The internet has become flooded with articles explaining how you can easily and cheaply end the life of your pet at home. While these articles might be well-meaning, they can also be very misleading.
For example, things can go wrong and you should be well-informed about making any decisions about doing this at home.
For starters, it may not be ethical and it most likely isn’t legal either. If you love your pet, there are other ways to humanely end their life to relieve their suffering.
It’s a Felony In Most States
Many of these articles will walk you through using household products to euthanize your pet at home.
What they aren’t telling you is that it is not just illegal, this act will land you in jail, charged with a felony that will stay on your permanent record for the rest of your life.
This is considered felony animal abuse. Only a licensed veterinarian or someone trained and licensed, such as an animal control officer, may euthanize an animal. If you attempt to do this at home yourself, if anyone finds out, you are facing a lot of trouble and possibly jail time.
A woman in Oklahoma recently administered over-the-counter insulin to her dog to end his life.
She then left the house and went to the laundromat, where she mentioned to someone what she had done. She was proud that she’d saved money.
Police were called by a patron at the laundromat and they were dispatched to her home, where they found the dog still alive and suffering. He was rushed to a veterinary clinic and died two days later.
The owner was charged with more than one felony - one being performing a euthanization without a license. She is jail, awaiting her trial.
It’s A Messy, Horrible Way To End Their Life
There are many things that can go wrong. Most of the time, the animal will suffer from seizures, vomiting, and lose bowel control.
This is a horrific sight to witness and it is certainly not ending their misery or making things easier for them at the end of their life.
You can cause unimaginable suffering and this is why states dictate that only someone with a proper license and training is able to administer the proper drugs to perform euthanization.
There Are Alternatives
Call veterinary clinics in your area and see if they will accept payments. Many times a veterinarian will work something out with you.
Several clinics now accept Care Credit, which is a revolving credit account that can be used for veterinary services and is worth applying for before you have a need.
Many times, if you reach out on social media to your friends and tell them what is happening, someone is able to loan you the money or knows of a resource that is available at a low cost. It’s always worth asking for help.
Animal control facilities can sometimes perform the euthanization at a lower cost. The caveat is that they typically won’t allow you to take the body home with you. You must surrender the pet to them for them to perform the procedure.
Many rescues have emergency funds that can be used to help you in a case where your pet is suffering.
Rescues can sometimes help you get seen by a veterinarian as a favor and at a lower rate. Big rescues might even have someone on staff that is licensed to perform the procedure.
All of these options aren’t ideal, but they are far better for you and your pet in the end. They are able to keep you out of jail and rescue your pet from his pain. This is a far better end than the one you could face if you try to do this yourself.
More To Consider
Lastly, the trauma of putting your own beloved pet down is very, very difficult. Most people don’t realize just how difficult it will be for you. You’ll pay a personal price if you do this yourself.
You’ll have to live with the issues that may go wrong as well. If something awful happens, you’ll be there watching your pet, that you likely love very much, as he suffers from all the things we’ve mentioned already.
You don’t want that to be the way you spend your final moments with your baby. We already know that you love your pet, you wouldn’t be here reading this if you didn’t.
It may save you a lot of money, but it won’t be without a price to pay and it could go very wrong. Again, it’s also a felony.
There are many other options to explore and if you have a young, healthy pet, now is the time to look into Care Credit and pet insurance policies as well. They’ll cover these expenses when the time comes.
Planning ahead will save you so much grief when the time comes. You can focus on your last few days/moments with your beloved pet.
Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade
Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.
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The Innovet Team
Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
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