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In-Home Euthanasia for Dogs

Learn about in-home euthanasia of dogs.

Probably the most difficult part of dog ownership is the end. It's so hard to lose your dog, and making the decision to let him go can be heart-breaking.

In many communities, there are veterinarians who will come to your home to perform euthanasia for your dog. There are some considerations involved with deciding whether that option is right for you.

What Is Euthanasia?

Euthanasia is the process through which medication is used to cause death. Usually, in dogs, this is done through an intravenous injection of an overdose of anesthetic. The veterinarian may place an IV catheter in your dog's vein prior to the procedure. That allows the doctor to use the catheter to inject the euthanasia solution without being affected if the dog moves around.

Sedatives may or may not be given to the dog prior to the euthanasia solution. Some dogs must be sedated to be still enough for the venipuncture. However, those drugs can lower a dog's blood pressure, making it more difficult to hit a vein, too. Concurrent illnesses will also be taken into account for this decision.

Once the euthanasia solution injection begins, the dog will usually lose consciousness peacefully within 30-90 seconds. Breathing and heartbeat cease after that. The process may take longer if a dog has certain types of tumors, heart disease, or poor blood pressure.

How Do You Know When It's Time for Euthanasia?

It is an extremely emotional process to decide when the time is right to euthanize your dog. Your veterinarian can help you make this determination based on the dog's condition and quality of life. In general, if your dog is not enjoying the things that he always did, such as playing and participating in family life, it may be time to ask the vet about euthanasia.

Is Home Euthanasia Right for My Dog and Me?

For many people and dogs, euthanasia at home is a good option. Many dogs are fearful of the veterinarian, and being at home can eliminate or greatly reduce that anxiety. It also allows you to feel more comfortable and at ease.

Some people do not want to have their dog euthanized at home because they feel that it will be too difficult for them to confront the memories every time they go into that room. It's important to explore your own feelings on all of the issues surrounding euthanasia and having it done at home. Have a detailed discussion with your veterinarian about the process, what happens, the unpleasant things that might occur, and be sure that all of your questions are answered.

Having euthanasia performed at home for your dog can offer you more options than having it done at the veterinary clinic. Your dog may be able to lie in his favorite bed, you can have special music, or you may be able to keep a small dog on your lap.

No matter what, the decision to euthanize your dog is a painful one. At-home euthanasia may help relieve some of the associated stress and make it just a bit easier for you.

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