess when they are no longer enjoying life. Ask your family what they think also. Some vets offer calculators to help make the decision more medical.
Loss of Interest
If your dog suddenly doesn’t want to do any of the things it used to love, you may need to be concerned. Sometimes this manifests as sleep with the animal refusing to get up.
Watch how your pet interacts with things they enjoy. If animals aren’t even trying to interact with family or go outside, it directly impacts their quality of life and they may need help.
Lack of Appetite
A pet not eating and drinking is a bad sign. If you cannot get your dog to eat, the pet may be signaling it is sick.
Sometimes medication, medical procedures, or changes in diet can fix these problems. When those don’t work, it may be time to consider euthanasia.
How Much Does it Cost to Put a Dog Down?
Once you have decided that euthanasia is the only option for your pet, you have to start thinking about the cost of the veterinary process. There’s a considerable price range depending on the pet’s size and where the process takes place.
If you can bring your pet to the veterinarian, or the hospital, it will be the most affordable option for the act of euthanasia. You take your pet to the vet like a routine appointment, and they perform the Euthanasia process. Prices can range from $35 to $150.
Home euthanasia can be more comfortable for you and your pet. The veterinarian comes to your house, performs the veterinary procedure. Then they take the pet’s remains if needed after it is over. House euthanasia will run you $100-$300.
Options That Add Cost
The pet’s death can get more expensive depending on how you decide to handle your pet’s body after euthanasia. You can take it with you to bury your pet, which is the least expensive option. You can also get them cremated.
The vet may include a group cremation in the fees. It can also be $25 to $100 more. If you decide to get the body cremated privately to keep the ashes, you will have to pay more. It can be between $100 and $300.
Some veterinarians will also offer other end-of-life options. They tend to be personal options and not medical. Ask ahead of time about what they offer so you don’t have to make a decision while you are grieving after euthanasia.
What to Do if I Can’t Afford it
If you have financial problems, but your animal has no quality of life, you can contact many organizations that may help you get your pet help. Almost every pet charity will be willing to talk to you to figure out a plan.
The Anti-Cruelty Society does a lot of work to make sure people treat animals well. They offer low-cost euthanasia and will provide advice if the price is still too high.
What Happens During Euthanasia for Dogs
When you decide on euthanasia, you may be afraid of what comes next. Knowing what to expect can help you feel better about the whole experience. Below you will learn about the basics of the euthanasia process, but you should talk to your veterinarian before the event.
Individual veterinary clinics may have unique procedures that you will want to know about beforehand. Veterinarians understand how hard this can be, and they wish to help you make the best out of a challenging situation.
For someone who has lived through this, brace yourselves as this is where you will feel your heart being ripped out of your chest.
For the pet, euthanasia won’t seem much different to them than a normal veterinary visit. Dogs will react like they usually do. If your pet is overly anxious, the veterinarian may give them a sedative. The vet may also shave some of your dog’s fur before the injection.
Once the euthanasia starts, the veterinarian injects your dog with an overdose of anesthetic. The pet may experience pain from the injection, but they should only feel a small poke. Depending on the pet, they may whimper and react to that.
Death happens within seconds of the injection, and it is painless. In their final moments, the pet’s blood will carry the drug through the body, and the heart will eventually stop beating. Pets go to sleep at this point and don’t wake up.
After they have passed, they may evacuate their bowels and bladder. The pet’s remains may also spasm, but that is not a sign of life. Vets will take care of the body at this point in the way you decided.
In some ways, the procedure is much harder on pet owners. You know what is happening and what to expect. Before euthanasia starts, you will have to fill out some paperwork with the vet and pay for the service.
Then you can choose to be present with your pet or not. The choice is up to you. You will have time to say goodbye. If your pet is already under at the hospital, you and the veterinarian will not wish to wake them. Your pet is euthanized, goes to sleep, and death occurs.
What Happens After?
After the euthanasia, the veterinarian usually gives you time with your pet until you are ready to go. Most veterinarians suggest bringing friends or family with you to help you emotionally during the euthanasia process. They may even have to drive you home, depending on how you handle pet loss.
You’re going to feel sad. Remember that the steps you took were in the best interest of the pet. It will take time to process your emotions and work through the pain.
The Dog’s Remains
You decide what happens to the pet’s body. Usually, you want to do this before the euthanasia procedure. There are cremation options for both groups and individuals. If you get an individual cremation, you can get your pet’s ashes.
If you want to bury them, there are sometimes local pet cemeteries that can help. You can ask your veterinarian about this or find it online.
You can have a service ready for your dog. Sometimes you can schedule these for the day of the event, and other times you want to wait for the burial or the cremation to receive the ashes.
These are events where you can remember your pet and show your love for an awesome dog. Services are personal celebrations of life that help you deal with the death of your pet.
You can set up the service through a professional. Some veterinarians offer small services before euthanasia. You can also hold one on your own for the pet’s family and friends for added comfort and support.
Dealing with Grief
Owners deal with pet loss differently. It can be tough to say goodbye. You may be alright after your dog’s euthanasia, and that is great. On the other hand, you could be a complete mess. Both are perfectly reasonable responses.
Many areas have pet loss groups that support each other. They help people cope with the loss of a pet. These are non-judgmental and often free places you go to work through any issues you developed after your animal passed away.
When to Think About Other Dogs
You love your dog, and nothing will ever replace their unique spot in your life. As an animal lover, you may start thinking about getting a pet companion to share your adventures with.
Unfortunately, there is no single easy answer for when you should get your next animal. Some people have multiple pet dogs or cats. Other people may require some time alone without pets to grieve fully.
You have to decide for yourself when you would like to get your next pet. There are no right or wrong answers here, just personal knowledge.
Pet loss is always hard. Putting your dog down due to poor quality of life can make it harder. The process is complicated for you and your family. You love your pet and want to do what’s right for it. You would like to free them of their pain, but it could hurt you.
Remember that asking for advice from friends, family, and the veterinarian may help you. Knowing they support the decision means a lot. Having a plan in place and learning all the details will also make the process more comfortable while it is happening. You will make the right choice, and your pet will love you for it.
For more information on dog care and daily tips, be sure to check out our other articles as well.