Euthanasia, when should the dog be euthanized?

Euthanasia is legal in dogs

Do I sacrifice my dog? This is a question that unfortunately many people end up asking themselves sooner or later and it is that see the suffering of the animal it is very painful and many vets end up advising the euthanasia.

If you're thinking about euthanize your dogDon't blame yourself, read in detail our article on how to handle the death of a pet, but beware, some vets advise euthanasia to totally manageable things, such as hind limb paralysis and not because a dog became paraplegic, it does not have the option of living a normal life in a wheelchair, many dogs live like this, so euthanasia is for extreme cases.

If euthanasia is forbidden for humans, why then are animals allowed? ¿It is fair to end the life of a being?

This is one very controversial issue and many have contradictory opinions, but it is only possible to know what we would do if we were face to face with making that decision, so it is not up to us to judge someone's decision. The decision for the euthanasia (euthanize the dog) should not be due to medical expenses or lack of time to care for the animal, this decision should be made together with the veterinarian, who will follow medical criteria, normally for irreversible cases where the recovery of the animal is impossible.

The Federal Council of Veterinary Medicine (CFMV) produced a guide to good practices for the euthanasia of animals, which takes into account the fact that animals are capable of feel, interpret, and respond to painful stimuli and suffering.

This guide is for guide veterinarians and owners of animals in making the decision about euthanasia and the methods used, and according to the guide, euthanasia will be indicated when:

  • Animal welfare is irreversibly compromised, without the possibility of control by painkillers or sedatives
  • The condition of the animal is a threat to public health (if the dog has the rage, for example)
  • When the sick animal endanger other animals or the environment
  • When the animal is the object of teaching or research
  • When they are represented costs incompatible with productive activity, for example, animals intended for human consumption, for example or with the owner's financial resources (That is where the case of protective entities or veterinary hospitals comes in).

Once euthanasia has been decided, the veterinarian will use methods that minimize the anxiety, fear and pain of the animal. The method should also generate immediate loss of consciousness, followed by death. You also need to be safe enough to ensure that the animal does not survive the procedure, which would cause even more pain and suffering.

The difference between euthanasia and sacrifice

Decide calmly if your sick dog should be euthanized

Although you consider that euthanasia and sacrifice are the same, the truth is that they are not. Both of them involve the loss of the dog's life, But there is an error when it comes to thinking that sacrifice and euthanasia are synonyms that imply the death of a dog or any other animal in an induced manner.

To make the difference clear to you, a sacrifice takes place when an animal (a dog, cat ...) is induced to death without presenting any type of disease or reason why it should lose its life. That is, we are talking about a healthy animal that has no problem living.

On the other hand, euthanasia, as you have seen before, is about a "dignified" death that is given to dogs, or any other animal, so that it stops suffering uselessly because its condition is not going to be cured.

Of course, sacrifice is often referred to when it has been by euthanasia, but the differences are really clear.

In fact, and although it sounds very harsh, 100.000 dogs and cats are slaughtered in Spain. And it really is a sacrifice because it is a decision that the human being makes to get rid of the animal that does not have to die since they will be healthy. The problem is the overcrowding in the kennels due to the abandonment of the animals which means that, when they exceed a capacity, they have to get rid of animals that have been around for longer and that will not have a second chance to have a better life.

Methods used to euthanize cats and dogs

The methods considered acceptable by the Federal Council of Veterinary Medicine can be chemical or physical, according to the characteristics of each species and the method most widely used and recommended by veterinarians for dogs and cats is the injection of drugs that produce lack of knowledge and death swift and sure.

But you must remember that this important decision it just depends on ti and nobody can judge you for that, since some people believe that it is best to end the suffering of the animal, there are even people who believe that life has to take its course and the animal must die naturally.

There are dogs that reach a fairly advanced age and even if we see it well and it does not present symptoms of disease, we must make sure 100% that the animal is not suffering, since we can selfishly think that it can endure a few more months like this, while our dog continues to suffer.

