On Euthanasia: What to Expect

Previously in this series on euthanasia, we’ve discussed making the decision and scheduling an appointment to euthanize your dog. Today I’d like to discuss the procedure itself. Knowing what to expect may make it easier for you to prepare yourself. I understand that this topic is very sensitive and may be upsetting to some people, but strongly feel that knowledge is power. It can be very comforting to have a solid understanding of what will happen and what your dog will feel during his or her final moments.

Photo by Kelvin Andow

Photo by Kelvin Andow

When your vet euthanizes your dog, they will inject an overdose of a powerful sedative directly into your dog’s vein. This drug will cause the nerves in your dog’s body to stop sending signals (including pain signals) and will slow your dog’s breathing and heart until they eventually stop. Many dogs take a final, deep breath as they pass away. Sometimes dogs will urinate or defecate when they are euthanized due to the total relaxation that happens. If this happens to your dog, it will do so when your dog is no longer aware of what is happening. Euthanasia does not hurt. Afterwards, your dog’s eyes may be open (although the vet can close them if you wish) and his tongue might hang out of his mouth. If your dog’s body is moved, he may appear to burp or sigh as air escapes the lungs.

In many cases, your veterinarian may choose to sedate your dog prior to euthanasia. You can ask your vet to do this if you think it will make the process easier for you or your dog. Sedatives can be given orally by mixing them with your dog’s favorite foods or can be administered via injection into your dog’s leg or back muscles. The sedatives given via injection are more powerful than oral sedatives and will provide more complete relaxation.

In Dobby’s case, we sought advice from his veterinary behaviorist on the best drugs to make the process as easy as possible. I wish that I could tell you that he went peacefully, but to be honest his euthanasia was very difficult. Most dogs who are old or sick pass on quite quietly, but in cases like Dobby where there is a behavioral component to the euthanasia, it is not uncommon for them to overcome all of the sedatives in their system.

Dobby was given a double dose of his anxiety medication, trazodone, the night before his appointment. Three hours before his appointment, he was given another very large dose of this drug – four times the amount he would usually take. In most cases, this would have made him too sleepy to walk, but Dobby was still walking around and carrying his ball when the vet arrived, even though he was quite sleepy. He growled and barked at the vet and was on high alert.

When he was given another sedative via injection into his leg (because he was responding too aggressively for the vet to have a clear shot at his vein), Dobby started to show a lot of seizure activity in the form of head swinging. He also became very sensitive to noises and startled every time I sniffled (not an uncommon side effect of his seizures). At that point he was no longer aware of what was going on around him, so the vet gently injected the euthanasia solution into his vein. I held him close and whispered how much I loved him, telling him he was a good dog and that he didn’t ever have to be scared again, until I felt his body relax. The vet listened to his heart with a stethoscope and confirmed that he was gone.

If you’re preparing to euthanize your dog, remember that you have options. Dobby’s response to the process was extreme, and most dogs do not respond that way. You can choose whether you’d like to be present during the actual euthanasia or not. I personally wanted to be there for Dobby because I knew that my presence would help him feel less afraid. However, if you do not feel like you can be there for your dog that is also okay. Consider talking to your vet about sedation and staying with your pet until he or she is sedated, then leaving the area during the euthanasia itself. You could also ask a friend or family member that your dog knows and likes to take your dog to their final appointment or to stay with your dog while you leave the room.

Again, this is a very personal topic, and everyone deals with death differently. Together, you and your vet can help to make your dog’s final moments as peaceful as possible. Remember that euthanasia does not hurt. In assisting with many euthanasias over my career, I’ve noticed that after a dog is gone there is often a beautiful expression of peace that settles over their face. The pain or stress they’ve been experiencing no longer hangs over them, and it’s those of us who are left behind who have to deal with grief.

If you’ve made this difficult decision, how did your dog’s final moments go? Did you or your vet choose to sedate your dog ahead of time? Please feel free to share your experiences below. I really appreciate the kind and supportive community of dog lovers that follow this blog. There’s a lot of healing going on in the comments after each of these posts, and it’s a wonderful salute to the dogs who’ve brought us here that so many of you have felt willing to share.

212 responses to “On Euthanasia: What to Expect

  1. Michelle , so sorry you for your loss. Even well over a year on from having Charlie put to sleep I still occasionally ask myself those questions, was it to soon , did I wait to long, could I have made it any better, how did she feel at the end ? Those questions from the moment she was put to sleep came every minute of every day for ages and ages. From speaking to other people and looking on various websites I really believe this is the course of grief. It happens with any grief whether it is a furry friend or not. To be truthful I have had this with all of my dogs that I have said goodbye to. One of my dogs made a noise after she was sedated, her breathing sounded different and noisy, but I don’t believe for a minute she was in pain or suffering. The sedation was given to sedate and relax her and no matter that I found it alarming with the breathing changing, it did just that. The final injection came quickly. I will, in the not to distant future, have to make that decision again and I will definitely have the sedation again. I will then start the questions , could I have done anything differently , why didn’t I do this , was it to soon , was it to late and even though I know this is grief , I will do it all the same. Everything is so raw for you at the moment, but believe me this will pass . I couldn’t even have out a photo of Charlie for ages. Then a couple of months ago I decided to put some on the fridge of all my dogs when they were younger and full of fun, I haven’t been able to put any out of Charlie looking into the camera just yet, but have some nice ones out where she and her brother were playing and if those questions start creeping into my mind I go and have a good look at them and it helps me. You did your very best and made a difficult decision knowing it would break your heart but did it anyway, that says an awful lot about the lovely family he must have had.

  2. I had to put my dog to sleep today and it didn’t seem very peaceful. It appeared that the sedation shot caused very labored and difficult breathing. I’m so worried that she suffered.

    • Sorry for your loss Eva. One of my dogs had laboured breathing after sedation which concerned me at the time but the sedation did what it was meant to do and sedated her before the final injection. I have been on several websites and read people’s accounts and I do not believe she was aware of anything or suffered, I have chosen sedation each time I have had to make that difficult decision and unfortunately I will have to make that decision again in the not to distant future and Jack will be sedated. When we have to make such a dreadful but necessary decision we are always left with questions about how we could of done things differently, was it the right time, to late, to soon and many others. These thoughts whizz around your head. I think this is all part of the grieving process. We never question things when the vet is there because we are going through such a traumatic experience but there is no reason why you can’t speak to the vet about your concerns I’m sure they would be happy to answer your questions and I don’t think you will be the first to do this. Take care

    • Eva my dog was put to sleep feb 15th after 14 years together, the sedative shot after about 8 minutes changed his breathing so much it scared me.. I panicked and thought he was suffering… it felt like a horrible experience. This is night two I can’t sleep. After the second shot it was seconds. I feel tortured right now but trying to believe that he didn’t knoe anything even with the breathing, I am so sad I can’t see straight, Lisa Hughes KC Missouri

      • Sorry for your loss Lisa, After one of my dogs had the sedative, her breathing also changed and I had concerns about this at the time but the sedation did what it was meant to do and sedated her before the final injection. I have been on several websites and read people’s accounts and I do not believe she was aware of anything or suffered, I have chosen sedation each time I have had to make that difficult decision and will do so again. we are always left with questions and I believe that is all a part of grief. It is such a dreadful event that we never ask the vet at the time because we are heartbroken and emotional, but there is no reason that you can’t phone them now and ask them, you won’t be the first person to do it and I am sure they will be happy to answer your questions. Take care

      • Omg just had my 14 year old dog put to sleep I feel traumatized it was not the quick jab then sleep I thought it was just been googling stories as I’m so devastated X

  3. My sweet, almost 14 year old black lab Winston, is scheduled for euthanasia at our home next Tuesday, 2/21/17. Noon to be exact. I can’t bear to go thru the next few days waiting for this thing to go down. I bought him a yummy steak for his breakfast that day. Vet said I could make him sleepy that day with 2 Gabapentin caps of 300 mg each about an hour or so before vet comes. He will know smell of vet hospital on the vet when doc comes here. I so wish he wouldn’t have to smell that, as I’m sure it will make him anxious. I’m hoping the gabapentin will chill him enuf, that perhaps he won’t smell the “vet hospital smell” I am grieving already and he’s not even gone. Hate this part of having a pet, but is what it is, and we owe them nothing but the best, and certainly a dignified death.

    • Melanie, sorry to hear you have come to the difficult and sad time. Always had my dear dogs put to sleep at home. I have only had one dog who was pleased to see the vet and she struggled to her feet to greet her, she was put to sleep on a summers day in the garden. One of my dogs had tablets to relax her before the vet came (can’t remember what they were) which did work and she drifted off to sleep until the vet came and then was wide awake. There is not much you can do about the vet smell, our furry friends have incredible noses. Just make that last day the best you can , a nice walk if possible , that lovely steak and as hard as it is try and stay relaxed as you can, they pick up such a lot from us. Also have a plate of cheese and sausages chopped up ready for when the vet gets there, feed these tasty bits to Winston to distract him and hopefully the smell of the food will help. Have fed all of mine during the actual procedure . Ask the vet to tell you when to stop feeding the food. I can remember the vet saying as I held Betty and was feeding her, she won’t need that bit and despite the second before she was chomping away, she was right. It was that quick. Take care.

  4. We euthanized our sweet Murphy today. He was a rat jack so I was nervous that he would be very stressed and anxious. It was actually very peaceful at our vet’s office. He layed on his special blanket, tensed a bit when his leg was shaved to see the vein. I cradled him and told him how much I love him and that he is a good boy. No sedatives, the vet injected him and he was gone in seconds. I wound up on this page bc I was concerned that his tongue was sticking out after he passed. I’m happy to see it is normal.

  5. They took my lil pug back to put in a IV and give him something to relax him. When he came back his eyes were wide open and his body limp.I was so sad I did not notice if was even alive. I said my goodbyes and ask for the vet, she gave 2 injections the second his eyelids came down and she checked his heart. She was gone. What would have made her have eyes wide open? Was she gone before the shots? She was 14. This is really upsetting me. Did not think of this till later.

    • Tina, sorry to hear of your loss. When I had Charlie put to sleep last year her eyes were still open after the second shot. I remember this, as one of the tests the vet did to check she had died was to touch the eye gently. I don’t think this was the case with my other dogs. The quickness of everything happening was not a shock to me as I was in the room when the IV went in. Most people have questions whizzing round their heads when they have to make this heartbreaking decision. There is no reason why you cannot speak to your vet about your concerns, you won’t be the first person to do this. Take care

  6. I forgot to put website in. This is Tina.

  7. I posted once already but found out some info. I went to pay for my little pig to go to heaven. While gone thru asked my husband if she weighted 30lb. He said yes she only weight 15. My husband has had a stroke and did no realize. When they brought Gizmo back
    She was gone my question is they were only supposed to sedate her. Did she go to sleep, was there any suffering with the overdose of sedation meds. As this was not our regular vet she was not available that day I don’t feel comfortable asking what happened in the back because they got the wrong information from my husband I just want to know that the medicine they gave her to sedate her which was too much because they thought her weight was 30 pounds but it was 15 did she go peacefully. I just need this for my own peace of mind and so I can forgive my husband who has no idea what he did it was not his fault

  8. Hello Tina, that is a massive difference between 15 and 30lb .I think the vet who deals with animals all day would have known that wasn’t right. Let’s hope there is a vet or veterinary nurse out there who might be able to answer your question.

  9. I had my 14yr old Collie lab cross put to sleep last Wednesday, he had no leg muscle in any legs and had lost 2kg in weight in just 4 weeks, he had athritis too. I with my husband and 15yr old son took him to the vets and stayed with him while he was put to sleep, we weren’t asked about the sedation, it was very quick, his eyes closed and he started to lay down then I noticed his eyes were open and I knew he’d passed away. It is a hard decision to make but as my vet told me your pet will let you know when it’s time. I miss him so very much and my house feels empty without him but I know he’s no longer in any pain and I did right by him.

  10. Just put our 8 yr old havenese dog down. It was the hardest experience in my life. We loved him very much but he was a biter. We put up with him biting us for yrs besides other people and where we have grandkids now we couldn’t take the chance. Yet he was loVing too. A very difficult to dicision to make. The vet gave him a double sedative. He finally laud down but was fighting it. Shook his head once and kept licking his snout as I’m sure he was very dry. Life seemed to be leaving his body b4 the final drug. I wanted to grab him and take him home but I knew it was too late…I can’t stop crying and the house is so empty without him. I keep thinking he was very uncomfortable during the sedation and I feel so guilty:( how will I ever get over this:(

  11. Helpful article. Thank you

  12. I had my dog Paddy euthanased a couple of months ago due to aggressive behaviour. I am still heartbroken. The procedure was horrific for both us and him. We were given a sedative to try the night before which didn’t work, so on the evening of the appointment I gave him double, which still didn’t have any effect.
    The vet said we’d have to muzzle him. The vet then gave him a strong sedative injection which still didn’t work. He was walking all around the surgery crying. He gave him another. By this time I was having a panicking attack and both my husband and I were crying. I was horrified. Surely he shoukd have weighed Paddy before he administered the sedative to make sure it woukd work??? Needless to say, his final moments were not peaceful, but filled with pain and horror. I just can’t move past it all. I have 2 new cavapoo puppues who I adore, but I cannot get Paddy’s look out of my head. I feel so guilty.
    Shoukd I take things further with the vet so this doesn’t happen to anyone else?;

    • Jane, my dog did the same thing, he wasn’t walking but he was literally crying, whining as loud as he could until the ‘kill’ shot. I have put dozens of animals to sleep as I used to be an animal control officer. I have never had a dog, or animal, scream after the relax shot, until the heart stopped. It’s been five years and I’m still crying… I can’t describe the guilt or nightmares.

      • My dog had either a nightmare or seizure AFTER the sedative shot (pitiful, loud crying, howling, thrashing), then lost control of her bladder in my lap. She then calmed back down before the actual euthanasia shot. I don’t know why that happened, but she had the same nightmare thing happen six days before that at 5.00 a.m. while in bed sound asleep. Also lost control of her bladder. It had never happened before in 11-plus years.

  13. William C Keebler

    My best friend, Hoosier, a papillion Yorkshire, was euthanized over two years ago, due to congestive heart failure, leading to acute kidney failure. Hoosier was given the one injection method as I had no clue what to expect. If I had to do it over again I would have asked for sedation prior. He fell dead after two head bounces rather quickly and appeared to have suffered in that final few moments. I still think about him daily.

    • Sorry for your loss William. I have only had one of my dogs put to sleep without sedation and that was many many years ago. I was lucky to have a vet that travelled to my home even when I moved away and my lovely girl absolutely adored her so there was no fear. I fed her cheese whilst the injection was given and she was happily eating when the vet said she won’t need that next bit and her head dropped immediately into my hand. It wasn’t till years later and after having other dogs put to sleep with sedation that I realised that she had the best death of all, she didn’t have time to start feeling woosey or strange , it was so sudden which was a shock for me but for her I think it was the best. I think that vets should explain what is going to happen so we have some idea of what to expect. I have had dogs put to sleep after having a sedative and each time it has been different. I think the one thing that is always the same no matter what is that we all feel full of guilt and have these last moments playing on a loop in our minds for years and the questions that we ask ourselves about how we could have done things differently , I think this is part of the grieving process. I still find myself one and a half years on getting totally overwhelmed with the loss of my dog and even though I still have her brother I miss her dreadfully. I couldn’t even look at a photo of her for ages, but the when I realised how badly this was affecting me, I looked out some of the early years photos of all my dogs, when they were getting up to mischief and stuck them on my fridge which in time started to help. Still can’t look at a photo in which she is staring into the lense, but in time I’m hopeful. I have started on the long goodbye with her brother now and hope we get to spend this last summer together and no matter how the end goes, I know I will be wondering if I should have done things differently.

      Take care


  14. I had to put my little parson Russell to sleep yesterday. I knew this day was coming for 5 months but it didn’t make it any easier to call that shot. He had a mass in his chest that radiated up into his neck. It had began to press on some nerves and he had difficulty sometimes walking and really messed with his coordination. He got to where he would lay around a lot. His breathing was affected by the mass pressing on his esophagus…he would choke on his food. I couldn’t watch him suffer anymore and I knew he was in pain. I had never done this before and I was afraid of it. Fortunately my daughter is studying to be a vet and works with a great clinic. They came to my home and he didn’t receive sedation the shot was given outright. I never knew he had gone. I had to ask because as I sat there with him all I knew was that he had stopped breathing. he went so peacefully and it was only seconds. I wonder now that without the sedation how long after his heart stopped di his brain continue to function…could he hear me tell him how very much I loved him even after he stopped breathing?

    • Sorry for your loss. It is always hard to make that final decision I am in the process again of that long goodbye . So glad it was quick and that he didn’t have a chance to be frightened. They say the hearing is the last thing to go so he could have heard your last words to him, but even if he didn’t I am sure he knew he was loved and that you were close by.

      Take care

  15. Judy Montagne

    Thank you for answering some questions about sedation, eye lids and tongues. My little boy was put to sleep a few days ago with a 10X12 inch massive tumor that was hidden deep inside him.. His tumor ruptured and he needed to be put to sleep very quickly. I was on vacation and couldn’t be there . His vet let me talk with him via the phone and my voice helped him relax. I think he just wanted to know I was near. Hardest thing I have ever done. Sarah took him outside on the soft lawn where he could feel the grass in his toes…the pictures showed him almost sleeping with the sedation and then his eyes were open and his tongue out. That was haunting me. You’ve given me some PEACE.. Thank you. Judy

  16. Desmond Julian

    I had to put Zeus down because he was a very bad diabetic…we tried everything ton egulate his glucose he lost his vision and bladder control and we were back to ketosis stage. It was a tough decision gave him all the treats in the world at the office the doctor prepped him with an IV. I had a feeling Zeus knew what was going on his heart was beating so fast and eyes turned bloodshot red..It hurt the most after the 1st dose when I held him and his head dropped…after that it was the end. I feel guilty as hell putting him down like I betrayed the only thing that gave unconditonal love no matter what besides my parents…im going to miss you Zeus

    • Had to put my beautiful boy down yesterday…He was 16 and his heart was enlarged due to a murmur he had for years…. I knew it was the right thing, but I had the same exact thought…. guilt in putting him down because of the unconditional love that little dog gave me…… it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through….

