What happens during the euthanasia procedure?
Understanding what happens during a euthanasia procedure before the event can be beneficial. Not only will you understand the medical process, but you can be comforted by the knowledge that your pet will be put to sleep in a completely painless and peaceful way. Your veterinarian will explain the procedure to you fully, but if you require further clarification of any elements of the process then we will be happy to provide this.
Smaller to mid-sized pets are usually placed on a table, whilst larger animals are most easily put to sleep on the floor. This also removes any discomfort your pet may feel by lifting. Ensure that you take their favorite sleeping blanket to give them added comfort during this time. A veterinary technician will usually hold your pet still to ensure that the procedure is done swiftly and smoothly. If your pet is unlikely to stay still for the procedure, then the veterinarian may give him a sedative beforehand.
Most often an IV catheter is placed into a vein the front or rear leg of your pet. This ensures that the vein does not rupture when the euthanizing drug is injected. Your veterinarian will then use this vein to inject your pet with an overdose of sodium pentobarbital or another anesthetic drug. This causes your pet to fall into unconsciousness, before slowing and then stopping the heart altogether.
Your veterinarian will use a stethoscope to confirm that the heart has stopped beating. For a few minutes after the process, you may witness involuntary muscle twitching and breathing from your pet. The bladder and bowels may also release. These are perfectly normal occurrences and no cause for concern. You are then usually given the option to spend a few minutes alone with your pet.
Cremation or Burial
Ahead of the euthanasia process, you will be asked whether you would prefer for your pet to be cremated or prepared for burial. Cremation is very popular. You can scatter your pet's’ ashes in their favorite walking spot, keep them in an urn, or arrange for them to be made into jewelry or a paperweight.
Alternatively, you may wish to bury your pet. If you want to bury your pet at home, you should check any local ordinances for restrictions. There are also pet cemeteries located across the US and your veterinarian should be able to advise you on the cemetery closest to you.