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What happens when you euthanise a dog?

Having to euthanize their faithful companion is something many dog ​​owners fear. When is the right time to euthanise and how is it done? Here we explain how the euthanasia and the care afterwards take place.
Senior Pointer dog outside

Where will the euthanasia take place?

The most common is that the euthanasia takes place at a veterinary clinic, but some veterinarians make home visits to carry out the euthanasia in a home environment. 

Many clinics have adapted their design in understanding the great sadness that euthanasia in many cases entails for the animal owner. For example, many clinics have specially designed rooms for euthanasia and many times separate entrances/exits to the corridor outside, so that you avoid meeting other people as much as possible afterwards.

You may also pay for the procedure before it takes place so that you don't have to deal with it afterwards. 

What happens when a dog is euthanised?

Usually, your dog will first receive a sedative. Whilst it kicks in, about 15 - 20 minutes, you often have the opportunity to sit alone with your dog for a final farewell.

After this, the vet then injects a special liquid directly into the blood. This is often by cannula into the blood vessel of the foreleg so that more euthanasia liquid can possibly be injected, if needed, without another injection. 

The liquid consists of anaesthetic preparations and is basically an overdose of sleeping pills. Usually, the dog falls asleep calmly and undramatically. If the dog is worried before the vet visit, you can first give it a sedative so that it does not have to feel unnecessary stress. 

Caring for the body

The large animal hospitals may be able to help you cremate your dog. Some smaller practices lack the resources to take care of the dead dog, and the dog owner must then arrange for the burial of the body themselves or arrange for the body to be transported to a destruction facility.

Destruction facilities are available at garbage stations and can be used to cremate dogs. Most facilities have a serious approach to cremation and many have elaborate procedures for separate cremation if desired. If the dog is left at the vet, for hygienic reasons it is stored in a plastic bag in a cold or freezer room until it is transported to the destruction site.

Make sure you speak with your vet about the process beforehand.

Moving on

For many who have lost a dog, it feels impossible to immediately get a new one. You feel a loyalty to the deceased dog and feel that you will never get a dog that can replace them. You also feel that you don't want to expose yourself to the grief of losing a dog again.

However, many choose to get a new dog after a while. Then it can be good to think that the new dog does not "replace" the old one. Each individual is unique and the new dog is not meant to take the place of the old one. Your old partner will forever have a unique place in your heart, but that does not prevent there being room for a new friend who can give you completely new experiences.

One way to give the old dog's life a meaning is actually to use what you learned together with that dog, in order to have a good life together with your new dog. And even if the grief is not something you ever wish for again, you must not forget that it is preceded by many, many years of joyful companionship with the dog.

Having a dog positively affects the quality of life - anyone who has had the privilege of sharing their lives with a four-legged friend knows that. Studies show that health and well-being are improved through the community and physical activity that dog ownership entails. As important as it is to give the grief of the old dog space to heal, it is equally important to let dog ownership continue to be a valuable part of life.

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