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Euthanasia at home questions. Warning--a bit of a frank discussion

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  • Euthanasia at home questions. Warning--a bit of a frank discussion

    This might be a weird question, but if you have multiple dogs and are euthanizing one at home, do you let the other dogs sniff the deceased? Do you think it matters? They have lived together for years, but never been cuddly with each other, if that makes sense. They really are both more bonded to me than each other and have never exhibited anxiety when apart. I'm almost thinking it would be more stressful for him to see her after she is gone, but I'm not sure...

    I guess people who have the dogs euthanized at the clinic (the vast majority) probably don't worry about this, but I didn't know if it would be good for him to see her body, or stressful or maybe he would just be indifferent?

    Also, is there any reason we shouldn't do it in the house? I was planning on having her on a dog bed we will be discarding afterwards.

    I've never been able to have a vet do this at home before. I really hope I can keep my crap together and not freak the dog or the vet out.

    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

  • #2

    I've only been present for one at home euthanasia for a dog and it was a very positive experience. Maybe if I just tell you about it, it will answer some of your questions.

    My good friend had two dogs. When she knew she needed to euth her older dog, she called and asked if I'd be there. She, like you, was worried she might not be able to hold it together. Plus, there are other details to attend to, like removing the pet for cremation or burying--depending on which you choose.

    So I got out there that day and friend/hubby spent time with their dog outside in the yard. We had some favorite blankets out there too. I stayed inside with the other dog for most of that time. When the veterinarian arrived, I went outside and assisted while my friend and her husband went inside as they were both pretty upset.

    We did let the other dog sniff around. I personally believe that is a good thing to do--have always done it with horses. The other dog sniffed around, seemed to take it all in and then lost interest and went back inside. I covered their pup up with a blanket and waited for the crematory people.

    I don't think I'd have the other dog right there during the actual event. But before and after, sure.

    I personally would not do it in the house because there is often urination and defecation. If you want to do it in the house, just be prepared for that and maybe do it in the kitchen. However, I think that unless you have someone there to help you clean up, it might make it all harder on you. I also think that it's best for all to not have the other animals right there in the mix at the moment because the veterinarian needs to be able to give the injection and you don't want to have to be worrying about the other dog at that moment.

    Again, I'm sorry....((hugs))

    It's okay to be upset. But if you think you'll be very upset during the process, you might enlist a good friend to come just in case.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    • #3
      First, I am so sorry that you have to put one of your dogs down but in my experience having the vet come to the house is less stressful on the animal. In my household, I keep the other animals away from the space where the euth is taking place, but after it is done I do let the others come and say goodbye (even if they do not seem very bonded). The reason is that the other animals can smell "death" and if they do not know what happened it will cause more anxiety for them. (The other pets will know something died, but not who and that can be very stressful.) This is just my opinion based on my experiences, and I am sure that others will chime in with their stories too. {Hugs} to you, and may your pet have a peaceful passing.
      Certified Spiritual Medium/ Animal Communicator


      • #4
        This past summer, I was fortunate enough to be able to let my sweet 16 year old JRT girl go at home. Her beagle companion was in the house through the whole thing. I did let him smell her after it was over, and he just looked up at me with those big sad beagle eyes like he understood. He's been fine, even though his companion of 9 years (he's 9!) has been gone.
        I think letting them smell them and come to terms with it is a good thing. Euth'ing at home, IMO, is a great last gift, if you can arange it. my pup was completely comfortable in her surroundings, unlike when she was at the vet.



        • #5
          I'm sorry about your dog too. I had my old shepherd mix euthed at the vet clinic. Afterwards we brought her body home and let all the dogs and cats in the house sniff her before I buried her. They seem to understand, and are very quiet an serious viewing their friend, just as we would be at a funeral. I think it helps them to understand that she will not be coming back, so they don't spend a long time looking for her. In fact, should anything ever happen to me, dh has instructions to allow the dogs at my funeral for the same reason. I've seen animals pine away looking for the loved one they lost.
          ~Former Pet Store Manager (10yrs)
          ~Vintage Toy Dealer (rememberswhen.us)
          ~Vet Tech Student
          Mom to : 2 Horses, 4 Dogs, 2 Cats


          • Original Poster

            I was planning to kennel our other dog and put the cats in the bathroom.

            I know she would be the most comfortable in the house. She has been cold lately and it may be getting dark when the vet gets there. Ugh. But she's pretty high on pain killers too.

            She's a bit constipated from the opiates, but the our mondio club was over yesterday and everyone kept spoiling her with human food (bar food they used for food refusal--just nasty--she thought it was amazing) so I AM worried about defecation! I was thinking about putting plastic under her dog bed (which is torn up) and then throwing that stuff away.

            The only thing I'm worried about is our boy dog has been known to go to the bathroom in spots where other dogs have--in houses. Ugh. And if he sees her and she peed in the house that would be very bad if he decided to reciprocate. So maybe do the euthanasia in the kitchen and his viewing outside...

            My husband dug the hole yesterday. We are in heavy drought and getting through the clay was a really difficult. It is around three feet deep, but I plan to place cinder blocks all over the top of the grave site. He thinks it is plenty deep, but I'm worried about frost heave.


            Thank you for the kind thoughts. This has been a REALLY terrible month (osteosarcoma) and I'm not sure a lot of people "get" it. She's actually our youngest pet at six. The cats are teenagers and the boy is probably 8 (rescue--not sure). So depressing--my poor arthritic crew--and now it's just boys.
            DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


            • #7
              Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

              You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.


              • #8
                Well, if you elect to do it somewhere with carpet, i've had a lot of experience with getting loose stools and urine out of light carpet lately due to my dog. I found this oxyclean pet stain stuff that is awesome for getting the stain out, then I use Nature's Miracle after. THEN I rented a rug doctor and the carpet looks nice and no one seems to think that our entire living room is a place to relieve themselves.

                So it's doable.

                I think that if you take a big garbage bag and slice the corners/bottom, you should be able to lay that out. But runny stuff...um...runs. So maybe towels on the periphery.

                I'm sure that if you take tons of precautions, you won't even have any expulsion of fluids because that's how Murphy's Law works, right?

                Hang in there. I'm sorry. ((hugs))
                A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                • #9
                  I'm so sorry to hear this.

                  I don't have dogs. We have cats, but...

                  This past September we put down my 17 year old Tally. The vet was supposed to come to the house on Monday. Our plan was to put the other 2 cats in the house while the deed was done in the sideyard, then let the other 2 out to sniff her so they'd understand she was dead.

                  Tally suddenly went downhill and was put down by an ER vet early Sunday.

                  To our human eyes Tally hated our other 2 cats and they loathed her, but both of our cats were very distressed. They looked all over the house for her, they peered under the bed, they cried, they followed us around bleating pitifully. Twilight looked for about a week. Mica looked for about 3 weeks, and even 2 months later I sometimes catch her looking under our bed trying to find Tally.

                  So yes- I absolutly wish I could have let our other 2 cats sniff Tally. I think they would have been a lot less distressed. They spent weeks looking for her. I think if they had been able to sniff her body and sit a while with her they'd have understood she was dead, and not just missing.
                  "The nice thing about memories is the good ones are stronger and linger longer than the bad and we sure have some incredibly good memories." - EverythingButWings


                  • #10
                    so sorry for you and your family.........many hugs......

                    i've done this 3 times.......and i recall muttering to myself while having a most difficult time digging a grave.."the body was found in a shallow grave"....well, no wonder, cause between the rocky clay and crying while digging, i was a mess......

                    but being at home is sooooooooo much better.......i let my old choc lab sleep on an old poufy sleeping bag, so i just left him stay there, and we cradled his body in the sleeping bag to take him out....then just wrapped him in his soft bedding to bury........the other two dogs were big labs as well, and it is hard to believe how heavy they become afterwards....i figure it is the burden of grief that adds to it.......so if your beloved pooch is a large size,prepare a way to move from kitchen to outside......again, cradling in a large blanket or quilt is less traumatic (i think) because it makes a really tough task managable.....
                    many jimgles..my heart goes out to you


                    • #11
                      HUGS. I have had three cats put down at home. The last was my beloved Simon this past January. I held him on my lap as the vet administered the shot. Afterwards, I took him upstairs to the room where I had put my other 3 cats. Simon's best buddy, Oliver, pretty much freaked out when he saw Simon's body - the other 2 were calmer. But I still think I did the right thing. Oliver was pretty damn depressed for about a week afterwards - moping around and not eating.

                      I do believe that it is better for the others to know that their friend has passed on and I do believe that they do know it if you show them the body.
                      What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


                      • #12
                        I've had my cats euth'ed at home. It was quick, and much less stressful for both the cats and myself. Having her on her dog bed is a fine idea, especially if it's a cup style that can hold fluids. I had my cats on their favorite blankets, which worked fine. I would allow the other pets to examine the body, just because it does seem help them understand that their companion is gone.

