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What Happens During a Pet's Euthanasia Appointment

Adrienne is a dog trainer and former veterinary assistant. She has taken several specialized courses on hospice care for dogs.

Dog Euthanasia: "Putting the Dog Down"

Dog Euthanasia: "Putting the Dog Down"

Pet Euthanasia, The Last Resort

If your dog or cat has arrived at a point where nothing more can be done medically, your vet may suggest that you schedule a euthanasia appointment. As sad as this may be, you may also have questions about what exactly happens and what to expect.

As a loving and caring owner, you want to know what will happen so you can better deal with it all when that day arrives.

Having worked at an animal hospital, I have seen my fair share of euthanasia procedures. If this is the first time you will have a pet euthanized, you may have questions that perhaps you do not feel comfortable asking your veterinarian. I can help to clarify what happens and how.

Scheduling Your Pet's Euthanasia Appointment

First of all, scheduling euthanasia is a bit different than making a normal appointment. At most vet hospitals, special time slots are reserved for euthanasia. These are usually the very first appointments of the day or the last in the evening.

Do you want to be there or not?

You will be asked if you want to be there during the procedure. If not, you can drop off your pet at any time during the day. The vet will euthanize the pet whenever it works best in the schedule.

If you decide to stay, then you will be given one of those specially reserved slots mentioned above. At these times, there are no other clients or pets scheduled as a form of respect.

This is done both for the owner's, pet's, and veterinarian's benefit. Your pet will not be disturbed by other pets. This is very important, as very sick animals are very vulnerable to strong emotions and stress.

Your pet will get the quiet ambiance it deserves. The veterinarian will not be rushed or under any pressure. There are no other clients waiting or emergency appointments coming. You will be allowed to take your time in saying goodbye to your pet.

 Euthanasia means "Good Death."

Euthanasia means "Good Death."

Choosing Disposal Options

Once the appointment time has been set, the receptionist will ask you if you want your pet cremated or if you will have it buried.

Burial vs. Cremation (Private or Communal)

  • If you want your pet buried, you may do it yourself. However make sure to ask your local municipality if you are allowed to bury your pet in your yard. Special restrictions may apply.
  • If you choose to have your pet cremated, you may choose between a private or a communal cremation. Private cremations are when your pet is cremated on its own and the ashes are returned to you in an urn. In a communal cremation, the pet is cremated with other pets, and usually, the ashes are spread in a pet cemetery. In this case, the ashes are not returned.
  • Usually, a private cremation costs more. Both euthanasia and cremation services have higher charges the more your pet weighs. Ask about prices if finances are a concern.

Communal Cremation

Some owners may have doubts about what happens to their pet's body if they choose a communal cremation. They may fear the body may be given to a research lab and experimented on. This is a myth.

I can say from experience that all the pets that were slated for communal cremation were sent to be cremated along with others. The cremation service used to come every Tuesday to pick up the bodies. I had to sign a report to confirm that he came to pick each one up.

Other Questions

After deciding how the body will be disposed of, you may be asked if your pet has bitten or scratched anybody in the past ten days. As horrible as this question may sound under the circumstances, it is required by rabies laws. If your pet did indeed scratch or bite someone, it must undergo a rabies test.

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Read More From Pethelpful

Once the appointment is made, it is important to make arrangements to have someone accompany you and drive, if possible. You may not expect it, but owners are often overwhelmed by emotions as they drive themselves to and back from the hospital. This can be dangerous and may be the perfect ingredient for an accident.

Please give this option consideration. I have seen the most composed owners break down in tears and call somebody to pick them up because they were unable to drive.

Dog Euthanasia Explained by a Veterinarian

What Happens During a Pet's Euthanasia Appointment?

  • Forms to fill out: When the day arrives, you will be taken into a room and given forms to sign to authorize the procedure and attest that you are the legal owner. Other forms will ask you to confirm the form of disposal you have selected. Please be aware that if you selected communal cremation, you will not get the ashes back. Finally, you will sign a form stating your pet has not bitten or scratched in the past ten days.
  • Bills to pay: Payment is usually done upfront; however, some owners may be too emotional, and in those cases, some hospitals will send the bill.
  • Final goodbyes: Most hospitals will allow owners to spend time with their friends alone before the vet comes in. A blanket may be placed on the floor (for large animals) or on the examination table for the pet's comfort.
  • Is your dog anxious? Once the veterinarian arrives, he may ask if you want your pet to be given sedatives, especially if your pet seems to be particularly anxious or in pain. Such sedatives may take about 15 minutes to take effect. An area in the pet's front forearm will be shaved to allow either a catheter or a needle to directly inject the solution. Many vets now give sedatives by default in what is known as the "two-injection approach"—first the sedative and then, once it kicks in, the final injection.

How Will a Pet Be Put Down During a Euthanasia Appointment?

The solution used in euthanasia is a very bright color so veterinarians will never mistake it with any other injectable solution. The most common solution consists of sodium pentobarbital, a liquid barbiturate commonly used during surgery. This will be, however, an overdose amount, allowing the dog or cat to drift into an anesthesia-like sleep that will ultimately halt the breathing and cause cardiac arrest.

Will My Pet Be Conscious or Unconscious, In Pain or Pain-Free?

Because this solution has an anesthetic effect, the pet will be unconscious and pain-free. The barbiturate will depress the central nervous system, causing the pet to become unconscious (thus the terminology "put to sleep").

This solution is injected into a vein. The only pain the pet will feel is indeed the needle. The solution acts pretty quickly: Most pets will take a deep breath and become unconscious within ten seconds, just as a person falls to sleep counting backwards during surgery. The vet will then use a stethoscope to verify the absence of a heartbeat, confirming therefore that the pet has passed to a "better life."

What to Expect in the Last Moments

In some cases, the pet may have some involuntary muscle twitches or may urinate or defecate. These are just automatic nerve reflexes of the cat's or dog's dying process. The eyes will likely stay open, just as when anesthetized. These are very important aspects to consider as they may be disconcerting to the owner; for this reason, pet owners should be warned beforehand.

You will then be left alone with your pet if you wish. If your pet will be buried, the staff may place him in a large black bag for you. If you opted for cremation, once you leave, the pet's body will be wrapped in a black bag and stored in a big freezer until the cremation services arrive.

It usually takes an average of a week to ten days then for the ashes to return. Most hospitals will call once the remains arrive. Urns will vary in size depending on how large your pet was.

The euthanasia procedure is never an easy procedure. Even as a staff member, I often found myself in tears as I said goodbye to pets that had been longtime patients of our clinic.

I hope that this article has answered your questions and prepared you for what to expect. I offer my deepest sympathies, hoping that one day, we may all reunite with our furry friends over the "rainbow bridge."

The Rainbow Bridge Poem (Author Unknown)

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water, and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

For Further Reading

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: How many people are allowed in the room when you're putting your dog down?

Answer: I don't think there's a problem having up to 4-5 people in the room. I guess it's a matter of space and the vet and vet techs being able to move around comfortably. Best to give a call and double check. If there are drivers/friends to accompany, they often can just wait in the waiting room. Vets are pretty accommodating at these difficult times.

Question: How long is my dog bagged and frozen before collection from the cremation service? Is there a time limit before my dog's body is picked up from a vet for cremation?

Answer: This varies from place to place. When I worked for the vet, cremation service came every 2-3 days to pick up the frozen bodies placed in black bags in a large freezer. I had to sign a form stating that I witnessed them coming to pick up. Our vet's office was very busy. Cremains generally were returned to us in 3 to 5 days. Sorry, I am not aware if there are any laws or deadlines for cremation services to pick-up the bodies.

