How to Humanely Euthanize a Pet Goat

In today’s day and age, losing our pets is comparable to losing dear friends and family members. There will come a day when you’ll have to say goodbye to dogs, cats, hamsters, and goats alike and put them to sleep. Whether you do it yourself or hire a veterinarian, all that matters is that it’s done as humanely and painlessly as possible.

A pet goat can be humanely euthanized via shooting, veterinary euthanization, or induced unconsciousness. Veterinary euthanization can be costly, but it’s the easiest way to deal with it. Shooting and induced unconsciousness are recommended if the goat’s owners would rather put it to sleep at home.

Surely, you’d rather not think about this, but sometimes being prepared for this dreaded day in advance can make the entire process a little easier to bear. Here are a few ways that you can humanely put down a pet goat and some telltale signs you should be on the lookout for.

Signs of Illness

The first thing you’ll need to look for in an old goat is signs of serious illness (including depression and isolation). These signs and symptoms will be your first clue that it’s time to start considering euthanasia. So, what do you need to be looking for in your goat’s behavior?

Any kind of odd and unusual behavior in a goat should be enough to raise your eyebrows, but there are certainly a few specific ones that you should be aware of. If your goat starts to isolate itself from other goats and people, that’s a sign that there is something wrong. Goats are usually pretty social, so pay close attention to see if isolation is happening.

You should also be on the lookout for poor posture and odd vocalizations. Goats are pretty vocal during the day, so you must pay attention and learn what your goat’s voice sounds like. If it starts making unusual vocalizations, that could be an indicator of it being in pain. When this happens, give them a once-over and see if you can spot anything out of the ordinary. If you can’t, it might be necessary for you to visit the vet.

Poor posture isn’t always an indication of disease, but you should know as well as anybody what a goat’s regular stance should look like. If your goat is hunched over or moving around with abnormal stiffness, it’s a safe bet that something is off. If this starts happening, get them to a vet.

You’ll also need to be on the lookout for other more recognizable diseases such as ringworms, rabies, etc. Ringworms are pretty easy to diagnose. You’ll start to notice patches of hair loss on your goat. Those patches will start to get crusty and rough and might cause serious pain and/or itching on your animal.

Rabies is a little more serious. You may start to notice your goat behaving wildly or drunkenly. It might start staggering around and appear to be incoherent. It might drool excessively, refuse to eat, and sometimes even act aggressively toward you. If this begins to happen, it’s almost a sure chance that you’ll have to put your goat down.

Additionally, in the event of an accident, especially one that includes motor vehicles, your goat might suffer serious injuries such as broken bones. When this happens, it’s almost always necessary to put the goat down. Not because it’s cruel, but because it is the quickest way to relieve the animal’s suffering.

How Do I Know When to Put My Goat Down?

Now comes the sad part; knowing when to put your goat down. This can be an extremely hard decision to make, especially if this goat has acted as a beloved pet for you. It may seem cruel to send them out of this world because you love them so much, but in reality, it may become the best option for both you and the goat.

If a goat is old enough or sick enough, living will no longer be pleasant because they’re constantly in pain. This is really what you’ll need to be watching for when you start to consider euthanization for your goat. If your goat manifests any symptoms of rabies, you will just need to put them down right away because there is little else you can do about that.

Monitor your goat’s behavior very closely. If they start acting isolated and anti-social, that is the first clue. Goats are also extremely active animals and it’s rare to see them lying around doing nothing. If you begin to notice your goat laying down regularly and spending little time on its feet, that’s another hint.

The average lifespan for most goats is usually anywhere from 15 to 18 years. For some breeds, it is even longer, up to 20 years. When bodies grow old, they get creaky and have a harder and harder time staying functional. If your goat has reached a ripe old age, it might simply be time to let them go. If they are still healthy, by all means, keep them around.

It will not be difficult to tell if and when a goat has given up the fight. It will not only be antisocial and inactive, but it will also quit eating and drinking. This is one of the final signs that a goat is ready to die. It’s sad, but once your goat has lost the will to live, the best thing for you to do is put it down.

Before you call the vet, however, you’re going to need to make a couple of preparations. For instance, if you’re going to carry out the euthanization yourself, you will need to prepare for it mentally and emotionally. You’ll also need to decide how and where you’re going to bury/dispose of the goat’s remains. Let’s discuss a few ways you can do this.

