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.

208 responses to “On Euthanasia: What to Expect

  1. 10.5 hours ago I laid with my 12 y/o shepherd x Venus on the floor at the vet clinic with my 2nd family dog, Bucky right next to us. Venus had beautiful brown eyes, alert ears and reminded me of the Walmart Greeters. No person nor animal was spared from an 80 lb, bunny-rabbit hopping toothy-smiled and long-tongued shepherd running up to them to greet them. Even the odd time in 12 years when I selfishly raised my voice to her, she would come running to me, big eyes and soft face, as if to say “I’m sorry”. Her mind was sharp but her body was so tired. Tired from the arthritis in her hips and knees and the cysts / lumps on her body. She struggled to stand after laying down, Didn’t run after her favorite chewed up tennis balls any longer – only limp-walked and only 3-4 strides at that. She had taught me so much about life and to be fearless. I cried buckets laying next to her, telling her she is my rock, that I loved her from the moment I saw her when she was only 4 weeks old. The decision to euthanize her was the difficult but it was even harder, heart wrenching actually, when I laid next to her telling her I am here and that I loved her and I hope she knew that. I told her she wouldn’t be in pain any more. I couldn’t let her suffer any longer, it was my turn to suffer from missing her. It will become easier to think of her without crying but til then, I will cry regardless of where I am, when looking at Bucky who misses her too, looking for her constantly or when reading the stories penned by other pet owners who miss their beloved pets. Its very personal but I don’t feel so alone knowing others are out there going thru the same pain.

  2. I had my dog euthanized on September 21st 2015. I had previous experience being in the room while a dog was euthanized so I thought I knew what to expect. This time was quite different. The vet gave my dog the sedative shot in the scruff of his neck and offered him a large serving of canned chicken dog food, then left the room. My dog was continuing to eat the food as he was getting sleepy to the point of choking on the food. He panicked because he couldn’t breath and his legs went straight out as if he was running. I tried to clear all the food from his mouth before he was totally asleep. Watching that was very traumatizing to me. The vet returned in the middle of his panicked state and administered the final shot. My dog didn’t die in peace, he died in panic. I just don’t understand why that had to happen to him. Any feedback would be helpful.

    • That’s absolutely horrible. I’m so sorry to hear that. I hope the vet doesn’t do that as routine procedure. The injection is a very fast acting medication and often it will make the animal nauseous. Even if he had given him food prior to the injection he may have vomited.
      I put down one of mine about 3 days ago. We gave him a large “last meal” because we wanted to keep his belly happy and let him be content as he passed. About 30 seconds after the injection. He vomited it all up while laying down. He couldn’t even lift his head to clear it from his mouth because of the heavy sedation. About 20 seconds he was helpless.
      Your dog may have had seizure activity by the description of his legs. Many dogs have reactions to the sedation medication. Regardless, I am simply appalled (and heart broken) that the vet fed your dog after sedating him. I’m so sorry. I would call and ask if its normal practice and file a complaint with whomever necessary.

      • Andrea, I’m so sorry you had such a horrible experience. That was not the right way to help your fur baby to pass on. My dobbie, Gabriel went to doggie heaven a year ago. I was so sad and pretty much hysterical when I learn that that my bug was never going to walk again. He was such an active baby that I couldn’t watch him everyday trapped in a body that wasn’t working. I wanted him to keep his dignity and not know why he couldn’t get up. The veterinarian and staff were wonderful and caring. They explained the entire process and I was with Gabriel the entire time. They put a catheter in his leg and left me to be with him for as long as I needed. I played with him, gave him all the doggie treats he wanted, and took pictures with him. The doctor even volunteered to take pics of us. While the thought of losing my bug and never seeing him again was beyond belief, the vet made the entire process as quiet and comfortable as possible. They even asked how I wanted to handle his body prior to the procedure as they knew I wouldn’t be able to focus after Gabe was gone. I am truly thankful for them. My baby passed quietly and peacefully. For that I feel blessed. I hope you never have to go through such a bad situation again.

    • Karen Stansberry

      I am so sorry to hear of this horrible experience. My heart goes out to you. That was stupid on the part of the vet. Please use someone else from now on. Be sure to let them know you are leaving and why. I had a vet who just put my dog in a pen to die – slowly. When I insisted on seeing her, she was lying in her own filth, covered in flies and hadn’t had water in such a long time her mouth was glued shut. I immediately moved her. She did have to be euthanized and it was mercifully peaceful for her. I tell everyone I know about that experience, I suggest you do the same.

    • I spoke with the vet that euthanized my dog a few weeks later and I asked why they would give a dog food. He commented that it was very common at that practice to do that. It helps the dog calm down and gives them a treat. We both agreed that the decision to feed my dog on that day went wrong. He apologized that I had to witness the dogs struggle to breath and assured me that this was an isolated case. I have come to terms that there was nothing I could have done differently. I did the best I could for my dog and the vet practice should realize that worked with one may not work with the others.
      I have looked into adopting another dog but once I had the dog in my home I realized that I wasn’t ready and unfortunately I had to return the dog to its owner. My heart is still broken but one day it will heal and I will be able to love again but not right now.

      • I am sorry you had such a horrible experience. I had to lay my 9 year old dobbie, Gabriel to rest September 10, 2015. The vet did not administer the sedative until after he enjoyed all the doggie treats he wanted. We played for a while, I told him I loved him, took pics, and let him know he was such a big boy. Every once in a while the vet came in and asked if I was ready. I told her no multiple times. She gave me the time I needed to say goodbye. Once the time came I petted my bug while she administered the sedative. He started to relax and she said to let her know when I was ready for her to administer the final dose. He looked so peaceful and calm so I said OK. The minutes afterward when his body went limp I thought I’d never breathe again. But I knew my big boy was no longer in pain and in a better place. I can only hope if/when you have to go through this again they take your pets personal needs in mind before moving forward.

      • Peggy Stevens

        I found that fostering a dog, especially seniors, helped me immensely. I miss my boy even now, six years later. The fostering helped fill a hole, kept me busy, and was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

    • Sandra C. Frazier

      I am So Sorry Your Vet did this to you.? I am in awe? I and my two children just recently had out very old suffering Beloved Bassett euthanized. It was very peaceful and our vet was amazing. She simply shaved his leg to get a good shot at his vein and injected the drug within second’s our dog had passed peacefully. I don’t know your vet’s practices but this does not sound right at all. Sedative’s before euthanasia is unessacary, the animal becomes frightened because they dont know what is happening feeding them in the middle of it, this is even more concerning. Of course the animal will choke! Then pannick. I would question your vets credentials and ask him why he did this to you and your dog with a third party involved. I grew up on a farm and I am 40 years old and have had to euthanize several animals at different clinics. Never did they sedate, feed, then euathanize. I would not even go for the sedative before hand it just prolongs the process unesscarilly for all involved. I have a Hypothyroid dog that we had to sedate to get to the vet. It was a stray. We stopped sedating to do this because then she was loopy and scared that made it worse. My vet warned me that may happen so we just stopped sedating her and she finally got used to it. I would certainly question his methods so others don’t have to suffer through what you did. That is horrible! I would also get a new vet. Speak out about that vetenarians practices! Locally maybe he will change his ways and not hurt the next person in this situation. Very Sorry for your suffering and loss.

      • I on the other hand was so happy we sedated first. The vet injected a shot inl her, we did feed her small treats until she fell asleep. She snored so peacefully. They chose to do this because my girls veins blew out everytime a needle was injected. Her old veins just wouldn’t cooperate. I’m so glad she didn’t feel the needles everytime they tried diff veins. That is why my bet chose to sedate. My springer spaniel was put down years ago, and when the vet was injecting her with the euthanasia, she got half way done and my boy pulled away and she had to start over. That was horrible for us because of the was she was acting. And then having to hold her while the vet got a new needle. I will never get that out of my head.

