Euthanasia: The Right Time To Die

Euthanasia, from a veterinary aspect, is simply ending a pet’s life. This may be done because the animal is elderly, terminally ill, or has been in a serious accident. Euthanasia is a humane and peaceful passing for the animal that does not cause pain or undue stress.

Hard Decision

We understand that putting your pet to sleep can be a very hard decision. You are losing a faithful friend. Your vet will help you through this process by looking at your pet and helping you understand where they are health-wise.

This is a personal decision between you and your vet. You may have been already treating your pet for illness and their health continues to deteriorate. Sometimes diseases are very costly to fight and outcomes are slim.

Dr. Glaza explains it this way. If the illness has progressed and we can no longer manage the pet’s pain and suffering you can give your pet a gift. The gift is a humane death where the pet has there loved ones present and quietly slips into peace.

Listen to Dr. Glaza’s Podcast on Euthanasia. To listen to all our podcasts check them out on the Veterinary Podcast.

Involve Family

Let other family members know so they can have time to say goodbye if they wish. It’s important, to be honest with young children and let them know what is going on. Fred Rogers wrote an excellent book called When a Pet Dies.

This is a way to provide comfort and understanding for children. Talking about it will help provide comfort for adults and children. Don’t be afraid to let your friends and family know about your decision.

This is not a time to cast blame or feel ashamed. You are making an important decision to help your pet pass feeling loved and after having had a good life.

Are They In Pain?

No, there s no pain for your pet. Aside from the simple prick of the first shot, your pet is not feeling pain from the euthanasia process. There are several different methods of humane euthanasia.

At Licking Valley Veterinary we first give your pet a sedative. It’s the same one we use for surgical procedures. This will make them relax and go to sleep. Once the pet is relaxed they are given the euthanasia drugs. This drug stops the heart and the animal passes.

During this process the pet does not feel pain. They simply drift off to sleep, making this a very humane way to end their life.

Animals sometimes do have physiological and natural reactions after the drug is administered. Do not be alarmed. Vomiting or going to the bathroom, muscle twitches or a deep sigh may occur after the pet is clinically dead.
Memory Marker From Faithful Friends

Don’t Wait For The Emergency!!!

Often we try to prolong the inevitable. That is human nature. However, do not wait until you have an emergency on your hands. That’s much more stressful for your pet, for you and quite frankly for your veterinarian as well.

A planned euthanasia should happen before the animal loses all quality of life and is actively dying. As your animal ages, it is a good idea to talk to your veterinarian and an end of life plan. Having a plan will alleviate much of the stress and give you some guidelines to help understand when it is time.

Some signs your pet needs to be euthanized:

  • Is your pet experiencing chronic pain that is not controlled with medication?
  • Are they dehydrated due to frequent vomiting or diarrhea?
  • Have they stopped eating or are being force-fed?
  • Are they no longer interested in their favorite activities, such as going with you on walks, playing with their toys, or getting a special treat?
  • Do they have trouble standing or walking?

Here is a video on knowing when the time is right.

Home or Office

Euthanasia can be done at your home or the office. When euthanasia is planned it is easier to do at home. Having it done at home may be less stressful for the animal and yourself.

If you are not comfortable having the euthanasia performed at home your vet will make sure you have a quiet private place at the clinic. You can also bring something from your home to the veterinarian’s office such as the pet’s bed or blanket so they will have something familiar. This will help them feel calm.

What To Do With The Body

You may choose to bury your pet under their favorite tree or a garden patch where you can plant a pretty bush next to them. You can also have them buried n a pet cemetery.


We also offer services from Faithful Friends, a pet crematorium in Florence, Kentucky. They will come and pick up the body from our clinic or your home. Faithful Friends also carry urns, memory boxes, and markers. Check out their website for more information.
Urns from Faithful Friends

Closing Thoughts

As humans, we often have a funeral or memorial service for our loved ones. This helps us to deal with our grief and outwardly say goodbye.

Having a ceremony for your pet can also be very comforting and help children make connections. You may wish to have a simple ceremony where you say a few words, sing a song or each says a wonderful memory.

At Licking Valley Veterinarian Services we are here for you. Give us a call and schedule an appointment for your pet needs today. 859-472-4141

Author, Ame Vanorio, is the director of Fox Run Environmental Education Center and a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. She teaches onsite and online classes in organic gardening, solar power, and wildlife rehabilitation. She lives on her farm in Falmouth, Kentucky with too many animals to count! 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *