How To Euthanize A Dog With Sleeping Pills: The Complete Guide


dead dog after euthanasia

Dogs may become a valuable member of the family over time, thanks to their loyalty which means standing by us during the good and the bad. Unfortunately, a time comes when every dog owner has to make the heart-breaking decision of putting their furry friends down.

This is usually due to severe health complications that may be affecting the quality of your beloved pooch’s life.

The miserable effects of old age can also make dog euthanasia a sensible option particularly when the canine is showing signs of pain and distress day in day out even after repeated treatments.

But whatever the underlying conditions, putting your favorite little guy to eternal sleep with prescription pills at home may not be the way to go.

When Is The Right Time to Euthanize Your Dog?

Many of us are committed dog owners with a desire for only the best for our beloved pooches who often become more like family members than friends. It can be distressing to see a once active canine saddled with problems that make it obvious that it is suffering at every minute of its existence.

Two main complications may inform a dog owner to euthanize his or her beloved pooch and these problems can be grouped into:

Mental Problems: As the effects of aging and the scars from battling illnesses and infections take a toll, the mental health of dogs can deteriorate rapidly. This can transform a once vibrant canine into a pale shadow of itself.

A few mental health signs that may tempt a dog owner to seriously consider euthanasia may include:

  • Canine dementia 
  • Severe anxiety from pain 
  • Long-term aggressiveness
  • Insomnia and the inability to relax 
  • Severe Irritability 
  • Lack of interaction with other dogs and humans 
  • Lack of interest in once-favorite toys 

Physical Problems: A wide range of physical problems can affect dogs as they approach their twilight years. Unfortunately, even those that receive the best veterinary care throughout their lives eventually succumb to these problems.

When you spot any of these physical signs in your beloved furry friend, it may time to seriously consider putting it down once and for all:

  • Kidney failure 
  • Mobility problems
  • Severe arthritis and pain 
  • Inability to eat 
  • Inability to control the bladder and bowels 
  • Frequent falling down 
  • Refusal to move under any circumstances 
  • Severe breathing difficulties 

In most cases, these mental and physical problems creep in slowly over time and as a dog owner, it might be a good idea to hold onto the pet for as long as possible. Sure, there might be good and bad days and in the initial stages, the good may outnumber the bad ones.

However, when it gets to the point where almost every day ends up being bad for the little guy then it may be time to consider bringing the suffering to a permanent end.

Speaking to your Vet before making the final decision on whether to end the dog’s life can be a smart idea. Who knows? The symptoms could be more manageable than you may have feared after it receives the necessary treatment.

Should You Euthanize a Dog That Keeps You Up At Night?

No committed dog owner can get a sound night of sleep when his dog is suffering at night. This may happen occasionally at any stage of a dog’s life. However, do you put down a dog that is increasingly causing sleepless nights to the point where it is affecting the ability to drive, operate heavy machinery, and stay productive at work?

I’d recommend that you should. While it may sound like the most selfish decision in the world, note that the dog’s mental and physical suffering is what keeps him awake at night. And the endless sleepless nights can expose you to a wide range of problems including a higher risk of suffering accidents.

If no form of veterinary treatment can help improve its quality of life, it may be time to let the canine go once and for all.

Reasons Behind People Euthanize Their Dog With Sleeping Pills

The decision to put down a beloved dog can lead to lots of sleepless nights. But why would anyone prefer the use of sleeping pills when there are better and more humane options out there?

Here are some of the reasons proponents of dog euthanasia with sleeping pills cite for the practice:

1. Cheap

Euthanizing a pooch with sleeping pills may cost next to nothing and this can be an attractive proposition for anyone who’s strapped for cash.

According to SheKnows, Vets charge anywhere from $50 for low-income owners to $125 to put a dog to eternal sleep. Then there’s the cost of cremation which starts at $85 for those 30 pounds or under to $165 for breeds weighing over 100 pounds.

Apart from these, Vets may also charge additional costs such as examination fees (for dogs they’ve never treated in the past), as well as for urns (for those who want to receive the crematory ashes).

Thus, the costs of euthanizing a dog can quickly add up. No wonder owners for whom money is tight may be tempted to resort to sleeping pills.

2. Convenience

Putting your dog to sleep at home can be more convenient than driving to a veterinary clinic or pet crematorium. It cannot only save you the cost of gas but can also be time-saving for those with tight work schedules.

Sure, some Vets provide at-home euthanasia services but that can lead to additional costs. In theory, euthanizing a dog with sleeping pills just involves getting your furry friend to swallow the pills and watch slowly as its heart comes to a halt.

No wonder many dog owners are easily convinced that this method of DIY euthanasia can be a convenient option.

3. You Want the Dog To Die At Home

Euthanasia with sleeping pills may also seem like a great idea among owners who prefer that their dogs spend their last moments at home surrounded by friends and family members.

Sure, finding at-home Veterinary euthanasia services can be easy among city residents. But if you live in a small rural town, this option may be hard to come by. Feeding sleeping pills to the dog in the comfort of your home may seem tempting.

Reasons Why Euthanizing A Dog With Sleeping Bills is a Terrible Idea

Putting down a dog at home by yourself may seem like a good idea in theory. But, it can be a bad practice that may end up doing more harm than good. Here are a few reasons why you should never consider euthanizing a dog at home with sleeping pills.

1. Inhumane 

Euthanasia with sedatives can be a terrible way to end your beloved pooch’s life. While most people view the method as an effective one, in theory, the opposite can be true in reality.

Firstly, sleeping pills are supposed to be taken orally meaning they require some time to settle before their effects can be felt.  Even after ingestion, your dog will likely feel severe unease and extreme suffering leading to a higher probability of vomiting the pills out.

Whatever traces of the pills remain in the stomach after vomiting may lead to signs such as foaming in the mouth and breathing problems. However, the chances of the remaining dosage of sleeping pills being strong enough to stop the dog’s heart may be minimal at best.

Thus, your furry friend will probably go through a grade deal of suffering and be shaken to its core but may still survive the ordeal.

2. Pills Require Prescription

different pills on a yellow background

Pentobarbitals are short-acting barbiturates popularly used as sedatives during medical procedures or for the treatment of certain types of seizures. These medications can cause death when taken in excessive quantities.

If you’re looking to euthanize a canine, over the counter sleeping pills may just not cut it because even in excessive quantities, their effects may not be enough to stop a dog’s heart. These pills typically only end up causing pain and suffering.

If you’re hellbent on euthanizing your furry friend with sleeping pills, Pentobarbitals can provide the highest chance of success. However, these medications are highly controlled and are only available on prescription bases.

Can you imagine having that conversation with your doctor or veterinarian about getting a prescription to put down your dog?

3. Illegal 

Putting a dog to death with sleeping pills as an owner may be against the law regardless of which US state you live. Regulations from the American Veterinarian Medical Association emphasizes that euthanasia is the preserve of licensed veterinarians.

In case of accidents where a veterinary doctor may not be readily available, a law enforcement officer or official from the local animal control unit can come in handy. According to the law, these officers may be able to put down pets going through severe pain and discomfort for humane reasons.

Euthanizing a dog as an owner can land you into serious legal issues with consequences such as monetary fines and even jail time. 

4. Wrong Dosage 

As an unlicensed veterinarian, how would you even know the right dosage of sleeping pills to euthanize a dog? Any attempts may be a trial and error at best which can only lead to terrible consequences for the already distressed dog without necessarily killing it.

No licensed veterinary doctor will condone mercy killing of a dog at home by an unlicensed owner when the action is illegal. Therefore, reaching out to one for dosage instructions cannot be a realistic option.

Any attempts at putting the dog down on your own can be a massive failure with serious consequences. Even if the dog successfully dies, witnessing it going through so much pain in its final hours can lead to mental scars that may last forever.

5. No Anesthesia at Home

The first step towards euthanizing a sick dog is the injection of common anesthesia such as Propofol by a Vet. This provides slight sedation for the dog before the fatal injection of Pentobarbital is given.

The anesthesia typically offers euphoric effects that may relax the dog’s muscles to make its final moments as painless and peaceful as possible.

Euthanizing a dog at home means no access to Propofol and another anesthesia alternative that can reduce the pain.  This is because Propofol is a closely controlled substance available via prescription only.

Sure, you may opt to go ahead with the euthanasia process without anesthesia but even if it ends up being successful, it can be extremely slow and painful.

Your beloved pooch deserves much better than going through extensive pain and distress during its last moments. This is why Veterinary experts recommend that you avoid the temptation of trying to put down a dog at home with sleeping aids because the results will only be catastrophic.

What Is The Best Way To Euthanize a Dog?

As previously discussed, the best way to euthanize a dog is to leave it to professionals with the necessary skill and experience. Veterinary doctors can put down any animal with speed and as much discomfort as possible.

After being a loyal and valuable member of the family, you owe it to the canine to ensure that its final moments are spent in peace and tranquility. Here are the most human options to euthanize your favorite dog.

Veterinarian

dog being injected by a Veterinarian

Your Vet should be the obvious choice after making the painful decision to bring a beloved canine’s life to an end. This decision may not be taken lightly but once you come to that conclusion, there’s no one better to call than a Veterinary doctor.

Most Vets will examine the physical and mental condition of the dog and offer suggestions that may improve the little guy’s level of comfort without necessarily putting it down. This can be relieving for families who may be struggling to let go of their favorite dogs.

However, if nothing can be done to improve the pup’s quality of life or you’ve simply made the decision to end its life, the Vet will go ahead to formulate the right medication for euthanasia.

An important factor Vets take into consideration include the breed and size of the dog as this can help them come up with the right dosage of medicines.

A sedative is typically injected to daze the dog slightly, after which a more powerful medication is injected directly into its veins. 99 percent of the time, these drugs cause dogs to slip into peaceful sleep until their hearts stop beating.

Animal Humane Society 

The Animal Humane Society is a not-for-profit organization that provides affordable end-of-life care for pets. If you’re strapped for cash, the AHS can come in handy by providing professional pet euthanasia services for a fraction of the cost.

Once you decide to euthanize, you can log onto the AHS website or call the Pet Helpline on 952-435-7738. 

For as little as $110, you can get the pooch euthanized by a Vet and communally cremated without additional costs.

Conclusion 

Euthanizing a dog with sleeping pills can be an inhumane practice resulting in untoward pain and suffering for your valued canine. While it may seem like a cheap way of putting a dog to sleep once and for all, these pills can be ineffective in most cases.

The chances of the little guy going through heartbreaking pain and discomfort for hours only to end up surviving the ordeal can be traumatic for both pets and humans. Why not do the right thing by contacting your local Vet or the Animal Humane Society for a discount procedure that ensures minimal discomfort for the dog.

Your furry friend deserves so much better than a slow and painful death, don’t you think?

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