  3. I had my dog euthanized a week and a half ago. He was 16, had heart failure , but the worst part was he had dementia. He got lost walking around the house and cried all the time out of fear and anxiety. Occasionally he would act himself and that’s what made it so hard to finally make the decision. I asked the vet’s office to make a “consultation” appointment because I couldn’t bear giving up on him. At the visit the vet patiently explained what the options were and how long he would live with heroic measures. It wasn’t worth it for a few more months. So, I had the strenght to finally do it. The vet gave an injection of sedative and my dog stumbled a little and I laid him down into a comfortable position with his blanket from home. I spent the next few minutes petting him, kissing him, and telling him I loved him and how he did a great job of being my companion. He looked very peaceful. Then the vet came and put a catheter in his vein and did the injection. I asked how long would it take, he said less than a minute. At that point I left the room, I didn’t want to see him completely dead. Thank God a very good friend was waiting for me in the waiting room.

    • Tina, I am glad your dog didn’t have to suffer and he is at peace. My next dog I am going to hold on my lap and hold him and kiss his cheek and tell him what a great boy he is. Unfortunately with the dog I recently euthanized I was beside him talking to him, petting him and telling him what a good boy he was. The next one will be in my arms.

  4. I am preparing to send Rosie to heaven today. She has scarred lungs and collapsing trachea and has been home nursed until today. This site has given me strength – thank you all, bless you

  5. As I lay hear with tears steaming down my face. The pain is almost to much to bear. At 9am tomorrow morning, we will be putting our 16 yr old girl to sleep. She can barely walk. Lost so much weight, has dementia and actually need to wear diapers because she no longer has control all the time. The hardest thing for more is that she is still eating A lot. I know it sounds weird for me to say that. It just makes it feel worse. I’m gonna give my girl what dignity she has left. although so hard, I have to believe that this is what has to be done. I’m gonna miss he sooo much.

  6. I just got back from the vet where I had to experience putting our poor girl Zoe down. She was a 15 year old Jack Russell who over the past year (and recently month) went downhill quite fast. Dimentia coupled with arthritis resulted in her feeling anxious and in pain. We made the decision to happened her suffering and after the initial sedative was injected we where petting her and telling her how much she was loved. She passed out with me feeding her dog treats and being scratched on the cheeks. She was a great companion and awesome dog.

  7. I am struggling with the recent euthanizing of my 13-year-old female Shepherd/Australian Shepherd mix. I know that euthanasia takes away the suffering, but it also takes away the dog’s life. I feel like a gave up on my dog. She still had a strong heart and strong lungs. She fought dying taking deep breaths during the process. She had bad skin allergies her whole life and also her back legs were giving out due to old age. I just feel like I should have nursed her longer. She was still eating. I was pressured by a friend to “end the suffering.” Now I understand why we don’t euthanize people, it is such a slippery slope and who really has the right to take any living creature’s life away – their suffering yes, their life no. I don’t think I will ever be the same. I feel awful.

    • Dear Kristina,
      Thank you for your post. I too just had my 17 year old love of my life put to sleep.She is a Shih Tzu named Tessy. I had her euthanized yesterday and my heart is broken. I’ve been asking myself all day today if I did the right thing. It was not a good experience for me or for her. They gave her a sedative through her IV, and gave it so fast, she was overwhelmed and started to cry.It was so awful. they should have never given her that as fast as they did .When she started crying I yelled for the vet to just.hurry up and give her the drug to end the suffering from the sedative !! It was heart breaking.I am traumatized by all of it. Had I known she would suffer in anyway, I would of never did it. I am so sad, today I just wish I would have held her for a few more days and let nature take its course. She was blind, deaf, losing weight rapidly, stopped eating, and had a chronic cough for the past few months that no Vet could help her with. She was so sick, and I still keep asking myself if I did the right thing. My heart is broken, I miss her so much and feel like I let her down. I won’t ever be the same again either.
      I have even asked God to please take my life if I made the wrong decision, because I truly dont want to live if i was wrong. Gog bless these little angels who our victims of our decisions.

    • Kristina, Thank you so much for your post. It brought tears to my eyes. I can’t stop crying because I too feel like I gave up on my Gabe, 9 year old dobbie, too soon. He lost the use of his back legs and could not move the entire bottom half of his body. It happened so quickly over a 1 week period. One day he was fine and the next he couldn’t walk. He was 80lbs and I couldn’t carry him to help him go potty. So when he lost the use to eliminate and pooped all in his bed I knew I had to do something. I went to our vet they said there was nothing to be done. He wouldn’t walk again. I didn’t like that response so I took him to another vet for a 2nd opinion. They did some tests on him and said the same thing. So I made the decision to let him go. I knew if I didn’t I would be selfish. But he loved running around outside, we chased each other playing hide n go seek. He always found me. He loved following me around and sleeping in my bed which he jumped up to get on the bed. He could no longer do that stuff. My heart broke at the thought of letting him go. The vet was very caring very kind and I’m so thankful to them for that. I took pics with Gabe, recorded giving him all the treats he wanted, I petted him, told him mommy loved him and he was such a good boy. Then vet came in the process was very peaceful and he just went to sleep. I was stunned as I walked out of the vet crying my heart out thinking I should’ve done more to keep alive. But my big boy had pride and I wanted him to go with some dignity. That all happened September 10, 2016 and I’m still crying over losing my best friend, my companion, my road dog, and forgive myself or let go and accept he’s gone. It helps a little to know I’m not alone. That you and others have experienced this. So thank you for your post and for letting pour my heart out in this forum.

  8. I would just like to know if its normal for a dog to let out a long lower pitched howl that gradually faded into silence. This was 3mins after I had walked out of the room. My gut tells me that she wasn’t sedated like promised. I’m afraid to ask. Any thoughts. I’ve never heard my dog howl Ever. Its killing me.

  9. Brian. I had a similar situation today when my best friend Charlie was euthanized. I had the service performed in my home. The plan was for me to be present during the sedation and leave the room for the final dose to be administered. He started seizing after the initial sedative and I couldn’t take it so I left the room. Minutes later I too heard a low pitched kind of whine or growl. It didn’t last long and I didn’t hear it again so I thought I’d imagined it. Your comment makes me think I didn’t. I’m afraid to ask the Vet what could have caused it because I’m not sure I want to know the answer. What I will say though is that I know that he received the sedation.

    I came back into the room after he passed, closed his eyes, and then spent a few minutes petting and talking to him. I left the room and he was taken away. My head and heart know that I did the right thing. It doesn’t lessen the grief though. I choose to think of that final sound as him mourning the fact that he had to leave me.

    • I think you have underestimated a dog’s various acute ‘senses’. And, like us, they read facial expressions, voice etc. Also, a new smell of depression would be another sense you’d be emitting, easily picked up by your dog. I was in a Vet recently for consult & this Vet has contract to euthanase lost/unreturned Council dogs. I heard a dog pitifully “howl”. It was a howl he knew it was the end or I also thought the poor thing may have heard my voice next room & thought I could be his owner, or a last appeal to live. On leaving, I viewed impounded dogs & saw this particular dog carried out back on tray. It’s all so heartbreaking.

      • Okay. I’m wondering if the purpose of your statement was to make me feel horrible for doing this to my dog. If so you have certainly achieved your purpose. I think about him and miss him EVERYDAY and have been trying my best to make peace with my decision by talking about him, carrying and showing his pictures, and remembering how much he was suffering and how he is no longer doing so. This dog was my ONLY companion for over a decade. It was not a decision that was made lightly or one that I don’t question all the time. This is the first response I’ve read on this thread that doesn’t appear to be supportive at all. Until today this site was soothing for me as I read posts from people with the same doubts and fears that I had but made the hard decision and aren’t shy about letting their love for their pet show. No response is needed or required as I will discontinue reviewing this site.