© 2009 Adrienne Farricelli

Comments

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 31, 2020:

Valerie,

Having been through these difficult times twice, I can sense your sense of sadness. If you are struggling with the decision, sometimes it helps to schedule a vet appointment just to go through your dog's quality of life and asking your vet whether you have any more options to make your dog comfortable. My dog had painful neck IVDD and in his last months steroids made a lot of difference along with Vetridisc. He was a good candidate because he wasn't on NSAID recently so no washout period needed. Of course, the steroids caused some side effects but at least his pain was managed more effectively.

Valerie J Griggs on May 31, 2020:

My Xena looks exactly like the picture at the top of this page. I'm afraid her time is up. We have been battling disc disease for a couple years. This time it is the worst.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 24, 2020:

Hi Derek, so sorry you are going through this. If you cannot go to the vet, you may find it reassuring knowing that many vets will come to your home to put your dog to sleep when you feel it's time. They will also take care of disposal based on what you select (private cremation, communal cremation, burial). If you call around, you can get pricing options and schedule. Lap of Love is a fairly new company which offers hospice care and euthanasia across several States.

Derek Yeardley on April 24, 2020:

My dog is closing in to end of life he is overweight and his back end is going. I am disabled

.I am disabled how can I euthinas when I cannot get to a vets and dispose of him after.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 31, 2020:

So sorry for your loss Cathy. Nemo was such a lucky dog to have had such loving and caring owners! Try to cherish the good memories.

Cathy on January 29, 2020:

A week ago today I had to put my beautiful baby my Pomeranian named Nemo he was everything to me it was one of the hardest things I had to do find the whole day what do you woke up his head was tilted to the right it was losing his balance so I took him to the vet the vet suggested I put him down they could have possibly had a stroke he was 16 years old it was everything to me you was my support dog and I miss him so much in my heart is so broken all I do is cry could there be anything different that I could have done did I do the right thing I go over in my head over and over I don't know I feel so guilty I miss him so much he was my husband's dog and it would my husband passed away in 2016 he became my baby it was all I had of my husband

Zachary Roberts on November 23, 2018:

My dog Bella we had to put her down because she had something wrong with her and I Laid by her when then put her down and know I will remember her for ever and she was my baby

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 04, 2018:

So sorry for your loss Barry. Stop by my article on the "stages of grieving the loss of a dog. "Your feelings are valid and normal. It takes time to recover from the shock.

Barry on November 04, 2018:

September 19th my dog Sparky was euthanized and I am so lost without him. A part of me died. My brain knows this but my body has not been told.

Andy Stewart on October 31, 2018:

Had to put my friend down today. She suddenly showed signs of cancer. Having gone through it before with her sister, I was a little ready for it, but not really!! I am missing her now. And her sister that beat cancer, is missing her! Ruby, I miss your little kisses, playing ball and keeping Brena company. I wish there was a way to find a cure for this shit sooner. This sucks kiddo! You were a little angel, that nobody at the shelter wanted, but I will miss you baby! I wish we could have played ball one more time. Wish I could take you out to play, one more time! Brena misses you! I love you kiddo!

Catherine Bell on September 24, 2018:

I lost my beloved dog Elsa last Thursday due to old age and her bodily functions were shutting down causing her front and back muscles in her front and back legs to weaken. It was so hard to watch her go through that, so my partner and i had to make that dreaded and heartbreaking decision to have her put to sleep as we couldn't prolong the situation for her sake any longer. They gave her a sedative and within minutes was so relaxed, and 15 minutes after that, they put her to sleep. It was quick and painless. I'm not sure of the grieving process, how it will affect me as i'm still trying to come to terms with it. The hardest time for me is coming home and finding my beloved dog not lying at the front door like she used to. The house is so quiet and empty without her, she was my first dog and i will surely miss her.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 03, 2018:

This is such a sad time for owners of pets that have to be euthanized for one reason or another. It is never easy. We have gone down that road with each of our former pets. I have also accompanied my mother when she had to have some of her pets put to sleep.

Jenny shemi on April 10, 2018:

When my cat was euthanised she screamed and vomited I was wondering why

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 31, 2017:

JB in NJ, your post is very touching, so much so that it brought tears to my eyes. I own two senior dogs and dread that day they will pass, but I too believe they will not be gone just in another dimension yet nearby us with all their love.

JB in NJ on December 21, 2017:

We rushed our 15 year old mini-poodle to the animal hospital naturally these things don’t happen on the days the vet is open. Bella’s heart meds just weren’t working and she was stretching her neck out like a stiff motion but wouldn’t put her head down to rest. I have asthma an I’m acutely aware of the frustration and exhaustion when trying to breathe and can’t. I thought she needed fluids and would perk up, nope the vet said no that would just fill her lungs with fluid faster. I was beyond upset but couldn’t watch her suffer any longer. Bella can’t speak up we are her human advocates ,after asking every possibility , we decided it was time to end her suffering. I didn’t want to be rushed my daughter brought in a big pink velvet pillow she had in her car for her dog, so we laid her on her side, they sedated her she finally relaxed, my husband went out to our car and brought in the microfiber blankets we had in there, the vet said she might leak, I didn’t care, but we wrapped her like we were tucking her in to sleep didn’t cover her head, in the mean time the animal hospital made us sign forms we were too upset to read, I asked what does it say, they said that you made the choice to do this, and we did then they wanted their money upfront in the room, so credit card and signing the slip to pay them. I didn’t realize they were going to send us out the back door, I get it don’t scare the other patients. They left us along to whisper out good byes in her ear kiss her fuzzy head hold a paw while they administered the second drug to stop her heart, so we stayed and cried and cried more, there was snow outside but it was a warmer day lots of melting very muddy, we thought the ground would be soft enough to bury her in our big back yard with our other dogs who passed long ago, I got in the car they put the pillow with her on top of my lap , all tucked in like she was coming home to sleep, we brought our younger dog in the car to see her we can’t understand what he’s thinking, but it was so odd he almost walked on her, like he was saying where is she, this isn’t her . I sat in the car it started to get really cold , I took a few pictures her facing the other way. I never really touched her inside the blankets to feel her temperature or feel a lack of heartbeat thank goodness my daughter had the for thought to be completely satisfied she was not breather her heart was not beating and she was infact not alive, we lowered her into the deep muddy hole covered her in more blankets a waterproof type blanket and we all touched the last blankets said prayers and told her we love her and thanked her for being such a big part of our family.

Waves of crying, and kept thinking what if....What if ..... she’s not gone. It’s going below freezing that night and....I know sounds ridiculous but I needed to be reassured she was not alive. I cried myself to sleep as I wondered if I did anything wrong did I miss a dose of her meds did I give her too much. The next day I was crying too hard to call my sister so I texted her, and what she said made me feel 1000 times better, she said that’s not Bella that’s just her fur coat, you loved her and kept her safe and happy that’s why she lived so long. How much longer can you expect from a mini poodle Bella wasn’t just a dog she was a nanny a referee she shought two steps ahead of us she lasted 15 years 2 months and 19 days. I thank God she found us to share her every moment. She was a different personality to each member of our family, and a little piece of each of us went with her brave loving soul that day. Our dear Bella September 21, 2002-December 10, 2017 I wish all dogs in the world were loved so much, there’s no describing the love they give in return. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to wonder what if my pet isn’t dead and I buried it in the back yard as the last person mentioned, we all stood here and said omg what if. It seems like a logical question in the midst of what just happened. No one is thinking clearly. All questions are ok, and like my sister said that’s not your dog buried in the back yard that’s just your dogs coat. Our dogs I’m are not far from us but in another dimension this face in between spaces a different frequency we haven’t figured out how to detect. Believe what you want all I know is we carry the love with us. My heart goes out to all who have had to make the decision to stop the suffering of our older pet in a kind and humane way. Blessing be with your. May time heal your hearts.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 11, 2017:

Moon Child, that would be very, very rare. The vet performing the euthanasia typically listens to the heart for lack of beating to verify death after having injected the solution. It might just be that you are at the stage of mourning where you can't grasp the loss yet and subconsciously hope to see your dog again. A loss of a friend of 18 years is very hard to accept. I am so sorry for your loss.