                        Sorry about the loss of your little dog. It never gets easier. May good memories be your comfort.
                        Don't tell me about what you can't do. That's boring. Show me what you can do. - Mom


                        • #13
                          I did not euth her, but did have one die with her head in my lap at home. I allowed my younger dog to have a sniff after she was gone as he'd spent weeks looking for our previous female after we put her down. He seemed to "get it" and never looked for her the way he'd hunted for his first companion.
                          The cats also hunted for the first female relentlessly, and looked desperately for the alpha tom after he was put down- they also never looked for the one who passed at home. I do think they understand & it reduces the stress level quite a bit. I am sorry for your loss, but how wonderful that your girl will be in comfortable surroundings & it very good-hearted of you to consider your other dog's emotional state.
                          bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
                          free bar.ka and tidy rabbit


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by shayaalliard View Post
                            I'm sorry about your dog too. I had my old shepherd mix euthed at the vet clinic. Afterwards we brought her body home and let all the dogs and cats in the house sniff her before I buried her. They seem to understand, and are very quiet an serious viewing their friend, just as we would be at a funeral. I think it helps them to understand that she will not be coming back, so they don't spend a long time looking for her. In fact, should anything ever happen to me, dh has instructions to allow the dogs at my funeral for the same reason. I've seen animals pine away looking for the loved one they lost.
                            Yes, this is what my family has always done w/ house pets, if we could. It does seem to help.


                            • #15
                              We had our lab put down at home. She had osteosarcoma and couldn't get around at the end. She was euthanized in our home. We have two other dogs, both quite old, and neither dog was present, nor were any of the cats. She was on a blanket, which we then buried her in. It was so much easier to have our vet come here for many reasons, and I'll always be grateful that my equine vet would do this. Her passing didn't seem to stress any of the other animals, just my husband and me. My heart goes out to you; nothing about saying goodbye to a beloved pet is easy, but not making them go to the vet is much kinder.
                              Mystic Owl Sporthorses


                              • #16
                                Hoping and praying for a gentle goodbye for your treasured dog. Having done this at home and at vet hosp, I think it can be much easier on the animal to be at home, altho some of mine never minded being at vets and for those I had necropsied it worked better to have them there at the end. It is the hardest thing we can ever do for our best friends, but is also the kindest when they are sick or worn out. I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved friend. I also agree that it is good for the other pets to have a chance to say goodbye.


                                • #17
                                  I'm sorry you are going through this.
                                  Having had to get quite a few old animals euthed, it is easiest (in terms of "on the owner"..) if you have the vet tranquilize first with the tranq that takes about 10 min, and then makes them go to sleep. Then euth. I've had it done without (never again), and with another tranq that just makes them lay there with their eyes open, but not moving, and that is just eerie (they looked paralyzed but aware. The tranq the vet I use now, uses, takes them about 10 min and then they lay down and literally fall asleep. It's very peaceful. Then the vet euths, and there isn't much of a reaction...they just stop breathing. None of mine pooped or peed (about 11 of them)


                                  • #18
                                    You can put a shower curtain liner on the carpet under the dog bed/blanket. I had two big GSD's PTS on my living room floor and there was no urine or fecal matter released. So sorry for your situation.
                                    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Do you think I should ask her to bring Tranq? Do vets normally have this on hand? I could send her a text. She's coming in an hour.

                                      This is my horse vet who is willing to do this, btw. Our longterm small animal vet retired (and I asked him years ago if he was willing to do in-home euthanasia after a rotten experience with my last euth at a different clinic--which they didn't tranq on, btw, and my dog tried to bite me for the first time ever--horrid). Anyway, horse vet is the only vet working today in their busy three vet clinic, so she is coming after work. I bought her some fresh home-made bread to say thanks (I couldn't think of anything else quickly available).

                                      Zelda is big-ish. 71 lb doberman. Hubby can lift her just fine though, but maybe I will find a sheet or old blanket too, just in case.

                                      You'd think I'd be done crying. It's been pretty continual since she was first diagnosed November 12th. I'm so behind on sleep that I dont know if I'm coming or going. She lays her head on my chest to sleep at night which is uncomfortable, but also very tear-worthy.
                                      DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                                      • #20
                                        TrotTrotPumpkn - I'm so sorry Zelda's going downhill so fast. Jake actually seems to be doing better than he had been - even putting weight on the leg with cancer. I'd let your other dog see her after you have her put down - I believe that they understand the reality of death better that way.

                                        Again, you have my sympathy. {{{hugs}}}