  10. Oh my, I am in tears. We had our Maci put to sleep this past Wednesday. I stayed with her because it was a promise I made to her. I would not let her suffer and I would be with her in her final moments. It was very hard. She had cancer that had spread to her lungs. Our Vet originally did not want to sedate her first. I requested that he sedate her first. He really didn’t want to because he said it could cause so many problems. But after trying and failing to inject the lethal dose into her bein, he decided to sedate her. That’s when her tongue came our. It was just so sad. It did seen like it took forever. Maci was a 12 year old Basset hound. My precious little girl. I can’t stop crying.

    • It’s such a hard thing to do, but you did it because you loved your baby girl. You allowed her a peaceful passing. My vet will only sedate first. I can’t imagine what complications could possiblly happen with sedation. I lost my girl on Nov 20th and I too miss her so much. I’m sorry for you loss

      • Thank you so much for responding. The Vet said she could have seizures and it could get ugly. Either way it was terrible. it was not something we dog lovers like to do. I, too, am sorry for your loss. I just can’t conceive me being able to get over missing her.

      • It sounds strange but you do find a peace. After a month and a half , I know longer cry myself to sleep. I remember her painful crys and her falling and not getting herself up or not being able to walk at all. We as good pet owners have the ability to help our furry loved ones pass over to a beautiful place where they are running free and pain free. I promise you that your baby loves you for that. Do you have FB so that we could share some pictures?

      • I do not have Facebook. Sorry. Its only been four days and people think I should be over her death. Unbelievable.

  11. We had to put our little girl Maggie to sleep today. She was a small little maltese with a big heart and strength of will. She had a pretty hard life at the beginning: her first owner had an abusive boyfriend who threw her around enough that she ended up losing most of her jaw and all of her teeth. She then had a kind owner for several years before circumstances required she be given to a new family. That family was us. We only got to have her for a few short years, but I don’t regret it for a minute. When we first had her checked by the vet, he was amazed at how well she was thriving. She was a joy to have around! We spoiled her quite a bit (kind of figure she had earned it due to her earlier hardships). She slept on our bed with her own pillow…..and she definitely knew that was her personal domain!
    Well, this past couple of months she deteriorated pretty quickly: we found some dreaded lumps and she had almost lost her ability to navigate our stairs. It was such a hard decision, but today was the day. We went to the vet, pillow in-hand, and were with her to the very end. The process itself was so quick and peaceful: shot was administered, she took one breath, then was asleep-on her pillow. When we left her, we left her pillow too. Our princess finished her journey on her “throne.” We love her and are honored that we could provide her with love which she returned many times over.

  12. So sorry for your loss. When I tell people of my little girl Missy and how we helped her pass, I can honestly say that it was a beautiful experience. Don’t get me wrong, it was heart wrenching and the most difficult thing I ever had to do. It was so peaceful and when the vet administered the first shot we were feeding her treats until she fell asleep. And that’s when I saw her so peaceful and she was snoring so loud with a smile on her face. I had not seen her sleep peaceful in months due to her pain. We laid next to her and kissed her and talked to her for close to an hour before we gave the vet those final words. The hardest two words. We’re ready. We all were laying on the living room floor next to her laying on her beddy. In a second she was gone. The vet went and did his things in his mobile unit and we were able to with her for a bit more. The vet came back and carried her away in his arms, Just like a beautiful sleeping baby. It still hurts so bad and I miss her so much. Don’t get me wrong. Euthanasia is a difficult decision yet it give us the opportunity to help our furry babies pass with the love and dignity they deserve.

  13. Yesterday I had to put my sweet Daisy girl to sleep. She was diagnosed with such an aggressive untreatable cancer that she was deteriorating so fast.
    I made the painful decision to put her to sleep before she suffered too much. We were already pumping her full of meds to stop her vomiting & encourage her to eat.
    i organised with the vet to come to my home. I carried Daisy out to her room & tried to lay her on her blanket. Daisy saw the vet & nurse & knew & wanted to get away. I had to hold her tight. The vet tried so many times to get a vein and was shocked at how Daisy had deteriorated in a couple of days.
    She finally managed to find a vein in what a felt was a painful struggle & Daisy passed then peacefully as I held her face & looked in her eyes & told her how much I loved her.
    The pain is unbearable. I feel so awful having to hold my dog so tight so the vet could find a vein. She was scared & I did not want that for her.
    I want to remember her as the most magnificent loving dog, but now I am just in agony thinking of her last couple of minutes with me as a struggle.
    I understand now what unconditional love is, I just hope I can forgive myself & Daisy can too.

  14. Hi guys,

    I had my dog put to sleep today, a jack Russell of 16 years called buster, he was a rescue dog, I worked freelance so he was never alone in the years we had him, he lived with me and my son, we got him when my son started school age 5, my sons now 20 and today we had to let him go to sleep. He had heart problems, a leaky heart valve, he had almost gone blind and deaf but still enjoyed his walks and food, but suddenly at the weekend his back legs failed him, the vet thinks he may have slipped a disc in his spine and surgery was not an option with heart condition and age, we loved him dearly, we have used the same vet all his life he has been well looked after, and this morning we put him to sleep, I held him in my arms while the vet gave in the medication and he drifted of peacefully while I kissed and cuddled him, we buried him in our garden and planted some flowers around his grave. It’s so sad thinking of him in the ground and not in my bed as usuall, but we had no choice, he was distressed as his back legs failed him, he couldn’t toilet and was off his food, he vomited digested blood also this morning indicating a internal bleed so the desicion was made for us almost. Still it’s so sad. The vet said dogs don’t live long enough but just long enough to become a full part of ones life. We love you Buster. Your in peace now. We like to think he is still with us in somehow being in his fave spot in the garden. Be strong people and enjoy your dog every day.

  15. I’ve just come home from putting my 14 year old Pomeranian to sleep. She was an old lady but everyone always mistook her for a puppy because she was so energetic and full of life! I grew up with this dog. About ten days ago she became very ill with liver and pancreas problems. She spent the week overnight in the vets on a drip and was very poorly. I visited her every day. They let her come home for the weekend because her pancreatitis was seemingly improving, she just wasn’t eating. At home, we fed her chicken by hand and liquid food by syringe. Saturday she seemed much better, alert, barking, and running around. We went for a long walk Saturday and Sunday. Sunday night she became very ill and spent two night back in the vets. She developed ulcers in her eyes and they went blue and cloudy and bloodshot. The fur around her eyes was stained red-ish where they were weeping. Got the call last night to say she had liver failure and would have to be put down.

    I can’t stop crying. I feel like I should have put her down last week to stop her suffering. The vets verdict kept flipping between “she’s improving!” and “she’s deteriorating” and if there was a chance of recovery I couldn’t end her life. But now she’s gone anyway and I feel so guilty. I already miss her so much.

    When the vet started with the injection, she went from being very sleepy to very alert, she spun around for a seconds, almost falling off the table. Then her head flopped off to the side and she let out two cries. She passed away very quickly after that (under a minute) My question is: Did she cry because she was scared or in pain? This dog has always been scared of the vets, she always refused injections and pills. But the last week she either accepted and got used to the medicine and IV drips. I now feel like I tricked or betrayed her by allowing the lethal dose to put in her regular IV drip. Was she reacting to a difference in the temperature or “feel” of the anaesthetics compared to the regular fluids, rather than acting out in pain? Either way, she seemed quite frightened, and it was so upsetting to watch. I kind of wished I’d have waited outside instead although I wanted her to feel my hand on her body and hear me say “I love you” as she passed.

    A lot of joy has vanished from my life. I can’t believe we’ll never play or snuggle again, or hear her bark or feed her her favourite foods. We couldn’t even get her to eat a last meal and she had such awful trouble digesting fat towards the end she could only stomach bland foods like chicken or white fish.

