How Often do Veterinarians Euthanize Pets?

Euthanizing a pet can be an emotionally difficult process for both the veterinarian and for the owners of the pet. This practice provides pets with a safe, virtually painless way to leave this world.

Veterinarians typically euthanize a pet once every couple of days. This number can change depending on the size of the vet clinic. Veterinarians will euthanize pets if they are terminally ill, injured, or very old. When a pet gets euthanized is completely up to the owner.

This article discusses the reasons for euthanasia and its process.

How Many Pets are Euthanized?

As pets get older, euthanizing them is a way to ensure that their end to life is painless and they are surrounded by people they love. Once pets are in too much pain or have gotten so old that their quality of life has decreased vets will recommend euthanasia.

Unfortunately, animals who live in shelters are subject to euthanasia. Shelters euthanize approximately 920,000 shelter animals each year. Animals shelters will euthanize pets that have not been adopted because of a lack of space.

So many animals enter that animal shelter system that in order to have room for all of them, some are euthanized. This is unfortunate because unlike older pets brought into vet clinics by their owners, these pets get euthanized even when they still have life to live (Source).

At vet clinics, the number of pets that are euthanized varies. Owners will typically make appointments for this type of procedure. The number of pets that a vet euthanizes is dependent on the size of the clinic. Sometimes a vet will euthanize three pets in a day and other times they will go days without performing the procedure.

Why do Pets get Euthanized?

For animals shelters, the main reason they euthanize pets is due to overcrowding issues. Animal shelters are usually overcrowded. A shelter may also euthanize pets that they deem “un-adoptable”. To conform to certain state laws, animal shelters have to obey certain regulations before they can euthanize a pet. These regulations may include waiting a certain amount of time or notifying the owners/potential owners of the situation.

Pets who are brought into vet clinics by their owners usually get euthanized for different reasons than those who live in animal shelters. These pets typically come from loving homes and have concerned owners. These owners usually want the best for their pets and are choosing to euthanize their pet because of an injury, age, or a doctor’s recommendation.

Once pets become very old, they may undergo euthanasia. At a certain age, pets require so much assistance to stay alive that some owners will choose to euthanize them. If a pet suffered from a terminal illness it may also be euthanized. If a pet is ill, they are constantly in pain and for many owners, they do not want to see their pet live in constant pain. For animals who suffer from illnesses that can’t be cured a vet may recommend euthanasia.

Pets who are injured may also be euthanized. If a pet has broken a limb, owners may decide to euthanize their pet. Once an animal has broken a limb, it is difficult for them to fully recover and they are at higher risk of breaking the bone again.

Other pets are euthanized because of a behavioral issue. If a pet has bitten or attacked someone, they will sometimes be euthanized either at the request of the victim or at the owner’s own discretion. This is a painless process in which the dog simply feels like it is going to sleep.

The Euthanasia Process

Euthanasia is a process that vets handle very delicately. Veterinarians understand how emotionally difficult this process can be for pet owners so they are sympathetic. Vets will recommend to owners that they spend the days leading up to the euthanasia appointment with their pet. Owners will bring their pet to their favorite park or buy them their favorite treats.

Once an animal goes into a euthanasia appointment. They are given two shots, the first shot is simply a sedative. This first shot will calm the dog down. The second shot is filled with the euthanasia solution. This needle is slowly injected into the dog’s vein or a catheter may be inserted into the vein and the injection given through it.

Once the solution is injected, the animal passes away quickly, usually within 10 seconds. This procedure is painless for the animals. The pet may feel a sense of confusion and then they will simply feel like they are falling asleep. Some owners will choose to stay in the room while the animal passes away. This can be difficult for some owners and vets usually offer sympathy and words of advice.

Grieving the loss of your pet is a personal experience. Before you book your euthanasia appointment it is recommended that you come to terms with losing your pet and understand the process completely. This can be done by consulting your veterinarian in the weeks following up to the appointment to gain a complete understanding and acceptance of euthanasia

Some veterinarians offer at-home euthanasia services. A vet will come to the owner’s home and perform the procedure there. Some owners prefer this way because it allows the dog to be in the comfort of its own home when it passes away. This also makes it easier for the owners to grieve in a place where they are comfortable.

The Cost of Euthanasia

The cost of euthanizing a pet at a veterinary office or animal hospital usually starts at 50 dollars. This price will vary depending on the region and your veterinarian. Other factors such as your pet’s weight can affect the cost as well. Ask your vet for a list of all charges before scheduling your appointment.

The price can also increase if you are wanting the vet to come to your home to perform the procedure. Most vets will charge more if they have to come to your home. The materials used can also impact the price. If your pet needs an IV catheter and/or medications before euthanasia, that can cost more. With additional costs, the price of euthanasia can reach up to 400 dollars depending on your situation.

If you choose to cremate your pet, that is another additional cost. Many veterinarian clinics will offer cremation services and their prices will vary depending on the clinic.

Carolina Pieters

I'm Carolina and created this blog, to provide practical advice and emotional comfort for those dealing with pet loss.

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