Moon Child on November 11, 2017:

Hi, I put my 18yr old French poodle to sleep yesterday, and I keep thinking he might still wake up. We buried him in the front yard and every time I go out and look at the place he is in..... its horrible. I read this cant happen, but.....what if it does?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 19, 2017:

Anne, what makes you think your dog suffered during the procedure? Discuss with your vet, most likely you were dealing with some twitches or other non-controllable physiological response that's normal during death.

anne vines on October 19, 2017:

I have been tortured thinking my beloved sparky suffered during this procedure , I wish I had held him closer stroked him the way he liked , but I was so overcome with profound grief , I cried , he was in my arms but struggled , I feel I killed him , missing him so much , hope I can forgive myself ,

Carrie on September 15, 2017:

Thank you so much. I was really concerned because if the color of the drug and the fact that my dog's eyes stayed open. Your article really helped. I was so afraid to read about it, but so glad I did! Thank you again!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 09, 2017:

Mia, does she have a ruptured spleen (hemangiosarcoma?)? What did your vet diagnose her with exactly? How is her quality of life right now? You can always consult with another vet for a second opinion if you are debating on what to do.

Mia on July 07, 2017:

I have a golden lab/ retriever. Took her to the vet and he said my girl , 10 yrs old has a large mass in her abdomen. He did X-ray s , he said she was in slot of pain , the mass is wrapping around her intestines. We brought her home but have to decide whether we want to put her to sleep. Her red blood count is down , she does not want to eat or drink , lays in one position. Has anyone had a pet that had this situation. Please help as I'm torn , I don't want to put her to sleep.

Gavin Myall on June 06, 2017:

i find the language you used unhelpful - disposal - when they have a free minute???

Michael McNitt on April 25, 2017:

I recently had my fur baby put to rest, the shot was given and all of a sudden he started convulsing! I was holding him which made it very tramadic so i placed my hand on his side of his face and gentle held him against me and he stopped as soon as i did it, why did he do that?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 05, 2017:

Michelle, I am happy you found this article helpful. I hope it provides comfort. I am the type that needs to know what happens as I have fear of the unknown so wrote this a while back when I assisted with these appointments.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 05, 2017:

Bridget, I hear you. My Rotties are getting old and no day goes by without me thinking how my life will be without them. Enjoy the moment, take pictures and love on him as much as you can.

bridget on February 04, 2017:

I'm sitting here with my 14 yr old Buddy,who is my best friend.Hes brought me many years of happiness and always was there when I needed him,I know his time is near and I've told him please don't hold on for mommy,I'll be ok but inside my heart I'm broke.i can't imagine what's it's gonna be like to not have my buddy following me around.I love u bud!!

michelle on January 31, 2017:

Thanks for this. It is very organized and well written. I just had to say goodbye to my chocolate lab of 14.5 years, everything I read just now-your spot on. I also cried as it too reminded me of my boy, he's only gone since Dec26th. Thanks again, I'm passing this on to a friend who asked what happens and so I will have her read this. We go friday to say bye bye to her baby of 16 yrs!

Rescuer on December 24, 2016:

I've recently had to put a donkey down. He wouldn't leave. We need to give him 4 injections, and the last one was concentrated. Why dud thus happen? He had been given a sedative, but I had a feeling he was in pain. Is it possible?

Karen on October 16, 2016:

I didn't realize when our VET took our cat to prepare her for the injection to euthanize her that they would give her a sedative. When they brought her back to the room her eyes were open but I realize now that she was unconscious - If I knew I would have said my goodbyes when she could actually see me and hear me. Not just pretend which I feel it was really - she may have been able to hear us as someone in a coma might hear you but 15 minutes before I could have looked her in the eyes and she would have looked back at me. They did not advise me. Be aware and say goodbye before they take your pet out of the room.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 23, 2016:

Sorry about your loss Sherry. May you fill your thoughts of all the wonderful memories of your dog in her life rather than those last seconds. I am sure if dogs could talk to us from the above they would lick our tears away and want us to remember all the good times.

Sherry Marcoux on July 19, 2016:

Thank you for all your comments! I just put my 15 year old Wheaton Terrior down this week. She too, picked her head up right before the final injection and I cannot get that out of my head. It was hard enough already but I knew it was time until that....It is so helpful to have a sight like this to help me deal with my pain.

Clare on November 18, 2015:

Thankyou 4 ur words im finding it hard accepting imade the right choice in letting her go maybe once that happens i wont feel guilt as well as pain x

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 11, 2015:

Hello, sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved dog. Spleen problems unfortunately often have a grim outcome, and the surgery could have been too much for a frail dog. I remember our vet once did a splenectomy on an older dog and the dog didn't make it and died while being under. It was very sad to tell the the owner. I would say that your dog at least had the opportunity to be with you in her last moments and you had time to say your final goodbyes. Please don't feel guilty. I know we often think "what if" but "what if" we did it differently and we ended up instead regretting it even more? Things would have progressed and it may have entailed more suffering. Some vets prefer to give the final injection into the side of the dog's chest rather than the legs,and there's really no difference on the route used as any way it delivers the solution. Here are wishes for you to recover from this loss.

Clare on November 04, 2015:

hi i had to get my best friend put to sleep last week she was an 11yr border collie whom recently went blind a cpl of mnths ago due to her developing diabetis i gave her insulin injections twice daily the past 5wks she was doing well the vet was impressed how well her blood sugar was stablising in such a short time only 4 her to collapse last week i phoned the vet cos her gums wer pure white & her face was really cold took her in 4 blood tests & xray thenbthe vet called an hour later explaning her spleen was bleeding & she was very anemic & advised we let her go as she had other health issues & the removal of her spleen would have her little body go through a hard time with no guarantes she would make it,i am truly heartbroken & lost without her i loved her as child as i wasnt able 2 have kids she helped me cope & made things bearable but im struggling with guilt as the vet gave her 4 injections b4 her heart stopped 1 in her front leg 1 in her neck & 2 in her chest he comented that i had a strong wee dog so im feeling so guilty that i took his advice instead of removing her spleen & letting fate decide. Is it comon to put it in the chest aswell as a vein x

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 10, 2015:

I am sorry to hear about your beloved dog. I am very familiar with the Maremma dog breed as I was raised in Italy and often encountered this beautiful white dog. He sounds like he had a wonderful life with you. The blood you have seen could have possibly been because he bit his tongue, but sometimes it could be a sign of an underlying heart problem and sometimes lung cancer or a lung embolism. The only way to truly know for sure would be to have a necropsy performed. You made a good choice as you may have spared him from a painful death. I am sure he's watching over you and thanks you for this last gift of kindness. Sending you my deepest condolences.