  17. Lisa derringer

    My little JRT had a tumor enclosing his throat and chest. I had to make the decision to put him to sleep. I knew the day was coming since the day I first felt the lump. He was tired, had a very hard time eating, his breathing was labored and the very day he let me know he was in pain was when I made the decision. I chose to stay with him. I chose to do this at home. I didn’t want the anxiety to overwhelm him by going to the clinic. I’ve heard so many horror stories about them when they are stressed and sedated I chose not to do that. As my daughter is a tech for the clinic I had a bit of insight as to what to expect but was still so very scared. She said sedation was the worst thing to do. That’s where the struggles and such come in. The drug used to put them down works slower because it takes longer because of the sedation. Makes sense. He was held by me and my daughter as her boss gave the injection. It only took seconds and he was gone. No gasping, no siezures, so peaceful. My other 2 dogs were allowed time with him before I took him to be cremated. I didn’t want them to see him leave here alive and never come back. They needed closure too. They had to know that he was gone. He is here, in his own little house, sitting right on my dresser. I miss his lively little self so, even after almost a year now. I will have to make another decision not too much longer perhaps a year or so for his buddy that grew up with him. I would do no differently for him. I feel that the sedation is a comfort for the pet parents, not necessarily for the pet.

  18. We did it, said our goodbyes to our little Oreo this morning. He had a great day yesterday full of love, treats and walkies. And honestly it was so beautiful and relieving that we took his pain away, he was allowed to be sedated before so we could have cuddles and say goodbye while he was falling asleep. He was taken into another room to do this and we were told he didn’t even resist or need to be held, took one person, and the vet brought our sleepy little dog back in and we felt all the pain releasing from him – he’d lost most of his eyesight in one eye and had a growing infection in the other with an ulcer and a melting cornea, and his eyes just opened wide like never before and you could see the calm and relief on his face. He passed in my arms and as I felt him getting heavier on me I felt a massive weight of love as if he was telling me thank you for this. One thing that will haunt me is after passing him back to the vet when he’d fallen asleep his tongue was poking out, it looked almost cartoon like and it wasn’t nice to see. After that we went out the back while the lethal injection was given. The best thing we did was to bring his little bed and pillow and he was placed so beautifully in there and we went back in and chatted and stroked him. Never thought I’d be able to do that but it was such a beautiful and peaceful process. Grieving is going to be so hard but we loved him from beginning to end. He was such a brave and beautiful boy and after all he’s been through he was ready, he was at peace finally, bless him xxx

  19. I had to endure the pain of putting my sweet Dolly down last night. She was a 12.5 year old poodle who was smarter than most people I know and loved me and my husband soooooo much. We never had children. Dolly was our baby. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in Feb and the vet said we might have her until Thanksgiving. She had lost 2 lbs since August and wasn’t eating well, none of us were sleeping through the night because she couldn’t breath well. Late yesterday at the vet’s office her strength gave out and I had to make the decision to let her.go. I had a very bad experience years ago when my 16 year old pkingese had to be put down. It didn’t go well and I was so traumatized. Last night they gave my Dolly a sedative but I couldn’t bring myself to.stay with her. I left the room and went back after it.was done. I pray she knew did it for her best and didn’t desert her. Today I feel so guilty. Its gonna take a very long time.

    • William Keebler Jr

      You not only made the right choice, you had no choice. The clear assumption is you had a veterinarian you relied upon throughout Dolly’s sickness and hopefully even before. Dolly knew you loved her. The only only thing I would have done differently is I would have stayed for the procedure but Dolly had a good long life and knew of your love for her.

  20. so sorry you have lost a member of your family Robin. I have had several dogs put to sleep and each experience has been different some better than others and I must agree with William I to would of stayed till she was gone, but saying that each of us cope with things differently . What is the most important thing is that their end is as peaceful and stress free as possible, being calm with them when they are put to sleep is what they need and if that is something you couldn’t do, then you did the right thing. After you lose someone whether it is a person or a pet your mind is full of questions and regrets, this is all part of grieving. Take care

  21. William Keebler Jr

    My forst experience with euthanasia was with my first dog; a Papillon Yorkshire mix, that I had for nine years (he was estimated to be three years old when I got him). Saying goodbye for now was tough and Ibrefused to put him down, but with congestive heart failure and finally acite renal failure he had become uremic andvwas in his last couple/few days and the suffering was too much so euthanasia was the right thing to do. Unfortunately the veterinarian put hom down without a sedative prior to euthanasia. No veterinarian should ever even offer that as an option as the passing did not look peaceful compared to two additional experiences with a sedative prior. I fail to see how the first experience was painless; in any case it was quick. Never ever should a pet be put down without prior sedation. Any veterinarian who does so is unacceptable and uncaring.

  22. I had to make the appointment today to put my dog to sleep. I rescued him (a senior) from a kill shelter over 5 years ago. He was dumped there in terrible condition. We turned all of that around and he had a wonderful life for the time we were blessed to have him. On the day we put him to sleep, we got to the vet who has cared for him the past 5 years, and he confirmed my little guy needed help crossing over. It was time. He had CHF and CKD. He had been hospitalized 3 times since September. This last time, he just couldn’t bounce back. The doctor gave him a sedative to relax him, because he’s always been feisty, and today was no different. Plus, I just think he didn’t feel well. He became very relaxed quickly, breathing slow and steady, almost snoring. He gave him the euth injection in his hind leg. Then, he quickly stretched straight out. He had arthritis and contracted muscles and I think the injection made them all relax, because he was instantly longer. He stopped breathing right away. We spent quite a bit of time with him before, during and after, because we loved him so much and wanted him to know we were never leaving him…. to the end. We miss you, Wuj. ❤

  23. I just lost my little dog, I had to put him to sleep because he had an enlarged heart and an Oesophagusa problem plus fluid in his lungs .l Love him so much. He was my shadow for a Ten years. The loss is extremely unreal. I took him to my vet and he was sedated before we had him put down due to the fact of his breathing problems ,so he went extremely peaceful . He was a little Chihuahua mix ,he was black , he was beautiful , his name was Max. The worst time of the day for me is when I come home and it is no longer there to greet me. I will always remember him in my heart. I know now that he is at peace. Love you Max.😢😢

  24. Peggy L. Stevens

    Just discovered your website and am finding it informative, thoughtful and emotional. I’ve had dozens of dogs over the years and been with each and every one of them during euthanasia. When I took my chocolate lab of 10 1/2 yrs., he was given a sedative, then cried and whined (and of course I felt begged) until the final shot. I’ve never experienced any thing like this before and hope I never will again. As you might imagine it was traumatic and I am having huge guilt issues, not to mention nightmares. Is this normal? Was he aware? What the heck? Thanks, guilty mom.

  25. William Keebler Jr

    Not much in life is tougher than putting down a beloved furry family member. Keep in mind that as humans, these furry members of our family have been entrusted to us (biblical and natural common sense) so we make those decisions and when the time comes the decision is properly made. That first shot was what is used for surgery so thete is zero pain in their passing. The second shot is the euthanasia and having that first shot means you did that correctly. Be at peace.

  26. Patricia lowry

    I had my dog out to sleep 2 weeks ago she was a Staffies 13 years and 4 months. I still have her sister same age. I have had dogs all my life and when the time has come had to have them put to sleep This was the worse death for my beloved. The vet came with a nurse to my house and said she was going to put a canula in my dog and if she was distressed they would sedate her. At the the time my dog had been laying on bed for 4 hours so I thought the vet would sedate her. I had to go in another room with my other dog. I had been in the room for 20 mins and thought she must have passed by now. I opened the door and my poor dog was caring and was standing up so distressed. I asked why she was crying and the vet said she was distressed and they would sedate her. What took them 20 mins to decide that ? After 10 mins the vet called to me to say she had been sedated and when I came in the room she was trying to get out via the front doors . I opened the door and she went out and done her wee. Bless her and came back in and got in her bed. I stayed for a while and she was closing her eyes. I went to my other dog in the next room and 10 mins later the vet called me to say my dog had passed awa via using a canula. Took an hour for all this to happen . Never before have this happenend with all my other dogs being to sleep. The vets have just give them an injection and they have within minutes. Something went wrong.and I blame myself as well for not being with my dog. Don’t know how I’m ever going to get over the stress my poor dog went through.

  27. I had my beautiful baby put 2 sleep yesterday I was taken 2 a side room and sat on a sofa with Mia who was cuddled up in my cardigan I decided I wanted 2 be with her and cuddle her they gave her the injection in her vein she licked my hand and went very peaceful, I felt bad because I wasn’t gonna cry until she passed away but I cried so much before hand I feel I may have stressed her out I tried talking 2 her but my words couldn’t find out. I miss her so very much

  28. I had my beautiful baby put 2 sleep yesterday her name was Mia and she was 15 years old she had numerous mammary tumours one was so big I was frightened it would burst, I was taken 2 a side room and sat on a sofa with Mia who was cuddled up in my cardigan I decided I wanted 2 be with her and cuddle her they gave her the injection in her vein she licked my hand and went very peaceful, I felt bad because I wasn’t gonna cry until she passed away but I cried so much beforehand I feel I may have stressed her out I tried talking 2 her but my words just couldn’t come out. I miss her so very much I am having regrets, should I have waited and spent another few weeks with her, I just want her back

  29. My brother’s dog was euthanized. Things did not go smoothly. As soon as the dog was given the IV medication he started to have seizures. I was extremely upset with the vet. Thinking he had not given enough medication. He kept telling my brother to hold the dog still. Reading article educated me about the possibility that the euthanasia not going as planned. I went to see the vet. He denied that the dog had seizures. Now I understand that can happen. He needs to educate the owner of this possibility happening. My brother was so traumatized.

  30. The day I took her in she was having breathing problems and having a hard time holding her head up.I took her to the park prior and let her have her final meal. I think the excitement of the day was causing her heart to fail before we even arrived. What felt like forever, the Dr arrived in the room with in ten min. He shaved her arm and started with the lethal dose, even though she was so weak she still tried to fight a bit when he did this. The procedure seemed like forever, but less than a min she took her last breath. I was upset that she was not sedated before this, but he felt at her condition she didn’t need it. From reading other post I’m now ok that he didn’t, she really didn’t need to be pocked twice. But if i ever get a dog again I will ask for something to give before hand ,just wish she could have been more relaxed. But no matter how many times I go over this in my head, there was never going to be an easy way. Time will ease my pain and I will think of her being pain free, in the happy place.