    Nonetheless she was a great companion to me. She was as loyal and affectionate as anyone could hope for, and she often made me smile when I was feeling down. I can’t look at another dog without crying. I will love you always, my little Pom.

  16. Today Dip, our 15 year old beagle crossed the Rainbow Bridge. It was a tough decision to make but our vet always told us that when their quality of life changes and they have more bad days than good, you know it’s time. She was suffering from dementia and a collapsed trachea and it got to the point where she was having a hard time breathing, couldn’t walk or stand and stopped eating. It was so hard to see her like this so we knew it was time.

    The vet did not use sedation but instead started an IV solution. Dip did feel momentary pain as the vet inserted the IV needle but that was only a few seconds. The vet was very caring and consoled her after starting the IV. The medication was administered through the IV and took less than a minute before she stopped breathing. We were petting her the whole time and I stroked her face and whispered in her ear that she was a good girl and I loved her. The vet listened for a heartbeat and acknowledge that she was at peace now and left the room so we could have a few minutes alone with her.

    It was an emotional time but I know in my heart that this was the right thing to do. After she was gone… I noticed that there was a sense of peace about her and here face looked unstressed and relaxed. No more fighting to breath or trying to have the strength to stand up to go outside. We love you and will miss you but we will never forget you. RIP Dippy girl.

    • Sorry for you loss. Although a very tough decision, knowing you did the right thing when your baby is suffering will give you a sense of peace. RIP Dip

  17. I’ve had to have a few pets euthed and have attended for others…. as I understand it, any air left in their body or lungs is expelled as they nod off, sometimes as they exhale it and it can sound like a growl or a cry…. it’s not. They are feeling peaceful when you hear that, hard as it sounds. One of mine let out an audible sight of relief!

    • Thank you for that Dianne. As you probably noted in my post I chose to believe it was he was crying because he had to leave me. To think it was an audible sigh of relief makes me feel much better. Not a day has gone that I haven’t thought of him, missed him, thought I saw him in the house or riding not in my car. Sometimes it would be thoughts accompanied by laughter and other times with sadness. Then I would remember the sound he made and be completely devastated all over again. I made an audible sigh of relief after reading your post. I will still miss him every day but I think those thoughts will end differently now. Thank you.

  18. It’s been 7 months now since I put my Miniature Schnauzer Dexter to sleep. He was diagnosed with cancer (Osteosarcoma) and had to have his leg amputated. Numerous surgeries and 5 chemos later his tumor reappeared. It took less than a month for him to go from looking fine to running a contest nous high fever, breathing problems and his back legs starting to fail. As much as I didn’t want to acknowledge it was time, I knew I couldn’t let him go on a single day more. I made an appointment t consult wih the oncologist hoping to hear that he still had a chance to beat this but knowing I would not return home that day with him. After being told it was time, I was told by the vet I could take him home for one last day. I made the decision that if the prognosis was not good, I didn’t want him to suffer a minute more than he should. So the vet took him behind to insert the catheter. Brought him back in and allowed me all the time I needed to say my goodbyes. When I was ready, he came back in with 2 syringes and the explained to me what he was going to do and wha to expect (including the possibility of him taking deep breaths after the shots were administered and his eyes remaining open). I was in a state of shock amd in a daze as this was the first time I had to put a pet to sleep. I so wanted to hold him while he was given the shots but because I was in a daze, just stood behind him holdong his head per the vets instructions . As the first shot was being administered, he started to stand up and seem to struggle just a little before he slumped down. Then he seemed like he was asleep when th second shot was given. He took 2 more breaths and stopped breathing. At that moment he seemed at peace and I felt a sense of relieve knowing the last 7 months of treatments and surgeries were over and my boy will no longer have to be subjected to the horrors of living wirh cancer. I still can’t forgive myself till today for not holding him and letting me be the last thing he saw before he closed his eyes forever. To all those who have had to make that decision, it is the last act of love you give to your little ones. You know the enormous void it would bring and the grief you’ll have to endure but we know we do it for them and not for us. My condolences to all here who have lost their companions and may time heal and allow you to provide a home to another furry friend. Rest in peace Dex…I really miss you.

  19. My 13 year old very bright jack Russell knew me when I arrived at the vets, lucked my hand but was very poorly after a blackout. He was injected with lethal dose and died v quickly looked just as if asleep. So peaceful.

  20. Reading all of your comments has been so helpful yet tear jerking as today in 1.5 hours we prepare to say goodbye to our 15 year old baby. We don’t have children and she has been it for us so I am absolutely beside myself she got diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago and has been trucking on but last night we noticed she was walking very wobbly and her head was a bit crooked so we made the call. We had our family come and say goodbye to her and she thought it was a great party! I’m so pleased that our vet is coming to our home to do it and I am praying that it goes ok and isn’t too trumatic for her. It’s our same vet we’ve had for the last 15 years so seems fitting he helps her walk the rainbow bridge

  21. I am actually struggling with what action to take. My Bassett hound is 16 and Ive had him his whole life, he is one of my great loves. He had cancer on his spine which I could not afford to treat thru the vet so am caring and cleaning at home, today he has bloody runny poop but is still eating. I have been sharing my medications with him so he can sleep at night. He is and always had been a homebody he never ever likes to leave his yard even to go on trips. I want to send him to Mother Nature here in his own house/room/bed where he feels safe. Between my disabilities and my husbands I feel we can send him peacefully on in his favorite surroundings. If we knew what to give him, I will not take a chance on making him sicker or having him vomit, the meds I have given him where originally prescribed by the vet for a pulled muscle and when I realized they where the same as mine for a fraction of the price I was forced to make the choice this last time when his spinal cyst burst and he was In pain and am happy to do it. His refill is 250.00. Mine is 5. At any rate now is the time to end his suffering I am wondering g if people do this for their animals or is it just me and what mix he would need to make it just like going to sleep? For the vet to come to my house it’s 560.00 and I would if I could but cannot afford it at this time, he will be kept here at home with the other elderly fur babies who have passed here at home or at vet peacefully. Some feedback would be greatly appreciated. Don’t know if it’s fair to him or even legal. Just know if he could talk he would beg me to let him stay home. And I would

    • No please don’t do it yourself anything could go wrong and you don’t want to see your baby suffer more. It probably is also illegal. It shouldn’t be that much. You need to check other places. im sorry. I know it is so hard but maybe a vet will do payments. Please don’t do it yourself.

  22. My boy Stewie the pug turned blue when we woke up after having a really bad breathing night. He had been to the emergency vet a a few times before it had gotten that bad the last few years. Three years back he had throat and nose surgery and was fine for awhile. But his weight crept up and his airway got smaller and smaller. I knew I didn’t have time to take him across town to the emergency vet so I passed him off in sheer terror to a lady at the front desk of a vet clinic only two blocks away. After intubation, oxygen, catheter and IV placement, sedation and steroids, I went through the most agonizing hour of my life. Knowing that his congenital breathing issues would never get “better” and the fact that he was cyanotic (bright blue/purple), I had to make the decision. My heart was screaming so loud that I couldn’t but my gut knew it was his time. Although he was sedated I was able to comfort him and remind him that all of his family members loved him so much, saying sll of their names. His favorite thing to do was to “go to bed,” and he’d spin some 360s then jet back to the bedroom whenever I’d say that, ready and poised for some serious cuddling. So the last thing I said to him hugging him my best hug was “its ok, boy, you get to go to bed. I love you so much.”
    It’s been over three months now and I still cry myself to sleep about half the time. My doctor doesn’t think I’m depressed. All I know is that was the hardest day of my life and I’ve had some really hard ones.

    • Your sweet Stewie knew you were there. I truly they believe the can feel your touch and hear your voice. We had our Missy girl euthanized in our home on Nov 20th. I also cry a lot, and miss her so much. All the memorys actual make me so happy yet so sad at the same time. I can’t look at a picture of her without crying. My 8 yr old tells me it’s ok. He’s so strong. I told him it’s ok to cry and he said he was happy he knew Missy. Made me smile.

