When to Consider Pet Euthanasia at Home
Deciding exactly when to put your dog down requires more than just a checklist. As a part of your family, you will know your pet’s normal demeanour, energy levels, appetite and behaviour. Your vet cannot make the decision for you, but they are an invaluable resource you can contact to help decide when the time is right.
What is crucial is that we don’t hang on to a pet who is suffering for selfish reasons. It’s heartbreaking to let a beloved pet go but sometimes when they are suffering it can be the kindest thing we can do for them.
Some things to consider which may indicate it is time to consider in home pet euthanasia are:
- Your pet in constant pain than cannot be alleviated with pain relief or treatment
- Your pet is suffering from an incurable disease which has now caused their quality of life to deteriorate to the point where they no longer appear happy
- The treatment of their disease is no longer possible. For example an inoperable cancer or disease no longer responding to treatment. It may also be that finances are no longer available to continue treatment.
- Your pet has stopped eating, is consistently vomiting, unable to go to the toilet or other symptoms which indicate a poor quality of life for the future.
A caveat to this I want to point out is that you should not assume your pet’s condition is untreatable. Always consult a vet first to discuss your pet’s situation. Get all of the options first before making your final decision. For instance an old dog who is having difficulty walking may benefit from a different combination of medications that may give them a second wind and get them up and walking again.
To be present or not?
This is a very personal choice. Some people cannot bear the sight of their pet breathing their last breath. Others want to comfort their pet right up until the end and not be separated. Both are perfectly acceptable responses to the euthanasia process.
One of the benefits of the way we perform an in home pet euthanasia is the fact that we use pre-euthanasia sedation. This has the benefit of relaxing your pet so that they are unware of when the euthanasia event happens. They just slowly drift off into sleep. The added benefit is that some pet owners choose to stay for the 5-10 minutes while their pet becomes sedated so as to comfort their pets. But then when the pet is unaware of what is happening and the final euthanasia needle has to be give intravenously, they choose to step out of the room for this part.
An important point to consider also is if you would like children to be present if you have them, as well as other pets in the household.
Dealing with Grief
Individual people respond differently experiencing the loss of a pet after euthanasia. Besides sorrow, you may also experience the following emotions:
I’ve often seen pet owners rack themselves with guilt, suggesting they could have done more, or could have gotten on top of their pet’s condition earlier. Even people who have done everything “right”. It is pointless to burden yourself with things that are often accidents or diseases beyond your control. Pet’s also can’t talk which sometimes makes it difficult to identify when an issue arises. Thinking this way will not change what has happened, and will only prolong your grief.
This emotion makes it hard to accept a pet is really gone. It’s hard to accept the loss of a pet, when you are so used to their everyday presence. Small things like the act of feeding them or their evening walk can become part of our daily routine. Some people may also find it hard to move on or to love another pet as a result.
Sometimes this can be direct toward the illness that claimed your pet, or in an accident, the driver of a vehicle or owner of another dog. It can also be directed to the veterinarian who in spite of doing everything they could for your pet weren’t able to save them. It is okay to be angry that an illness has claimed your pet, but try not to dwell on it for long, as it may only serve to prolong your grief.
This can be a normal part of the progression of the grief process. It’s one that usually only time will heal. If you find yourself in need of support be sure to seek help from your GP or groups like lifeline.org.au
Grief is a normal response to the loss of a pet. So don’t bottle it up inside but express your grief so as to attempt to overcome it. The fact that we feel such sorrow is a testament to how great our pets really are and the bond we shared with them. We have to remember the reasons why we are so attached to them. All their unique features. The good times. The fond memories when they did something silly or made us laugh.
Find a place for them in your household where you can continue to remember them. You may wish to place their ashes and a photo of them on the mantle along with a candle and a paw print. Focus on the positive part of owning a pet and don’t let this temporary loss from preventing you from opening your heart and your home up to another in the distant future. They bring us so much joy, which is why we develop such a strong attachment to them.
How much does it cost to euthanize a pet?
Pet euthanasia is usually based on weight and can range from $250 for a pet under 10kg, to $350 or more for a pet over 40kg.
Is pet euthanasia painful?
The pet euthanasia injection is a bit like an anaesthetic overdose so there is no pain involved. A pet drifts from consciousness, to unconsciousness to passing. Most vets will also give a pre-euthanasia sedative to make sure the pet is as peaceful as possible.
How long does it take to euthanize a pet?
A pre-euthanasia sedative is usually given under the skin which takes 2-10 minutes for your pet to be fully relaxed. After this the final injection is given in a vein, usually in the front leg. This is quick acting, and pet’s normally pass peacefully within 30 seconds on average.
How do I know when it’s time to euthanize my dog?
When it is not possible for them to maintain a good quality of life. For instance, untreatable disease, invasive cancer, protracted vomiting, not eating, difficulty walking or severe trauma. Humane euthanasia may also need to be considered when financial limitations prohibit treatment when no suitable alternative can be found. If in doubt, speak to your veterinarian.
What to do with dogs after they are put down?
Many people will have their pet cremated and ashes returned in a memorial urn or wooden box for safe keeping. Others prefer to bury their pets in their yard. If neither of these is an option, many crematoriums offer group cremation and disposal of ashes. This represents a low cost, yet environmentally friendly, solution to disposal of pet remains in a respectable manner.