Vet’s Plea for Owners When Putting Pet’s ‘to Sleep’

Although dogs bring so much to our lives, the prospect of having to say goodbye to them one day is enough to put people off welcoming them into their homes. While most owners stay with their dogs in their final moments, others cannot stand to watch their four-legged friend in pain – and don’t want to ‘tarnish’ their last memory of them by staying in the vet’s room as they’re put to sleep.

But a vet has shared a heartbreaking message to owners who would rather wait in the hallway than hold their dog’s paw as they cross over the ‘Rainbow Bridge’.

Speaking to Reddit, a vet has urged owners to stay in the room while their dog is being euthanised after a truly harrowing experience left her ‘in tears for weeks’. She said: “I will always try to give grace and save my judgements on how people are able to deal with grief because everyone is different, but it is depressing to have a dog spending it’s final moments looking for where their owner went.

“I feel like it’s the very last comfort you can give your friend, just being there by their side to comfort them. We had one recently that hit me hard, I just wish it could have ended differently.”

Explaining how the owner stepped out into the hallway while their dog took their final breath, she said the poor pooch tried to follow his master before his medication hit him.

She added: “I am not judging the owner’s emotional capacity for grief and I am not saying the dog died thinking ‘omg I’m dying alone’. I’m not even talking about the actual euthanasia, but the moments leading to it.

“For those of you saying dogs ‘just think their owners stepped out for a moment’ are missing it. Even if that was the case, they still stress out.

“This dog we euthanised literally tried so hard to walk himself out the front door with his leash after his owners left and continued to cry and stress out until the Propofol got him.

“We did our jobs and gave all the treats and love, but the focus was always ‘where did they go?’

“Say what you want, I just think it’s a bummer that those were his final moments. He was a really good boy and I wish he could have been more relaxed because I think he deserved it.”

While most users agreed owners should stay in the room no matter how painful it is for them, other vets tried to explain how it is simply just too much for some people to handle.

One vet explained: “I used to work at a clinic that did boarding, and we had one where an elderly boarder wasn’t doing well and the owner couldn’t get back in time to be there.

“the poor lady was literally on a plane that had just taken off on her way to her grandson’s graduation when we called.

“We all felt so bad so we made sure to all love on this elderly golden retriever extra because it was so sad. I still remember this cute little old dog to this day. That was one I definitely understood why the owner couldn’t be there.

“But on the same coin, not everyone can handle seeing death the way we do, especially when it’s a loved one.

“So I can certainly understand why someone can’t be there when their pet is euthanised. But it does suck for the animal, but we just make sure to give them the extra love they need before they pass on.

“The main thing is that you’re helping them be free from pain, and that’s the most important part.”

Another vet said: “I used to be very judgemental of this but now I’m a few more years into the field, I’m much more understanding.

“Not everyone can handle seeing the moment of death happen. I mean there’s a reason relatives and visitors are kicked out when a human is coding or critical.

“You’re not meant to watch loved ones die. Its easy to forget how well we cope with things as professionals.

“Although I do hate when people essentially hand the animal over and leave without a care, as if the animal was just a nuisance.

“At least get them settled in and give them lots of love so they feel safe before you step out. If you can stay for the sedation, even better.

“But not wanting to see the final injection is totally understandable. Especially when post death reactions can happen like agonal breathing and releasing the bladder.”

3 thoughts on “Vet’s Plea for Owners When Putting Pet’s ‘to Sleep’

  1. 19 dogs over my 55 years of marriage. There were early days when you weren’t allowed to be present with your dog. The last 13 I’ve been there. Have 2 dogs left, one elderly guy. This time I hope to have him end in my home, not on some table in a sterile room. Will cost a bit, but he’s been such a joy and friend. Won’t have it any other way.

  2. This was a tuff article to read without crying. We may be going through this again soon with our 15 year old Maltese. We still haven’t got over having to put her brother to sleep over two years ago. Their lives are short but they give a lifetime of love.

  3. As hard as it is, and it is beyond heartbreaking…I could never not be there while they are being put to sleep. They’re like our children. I have always stayed in the room and petting my pet during the process. They can’t speak, they can’t tell us their feelings. I figured being there, they are probably eased somewhat rather than their last moments in a room with 2 strangers. My last cat passed in my home, a day after I lost my dad. I fed her, I went to shower and shave and when I came downstairs, she was by my dad’s chair. It still makes me cry but I was so thankful I didn’t have to take her to the vet for this. I held my mum when she died in hospital and was surprised the doctor didn’t throw me out, but allowed me to stay there holding my mum. To say that was a traumatic experience is a severe understatement but in my mind, she was there for my first breath and I was there for her last. If I made her passing easier, I’m thankful. My dad held on until I left hospital before he passed. I regret that. Same with pets, it really sucks but to me, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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