  23. I just had my 15 yr. old yorkie put down. It was so hard, but she went fast. My question is; I had given her a couple of oral doses of sedative, one in the morning and then about 1 1/2 hrs. before the vet. About 30 minutes before the euthanasia she start making TERRIBLE sounds, It was like she was screaming, but couldn/t open her mouth. I had NEVER heard this from her before. This was very traumitizing to me thinking I caused her to suffer by sedating her. These sounds were not a growling or low pitch cry like can be expected some times, they were high pitch yelping and she couldn’t move her mouth, though she tried.I really felt she was hurting and I caused this. My vet (home I trust and love) said when a dog is so heavily sedated that they can go “inside themselfs” and experience “dreams”/nightmares that can cause different sounds to come out of them. This was NOT a peaceful sound though. I can’t get this off my mind! Has anyone else experienced something like this? Do we know WHY and was it due to pain. I am praying that she wasn’t hurting before her trip to rainbow bridge. Please help me!!

    • If your baby was sedated, I am sure she didn’t feel anything. I am sure this was what your vet stated. Why did you have to sedate her instead of the vet. When my vet arrived to the house he then sedated my girl until we were ready to help her pass. It was just a injection in the leg that she didn’t even feel.

  24. Thanks Kelly M
    My vet had prescribed some oral pain medication to see if some pain in her back legs improved. I gave her one dose and before long she was so sedated she couldn’t use her back legs. Therefore,my vet recommended that medication to sedate her. I gave her a dose in the morning and then a second about 5 hrs. later: 1 1/2 hr BEFORE the euthinazia. She wanted to sedate her so she would not flinch when giving the injection for euthinazia. The yelping sounds started at home about 30-40 before I took her in and she was still doing it when arrived at vet. It was just a horrible yelp/cry that I had never heard before and hope I never do.My vet (as I was TRYING to say previously, but typing error) WHOM I trust & love said that some dogs make unusual sounds during heavy sedation.
    Thanks for your reply.

  25. Shannon Nelms

    I went with my best friend yesterday to have her dog put to sleep because it was in kidney failure. I assured her that it was a very peaceful process and I had just had my dog put to sleep a few month before and I had such a peace because my dog had went very peacefully. This was not the case with her dog. It evendently has a seizure going stiff with its legs straight out, showing teeth and head flinching back and forth. I hated so bad she had to see this. The dog was badly dehydrated and I wonder if this had anything to do with it. I can’t get this picture out of my mind so I know it must just be awful for my sweet friend remembering this happening to the dog she loved so much.

    • Can't stop crying

      That is exactly what happened with our beloved dog 3 weeks ago when we had to let him go. It’s supposed to be a peaceful process, where they are just “going to sleep”. He had been fighting an aggressive cancer for about 7 weeks, and was doing “ok” but we knew it wasn’t going to be long. Then that awful morning, out of nowhere, he began to hemorrhage so we knew it was time. By the time we got to the vet, he was so weak he was just laying there barely moving. But when the vet gave the first injection of the sedative into his thigh muscle, he SHRIEKED so loudly in pain and jumped back a foot into my husband’s arms and just glared at the vet. We felt awful. The vet said that was the worst part, and now it would take 5-10 minutes for the sedative to take effect so she’d give us some time alone with him. Less than a minute later, he started having these horrifying seizures, like your friend’s dog. He went stiff, all 4 legs stiff/straight out, with his toes curled under, his lips curled back all the way so you could see all of his teeth, clenched together, his eyes closed tightly, and he was just flinching back & forth. IT was NOT peaceful at all. It was terrifying. I ran for the vet to tell her something was terribly wrong, but by the time they could get the actual euthanasia drug into him, he’d already had 2 more seizures. My husband just kept holding him tightly & telling him it was going to be ok.

  26. Nathalie Fawaz

    My sweet, kind, beautiful girl was euthanized this morning. She went without a fuss and without any complaint, as she had spent her entire life. It was a peaceful way to go. A sedative took effect within about ten minutes, after that she was given the other injection, which put her to sleep within about a minute. She just went to sleep and didn’t wake up. The vet team was thoughtful and kind throughout the entire process. My heart is broken but she is better off. She is so missed.

    • Your baby girl is at peace now and she had VM pa very kind mother who eased her way across the rainbow bridge. My baby crossed the rainbow bridge a little over four months ago, and I still cry for him and think of him every day. But over time my deep appreciation for all the good times we shared crests my grief for his loss. Your heart feels broken but her love will help it heal stronger than it was before. She will be with you, always. Peace be with you, Nathalie.

  27. Two days ago I had my little girl Poptart relieved of her pain it was the hardest thing I ever had to do my son (29} and I cried like babies and It was done during regular office hours. Poptart when was returned from having the I do not what it is called for the meds to go in she was also tranquilized when she came back and so sad her tongue hung out of her mouth too drugged to pull it in I just kept kissing her and telling her I was sorry I know I put her out of pain maybe I kept her a week or 2 longer then I should have I don’t even want to come home to a empty house she is not there to greet me get under my feet or snuggle with me at night. Poptart was a pug mix small and loved to cuddle to the very end even on the way to the vet she nuzzled her nose in my neck I will always miss her….

    • gazercommastar

      You made the most loving choice for Poptart, Judy. I lost my pug Stewie in November, and although it caused me immense grief for months I know in my heart that I loved him so much and deserved to be pain free and at peace. Let the tears flow and when you think of Your sweet baby remember that she is forever grateful for the life you showed her and your graceful help in letting her cross the rainbow bridge. ❤️

  28. you need a edit button

  29. Just had our 18 year old dog put down this morning, his back legs were collapsing the last two nights weeing in his sleep, bed sore.When he had a poo he was sitting in it couldn’t get up and showing signs of testicular cancer, blood in his urine.He also started with dementia and some days whine, but he was a fighter though gone through so much and always pulled through. They tried to euthanise through his vien but due to old age his veins have collapsed.They gave him a sedative which took 20 minutes to take effect, they opted to inject in his kidneys after one vial no signs of going, it took three vials in his kidneys and two vials in his heart before he finally went to sleep.Vet said he never experienced this before as his heart was so strong it was a horrible moment as it was like my dog just didnt want to go, only happy moment was on the last vial he wagged just his tail and took last breath.I hope his wag of the tail was our old dog coming to get him. Miss him so much.

  30. I had my first euthanasia for my 16-yr-old cat at the vet’s office (unknown illness; the vet couldn’t figure it out but he was so debilitated it was time). I think it was bewildering for him as well as for myself. I wish I had been in his line of sight when his sight left him.

    I had my 19-yr-old cat (CRF; I made the decision to euthanize once her gums ulcerated so much she couldn’t even move her jaw without pain) given the shot at home. It was the most peaceful passing ever. She was able to go in my lap. It cost a couple hundred more, but was worth it.

    Now my Australian Shepherd is suffering greatly from cancer. A home euth would cost $650. In office, it would be $350. So it won’t be as perfect as outside in the front yard under the tree, but at least I can be there with her. And I can afford it.

  31. We just laid Buddy to rest today and he had a seizure due to the actual sedative. After a moment or two following I knew he couldn’t feel it but the reactions of my parents and brother was unbearable. I know he’s a peace now and I know he couldn’t feel it but it was rough. I feel it had to do with the mixture of his pain meds along with the sedative.