Angela on April 10, 2015:

l had to make the big decision to have our beloved Nanook put to sleep last week his breed was a mareema an Italian sheep dog an was 12 yrs for some time he had stiffness in his back legs had him to the vet to see what they could do I use to massage his back legs and all over he seemed to love this and eased him a little. And he got slower with his walking finely he didn't want to get up and no longer greeted us when we came in so unlike him . But this last Saturday I tried to get him up to go out for a wee but he didn't want to he hadn't really lost appetite as I fed him by hand on the floor and ate it all. But I so wanted him to move to try and get his legs moveing finely he did just get up to walk outside no sooner did he stepped outside then he fell over on his side and wee 'd . I managed to roll him on to his quilt and covered him to keep him warm and talked and cuddled him he had a thing about lifting his front leg so I could tickle him under his leg ,he looked at me as if to say I've had enough but l wanted to hang on to him but I was being unfair as he whimpered at night even in the day time I would go to him and he would be ok for a while. I finely rang the vet to come and seem him and cheque him over he had a slight heart murmur and temperature and was anaemic . They said he looked tired l didn't want to let him go he was part of our family and l still feel guilty but his legs wouldn't have got better so if was the kindest thing but doesn't make me feel any better. After the vets had gone and he lay there as if he was asleep I noticed he had blood and mucus from his mouth I wiped it away and it happened again why do you think this happened .l wanted him buried in my garden as its somewhere l can talk to him and think of all the lovely memories we all had with him .rest in peace our beloved Nanook

Mark on May 01, 2014:

Just had to put my dog down the other day. She was 14. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. After she was given the sedative, she laid down on my lap and her tongue protruded from her mouth slightly. Although her heart was still beating, I knew she had left her body. Like I said, experiencing this was the toughest thing I've ever had to go through, but I am grateful that I was there with her. She was always timid while at the vet, but on this day, she was unusually calm.

To all of you who have gone through this before, my heart goes out to you. Just know that our pets are once again happy and healthy and are probably looking over us now wondering why we are so worried about how they passed :)

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 30, 2014:

Patt, I am sorry this happened to you, this happens at times but it is quite rare. Did she scream immediately when putting the solution or after a bit? Did she tend to yelp when she was poked such as when given shots? Sounds like the vet used a catheter which is good in avoiding the injected solution from going around the vein which may cause a stinging sensation that causes many dogs to cry out. Maybe a hallucination? If so, most likely she was already passed out. http://www.justanswer.com/dog-health/4hwkv-vets-se...

http://www.justanswer.com/dog-health/3j0xk-dog-eut...

Patt Smalley on March 30, 2014:

I had to have my 20 yr old female Red Healer put to sleep yesterday! This was my first time being present for this procedure! I wanted to be with her during her last moments! I loved her so much & put it off as long as I could until she lost full control of her hind legs:( she was already blind, but could see shadows, loved her treats & could smell really well.

I was reading the earlier posts because I can't get the vision out of my mind! I was told they would give her an injection & she would go to sleep peacefully! I had given Ginger a Xanax the night before, she was very restless!

When we got to the Vets she still seamed to be a little out of it which was good, she wasn't nervous! They took her to put a catheter in then brought her back in the room. The Vet came in explained she will take some breaths at the end so we were ok with that but when she put injection in Ginger let out this scream of pain & started to spasm even the Vet looked concerned & checked to make sure her heart had stop beating??? Was there a better way to do this! Did the Vet put solution in too fast? I can't get the vision out of my head!

Casey on February 07, 2014:

This really is a subject that will resonate with any animal lover anywhere anytime, isn't it? I cried many times as I made my way through the article and down the comments. Felt I had to write to thank you for comforting me in a time of epic sadness.

I'm currently snuggled up close with my childhood cat, Dipsey; it's his last night in this crazy world and I'm having an impossible time coping. It's a long story, and I'm probably going to treat this like a therapy session, do I apologize in advance.

My mom got Dipsey for me when I was ten. I'd always wanted a cat and one day she walked in the house with a box that meowed! :) Dips has been our beloved cat for 16 years now. Skittish and moody, he's only recently become my best friend. He's gone through phases with the whole family; why he had to choose now to start cuddling and shadowing me around the house... Uuugh, my heart!

I've been away for 7 years, only home to Houston for holidays and a few summers until this last August. My parents and I are moving to Ecuador in less than 2 weeks and my sister has just left for school in Amsterdam for four years. While this is an amazing opportunity and exciting adventure for all of us, the thought of leaving Dipsey behind has cast a heavy dark cloud over the experience. He's not good in the car, at all, and dad really isn't entertaining the idea of a cat traveling to Ecuador with us. (Dipsey just started snoring! Stop it with the cuteness!!!). We've searched everywhere, but nobody wants our fat old cat . After many prayers and sleepless nights, we took him to the vet (he pooped on my mom in the car on our way! :) The vet said he either has diabetes or kidney disease and my mom almost immediately decided not to run any tests, we are going to have to put him down.

This is where I'm having trouble. I get it, I've heard it 100 times the past few weeks, "When he pees it fills up half the litter box and he has started to miss the box. A new home and family, plus shots and regular vet visits would just cause him stress and discomfort - moving across the Equator would give him a heart attack! He's lived a good long life..." But I just don't understand putting down a coherent, loving, able cat. He is a member of my family! I love him so deeply, yet tomorrow I'm going to be with him as he slips off to cat heaven. I can't believe its come to this.

I keep bursting into tears. All week. My eyes are so puffy!!! I just keep reminding myself of the good times, how happy he has been. When he was a kitten sleeping on my pillow and chasing my feet under the covers. The time when I was 16, he woke me up by attacking my long hair - staying attached after I stood up! - like a scene in a dang horror movie. I love this cat. I'm trying to breathe through it as best I can but it really feels selfish ending a life because taking care of his needs isn't convenient anymore.

My mom really is one of the sweetest people/animal lovers I'll ever know. She's not a witch, there's really not a mean bone in her body. I almost always agree with her on family matters, but this time its been really hard to see her side. She truly believes she's doing the right thing for Dipsey. I don't know if it's right but ultimately she's the one that has scooped most of the poop and puke through the years, she's the lady of the house, so it's her decision. She's tired of worrying about him and thinks this the most peaceful way to go about it.

We had a garage sale the other day and at the beginning someone pointed out the neighborhood cat in the neighbor's bushes, he had obviously passed during the night with one paw up in the bushes. It was a crazy sign I rather would have done without. Our maid volunteered to remove him from the bushes. She was so fragile and ritualistic about it. I keep thinking of that fuzz ball and what that sign meant.

My eyes are fuzzy and I'm afraid I'll fall asleep without finishing, so here is where I will conclude my story.

