Euthanasia is a difficult subject to discuss, but for many pet owners this is the process that allows them to say goodbye to their pets in a peaceful manner. The euthanasia process itself is often not well understood, and in some cases this can lead to confusion and additional upset when a pet needs to be euthanized.
While it may be difficult to read about the euthanasia process, knowing what to expect can help pet owners to prepare themselves for this time.
Overview of the Process
A quick and painless death is the goal of the euthanasia process, so most veterinarians do not euthanize an animal without an initial sedative injection. This sedative is often in the form of a pre-anesthetic, and the sedative's purpose is not only to relax the pet but to help the veterinarian to administer the euthanasia quickly and efficiently.
The injectable euthanasia solution is normally administered in the vein in one of the front legs. Your veterinarian may need some time to find the vein, and in cases where the pet is severely ill, or quite elderly, finding a good vein may take a few extra minutes.
Once euthanasia is administered death is almost instantaneous. Many pets exhale a large breath and their bowels relax, and the veterinarian will check the heartbeat to confirm that it has stopped.
There is no right or wrong way to feel about euthanasia, and pet owners should feel free to grieve in their own way. Veterinarians will accommodate pet owners during the euthanasia process, and they know that every pet owner handles euthanasia differently. Tell your veterinarian if you want to hold your pet during this time, if you want a few moments with your pet after it has been euthanized, or any other requests that you may have.