Necessary Preparation

Before you put your goat down, a few things must be taken into consideration. One of those things is where your goat will be buried or otherwise disposed of. Your options will primarily include incineration or burial. Which of those you choose is entirely up to you.

Burial is the cheapest and easiest way to dispose of goat remains, though keep in mind that you will have to dig the grave. Since most goats are about 23 inches tall and can weigh up to 310 pounds, you’ll want to dig a hole that is at least 4 feet deep (sometimes 8 feet is necessary). You don’t want a dog or some other animal sniffing the grave out and digging it up. Make sure you have a good place set aside and prepped for your goat to be buried in.

When you bury a goat carcass, take measures to prevent leaching and odor leakage. For example, you don’t want a dead goat buried near a valuable water source because it could sour the water pretty quickly and make it unsafe and undrinkable. Wrap the goat in clean cloths/towels and dig a deep enough grave to prevent these things.

If you choose to incinerate the goat instead, you’re going to need to purchase an incinerator. These can be somewhat costly (up to $2,500) so if that’s not a cost that you’re willing to pay, then you should reconsider your plan. However, if you have an incinerator and are experienced in the operation of one, this is a pretty straightforward way to get rid of the carcass.

Another reason incineration is a good choice is that you won’t have to worry about leaching or odors as you would with burying. The only thing about burial is that it’s easier to memorialize your goat. This might be substantially important to you, especially if you shared a special bond with that goat. You can set up a shrine or something similar to keep the memory of your goat alive for as long as you’d like.

If you plan to carry out the euthanization on your own, you’re going to need to prepare yourself as well (this is especially important if this goat was your pet). For instance, if you plan to shoot the goat, you’ll need to make sure you’re mentally and emotionally braced for whatever you might see and whatever you might feel. If you’re not sure you can make it happen without an incident of some kind, you probably ought to enlist the help of somebody else.

Humane Euthanasia

Now comes the time for you to decide exactly how you’re going to carry out the euthanization. There are a few options for goats, and all of them are completely humane. The only things you will need to worry about are your skill and the safety of both you and the animal.

First, there’s veterinary euthanization. This is the easiest and most commonplace way to safely and humanely euthanize a goat. They will usually administer an overdose of a medication that depresses the nerves (such as an anesthetic). This will allow the animal to pass into unconsciousness and from there, into death without feeling any pain of any kind.

The only thing to keep in mind is the cost. In some places, euthanization can cost as little as $50. However, in some places, it can cost as much as $400. It’s understandable if you can’t afford a professional euthanization at the time, but if you can spend that kind of money, it’s probably best that you have a vet take care of it for you. It will be easier emotionally if nothing else. The vet will also be able to dispose of the body for you if that’s something you need.

If you’d prefer to carry the euthanization out at home, the cleanest and quickest way is to shoot the animal in the head. You will need to aim for the brain so the bullet has a direct line. This method will induce unconsciousness, thus ensuring that the animal feels minimal if any pain when it dies.

Another way to carry out euthanization is with a captive bolt and exsanguination (severe blood loss). You can stun the animal with a captive bolt and then slit the jugular veins and the carotid arteries which are located on either side of the goat’s neck. If unconsciousness is achieved, this method will be quite painless and fast.

The only thing to keep in mind if this is the method you choose is that it’s going to be somewhat messy. If you consider yourself to be a squeamish person, then you’re not going to want to choose exsanguination. It’ll be very bloody and it might even smell bad. So, either get somebody to help you out or choose a different form of euthanasia.

When choosing a form of euthanasia, you also need to take both your safety and your environment into account. For example, if shooting is the preferred method, you’ll need to do it in a place where there are no other people and no other animals around. You don’t want to risk a misfire.

Once you have euthanized and buried your pet goat, you will likely feel some deep sadness and remorse. Know that it’s completely normal and completely okay to feel sad and even lonely when you put a pet down. Pets are great companions and can come to feel more like family members than simply mere pets. So, if you start to feel sad, allow yourself time to grieve.

Once you feel you’ve had sufficient time to mourn for your pet, try your best to get back to regular activities as soon as possible. If you focus too much on your grief and allow your routine to fall by the wayside, you will very quickly get depressed. Depression is a state that is remarkably difficult to remove yourself from so do your best to avoid it.

Fill your days with both productive activities and fun activities. This balance will allow you to continue living life as you should while still being able to enjoy it. Spend quality time with your friends and family and take some time for self-reflection and self-care. You might also consider service or charitable donations to help you feel a bit more fulfilled.

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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