Thank you again for your article. I think it has prepared me a bit for tomorrow.

cal287153 on January 30, 2014:

Some people say they think they see or hear their loved pets after they pass away. But I dont have that feeling at all. So I believe she is in heaven. I believe .

cal287153 on January 30, 2014:

Thank you for your kind words. Yes, Tina was one of a kind, she nodded yes for things that were ok ,and she cried real tears when things were not . She knew what love was. and I always promised her I would take care of her. When she was worried her eyes showed it . I would talk to herto cslm her fear, even if I was going to be back in 10 min. She did not really how long i would be. I do work full time, but, i never left her in 15 years without getting that nod yes. She trusted me. By the 3rd day in that er hospital she stopped nodding. Thats when I knew she was not going to make it. Thats when her soul screamed for me to bring her home. I felt it . For the next 12 hours or so she held on to me so tight .I will never forget. I have a picture of her reaching to get close as she could to my neck , and there is a tear in her eye. Tina has never weighed more than 6 lbs . But on that day she felt like she was only about 4 lbs. It breakes my heart. And I feel such guilt. I miss her.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 21, 2014:

cal287153, your story brought tears to my eyes. You and Tina had a very strong bond, and I am sure she felt your love in those final moments. She had a wonderful life with you. My deepest condolences.

cal287153 on January 21, 2014:

Necrrently, I had to do something I never thought I would have to do. I had to put my little Tina in the hospital for 4 days with sudden kidney failure. One week prior to this , i had taken my Tina to the vet with a cough her regular vet was not in that day. So The attending vet thought Tina had congestive heart failure and put her on LASIK, The treatment was only to last one week. ... one week ....until the cardiologist could see tina for an exam. and a cardiac ultrasound . On Friday morning. Of that same week. I dropoed TINA off and planning to pick her up after work that same evening. When i arrived the other doctor and the cardiologist had left without as much as a phone call. . Thankfully my regular vet was there waiting for me. she told me the ulrasound was negative , that there was nothing wrong with her heart . So it was probably conjestion in her lungs i eas relieved but only briefly .We had already known Tina had had mild kidney value elevation for some now, but she was stable and happy .she seemed to deal with it well. Suddenly the dr's face changed when she explaind the results of the new lab work from that day. Appatently the lasik had sent her kidney levels skyrocketing off the charts .she was in kidney failure.. I was informed the office was closing and I needed to take her to an emergency hospital,right away for IV fluids . my vet provided Tina with a catheter and IV bag of fluids to take with us to save time. And keep the cost down. She explained we will know in 24 hours if Tina was improving or not. When I arrived at the emergency Hospital , I was told 24 hour treatment was not enough time to show any inprovement tina needed 48 hours because iv had to be given slowly as not to damage her heart.. Tina would then be given another blood test to see where her kidney values were, and if there was any improvement. I knew this eas not was good. I WANTED TO VIST HER but they discouraged me tina was taken off the IV When I visited. I didn't understand why had to take it off in the first place.I'm a medical assistant I know how to monitor An iv. .....then on SUNDAY NIGHT i had resolved to take her home . she was not showing signs of improvemevt.. The vet stated that tina BUNand

Phophoris levels were now at an identifyable number but still at the dangerous level . And she talked me into another 48 hours of Iv. my heart was telling me that Tina has had enough already. she was not used to being away from home that long .she was 15 years old,.had suddenly gone into kidney failure .she was scared .lonely .frightened. and in pain..she thought i abandoned her. I Initially said "no "to the additional 48 hours,but of course the vet made me feel that if I did not do this .my Tina would definitely decline. I KNEW IN MY HEART THIS WAS NOT going to do aything but put tina into distress. Tina had not eaten on her own at all. They were giving her babyfood through a syringe . I was asked to bring Something in for her to eat ,and the doc and I agreed on hard boiled egg wih boiled chicken and a little broth .and trying to get her to eat on her own.when I got there Sunday night the doc refused to allow her to eat whay I had made for her.. She insisted on giving tina the soft KD food. This was best she assured me. Tina was looking worse and she smelled of urine. She was not used uriniting on herself and it made her feel sick. I know it. She had another foul smell on her monday morning when I reakized it was the food the forced her to eat.. when the ER vet stated she has still not Eaten on her own

And haf diarrhea all night .(which was still all over her body. I realised again she needs to get out of here. But instead I went to the store to get the baby food oatmeal she loved . I told the er doc even a healthy dog eould be sick from abruptly changing their food. TINA did eat some of the oatmeal that night. I did not see her agsin until Monday after work. That is when i saw how she was wasteing away to the point of no return. I told the nurse I had to take her home. She yelled at me . Told me Tina is a renal failure patient, , and if I took her home now she would remove her catheter. I lost my temper and stated I brought her in this place with an iv fluid bag and catheter.... and was taking her home with that as well. The dr came out and again convinced me tina should stay for more Iv treatment. I went home crying . I was only home for a few hours. When I could not stand it any longer. It was 4:am when I finally brought her home. I contacted my vet who agreed to come to my home to uthesnise her. Tina held on to me tighter that she ever had in her whole life that day. She could not get close enough to me . The owner of the vetinary practice was the one who finally showed up at my house at 6: pm that Monday evening. Here is the Amazing thing that happened. Justminutes after he called . I took tina out to to pee she could hardly stand up. I picked her up very gently and carried her back into the house. Now. There is a mirror we always looked into before going ustairs i would tell her "i love her "all the time therewhile looking into that mirror. .but this time she turned her head to the other direction. she looked for the first time at my Thomas Kincaid print my son had given me some years before. Whenshe looked at this picture(it is actually a set of 3 vertical pictures) but she didn't stop there, she continued to look straight up past the picture on the wall and straight to the ceiling. She continued to gaze as if in a trance. Her sight was fixated on something? As she continue d to stare at the ceiling I thought she was having a spasm but soon realized she was not. my daughter saw her do this as well and we both looked at each other as though we knew what she was looking at. I sort of just ignored it for a moment,and continue to go up the stairs. I REAIZED THEN, no matter where I walked up the stairs , INTO THE HALLWAY. into the back bedroom to get something I needed. and then into my bedroom . her stare remain focused on a certain spot that no one could see but her. .She wasn't distracted in any way from focusing her gaze on whatever it was she was seeing. . Sowhen I went into my bedroom saw my camera, I Took multiple pictures of her through the Mirra . It was all I could do while being careful holding her in my arms. . then in just a few moments later she lowered her head back downslowly ,and snuggled her faceagain back under my Neck . She had a vision. I I believe it was of Heaven. I then laid down on the bed with her she was still snuggled under my neck and holding on to me so tight . I COULD HEAR THE the doctor come into the house a few minutes later. she was very peaceful then. he even commented to me how calm she was . he let her lay therewirh me while the nurse checked her catheter to make sure it was working properly. Then he prepared her injections. When he was about to hold her leg to inject the sedative she lifted her head and yelped. I told her every thing is going to be alright now . Close your eyes .mommie is here. Her body went limp and shortly after he injected her last dose. And her heart had stopped. Her heart was full of love. She knows what real love is . And I have so much regret for leaving her there in that hospital for so long. She stayws in the house with me until the next morning because I wanted to take her myself to the crematory. I believe she had a vision of heaven, because that is where GOD has taken this little angel Tina . I miss her with all my heart and soul.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 09, 2013:

Oh my, are you really sure though that it was a heart stick? I only recall this being done once on a rat in the vet clinic I used to work for.They told me that was the only way to euthanize a rodent. I can't think of a good explanation for using a heart stick for a pet like a dog or cat. In some cases dogs may vocalize when being put to sleep, so this is not unheard of, even though quite rare. At times, the solution leaks out of the vein and can sting which can scare the animal. . Here are a few explanations about those vocalizations:

http://www.justanswer.com/pet-dog/1jdas-dog-scream...

http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.php?showt...

http://www.justanswer.petmd.com/dog-health/6wva8-d...

