How to Know When to Put Your Dog Down

By Naomi Millburn

If your dog seems to be suffering more than he is loving life, the time has probably come to make arrangements to put him to sleep. Making the decision to put a pet down can be one of the hardest and most painful things you ever do. Watch for the signs to identify when to do the right thing.

Reliable Veterinary Advice

If you're concerned that it might be time to put your pet down, talk to your veterinarian about the situation. Your vet will be able to analyze your dog's specific condition and determine whether euthanasia is the most humane option. If your pet's condition has no chance of improving, and he's in constant pain and discomfort, your vet will likely suggest euthanasia.

Apart from talking with your vet, you might want to seek advice from a friend or family member you trust fully. If your friend isn't as emotionally invested in the situation as you are, she might be able to provide you with a clear viewpoint of the stressful circumstances. A trusted friend will aid you in making a sound decision that has your pooch's best interest in mind.

Quality of Life

Quality of life is always a crucial consideration in determining whether the time has come to euthanize an animal. If it seems like your dog has lost his zeal for life, it might be time. If your pet no longer seems to have enthusiasm for all of the things that used to thrill him, his suffering may be severe enough to make him miserable.

Consider whether your pet still anticipates playtime, mealtime, treats, outdoor walks, cozy petting sessions, and looking out the window at all the animals in your neighborhood. If it doesn't appear like he does, he's likely ready for the relief of passing.

Other signs that it might be appropriate to put your pet down include refusal to eat, frequent throwing up, frequent diarrhea, incontinence, considerable loss of weight, dehydration, chronic coughing, chronic breathing difficulties, and trouble walking or standing. All of these signs potentially signify that a dog is suffering.

Euthanasia Process

Understanding the basics of euthanasia in pets might lessen your nerves a little. Before the veterinarian starts the process, she'll likely explain it. Vets typically euthanize pets by administering a heavy sedative, then injecting sodium pentobarbital in excessive amounts. Sodium pentobarbital is an anesthetic medication. The overdose makes dogs rapidly lose consciousness and makes the heart cease beating.

Vets insert the appropriate sodium pentobarbital dosage into syringes. They inject the drug into a vein, generally in the front limbs. After the injection, the dog will go limp in a matter of seconds. They may experience some movement for a minute or more.

Grief Counseling

Recovering from the loss of a beloved pet can be harrowing and emotionally taxing. Grief counseling might be extremely beneficial. Look for a pet bereavement group in your area and on the Internet. Hotlines are available for grieving pet owners. Seek dependable recommendations for support groups and hotlines from your vet. You can also get reliable tips from an animal shelter in your area.