    • I know exactly how you feel. I believe that next time, and there will be a next time, I am going to get something to relax me. I am sorry for your loss….

  31. Linda Van den akker

    We just put down our 14 1/2 year old Bichon named Joey. He had CKF and had been declining for some time. A couple of months before, he had spent time in the hospital on IV fluids and meds. Over a period of about 3 months he began losing weight as well as his appetite. We continued subcutaneous fluids at home but when we went to the vet and he had bloodwork done we were told his BUN was very high. I believe it was close to 200 and his creatinine was extremely high as well. He now had stage 4 renal failure. He was very weak and would eat a very small amount of food when given Entyce. He was also on Prilosec and a powder — I forget the name— to keep his body from absorbing too much phosphorus. Saturday night he began trembling when inhaling. I thought he might be in pain so gave him Gabapentin. It always makes him groggy but well into Sunday he was off balance while walking. More so than usual. He also would dribble urine and have accidents even though he tried to make it outside. On Sunday, my entire family was here and the decision was made to put Joey down. We called a place that our vet had recommended, but they weren’t able to come. My son did some research and found a mobile vet who had good reviews. He arrived at our home around 5:30. Joey was sleeping on the sofa and we were all around him. The vet explained what he would do and then proceeded to give Joey a sedative in his back and with that, Joey started crying and yelping. It was awful and we were all extremely upset. The sedative did work and then the euthanasia medicine was given. Joey passed peacefully but I cannot get his crying and yelping out of my mind and I feel so guilty not waiting another couple of days until the people who my vet recommended were available. Of course by then the entire family wouldn’t have been present. The vet who performed the procedure said he’d never had a dog scream out like that. I don’t believe him. He also said that because he didn’t let out a noticeable exhale at the end that he was likely very close to death. Not sure if that is accurate or not. I have been having an extremely difficult time dealing with everything and start thinking I didn’t do what was in Joey’s best interest. I have been second guessing myself thinking maybe I put him down too soon. Just very upset.

    • Fr William Keebler Jr

      You definitely took Joey as far as possible before some pretty intense suffering would set in. You did the right thing. My guess is Joey cried because he wanted to stay longer (a deeply loved pet, and perhaps the stranger was a factor) but that’s not worth second guessing the choice and location. These little pets are entrusted to us to make decisions for them. Your choice was correct.

  32. Who was not easy was not like that at all. In fact the dog was sedated the ending was supposedly sleeping but when I said his name he would open his eyes and jerk his head up a little bit one day that day being the final dose to kill him he lay there for a while then do you stiffen his legs rare his head up into the air then collapse back down his head between his legs then up again to stream the open his mouth like he was trying to breathe about a half a dozen times than a jerk jerk jerk it was not a pleasant sight and nothing like what I had read thank you

  33. Hardest day of my life watching my 12 year old yorkie poppy being put down..I loved that baby more then life..she was suffering from a heart murmur enlarged heart enlarged liver fluid on the kidneys and a collapsed trachea.its been about 6 days now and I still find myself crying like the day it happend.although we only had her 10 wonderful months she made a impression on my family so strong.her personality and love she had for us will fill my heart forever.i am a 46 year old man that never thought the grief would be this hard….see you on the other side some day beautiful girl….daddy loves and missed you

  34. Herbert Pender III

    I’m glad I read your article I just had to put my dog to sleep Portugal and I said all the same things that you said to your dog his name was Benji and he was my Meany my Nemo dog and he looked just like Benji and although we only had him for four years He was my friend it was my companion and I loved him dearly in one day I don’t want him to give me five I just left bar Calo with his right paw rollover and play dead give me a kiss set up and take a treat out of my mouth real slow. I know that Benji went peacefully he had stones in his urinary track and even though we spent a lot of money trying to get them fixed for that sandwich even if we had spent several thousand dollars he didn’t feel good and you would’ve survived the operation to remove the stones he looked at me the whole time while the first injection was given and while the second injection was given he never took his eyes off of me and I never took my eyes off of them I’m a born-again Christian and I pray to God that we will see our dogs in heaven they’ve given us so much comfort and we’ve given them so much and they asked for so little in return a gentle pat on the head oh good word sometime a bed to sleep in and food and water and mostly companionship laying next to you sitting up with you and I know that they feel what you feel when you were in pain when you’re sad when you’re crying and when you’re happy so thank you for your article God bless you

