How are Dogs Euthanized?

It is the hardest and most dreaded decision for all pet owners, yet it is the ultimate act of love towards life long companions. It is natural, therefore, for owners of sick pets to wonder how dogs are euthanized and what happens during that final one way trip to the vet's office.



Dogs are euthanized with an overdose injection of Pentobarbital, a liquid barbiturate commonly used to induce unconsciosness during surgery. The dog will basically drift into a deep sleep, that will ultimately halt the breathing and cause cardiac arrest, thus the terminology ''to put to sleep."


Because the euthanasia solution depresses the central nervous system, the only pain the dog will most likely feel is the needle prick when the solution is injected.

Time Frame

After the injection is given, the dog will drift into a deep sleep within ten seconds, in the same way a human becomes unconscious before surgery.


In some cases, dogs may exhibit automatic nerve reflexes after they pass on. These consist of involuntary muscle twitches or loss of bladder/bowel control. The eyes in most cases stay open. Owners opting to stay during the procedure should be aware of these involuntary spasms.


Owners of euthanized pets are given usually three options for the disposal of their dog's body: burial, private cremation and communal cremation. Consent forms are usually given prior to the procedure.