Cathy on December 09, 2013:

I have something I am trying to understand...when I took my chihuahua to the vet, she was almost gone...the vet took her from me and the next thing I knew, I could hear my dog screaming...I had no idea why...now I know that the vet must have used a heart stick...I had no idea why the vet took her away from us when she did or what she was going to do...if I had known what was going to happen, I would have kept my dog home in my arms. Please someone explain that what the vet did was right. I have struggled with this for years. I can still hear my dogs cries in my ears.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 20, 2013:

The deep breath/breaths you have witnessed is not uncommon. The deep breath is a sort of reflex triggered by the brain after the heart stops and is often referred to as "agonal breathing". Basically, the dead body is registering high carbon monoxide in the brain tissue, and thus, is stimulating involuntary breathing. It's not a sign of suffering, if you were thinking about that. The injection stops the heart and then after minutes without oxygen the brain dies. I hope this help, I 'm sorry for your loss.

annegil3 on February 20, 2013:

I had my pet euthanized last week and was told he would just be given a shot which will put him to sleep and that would be it. First of all, I didn't like the way the assistant clutched onto his head (they wouldn't let me hold him due to insurance reasons). But I talked to him and brushed him and when I was told it was "done" asked for some private time. During which my dog took a deep breath, followed a few minutes later by another deep breath. I freaked out and called the doctor in who told me it was normal - it was just the brain making the body work. However, he told me that's how the dog would pass - the brain would stop working thus making the body stop working ... which is it?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 17, 2012:

Jon, I am so sorry you went through such an ordeal and thank you for sharing your story. When a pet is put to sleep they are given an overdose of drugs generally given when going under surgery. I have seen a lot of pets put under anesthesia and their eyes were open and tongue was sticking out. Indeed, the vet puts drops in the eyes so they are lubricated for the time being. Now, because the anesthesia product (pentobarbital) is an overdose, it will initially work as a normal anesthetic, but being an overdose, it will eventually halt the breathing and stop the heart. I compare it to somebody dying during surgery but without being opened up. So if this helps ease your mind, she was not conscious at that time. If it makes you feel better , go to google images and google cat anesthesia. You will get pictures of cats that will look just like your cat put to sleep. Don't look though if this may further disturb you.. this is just to show you that the way your cat looked was not a sign of suffering, just being unconscious as if being put under anesthesia..my very best wishes..

Jon on June 16, 2012:

Hello all. We had my kitty Kiggy put to sleep on May 21, 2012. She was just shy of her 15th birthday. She stopped eating and slowly stopped drinking much water, something we didn't recognize right away I guess. She started sleeping in our dark hallway. She would be hard to awaken, but she would wake and stretch and walk, a little hard. 3 days after this started occurring I was becoming very worried. When she wouldn't drink her favorite milk, we took her to the vet. The next morning, the vet called and said she was in end stage renal failure, they could do no more for her. My partner talked to the doctor, I was asleep. He came in crying and said it was bad. The doctor said she would have a heart attack or seizure and die or the poisons would get into her brain. For those in the know, her creatinine was 10 and her BUN was 300. These are very high numbers, even for a human. Kiggy weighed 5 lbs wet on her heaviest day. Thinking she only had hours to live, and with the vet recommending euthaniasia, we hurried down in less than an hour. They gave us 10 minutes to say goodbye and she was gone. After that, I started researching online and started becoming alarmed because of all the success stories, vets recommending to never take a first opinion on something so serious, and to give some time if possible to see if the kitty responds to treatment. We were never consulted or brought into an office and explained what was going on in any detail, we were never given options for treatment or outlook other than death. We were also not told her eyes would stay open or that her tongue would jet out before she was euthanized. This has upset me so much I cannot sleep to this day, and the vision starts coming to my head at work and causing me to drift off. This has not gone unnoticed by my bosses, or the crying jags that force me to head to the break room or restroom.

I can't believe she could seem normal just 3 days before being diagnosed with such high numbers. She only had one night of re-hydration and medication, and only one blood test and xray set done. She looked a lot better when they brought her to us to say goodbye, and she was alert and responsive for us, and according to the vet records. Due to not having any information on what would have happened if we had tried to treat her for a while has given me such guilt it is eating me alive. The vet has called me due to my concerns and has not been able to help much, aside from apologizing for not consulting with us fully and giving us the story and options. She also says that she was sorry for not preparing us for the euthanasia process. We blindly trusted this vet, hopefully it was the right decision. We were so distraught we weren't even thinking. We were afraid she would die painfully any minute. The vet said during one call that bringing her home to pass or treatments would have been other options, and again sorry for not talking to you first. This cat stayed by my partner through 6 years of end stage renal failure and dialysis, cancer surgery, heart surgery, and through seizure from diabetes and undoubtedly saved him. She stayed with him when I had to go to work. I am also guilty that I could not help her the way she helped us. But please, if your vet does not talk with you when recommending such a drastic step, ask questions, get answers. For me, it is too late. I am very devoted to those closest to me, and Kiggy was one of those 4 and I let her down without demanding info and options as well. I am also not convinced that they are indeed asleep if their eyes are open, and perhaps she did not want to die just yet. I can't be sure, and for me, the thought of her being conscious as her heart stopped with fear or wanting help is something I cannot even justify, even as an act of kindness. If she had trauma or was obviously in pain, this may have been an easier decision. Unfortunately, this experience has caused me to flip on euthanasia and I won't consider it again, the way I feel now. This could be bad for a pet that may need this help in the future, but the lack of info for me was the deal breaker, too late. Please please be sure to ask questions and snap out of the haze for the sake of your pet so you don't end up like me. I wish I had :(

Amore on May 30, 2012:

I just put my dog to sleep today. He was three-four years old. He was kinda just given to us. I was told by the previous owner that he had his annual check up the day before we got him. I should have double checked, but I trusted him because his previous owner was my cousin. Not even a year later, Duke (my dog) began to cough up blood. I took him into the vet as soon as they opened the next day...and it turns out that he has heartworms. Apparently he has had them for a few years and his case was really bad. We didn't know how bad until recently (yesterday) when the blood became more excessive. Needless to say, he wasn't a good candidate for the treatment. I've never experienced this before and it was one of the hardest things I've EVER had to deal with in my life. Making that initial judgement call, watching him prance around the office not having a care in the world, and then watching him leave us and prance to the gates in doggy heaven. Although I know that I made the right choice since he was in so much pain and discomfort, it was a hard choice. I just know deep down that it was the right thing to do...no matter how hard it was. He just seemed like he went to sleep...no complications. This article was very sweet and made me feel somewhat okay about my decision.

Cindy on May 05, 2012:

Thank you for your kind words. I read Tonya's post and the links. None of them talk about an animal actually jumping off the floor. I believe they put him in cardiac arrest and I still believe he felt the heart attack which is why he jumped. As the links said, we can't change what happened. We can only make sure it doesn't happen again to another animal we own. I will never put a dog to sleep again without the sedation first. We were not given the option nor did we know about the option. Duke was my baby and I can't forgive myself for letting this happen to him. Thank you again. This is a wonderful site for not just getting information but also for sharing our emotions. Take care.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 05, 2012:

Cindy, look a few posts above yours and read Tonya's post and then the links I gave her about people experiencing the same thing, unfortunately this happens at times even tough rare, sorry to hear that, it sure sounds devastating!

Cindy on May 04, 2012:

I put my dog, 12 years old, to sleep 3 weeks ago. It was the worst day of my life. I thought he would just go to sleep peacefully. Right after getting the injection, his entire body jumped off the floor. We were mortified. The vet said he didn't feel anything but I don't believe it. Has anyone else experienced such a horrific thing when euthanizing a pet?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 02, 2012:

I am happy my article on pet euthanasia appointment was helpful to you. I send you a virtual hug during this difficult time.

Jamie on May 01, 2012:

I have made the decision to put down my cat "baby" she is 19 years old and she has been slowly declining. I can see the pain in her when she gets around. She has also lost control of her bodily functions and she can't groom herself anymore. I have really went over this decision in my mind and I know that it is time. Thank you for your article. I now know what to expect when I have to put my fur baby to sleep.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 21, 2012:

Sorry to hear that, they sure leave a big gap in our lives. My deepest condolences.