  32. oh my god heartbroken at some of these posts but glad i can see that i am not the only one suffering over the euthanasia of a beloved dog….my baby was only 4 and a half and it was horrific to say the least what we as a family endured but even worse how Rebel was treated! He had been limping for a few months on his left leg on waking and i took him to my vet who said he may have torn a ligament in his knee…anyway he started to have a cough and when i went to vet he said maybe kennel cough but not bad and treated him for a rash on his neck….weeks later Rebel would not get out of his bed and was limoing on his right leg and had diarrhea so back to my vet who did x rays and treated him for dehydration because of the diarrhea….that evening after he was on a drip all day we picke him up and were soo happy he was going to be ok according to our vet!! hip dysplasia maybe or cruciate ligament tear in knee and to bring him back next morning for iv for diarrhea….next morning rebel could not get up his back legs at all!! i rang vet to ask could he advise us on what to do as we coudnt get him to surgery..rebel was anxious plus quite heavy and i know the pain he seemed to be in he definitely may have snapped at or bitten one of us..plus he was just not in a fit state to move…so my vet advised us to keep trying as he was busy and said he would call at lunch time…lunch ime still no joy with getting rebel up and he was crying in pain when he tried move to get to his food..back end was seeming like paralised or painful…shuffling on his bum….vet finalkly after numerous phone converstaions said he would come but asked me is it time to say goodbye to rebel as he has shown hes difficult to treat and he isnt co operating?? i said no not unless you cannot help him and he said he cant walk and it looks like disc abruption??? oh my god but just yesterday you said it was hips or knees and he would be ok??? anyway i let the vet decide for me because i trusted him…i cannot ever get over how i am suffering wih losing my best friend and how i let this man decide for me….how could he assure me the night before Rebel would be ok and he following day decide to get rid of him?? he also said that i had waited sometimes to pay him so might struggle to pay for rebels care?? i always paid him although yes maybe delayed at times!! He also seemed to hold onto the fact that my dog bit when he was 1 year old and i paid for a dog therapist and he was sooo good since..vet even praised us on how far we had come with him!! What my vet wasnt prepared for was when my husband insisted on picking my 2 kids up from school to be there with rebel and how much they cried and begged him to do something because they were so shocked and didnt understand any of it!!! vet told me few days later if he would do anything differnt he would have tried keep rebel in his surgery and give the girls time with him…..my vet assumed the worst of us and of our situation without knowing us and he decided to put to sleep a very much loved dog because he was busy and could not waste anymore money trying to save our dog…..Rebel was a star and always will be to me…people would do well to learn from dogs..they never let us down but often we seem to fail them! my daughter whos an adult originally owned rebel and she moved out 5 months before he died…another factor in my vets thinking i believe but he never knew how much i loved him or how huge a part of my family he was!! never easy losing a loved pet but even worse when soo young..thinking of all of you who are sad because believe me every day my hearts broken!!

  33. My 18 year old 90 lb lab/chow mix dog RB (aka papa) was put to sleep 6/4 this year – he was a puppy n dying when i took him in and he repaid me in spaids….saving me. He kept me going through some of the most awful times in my life. RB was brave, loving and very kind. His favorite games were fetching the ball and bitting the water stream from the hose while i watered the grass. He also liked when i sang to him the “good morning” song. RB gave me a great life, and I miss him deeply but know it was the right decision and time to let him go….I chose for a vet to come to our home. This was a bitter sweet experiance, bitter because he was leaving and sweet because of the length of time i had with him n great memories and love he gave me. I am glad he was home in his chosen resting spot with all the pets n people present who adored him. RB did not like going to the vet, but he actually kissed the vet that came to our house 😌 Holly was compassionate, considerate, and patient with everyone especially RB, she petted and spoke to him very lovingly before anything took place and she did explain the process, allowing me to chose when to sedate and euthanize. As i embraced him and layed next to him i let her begin sedation then waited a few minutes to euthanize so i could hear him snore one last time, it could not have taken more than a few minutes for the process that gave my doggie his much needed rest… I am truly greatful and thankful to God for having had him in my life, for the vet who made this difficult time as peaceful and stress free as possible for all of us and for having the option of having those he loved and loved him near when he went to heaven…
    (I chose to have my RB’s ashes and ceramic imprint of his paw returned to me)

  34. Thank you all for making this a great forum to talk about the loss of a fur baby. It feels good to know I’m not alone. Reading these posts brought tears to my eyes & makes me want to share my story. I can’t stop crying because I too feel like I gave up on my Gabe, 9 year old dobbie, too soon. He lost the use of his back legs and could not move the entire bottom half of his body. It happened so quickly over a 1 week period. One day he was fine and the next he couldn’t walk. He was 80lbs and I couldn’t carry him to help him go potty. So when he lost the use to eliminate and pooped all in his bed I knew I had to do something. I went to our vet they said there was nothing to be done. He wouldn’t walk again. I didn’t like that response so I took him to another vet for a 2nd opinion. They did some tests on him and said the same thing. So I made the decision to let him go. I knew if I didn’t I would be selfish. But he loved running around outside, we chased each other playing hide n go seek. He always found me. He loved following me around- I loved my shadow, and sleeping in my bed which he had to jump up to get on the bed. He could no longer do that stuff. My heart broke at the thought of letting him go. The vet was very caring very kind and I’m so thankful to them for that. I took pics with Gabe, recorded giving him all the treats he wanted, I petted him, told him mommy loved him and he was such a good boy. Then vet came in the process was very peaceful and he just went to sleep. I was stunned as I walked out of the vet crying my heart out thinking I should’ve done more to keep alive. But my big boy had pride and I wanted him to go with some dignity. That all happened September 10, 2016 and I’m still crying over losing my best friend, my companion, my road dog, and forgive myself or let go and accept he’s gone. It helps a lot to know I’m not alone. That you and others have experienced this. So thank you all for your posts and for letting me pour my heart out in this forum.

  35. This morning we put our beloved Shadow down. She first got sick last November but did really well until this weekend. We had everything set up for a vet to come to our home to euthanize.
    She started dying on Saturday and no vet around the whole valley seems to work or be open on the weekends.
    So we had to take her to emergency care in the next town. I was so hoping she would die in her sleep last night. She looked so peaceful. But she was panicked and not doing well in the morning. It’s 4th of July weekend and we just hoped she could make it until Tue to pass away at home or even our local vet office. But it just wasn’t meant to be. On Saturday she kept wanting to be outside across the street from our house in the open space. Many neighbors stopped by to say goodbye. She was also surrounded by white butterflies often. We even had a red tail hawk circle us. By evening we had to carry her back inside. This morning my husband and two high school kids walked one last time with her to “the loop”. Where we took her treated us very well. Shadow has always been on the anxious side, but she was ok with all of us in the room. My husband carried her into the room where they sedated her. I thought he would be with her. They said he had to go. This is what is eating me up inside. He swears she was ok when he left. After a bit, they brought her back to is sedated, gave us time with her, then came in for the second injiection with us all there. The whole thing was very peaceful and closure for all of us to be there holding and talking with her. I’m not saying anything to my fiamily, but it’s so hard for me to know she was without us for the first injection and when they brought her back, she was pretty out of it. I wonder if she knew we were even there? I’m holding on by a string knowing brain activity goes last. It crushes me we weren’t in the room with her for first shot. Did it hurt? Was she freaked out? Is that why they do t let you stay. She was almost 12. Such a good girl.

    • Maribeth, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your fur baby. I too had to make the selfless decision to euthanize my sweet 9 year old Gabriel, last September. He was my best friend, my road dog, my velcro dog, my dogson, my everything, my companion. It still hurts 10 months later to know that my baby is gone and he will never return. It seems odd that your vet gave a shot to your pet and made you leave the room. When my Gabe was euthanized I was in the room with him the entire time. I gave him treats, we played, I took a video, I petted him, I held his head in my lap and the vet came in every so often to check on our status and see when I was ready. She put an IV in his leg and gave him a sedative so that he would not panic. Then when I was ready and only when I was ready she administered the lethal dose. It was all very quiet, very still and I talked and pet him the entire time. It did go by very quickly and quietly. Not sure why you were asked to leave the room. That doesn’t make much sense. I’m sorry you had to go through that.

