What happens when a dog is euthanised?

Julia Dicconson
Content Manager
February 3, 2023

Euthanasia is a difficult decision for any pet owner, but it can become necessary when a dog is suffering from a terminal illness or has reached a point where quality of life is no longer possible.

To help set your mind at ease, we’re here to answer your questions about what happens when a dog is euthanised at a Goodbye Good Boy home euthanasia appointment. 

How does the appointment start?

Once the veterinarian arrives, they will sit and listen to any thoughts or concerns you have before starting. They can explain the procedure and process of dog euthanasia with as much or as little information as you would like.

They will help you to prepare a space where your pet is most comfortable. This could be in their bed, lying in their favourite part of the backyard, on the couch, or in your arms.

Do you use sedation?

Once your pet has settled, the vet will administer a gentle sedation injection to relax them and reduce any discomfort they may be feeling. The sedation will cause your pup to drift off into sleep so they don’t feel a thing.

Once you and your family are ready, the euthanasia medication will be given, which allows your pet to pass peacefully within a few minutes. Your vet will give you space to be with your beloved dog at this time.

How does the euthanasia medication work?

The medication is a gentle anaesthetic, slowly injected into a vein which then goes through the body via the bloodstream. The anaesthetic will stop your dog’s brain from receiving signals. Once the brain is no longer conscious, your dog will not be able to feel any pain, and all functions will begin to stop.

Within a couple minutes after the injection, your dog’s breathing will slow down, then followed by the heart, which will stop beating. The whole process is peaceful and quick, and with the sedation it means your pup was asleep and didn’t feel a thing.

*As with all medical procedures, adverse reactions to medications, although rare, are possible and the vet will explain this to you during your appointment.

Do I get time to say goodbye?

You may spend as much time with your pet as needed to say your final goodbyes. If Goodbye Good Boy is handling the cremation, we will then gently transfer your pet into our care. 

Alternatively, if we have arranged for the crematorium to transfer your dog directly from your home, we will arrange for them to arrive after our appointment has finished.

How long does the process take?

On average, the euthanasia appointment can take around 45 minutes to 1 hour. However, we move at the pace you are comfortable with, so if you need more time, we can easily accommodate for that. 

If the vet believes it is in your dog's best interest to move quickly in circumstances where they may be suffering, we will discuss this with you on arrival.

The euthanasia medication works very quickly, within a couple of minutes, and sometimes less if your beloved pet is quite sick.

Should my kids be present for my dog’s euthanasia?

This is an incredibly personal choice and can depend on your child’s age, personality, level of development and maturity. There is no right or wrong answer to this question.

Kids who are aged around 5-6 or older generally are able to understand death when it is explained in clear, simple and honest language. Experts suggest not to use complicated or confusing language like “put to sleep” and “anaesthesia”. 

If you do decide to have your kids present, the veterinarian can also help simply explain what is happening and why it has to happen. 

Preparing your children in advance by explaining that your dog is sick or in pain can also make the process less sudden and confusing for them. 

If you are still unsure, bring the topic up with your arranger and we can discuss it with you to decide what is best.

Read: How to support children through the loss of a pet.

Should my other pets be present?

One of the benefits of a home euthanasia appointment is the opportunity to have your other pets present. In our experience, we find most pets will benefit from the opportunity to witness their friend pass peacefully; however, it is of course entirely up to you. 

Pets also experience grief when their friend is gone, just like us. You can learn more about this from the article below.

Read: Do pets grieve the loss of another pet? 

Do I need to prepare anything beforehand?

No, we will make all arrangements and organise everything for you, so you can focus on spending quality time with your dog until the very end.

One thing to consider is how you would like to memorialise your beloved friend after euthanasia. At Goodbye Good Boy, we offer dignified cremation packages that reflect the love and care they received in life. Head here to learn more about our cremation services.

You may also choose to bury your dog at home as their final resting place.

Final thoughts on dog euthanasia.

Understanding the process of dog euthanasia can make saying goodbye a little easier, as you know what your beloved furry friend is going through and are assured they won’t feel any more pain in the end. 

At Goodbye Good Boy, we provide home euthanasia services to support loving owners in providing a peaceful passing for their beloved pets.

The team at Goodbye Good Boy offers individualised support to help you and your family navigate this difficult time by providing quality-of-life checks, in-home euthanasia, cremation and aftercare services, and personalised memorialisation options. 

To learn more about our pet end-of-life services, give our team of passionate pet lovers a call on 1800 953 619.