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Putting down your dog or euthanizing it: why, when, how?

Euthanasia is a veterinary act consisting in ending the life of an animal prematurely, or in giving up a so-called "natural" death. Of course, it is a trying and heartbreaking act for the owner and the family who has lived with the dog for a long time, but unfortunately, it is better in some cases to take the decision to end the life of your companion for his own good. This is not a cruel choice, but a decision made out of love and compassion.

Let's take a look at euthanasia to find out when it is appropriate to do so and how to prepare for it.

When should a dog be put down?

There are many cases where euthanasia is the best decision to make:

A too advanced age

Indeed, some dogs that have become too old are extremely diminished physically. Your dog may suffer from various problems due to its age, such as arthritis or cataracts, it may have become deaf, or many other things. When the dog gets to the point where it is so physically diminished that it no longer eats, drinks, cannot make a movement without squeaking and therefore becomes amorphous, the best decision is unfortunately to put it out of its misery.

A serious accident

Sometimes a dog can be the victim of a serious accident, for example if it is hit by a moving car. Even when you manage to reach an emergency veterinary clinic, it is sometimes too late and the veterinarian will tell you that the only way to help your dog so that it does not suffer anymore is to euthanize it. This is a very painful moment that will force you to make a serious decision without being prepared, but you must tell yourself that this is the only way to help your companion.

A degenerative disease

Some dogs, especially with age, can develop a disease, not necessarily fatal but extremely disabling and painful. This is the case, for example, of an arthritis at a too advanced stage. In any case, if your dog has a disease that makes him suffer too much, your veterinarian will talk to you about euthanasia, the only way to relieve him of his suffering.

We have seen the cases where euthanasia is certainly the best way to help your companion. But there are also other cases where dogs are euthanized, and this without the agreement of their master:

A dog judged aggressive

Some dogs, often because of mistreatment by humans who have traumatized them in the past, become very aggressive, and even dangerous for the people around them. Sometimes, in spite of all the resocialization work done by professionals, nothing is done and the dog remains aggressive. In this case, after a behavioral study, the choice to euthanize the animal can be made.


Unfortunately, it happens that, in shelters, dogs are euthanized due to a lack of space or budget for their basic needs, i.e. feeding and caring for them, because they cannot find a master and the shelters are overcrowded. That's why we can't advise you enough to adopt your animals from a shelter rather than from another one, it can save animals.

How does a euthanasia take place?

Euthanasia is a supervised medical procedure performed by professionals who love animals, namely veterinarians, and who will therefore perform this act with great respect for the animal.

At first, the dog will be placed on an operating table, immobile. If he is nervous and gets too agitated, which could make him suffer even more or disrupt the operation, he will be given a sedative to help him calm down.

The veterinarian will then inject an overdose of anesthetic, and the animal will gradually fall asleep, without pain.

About ten minutes later, the veterinarian will check the dog's condition with a stethoscope, listening to whether or not the heart is still beating.

Once the dog is dead, it will be buried or buried in accordance with legal requirements.

Your presence during the euthanasia

Your presence during the operation is not mandatory. It can indeed reassure your dog during its last journey, but if you do not feel like living this very hard moment, nothing obliges you to do so.

You can also, if the clinic has the necessary tools, ask for the euthanasia to be done by catheter, the product will be sent remotely by a pipe, and this will allow you to be alone with your friend for his last breath.

Finally, if you wish, you can have a veterinarian come to your home.

The cost of a euthanasia

A euthanasia represents a certain cost, depending on the weight of the animal. Count between 30 and 100€ on average for a euthanasia, but it will sometimes be necessary to add the price of the cremation, between 50 and 150€.

Remember to ask your veterinarian for these details before the act, it is better to avoid an additional bad surprise during your mourning.

Finally, you should know that some insurances offer formulas that cover the costs of euthanasia and cremation.