Dog euthanasia: What happens during euthanasia for dogs?

Dr Jaxon Anderson
Head of Veterinary Services
July 27, 2021

If you have made the difficult, yet humane, decision to put your declining pet to sleep, you will probably have some questions about euthanasia for dogs and what to expect: What’s the process of dog euthanasia? What happens during euthanasia? Will it hurt? Can it be done at home?

Knowing what to expect during the process can help you and your family to feel more at peace with saying goodbye to your beloved companion.

In this article, we explain what happens during euthanasia for dogs and what to expect from a dog euthanasia at home?

Is there any way to humanely euthanise a dog at home?

A planned dog euthanasia service can be an extremely loving experience to farewell your beloved pet. It can be done at a veterinarian's office or at home. At Goodbye Good Boy, we can arrange a vet to come to you, to humanely euthanise a dog at home, in their most comfortable environment.

The benefit of home euthanasia is that it allows your dog to pass away on your terms and in their most comfortable environment.

Home euthanasia provides a peaceful passing in your dog’s most loving and familiar surroundings. In-home euthanasia can also help to minimise your pet’s stress levels if they get panicky at the vet's office, or if they have developed problems with mobility.

Euthanasia for dogs and what to expect

When it is time to administer dog euthanasia, your end-of-life veterinarian will ensure the process is completed with love and dignity.

Depending on what the owner thinks is best for their pet, dog euthanasia may be administered with the family around, or with the pet on their own.

Some owners prefer to sit with their pet so they can comfort them throughout the dog euthanasia process. Owners can choose to have their dog on their lap or in their arms while they are put to sleep. The benefit of in-home euthanasis it that it is done on your terms.

If euthanasia is happening at home, some pets will usually like to be someplace comfortable, like on the couch, while others prefer to be outside under their favourite tree.

If you choose to have the dog euthanasia performed at the vet’s office, it can be helpful to bring your pet’s bed and blanket along. This can give your dog a place to rest and be more soothing than a bed or blanket provided by the vet.

Dog euthanasia: The vet will usually provide a light sedation before administering the dog euthanasia medicine
The vet will usually provide a light sedation before administering the dog euthanasia medicine.

How does euthanasia work?

To begin the dog euthanasia, the vet will first usually provide a light sedation. This will allow the pet to be relaxed and sleepy.

Once the pet is sedated and resting, and you and your family are comfortable, the vet will administer the euthanasia medicine by intravenous injection. This is what stops the pet’s heart from beating.

The intravenous catheter makes the dog euthanasia process quick and painless and helps to decrease the chance of complications.

Generally, your pet will experience a peaceful passing within about 30 seconds of the intravenous administration.

Dog euthanasia: Our keepsake box can help you to memorialise your best friend.
Our keepsake box can help you to memorialise your best friend.

There is no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to dog euthanasia. If, for any reason, using an intravenous catheter would prove too distressing, the vet can discuss an alternate method, which is usually by injection. The vet’s goal is to find the option of administering dog euthanasia that is best suited to the animal.

Many animals can react to receiving the euthanasia medication in different ways. Some keep their eyes open; others will take what seems like a deep, final breath; and sometimes they may urinate or defecate due to the relaxation of all muscles. This can be startling to some owners, but the sedative ensures your pet isn't in pain. Your vet is there to guide you through the process and make sure you are aware and comfortable on the journey with you.

Depending on your wishes for aftercare after the dog euthanasia, we will usually arrange for a transport team to take your dog into our care for a guaranteed individual cremation. Once the cremation has been completed, we will return your companion’s ashes home within 6-10 days. To learn more about dog cremation, read our article, Dog cremation and what to expect, here.

After any dog euthanasia with Goodbye Good Boy, we will continue to make contact with owners to provide individualised support as you navigate your pet’s end-of-life journey. Our team of specialist animal loss counsellors are available for one-on-one consults as you prepare for the transition to life without your beloved companion.

If you are arranging for your best mate’s ashes to come home, we can help you memorialise your best friend. We will usually send the ashes home with a keepsake box and a tuft of fur and paw print, if you are happy to receive those memorialisations.

Dog euthanasia cost

The two variations in dog euthanasia cost are the size of the pet and the amount of medication required; and your wishes for aftercare (home burial vs cremation). As a result, the cost to euthanise a great Dane will be higher than to put a schnauzer to sleep because of the animal’s size.  

At Goodbye Good Boy, we have different service offerings for aftercare, including a scattering service, return of ashes, and a few different memorial keepsake options. There is also the option to plan ahead and prepay for your pet’s farewell either upfront or by installments.

You can find out more details at the Goodbye Good Boy website, or give us a call on 1800 953 619.

Final thoughts on dog euthanasia

At Goodbye Good Boy, we believe a pet’s final days shouldn’t be painful. As heartbreaking as the decision may be, putting your pet to sleep is the final act of love you can give your best mate for their lifetime of care. Dog euthanasia ensures your companion is treated with compassion and dignity as they take their last breath.

If you are wondering ‘when to put my dog down’, you can read our article How to know when it’s time to say goodbye to a pet, or access our free quality of life calculator.

If you have any questions about dog euthanasia or your pet’s end-of-life care, give our arrangers a call on 1800 573 186, or visit our blog for additional resources.

About us

Goodbye Good Boy is Australia’s premier pet end-of-life service. From grief counselling to euthanasia and cremation services, to fitting memorial options, we’re here to help you navigate your pet's end-of-life journey.

Dedicated owners treat their pets as equals in life. Goodbye Good Boy promises the same in death - offering a similar type of send-off you would expect for any other family member.

Don’t wait until the very end. It’s important to consider your pet’s end-of-life journey early, so that you, your family and your pet are all supported through the process.

When the time comes, we’re here for you. Goodbye Good Boy provides a range of end-of-life services to make the difficult process of saying goodbye a little easier. 

We offer quality of life assessments from qualified vets, specialist grief counselling, at home euthanasia from dedicated end of life veterinarians, as well as cremation services and memorial options to help remember your pet for their unique character.

We are with you at every step of the journey.

To find out more, you can call our team of passionate pet lovers on 1800 953 619.