Michael on April 21, 2012:

My best friend in the whole wide world has just passed, and she had fur.

Miss you Cassie more than you will ever know.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 10, 2012:

Sorry to hear about your experience with your Peke, it is hard to say if he was in pain or not...if this happened after giving the injection to be put to sleep it could been a reflex of which he was likely not aware. However, if you look up at a few posts above you a dog owner endured something similar and there are links I posted about this. About the arthritis, have you tried glucosamine supplements? I would set an appointment with your vet and ask about trying something like Glycoflex, here is a helpful article,

https://hubpages.com/animals/Treatments-for-dogs-a...

BRENDA on February 10, 2012:

I WAS TOLD MY LT 17 YR PEKE W JUST GO TO SLEEP VET ON THE RT ME IN FRONT TECH ON LEFT HERBIE WAS IN KIDNEY FAILURE DEHYDRATED SUDDENLY HE RAISED UP ON HIS BACK LEGS AND THE MOST PAINFUL SCREAM THAT I W NEVER FORGET HE WAS LOOKING RT AT ME HERBIE WAS 2 WHEN I GOT HM 1 OF 300 RESCUED PUPPYMILL AND THE SWTEST BABY I PROMISED NO ONE W EVER HURT HM AGAIN THEN THIS HE WAS LOOKIN RT AT ME LIKE HE WONDERED WHY THEY SD HE DIDN'T FEEL ANYTHG WITH A SCREAM SO HORRIBLE I FEEL SO BAD AND APOLIGIZE TO HIM IN MY PRAYERS THEN HE LAID DWN THEY WERE LISTENING TO HIS HEART LIKE IT DIDN'T STOP FOR A FEW MIN WHAT HAPPENED AND WAS THIS AS PAINFUL AS HE SOUNDED I FELT HIS LAST BREATH ON MY FACE I NOW HAVE winston a peke 17 w arthitis he has been doing so good takes vetprofin and a thyroid pill he we w walk all around our building he w run up the hall now he is doing this lt hop w his front legs and seems to not want to put his left foot dwn i dont see a thing hes licking the top of his paws vet increased vetprofin to half morn half nite he doesn't want to and cant walk well wth this hop hop hes doing i tell him no hop walk he will a few steps and starts the hop again before this a couple wks ago he was active played w toys hes eating but evev needs to hop when hes sitting so ive been helping him eat he eats good this hop started when he wanted me to pk him up and hold him and then when walking please any ideas i am 56 on oxygen and i love him so he keeps me going

Tonya on January 22, 2012:

Thank you so much. I will go check out all those links. Im sorry my post was so "all over the place." My mind feels jumbled right now.

Her last episode (her episodes were very wide eyed, acting scared, breathing insanely hard and fast, gasping and wheezing... the only thing that would ease them was a small dose of valium our vet had prescribed us. We actually caught the tale end of an episode once on EKG and her heart was in massive runs of PVC's, pausing and then would thump a regular beat here and there.

So with that... her last episode started at 6:45 in the morning. Valium was given as well as supplemental oxygen. She relaxed but in her sleep her fast heavy breathing continued... which prompted our visit to the vet that day. The vet hooked her up to the EKG and sure enough her heart had no more regular beats. long strings of PVC's or defibrulations, then a pause and more defibs.

So once family had said their goodbyes I went into the room with just her and me. We laid on the floor and the vet came in and told me that they were giving her a "sleepy medicine" to calm her and relax her prior to the shot. The sleepy stuff was given by injection and the vet told me that she would gently fall into a sleep like state. She warned me that the fluid dripping from her nose and mouth will get worse as she relaxes, from the CHF. And it did. She completely relaxed into me and Then she started gasping for breath like a fish out of water. That is when her head began bobbing side to side, her tongue hanging out. When the vet heard me screaming for her, she came running in, ran back out to get "the shot" and within a second of the shot being given the gasping and bobbing ended and she was gone. Horrible.... I miss her like crazy, seriously so much. And it kills me to think that her last few minutes here with me were awful. I appriciate your quick response and I am heading over to those sites now. Thank you so much.

Tonya

Donna on January 22, 2012:

Today, I let my best buddy Monkey go free. Free of pain and sadness. Monkey had Feline AIDS. He was 13 yrs old and older than 2 of my children. He started becoming unwell about 3 months ago. He developed ulcers in his mouth which left his mouth smelling terrible and making it hard for him to eat. We went to our vet who gave him antibiotics which cleared up the infections and he'd bounce back to his happy old self. Unfortunately the ulcers kept flaring up and the antibiotics stopped working. He'd lost so much weight. He stopped coming to me for cuddles, he stopped sleeping on my daughters bed. He would just sleep in his basket all day. In the last four weeks he became even more withdrawn. He would run and hide under a bed all day and would not come out, even for his food. I told my husband he needed to take him to our vet, who was also our friend. Today I hugged and kissed my boy, told him I loved him and said my goodbyes. As I heard my husband's car drive away, I couldn't stop crying. I knew that I would never see my boy again. As I write this, I wipe the tears away. I loved my boy so much. The cruelest thing I could have done, was to let him keep suffering. The kindest thing I could have done for him, as hard as it was, was to say goodbye and to let him go to be free of pain and now he is happy again. Running free. I know he is happy now and one day we will be together again.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 21, 2012:

Tonya, I also found this case that may interest you:

http://www.justanswer.com/dog-health/49j1l-normal-...

And some more

http://www.justanswer.com/dog-health/5fe9k-dog-put

http://www.justanswer.com/pet-dog/0zh0q-17-year-ol...

http://www.justanswer.com/dog-health/20cka-recentl...

Again, sorry you had to go through this.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 21, 2012:

I am very sorry to hear about this dramatic happening. Having witnessed several euhthanasia appointments I can say most dogs thankfully go peacefully. However, occasionally I have heard some sad stories as yours even though I never witnessed one like that. It is hard for me to determine what exactly happened and I wished your vet could have given an explanation. I hate for you to have such memories stuck in your mind. It could be she had an adverse reaction to the drug which is usually a sedative such as valium or xanax. Since you said she went limp though when the sedative was given it could be the head bobbing was simply a reflex of which she was likely not aware (sort of like a seizure). However, I am a bit confused: you said she started reacting to the sedative and then was immediately given the actual euthanasia solution. But then you state the episode lasted an hour? were these episodes taking place prior to deciding to put her to sleep or where they taking just place after giving the sedative? One thing I can say is that sometimes with severe heart conditions the medication may not get to the dog's system at the ideal speed, therefore it may take longer to take effect.

This forum has reports of dog euthanasias gone wrong:

http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/german_shepherd_do...

Tonya on January 21, 2012:

As everyone else has already stated, thank you very much for this article. Yesterday we had to have our Newfy/lab put to sleep. She had a heart condition that lead to CHF. After a particulary rough morning for her, and fast breathing that didn't ease up thru the day we took her back in to the vet where they hooked her back up to the Echocardiogram. Long pauses followed by runs of PVC's and back to long pauses. We made the impossible decision. She had lasted 5 months longer than the vet originally thought. I went in with her by myself (my husband had to work and couldn't be there) and my family sat in the waiting room with my daughter. Our vet gave her a sleepy medication prior to "the shot". And then left her and I to be alone until it had taken full affect. Only within a minute she was limp and gasping for breath while fluid poured from her nose and mouth. Her head rocked back and forth over and over again and I started screaming for the vet. She ran in, saw what was going on and quickly gave Chloe "the shot". It was traumatic and awful. It's all I can see right now. She had warned me that Chloe's nose and mouth dripping might get a bit worse as she relaxes and all the fluid retention... but Im terrified that she was aware of everything and felt pain and fear. Exactly what I didn't want for her which is why we chose to have this done before another episode happened. (Episodes where wide eyed panic, couldn't breath, purple tongue and ears that lasted over an hour and only medication to calm her down would bring her out of it, only this last episode that morning didn't end).

is the back and forth bobbing of her head normal, do you think she felt pain? I held her until long after her heart stopped.

