Putting to sleep your faithful canine companion is heartbreaking. However, it is a decision that most dog lovers will have to face more than once in a lifetime. As we outlive our canine companions by several decades, we are likely to have to make this decision many times in a single human lifetime, surviving many beloved dogs, each having held a unique and special place in our heart and life.

The word euthanasia comes from the Greek and means “easy death”. The root “eu” means good, improved, easy. “Thatanos” means death. It is the act of ending a pet's life for humane reasons. It is done by the administering of an overdose of anesthetic in as painless a manner as possible. Some common synonyms are “putting to sleep”, “put to sleep”, “put down”, “euthanize”, “mercy killing”, “humane end of suffering”, “painless death”. Some incorrect variations I have also heard are “euthanization”, “eutanize”, etc...

I wish particularly to elaborate on the subject of dog euthanasia here. I will also cover why having this difficult task done at home (having a home euthanasia) is in the best interest of your pet and also in your best interest.

There are so many different breeds of dogs and they differ greatly from breed to breed. For example, Golden Retrievers are very placid and can experience a lot of pain and discomfort without demonstrating any symptoms. A smaller breed may not be so “tough” although size is not a general rule to evaluate resistance and ability to cope with pain and non optimum living conditions. Terriers although part of the small breeds are usually pretty tough. Poodles, Maltese, Bichons and Chihuahuas tend to be more sensitive. In the larger breeds, German Shepherds tend to be very vocal about discomfort, pain and fear. As mentioned earlier, Golden Retrievers can be more stoic.

In addition to the variations in breeds, add to this individual variations due to training, living conditions experienced over a life time and innate life endowment. The reason why this is discussed here is because when you are trying to decide whether or not it is time to consider euthanasia for your dog, there are multiple factors involved and it is impossible to uphold a single rule. The “Quality of Life” and “Pet Euthanasia” pages on this website will provide you with a lot of information on this subject, but what cannot be ignored is that you, as the person who knows your pet best, are in the best position to evaluate the situation. It is very important that you gather as much information as you can as a dog owner so that you can gain knowledge and therefore have more ability to look at the various factors involved in an analytical manner so that you can make the best educated decision possible.

Because dogs differ so much in breed, size and personality from individual to individual, it is important to evaluate how the procedure should be performed and make the correct choices. For help on how to make the correct choices for your particular dog, see the information on the pre euthanasia options under the “PET EUTHANASIA” page.

It might be extremely helpful for you to discuss this issue and the related choices with your veterinarian who is familiar with your pet, his or her medical history, pain level as well as his or her disposition and level of anxiety around strangers. These are all important factors to consider when deciding if your dog should have pr-medications.


The main reason is that it will be more comfortable for your pet, less stressful and that he or she will have a dignified departure. Most pets, lets face it, don't like to go to a veterinarian's office. Some of them don't like to go in the car. For some, especially large dogs with arthritis for example, it will not only be unpleasant to get in and out of the car, but also painful.

The cost of having a home euthanasia done for your dog is small compared to the benefits. Your dog has given you companionship, devotion and unconditional love all these years. Now, it's time to let him or her go. Why not make that goodbye the most peaceful, dignified one, in the comfort of his or her own surroundings instead of taking him or her to a place where he or she has experienced unpleasant moments? He or she will be grateful to you for making that final goodbye more peaceful.