Putting A Dog To Sleep One Of The Toughest Decisions You Will Ever Make
"If you are a pet owner there may come a time when you are faced with the dilemma of whether putting a dog to sleep is ethically the right thing to do or not.
It's now been three months since I had to make that decision and still I reflect on it. The hardest part is actually making the decision that it is the best thing to do for your four legged friend.
What is involved?
Naturally you should consult with your vet and ask about all your options before making any decisions. Depending on the condition of your pet's health, dog euthanasia may not be the only course of action. Can surgery or drugs help to extend their life? Will they suffer if I do not put my dog to sleep? What will be their quality of life be like if you do nothing? These are all very important things to consider before going down the path of putting a dog to sleep.
If there is no alternative then your next step is to carefully pick a day for this to happen. I recommend that you take the day off work as it will be very distressing and you will not feel like doing anything other than grieving. After all you are saying goodbye to a loved one.
I had no idea the trauma it would cause and just how bad I would feel afterwards. There is always an element of guilt even though you have done everything possible to keep them alive, pain free and happy. I don't think I stopped crying for three days despite the fact I made the decision knowing it was the right thing to do for my best friend of 14 years.
Putting a dog to sleep is not in any way a painful procedure in fact that is the easy bit. The vet merely administers a larger than normal dose of aesthetic. This puts your dog to sleep in a few seconds, once a sleep the aesthetic then causes the heart to stop. Your dog will feel no pain or discomfort. All you are aware of is that your pet has gone to sleep. The vet will then give you time alone with your dog to say your goodbyes.
Another very important decision to be made prior to the day is what you want to do with your dog's body after they have passed away. Arrangements have to be made and your vet notified.
You have a few options:
1. Do you take the body home with you where you can bury it in a special place in your garden. Although not everyone has a garden or suitable place in which to bury a dog. (No cost involved)
2. Cremation, without keeping the ashes. This is usually done by a cremation company which your vet will arrange on your behalf (Nominal charge for this service)
3. Cremattion and you keep the ashes to take home with you. (The most expensive choice)
Regardless of what choice you make about the body disposal. It is important that you consider holding a memorial service or gathering of family to say your goodbyes. I found this was the best thing we did as it helped with the grieving and gave me a chance to end the overall process. We were travelling at the time so had no place to bury our little friend and could not take the ashes with us. So we went to a place we had all enjoyed walking together and the two of us held a brief ceremony to say a few words, leave flowers and a plaque. It really helped me move on and I felt more at peace afterwards.
Putting a dog to sleep is not an easy thing to do but sometimes it is the best thing we can do. One thing you can be assured of; the good memories of times spent with your pet will stay with you long after your dog has gone and the memory of the day you said goodbye will slowly fade away."