I hope you are still on this, I really need some answers....

Thanks..

Tonya

Cricket Born July 6, 2001 Passed away November 12, 2011 on November 15, 2011:

Our dog, Baby cricket was such a wonderful Angel. He was our light, he guarded each and every one of us for the past 10 years and 4 months. He made sure everyone was okay. Cricket made sure he said good bye to each one of us before he left us. We love him so much and unforgettable. He died peacefully at home on Saturday Nov 12th in our hands. Our wish is we want Cricket to come back to us as the length of the time is too short. We miss him so much.. Cricket had a very beautiful life we took him every where we went he followed us all the time. Cricket is resting in peace and we will always love him and remember him every day. We have had him since he was 7 weeks old. Cricket baby we love you so much....

Adam on October 22, 2011:

Hardest thing I have ever had to do was deciding to put my best friend Dexter (Jack Russel) down.

Three days earlier he was normal jumping, playing, barking, eating what ever. later that night he was not begging during supper time, I said to my wife where is Dexter. He was not acting normal but we thought maybe he was not feeling well and got into something that upset his tummy.

Three days later with out drinking, eating, playing, jumping, or anything but sleeping other then I did have a walk (his last walk with me) I was optimistic that he maybe feeling better. He started throwing up and breathing funny that day, we decided that's enough he's going to the vets.

We waited so long because of our financial state is not good (on parental leave and wife in school) I left it in mother natures hands but she failed me and I had to bring him in to find out what is happening. Prognosis was he had Pancreatitis and would cost me 850 bucks I said yes fix him please. Later that night the vet called and told us it was not Pancreatitis but Kidney failure, I was crushed because now this was way out of my reach to help would cost me 3 thousand dollars plus monthly vet visits to save him. I had to decide now to put him down and let me tell you I was a mess a grown man uncontrollably crying.

Dexter was only 3 years old and we got him at 1 half months old, he was my best friend always near me and had to go where ever I went. The thing that hurts the most is he would not look at me but stared at my wife before and during the euthanization, that hurt me a lot. Did he think I abandoned him? I stood by him until his last breath and heart beat and I cried out SORRY...

Dexter March 2008 - Oct. 2011

Tkay on October 08, 2011:

Thank you so much for this article Alexadry, and thank you to everyone that posted their stories! Your article and stories have helped me. I hope to post my own, and hopefully it helps someone else who has lost a furry friend/family member as well.

My family and I put our cat Tigger down, about 4 years ago now, he was 21/22 years old. That cat and I grew up together; There are baby pictures of myself and him playing together (with him as a kitten). He lived a long and happy life, but his time came (his kidneys were to the point of failing long story short) and we had to put him down to avoid letting him die a painful death. Our vet explained to us what to expect, but nothing could really prepare us for what we were about to really witness. Like Brielle's experience, I never got those last haunting images out of my mind of him being put to sleep. I didn't expect those reactions from him. But now that I read this article, and everyone else's experiences, I feel much better knowing that those are common and normal reactions. Now I can look at those last memories of not sadness, but love and kindness of being there for him to the very last moment.

Tomorrow my family and I have to put our other cat Sassy to sleep. He is in his 20's, we've had him since I was a little girl. His body is withering away to nothing but bones, he is disoriented all the time/lost/confused, has severe arthritis where it takes him forever to lay down/get up, doesn't use the litterbox at all anymore and urinates/defecates where ever he pleases (to the point where it has attracted a fruit fly infestation), is severely dehydrated all the time, sleeps most of the day away, and throws up most of the food he eats almost every day. He has a health condition that requires a surgical biopsy to identify exactly what he has - which requires the vet to remove part of his intestine... The vet said one of the conditions could be cancer, which is incurable. So we didn't want to put him through more pain in misery for something that can't even be cured, for an insane amount of money that we can't afford. He is a very old cat, and has lived a long and happy life, and his bad moments definitely outnumber the good now... It's just hard to believe that this all is happening again, so fast. I hope our last remaining family cat, Squeaky, will be okay. He's lost two friends now and will have no other furry friends to play with while we are at work, but I can't bear to get another cat, the experience of putting them down is just too heart wrenching.

But once again, thanks for the article, I feel like this has given me more knowledge and understanding about my past experience before, less guilt, and strength to deal with tomorrow. ~Hugs to everyone~

Simaslovingmommy on October 02, 2011:

This site has been quite helpful....I have been faced with the prospect of euthanizing my chow for some time...he just has gone downhill for so long..but, I keep holding on....my two kids from college are coming home today to say their goodbyes to Simba...he is kidney in failure...blind for months,deaf..bad arithtis..and suffers allergies...cannot hold his bladder..I have known this time was coming..he is nearly 14....and hasn't enjoyed life for some time.....it's one of the hardest decisions for me to make..but I am slowly coming to terms with it as being the kindest thing I can do...I'm so afraid if I don't do it like the vet recommended....he will one night be in such pain and suffering that it will be worse than now..and I will have wished I had done it sooner and spared him even worse than what he is suffering now....even knowing he was only likely going to make it a few more months..I still don't seem prepared as well that that time has come...I keep putting the appt off..but...I know it is time now....he needs that long rest from it all....I use to feel that it was a cruelty and not my place to make such a choice for him of his life..but, I finally believe we were given this route as a loving way to help our pets thru...especially seeing as his age...the time is upon either way..and after two days of his moaning in pain...not helping him this way seems even more cruel than I felt doing it was b4..I luv him more than I think he could ever know..and will be with him thru his final breathe....for today we will enjoy him as a family at the lake and with ice cream treats...and the warm fall breeze and the sun on us...and tomorrow I will make the appt for my dear friend who has long stood by me..as I will do for him as he reaches the end.

jeff on September 13, 2011:

Just put our 17 year old girl sammy down tonight. Sammy spent many years roaming free and would be with me wherever we went and loved to go on hikes or long walks and long runs. So much pleasure to watch sammy in a heaven on our runs on the mesas and canyons of chinle arizona. Bad arthritus in her hind legs and chf made walking much more difficult her final year. today she could barely get up and would plop right back down. I had decided that when she got to this point it was time for me to let go. Tommorrow I would call my vet. But sammy was very agitated through the night and was moaning and telling me she was miserable and couldn't sleep. Should I call emergency medical services tonight or waite until morning so she could be cared for by the Vet I felt comfortable with. Not wanting her to be miserable through the night we made the call to the on call emergency vet services. In addition I gave her one of my wifes 0.5mg lorazepam kind of winging it hoping the dose was safe (sammy weight was down to 36 Pounds)and hoping that that would help calm her agitated mind. The Lorazepam did seem to help a little and perhaps we could have waited till morning but alas we were carrying her to the car to the on call tech and vet. The tech arrived and was nice and comforting but when the vet arrived he did not address us. I was not feeling good about him but thought he must love animals and people who love animals and soon that would become apparent. We placed her on the table and he was ready with the injection still not saying much to us. Could you examine her first. What for she is 17.( I mean please for my sake show me you care and you are going to take care of my girl. I was picturing holding and petting