The Euthanasia Process

The most common method involves the completely painless process of injecting an overdose of anaesthetic through a vein in the dog's front leg. The dog quickly falls into a deep sleep, then passes gently away. Sometimes, a vet will fit a catheter into the vein to give the owner more room to cuddle and comfort the dog, while an anxious or 'vet-phobic' dog may also be given a sedative to calm them.

Once the overdose of anaesthetic has been injected, the dog passes away in a matter of seconds. The whole process can be over in as little as 5 to 10 minutes, but to ensure owners have sufficient time to say goodbye to their pet, most vets usually plan for things to take much longer. Whether or not to stay with your dog is a very individual choice. Some owners feel they should, and indeed want to be there for their dog, right to the very end. Others believe it will be too traumatic. Talk to your vet to work out which option is right for you.

After the injection has been given to your dog, the veterinarian will use a stethoscope to listen for a heartbeat. When the drug has taken its effect, your dog will go limp in your arms and feel totally relaxed. Your veterinarian will then confirm that your dog has passed away. It's worth knowing that in some, but by no means all cases, especially with older dogs, you may notice a few reflex breaths, loss of bowel or bladder control, or muscle twitching after the euthanasia. And sometimes an extra dose of anaesthetic may be required. Be reassured though, that if this is the case, the dog will be in a deep sleep and won't feel a thing.

There are several options. Some owners will take their dog to bury at home; others may choose to have the body cremated. Ashes can be kept in a special urn or can be scattered in a favourite place or Garden of Remembrance. It's a very personal choice. Take your time, and choose the option that feels right for you and your family.

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