      • Hi Melissa, thank you for your response. I’m glad your closure was peaceful for you and gabe:) I guess I must have miscommunicated. Our vet was gone for the holiday weekend, so we were at a hospital. We were in the room with Shadow before and after the euthanization. It was very peaceful and loving and beautiful closure for everyone. We did all hold her. What I was surprised at was they asked my husband to carry her to next room to put in catheter and they would bring her back in. They gave her the sedative to relax her and brought her back in. We got to spend time with her, then they came in and gave her second shot for euthanization. So we were there, just not when they first sedated her for the euthanization. That’s what is bothering me because I didn’t know they were going to do that. And not knowing what it was like for her. She was awake and heavily sedated when they brought her back in and let us tell them when we were ready for second shot. I’m only sharing this here because I would never with the kids.
        We had a very peaceful goodbye.

  36. We are putting my 12-year old son, Boomer, down tomorrow morning. My wife, daughter, and I have been crying non-stop. He takes a long time to stand up, sleeps all day, poops on the floor, has had a change in temperament… but he is still our boy. We got him the day before we were surprised with pregnancy–ha. My wife is severely disabled with Crohn’s disease. He has been with us through so many emergencies, lifesaving surgeries, celebrations of life–and we have decided to save his dignity.
    Hard to see what I am typing through the tears.

    We have struggled with keeping him for another 6 months–but I know winter will totally destroy his body. I am burying near my childhood dog at my parents an hour away. We will have a funeral for him. God will make a doggy door for him.

    • Although very hard to comprehend, you are doing the right thing. Out furry children have the right to dignity for all the love and support they have given us. Mine had the same problems and we helped her pass in November at home with all her loved ones. Although very difficult, we were able to feel a peace after as I’m sure you will also. You are a great person for helping your fur baby pass over to a beautiful pain free eternity. I am a believer that we will see them again some day.

  37. I just arrived home from having my dog euthanized. It was horrible. They didn’t ask if I wanted to have her sedated. The assistant came to get her to ” put a cathedor in for the Dr and a little sedative”. She brought my dog back and she was stiff , incoherent, and had frozen look of terror on her face. She never responded to me again. The dr put drug into her cathedor and told me she was gone. Horrible, horrible experience. Never again. I’ll never ever forget the frozen look of FEAR on her face. Never!!

    • I am so sorry you had that experience. We had our baby sedated also by our choice, but we had it done in our presence. They just give them a small shot under the skin that they do not feel. They then go into a deep sleep. I have not seen my girl sleep so Weil and so relaxed. We visited her for awhile until we were ready to help her pass over. Your baby is now in peace and you did the right thing if there was suffering.

    • Andrea, I’m so sorry you had such a horrible experience. That was not the right way to help your fur baby to pass on. My dobbie, Gabriel went to doggie heaven a year ago. I was so sad and pretty much hysterical when I learn that that my bug was never going to walk again. He was such an active baby that I couldn’t watch him everyday trapped in a body that wasn’t working. I wanted him to keep his dignity and not know why he couldn’t get up. The veterinarian and staff were wonderful and caring. They explained the entire process and I was with Gabriel the entire time. They put a catheter in his leg and left me to be with him for as long as I needed. I played with him, gave him all the doggie treats he wanted, and took pictures with him. The doctor even volunteered to take pics of us. While the thought of losing my bug and never seeing him again was beyond belief, the vet made the entire process as quiet and comfortable as possible. They even asked how I wanted to handle his body prior to the procedure as they knew I wouldn’t be able to focus after Gabe was gone. I am truly thankful for them. My baby passed quietly and peacefully. For that I feel blessed. I hope you never have to go through such a bad situation again.

  38. Yesterday I put my 24 year old bichon to sleep after a seizure that never ended. The medivet was amazing. I was and am a wreck, as just the day before she was completely normal, old but still running during walks. It was completely the right decision and I’m only sad I didn’t manage to do it before the seizure happened. Sending my love to all those who lost there best friends.

  39. Can't stop crying

    I had replied to an earlier poster who described EXACTLY what happened to our dog, but I’m reposting now to make sure people see it.

    It’s supposed to be a peaceful process, where they are just “going to sleep”, right?

    We lost our dog 3 weeks ago. He had been fighting an aggressive cancer for about 7 weeks, and was doing “ok” but at some point we just knew it wouldn’t be long. Then that awful morning, out of nowhere, he began to hemorrhage. When we arrived at the vet to put him to sleep, he was so weak he was just laying there barely moving. But when the vet gave the first injection of the sedative into his thigh muscle, he SHRIEKED so loudly in pain and jumped back a foot into my husband’s arms and just glared at the vet. We felt awful. The vet said that was the worst part, and now it would take 5-10 minutes for the sedative to take effect so she’d give us some time alone with him. Less than a minute later, he started having these horrifying seizures (like Shannon described in her earlier post). He went stiff, all 4 legs stiff/straight out, with his toes curled under, his lips curled back all the way so you could see all of his teeth, clenched together, his eyes closed tightly, and he was just flinching back & forth. IT was NOT peaceful at all. It was terrifying. I ran for the vet to tell her something was terribly wrong, but by the time they could get the actual euthanasia drug into him, he’d already had 2 more seizures. My husband just kept holding him tightly & telling him it was going to be ok. Has anyone else had this experience? I’ve had to say goodbye to several pets over my lifetime, and this never happened before.

  40. I had to put my beloved dog Chopper the Boxer to sleep Oct 31st 2016 after a long battle with cancer.I asked he be sedated before his final shot.I talked with him,petted him kissed and hugged him.Told him I loved him,and that I will miss him.Laid next to him as they gave him his shot put my arm around him so I could feel his heart,within 10 seconds he was in heaven with my mom who passed 4 months prior.

  41. I had my Charlie aged 12 years old, put to sleep December 2015. Charlie was incontinent and had problems with her pancreas both of these problems were been taken care of with medication and she was enjoying her life. Then I noticed she had a small swelling on her cheek which the vet and myself thought could be an abcess, she had several courses of anitibiotics which didn’t help so the vet decided to take a couple of teeth out which looked healthy. She also took a biopsy which when the results can back showed she had a very aggressive cancer of the jaw and life expectancy was three months at the most. Her beautiful face became quite swollen. Before I knew it was cancer the vet offered me tramadol for her, but because one of my other dogs having dreadful side effects with this I had refused it and just had metacam plus the two different antibiotics. I will never forgive myself for this, she must have been in dreadful pain. As soon as I knew it was cancer I took the chance and gave her tramadol, which she took with no side effects. She was at the vets every week, having the pressure in her eye taken and blood pressure also. She became scared of the vet and also became very wary of me approaching her ,as 8 times a day I had to give her medication of some kind, which she tried to resist. Obviously Each time I gave her medication I was having to hold her mouth which must have hurt. She was still enjoying walks and eating well even her dentastix. The last time I took her to the vets I had real trouble getting her in the room and she was trying to escape, she had no idea that the vet or myself was trying to help her, all she felt was fear, apprehension and pain when her face was touched . The pressure in her eye had gone up and the vet suggested more medication for this. I just didn’t want her to be frightened anymore, there was never going to be a happy ending to this so I asked the vet to come to our home and put Charlie to sleep. Her last day was to go on our usual walk up on the hill with Jack her brother and go in as many puddles as she wanted, eat as many rabbit droppings she wanted without me telling her no. I had a plate of cheese and sausage for her to have when the vet came. As soon as the vet can in she ran off round the room with Jack and tried to hide, she had become so frightened of the vet . I had to get her out from behind the Christmas tree while my son took Jack into another room. I had to hold her still and wrapped my arms around her while the vet put the needle in, I fed her the cheese and sausage till her body went limp, I can still feel the weight of her body in my arms a year on. I hate the fact that she had been frightened. If I had known just how frightened she would become of the vet and how apprehensive of me I would have had her put to sleep as soon as she was diagnosed. I let her down.