  35. First off, thank you for reading my message,.
    We had a 16-year-old Chihuahua, who had multiple health issues, among them was CHF, she had an enlarged right side of her heart plus somewhat on the left side, she had a severely collapsed trachea, she had Cushing’s disease she was on pimobendan and medication for the collapsed trachea bronchi later in Cushing meds. She had a mass on her liver but I believe we gave her a good diet low sodium the vet never put her on the diuretics as he said she had no fluid in her lungs at the last x-rays Which was several months prior to having her put to sleep. She was blind and she had arthritis. She had doggy dementia .
    She had renal disease as well. Believe it or not she acted fairly normal, we had no clue that she would have to be euthanized the next morning after gobbling down some of her food and some cooked salmon with her three medications. The next morning around 10:30 AM I found her what appeared to be unconscious lying in her bed and she had urinated all over herself. Picked her up no response wrapped her loosely in her blanket rushed her off to the vet to be put to sleep. While she was lying on the table the vet said her blood pressure was so low he couldn’t give her an IV for the sedative, so he injected it in a muscle I believe and then all of a sudden she stood up and started to walk off the table!
    We were both so startled all I could say was “wow!“ we both grabbed her laid her back down, her eyes turned completely pink and I don’t know why? Why would she stand up and start to walk after appearing to be unconscious for several hours?
    Through all of that she never made a sound.
    She was throughout the whole process from the time I picked her up just like a ragdoll.
    My husband and I are having a very difficult time we cried several times a day just missing her so much it’s been since February 7 of 2020. Could you help me please by answering my question? ( her name was princess grace, 16 Yrs.) I don’t understand the main reason she stood up and tried to walk off the table after peering unconscious previously.
    Thank you with all my heart !

    • William C Keebler Jr

      My take is she wanted to be with you one last time. You’re timing was just right; don’t second guess yourself. Sixteen years! Very good.

  36. I had to put my sweet Bella Jean down yesterday 2/20/21 I held her close during her final moments, she had T Cell Lymphoma, the swelling of her limph nodes in her neck was making it difficult for her to breath, when she was given the sedative to relax her the vet said in a few minutes she would drift off to sleep, that didn’t happen, Bella fought the sedative and was gasping for air, giving all she had to just draw a breath, she looked up at me with the look of total fear in her eyes, the vet then administered the lethal dose of Phenobarbital, at almost that very moment her fight was over, her tongue was hanging out of her mouth, her eyes were open and fixed, it felt as if my heart and soul started bleeding, I wanted nothing more then to rewind time and be able to play with her one more time, or look into her gentle eyes and say come on Bella want to go town with me? But I had to leave her behind something I had never done before yesterday, I love her so much and I will miss her for the remainder of my life.

    • Oh Becky, I know how you feel. It’s been 8 yrs. since I put my boy down, it was an experience i still cry about. He cried, fought, yelped and whined the entire process. Having been an animal control officer and a state Humane officer, I’ve never had an animal behave the way he did, I’ll regret it the rest of my life. I asked another vet about his behavior, and she said he knew something was going on, he just didn’t know what it was. So, You’re not alone in your guilt and heartache. I hope better days are ahead for you….

      • My Bella had T Cell Lymphoma as I mentioned in my post, my biggest problem with it is she was only 3 years old, she was still a pup in my eyes, I realize the hurt I feel at the moment will ease with time, but the love I have for her will never fade! I just hope that someday I will come across a another one like her, if reincarnation is real I sure hope our paths cross once again.

  37. So sorry for your loss and traumatizing experience. My old lady was 15 and diabetic. She had a severe infection she couldn’t fight off and required surgery that wasn’t a guarantee. She was not responding to pain meds and howling so I think at that point sedation was the only way. She received the first shot and she was wobbly for a moment and I caught her as she became limp. I laid her down and asked the vet for a moment to say good bye (hearing is the last thing to go). She stopped howling at that point and my friend stated she let out a sigh which I think meant she was either already gone or was a sigh of relief from the pain and anxiety of how bad she felt. That following silence was both defeaning and comforting because I knew this was it and also knew she wasn’t in pain anymore. At this point there was no going back and that set in a panic in me that this is real. I’ve reached the top of the rollercoaster and I’m going down. I think this part and seeing her eyes open and her tongue sticking out slightly will never leave my mind and I try not to think about it when I remember her. I 💯 think sedation is the way to go if a pet is in a lot of pain or in a lot of anxiety. When humans go under we don’t remember our pain so I’d like to think they’re not conscious when the final shot hits them at all. It’s the knowledge that this is it is what gets so many people in panic mode and any reaction from the furbaby afterwards. I’ve been under before and the anxiety and panic dissipated after the anaesthesia hits. In fact you don’t remember anything after you go dark. So I think based on that they don’t. I’m sure they feel it numbing their brain and body (that’s how I describe it from experience) and then nothing. Hope this makes someone feel comforted, if euthanasia for humans was possible Id rather get that if I know I’m going to die in the worst pain possible or if I know I’m not getting better and just get worse.

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