How is euthanasia in dogs

When you have to make the final decision to say goodbye to your pet, euthanasia can be a way to relieve your pet in that process so that it does not suffer more. But it is still a very sad and difficult situation to cope with.

However, sometimes knowing the process they are going through can ease your grief a bit.

To begin with, many veterinarians, with the aim that the animal does not suffer so much, either because it feels pain, because it is scared or nervous ... They give you a very mild sedative to keep you relaxed. During that time, you can be with him saying goodbye and after a few minutes he will inject the euthanasia. The one that is often used in pentobarbitar, a drug that is used to treat seizures but, if administered in large doses, causes you to lose consciousness and eventually have a cardiovascular and respiratory arrest. In other words, you have a failure in your heart and lungs leaving these to work.

As the dog is unconscious, it does not realize what is happening, and it does not suffer either. For them it is as if they fell asleep and no longer woke up. Of course, normally when he dies his eyes are usually open and he can even urinate or defecate; It is normal because there is complete muscle relaxation that prevents the animal from controlling its body.

What to do before and during euthanasia

We know that going through this moment is not pleasant or easy. That there will be people who are not able to be in the same room as the animal because the pain of losing it exceeds them. However, it is something very necessary and very important for your dog. And we are going to explain why.

Have a great day with your dog before euthanizing him

Before euthanasia

When you decide to end your dog's suffering, we recommend that you spend time with him. Try to spend as much time as you can to be by his side so that he feels calm and happy.

If he can, play with him, or just sit next to him and pet him without thinking about how much time you are wasting. You'll appreciate it later when I'm gone.

During euthanasia

The animal will arrive at the clinic and will be scared. You will be nervous, restless and even scared to death in case you are going to be in pain or not knowing what they are going to do to you. Also, for him the most important thing is you, and it should be the last thing he saw before he died. Therefore, we recommend that you do not leave him alone, or with the vet. He will be more comfortable and happy if he has you by his side.

Don't mind crying or being sick at the moment in front of "strange" people. For them that situation is known and they will even help you to mourn. Keep in mind that there are many animals that have to euthanize themselves because their owners are unable to draw strength. And yet the animals themselves look for them in their last minutes. Watching a loved one die is a very hard thing and not everyone is prepared to carry it out. But it is harder for your dog to die alone without the people he has lived with and to whom he has given so much.

Where is it better to euthanize?

Due to this situation, many vets offer to come home to euthanize so that the animal feels more comfortable and that its last minutes are in a place that it knows and loves.

You don't really need to go to the vet clinic, although not all professionals provide this facility.

How much does it cost to euthanize a dog

The price of euthanasia varies depending on the animal

When you have to make the decision to euthanize your dog, the cost is perhaps what you least see at that time because your feelings, and the fact of saying goodbye to a "friend" who has accompanied you for several years of your life is more important.

However, despite the situation, it is good that you know the expense that it can entail so that you are prepared to assume it and do not stop you from relieving your best friend if he is suffering.

The euthanasia process can cost you between 100 and 200 euros. To this you must add if you want the veterinarian to take charge of the body of the animal to be cremated, or you want to receive an urn with its ashes, which can mean an increase of between 100 and 500 euros more.

As mentioned before, euthanasia can be carried out in the home of the animal, but in some cases veterinarians charge extra for travel.

Whatever your decision, always keep in mind that you did the best you could, especially when giving it a dignified and happy life to your dog.


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  1.   Barbara said

    Hello, I have a dog of the Argentine Dogo breed, she is going to have her birthday in February, it is not the first time that I have bitten my children and we have been teaching her but sometimes she gets aggressive when you tell her to leave the kitchen or send her to her spoon growls at you and looks at you badly and sometimes she becomes aggressive ara has returned to bite my son and sometimes I cannot control her, my husband no longer wants her at home because he also bit him and forgave her, and I am doing chemo And I don't know what to do with her if I sacrifice her because she won't hurt anyone again because I don't think anyone would want to adopt her so big.