    • Christine we all think we let our pets down but we are with them during their last moments. I think that is all they would really ask of us is to be with them.

  42. Thank you Leigh for your reply. I actually came onto this site to ask about Euthanasia but after reading some of the moving stories people had left everything seemed to spill out and I left that massive post. I forgot to ask the question I originally intended to. Unfortunately my Labrador jack’s back legs have deteriorated and I know that at some point in the not to distant future I will have to say goodbye. The thing is Jack is a very nervous dog especially when he is going to the vet and has attempted to bite her on more than one occasion. She is a wonderful vet and very understanding and won’t even put a muzzle on him for fear of stressing him further. So I show her his teeth or whatever the problem is . Basically I do not want to have to have him muzzled on his last day as he will claw at his face and be even more fearful. One of my dogs many years ago had a sedative before the vet came, which did sedate her till the vet came, then she was very alert, the vet had a bit of trouble getting the needle in and she said that if you sedate them it’s harder to find the vein. I just want to try my hardest to get it right. I would welcome hearing from anybody who has had a wonderful dog like Jack with this nervous agression and how they helped to make their last day as stress free as possible.

  43. So, I had to have my Simba PTS yesterday morning. This is the second dog that I have done this for. This time it was different, not in a way that he suffered, was in pain, or had anyour issues. When the vet injected him with the sedation medicine he started to slump so I helped him lay down. I was at his rear end petting him with my head in his tummy and my husband was cradling his face. Simba layer there and stared my husband I the eyes and started crying. Tears just rolled out of his eyes and down his precious nose. This has me so distraught and upset. Like he didn’t want to leave and I did this horrible thing.

  44. Amanda, so sorry you have had to say goodbye to your dear friend. If it was just tears and no noise of crying then I have had a similar experience not with a animal friend but with my mother. I noticed that when she died tears came out of her eyes which I found distressing, so I spoke to the bereavement counsellor at the hospital and she told me that when someone dies all the muscles relax and that is why some people have tears when they pass away. I should think it is the same for our animal friends.

  45. My dog, Piper, seemed to fight the whole process, and I’m in agony remembering. She hated the ride to the vet. She fought relaxing after the sedative, and the fact that she kept trying to get back up haunts me. She was 16+ years old with terrible arthritis, she wouldn’t eat anymore, and was vomiting and incontinent. Was she not ready to go?

  46. Erin, I am sorry to hear of your experience of having Piper to sleep. I have been struggling with having had Charlie put to sleep and I know it won’t be long before I have to make that decision again for Jack her brother whose health is failing fast. From what you say about Piper it sounds as though you made exactly the right decision for her. From all the posts I’ve seen on various websites looking for answers and remembering my past dogs that I had to have put to sleep, these are normal questions that seems to creep into your mind. I have found this also happens with human family members and friends when they die . It’s the guilt of did I do enough? Could I have kept them for a bit longer? Was it to soon? It’s the grief and your heart speaking. You clearly loved Piper and I know that when you love your pet you struggle to come to that decision. It is a selfless decision , one that will break your heart, but you do it anyway for the love of your dog and to end the suffering. This is grief you are feeling. Yes she tried to get up after the sedative, she may have felt a little odd and no dog likes the vet. But those feelings were over for her so very quickly and she was released from her suffering after what must have been a very happy life with somebody who cherished her. I have had questions whizzing around my mind after every dog I have had put to sleep and also horrendous feelings of guilt . I still have it with Charlie who I lost 13 months ago. I have only recently been able to look at a photo of her although not of any where she is staring into the camera . I thought if I get some pictures out of all my dogs those who have gone and those still with me, ones that are of happier times, when they were young and up to mischief, I’ve stuck them all over he fridge and it has helped. I look at them several times a day and remember those far away times when they were full of energy and living their lives at a hundred miles per hour. Take care.

    • Oh my goodness, thank you so much for your kind words! Your story and your advice were just what I needed. I’ll be putting up photos of all my babies and remembering the good times. Thank you again and be well:)

  47. My 13 year old golden retriever (and best friend), Tucker, was put to sleep this week. Despite vitamin supplements and medication, he needed assistance getting up for the past 2 months and he finally could not fully stand on his own because of weakness. He went down hill very quickly and we knew it was time the day he stopped eating. Tucker HATED being taken to the vet. We requested that our vet visit the house to put him down. While it was an extra charge, it made the entire process so much easier for both us and for Tucker. The vet came from behind him, so Tucker never knew he was even there and was sedated first. This too made it a little easier to say goodbye before he left us and gave us a few extra moments. He died peacefully in his bed in his house with familiar surroundings and all of us present touching him as he made this transition. Also, we are fortunate enough to have a pet cemetery/crematory in our city. We contacted them right after making the appointment to put Tucker down and arranged for them to pick him up from the house about 45 minutes after he would be gone. We chose cremation, but everything was lined up and and it gives us some sense of closure. Our hearts, however, are still breaking.

  48. Sorry for your loss. if you are able to have the vet come to your home it has to be better for the whole family including the dog. I have had the vet come to my home for all of my dogs , each time I have thought if I could have made it better. The last one 13 months ago tried to hide behind the Christmas tree , she had become really fearful of the vet due to the amount of times she had to go to the vets because of her cancer of the jaw, but saying that she still managed to eat the cheese and sausages that I fed her whilst it happened. Her brother has DM and he has deteriorated faster than I thought he would . Can’t always get up, is walking about half the distance in than did a month ago, wearing the back of his nails and doesn’t always know when he needs to poo . He’s still eating and has short walks, wants to runs for the ball but can’t, he has his check ups and meds from the vet .All his problems I can get round at the moment. Don’t know how long it will be till I have to make the decision, but will do my best to make it the least stressful I can for him. What happens after I don’t even want to think about.

  49. I’ve lost dogs a couple of ways in my life and euthanasia was by far the Hardest. Deciding to let her go almost broke me, but protecting her from pain was the ultimate goal. Sedation helped so much. We got to talk to her and cry like babies while she got to be herself and slowly get sleepy. She felt weird and slowly leaned up against me into what would be her final position. She was so numb her tongue stuck out but she was happy up against me. The final injection came and took effect almost immediately. She had a final shift (barely noticeable) and she was gone. I highly suggest sedation.

  50. We made the very difficult decision to put our beagle/basset down last night. One of the absolute hardest thingso I’ve ever had to do. We rescued him from a shelter you years ago. He had bad back legs and had arthritis in them as well. He started having problems wherelated he first stated limping 2 years ago. We have everything had him on and off pain pills. One day he seemed fine and then the next maybe not so good. He has slowly just gotten worse. We knew that we would have to make this decision at some point … i just thought it would’ve been later. 3 weeks ago he just went downhill. He was all there in the mind. But couldn’t go up our stairs at all anymore. Couldn’t get up on our bed anymore with our dog stairs. He just kinda laid around as much as he could.

    I would’ve kept him here forever if I could. But I know that would’ve been selfish of me. It was no way for him to live. I am trying to remind myself he is no longer in pain. That we gave him a happy loving home! But it was still so hard! I am a mess. Crying all of the time wondering if we made the right decision.

    We decided to go with the sedation before hand. He never liked the vet so he was very anxious anyway. My boy didn’t appear to go peacefully with the sedation though. His head began to go back and forth like seizure activity and his tongue instantly hung out of his mouth and he Bagan to breathe differently. I really need to know …. was he in pain from this sedation? Was he terrified? He just didn’t calm down and go straight to sleep …. i need to know! I laid on the floor with him holding him, petting him, kissing him and talking to him hoping he knew I was there! The actual I’ve drug was fast acting. He was gone in less than a minute. I need to know he didn’t suffer and wasn’t in pain during the minutes before that after the sedation drug.

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