How to euthanize a dog?

This blog post will talk about a difficult time for many tutors, which is when, for health reasons, a dog must undergo the euthanasia procedure. Euthanasia in dogs is a way to end the suffering caused by some pathologies and diseases. But how is euthanasia performed?

How to euthanize a dog?

First, Euthanasia is a clinical procedure and should only be performed by a veterinarian, and cannot be performed by tutors. 

Are two types of euthanasia, the medication euthanasia and physicall euthanasia. Below we will talk about how medical euthanasia is performed in veterinary clinics and hospitals.

Euthanasia of dogs is a procedure that must be carried out in calm and peaceful environments to avoid even more stress for the animal at the end of its life.

The veterinarian will apply tranquilizers and sedatives for complete muscle relaxation, preventing the dog’s reaction, especially dogs in severe pain. 

Thus facilitating the manipulation of the animal, for placement of a catheter where the other anesthetics and medications will be applied in the vein.

Systemic anesthetics are also applied, which makes the dog sleep and no longer feel pain. Often the same anesthetic is used for anesthesia in dog surgeries.

After the animal is anesthetized, it will receive another medication in the vein. This will make the dog’s heart stop beating. The dog’s death is only declared after the veterinarian finds that there are no more vital signs, such as breathing, heartbeat, eyelid reflexes and others.

Physical euthanasia consists of maneuvers with or without the aid of materials such as weapons. Physical euthanasia is the procedure that takes the life of the animal with the least amount of pain and suffering.

In some situations in which it is not possible to perform medical euthanasia, physical euthanasia can be used by professionals in the veterinary medicine area.

When should canine euthanasia be performed?

Euthanasia is an ethical act and must be a decision of the veterinarian after evaluating the health status of the sick dog.

Some of the reasons for performing euthanasia in dogs:

  • Elderly dogs;
  • Untreated diseases;
  • Cancer and tumors;
  • Malformations incompatible with life;
  • Polytraumatism;
  • Environmental accidents.

Elderly dogs

Aging in dogs is not a disease, and euthanasia should not be recommended for healthy dogs. However, with the aging of dogs, many diseases can appear, such as osteoarthritis, endocarditis and others.

These diseases can be treated, but some dogs can be very lethargic, to the point where they won’t get up. Therefore, the dog must undergo an evaluation with the veterinarian and only if it is really necessary, euthanasia should be performed.

Untreated diseases

Some illnesses, such as heart failure or chronic kidney disease, can often reduce the dog’s quality of life. These diseases can lead the dog to hospitalization, and when the treatment used does not respond, euthanasia is indicated.

In some countries, dogs euthanasia are indicated for infectious diseases such as Leishmaniasis. Diseases like Leishmaniasis, which is a zoonosis, and its treatment is not as effective for some dogs. In addition to public health prevention, dogs euthanasia with this type of disease is indicated.

Cancer and tumors

The euthanasia procedure in dogs with cancer can be used to reduce dogs suffering from malignant tumors like Hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma and others. Tumors can settle in places that make locomotion difficult, and can even generate a lot of pain and discomfort for dogs.

Some tumors can be treated, but tumors in advanced stages and even those that have already metastasized may not be treated, thus leading to a loss of quality of life for the dog who suffers from pain and discomfort.


Some dogs are born with some malformations incompatible with life, such as anencephaly or the absence of organs necessary for life.

Therefore, these puppies are usually born alive and die a few hours later. To avoid the suffering of these neonates, euthanasia can be performed soon after the birth of the puppies.


Dogs that suffer accidents, such as when they are run over and suffer multiple traumas. After the veterinary evaluation with ultrasound and x-ray exams, the veterinarian can perform the euthanasia of the dog.

Euthanasia in these dogs is used to reduce the dog’s suffering and pain. Dogs euthanasia should only be performed if the veterinarian observes that there is no longer a positive prognosis or any improvement expectation in the dog’s health.

Environmental accidents

In some environmental accidents such as earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions and others. Some animals may be in situations where it is not possible to rescue them and the animal is still alive and suffering. In such cases, physical euthanasia can be performed to reduce the animal’s pain and suffering.


With this post we were able to learn how euthanasia is performed and when it should be performed. The tutor should never perform this type of procedure as it can lead to more pain and suffering for the dog. Veterinarians are the ones trained to determine whether euthanasia should be performed and are the only ones who can perform euthanasia in dogs, whether physical or medication euthanasia.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to euthanize a dog?

Is it possible to euthanize a dog at home?

Yes, a dog can be euthanized at home, as long as it is performed by a veterinarian who will respect all protocols so that the animal feels the least amount of suffering.

What does the dog feel in the euthanasia procedure?

The dog should not feel pain or discomfort at euthanasia. Because the dogs are euthanized after being sedated and anesthetized. In theory, dogs sleep under the effect of anesthetics and do not feel the pain of the drugs used for euthanasia.

How much does dogs euthanasia cost?

The price of euthanasia in dogs can vary greatly. Because the dosages of anesthetics, sedatives and euthanasia drugs vary according to the weight of the animal. Also the value depends on the medication that will be used, among other factors.


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