Euthanasia: Time to say goodbye

Euthanasia blog NewDoggy.com

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Euthanasia: Time to say goodbye

The word “Euthanasia” comes from Ancient Greek and means “good death”.  When your dog is approaching the end, putting them down can spare your pet continued pain and suffering, and a long drawn-out death. It is a hard decision to make, and a difficult event to go through. In this article, we will explain how to know when it’s the right time for a pet to be euthanized. We will also explain what to expect when during a pet’s euthanasia, and what to do with your pet afterwards.

Long lived

Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine and animal care, most of our pets are living longer than ever before. It’s quite normal for pets to live well into their teens. The downside of this is that we now see more chronic or geriatric-associated illnesses in them, such as chronic arthritis, or the general loss of condition that comes with ageing.

There is also the tragic chance of a pet coming down with an incurable disease or injury in the prime of their life. They might be hit by a car and critically injured, or develop cancer that spreads rapidly. Sometimes, when there is no cure, and the animal is suffering, the kindness option is euthanasia.

How to know when it’s time

Sometimes it’s easy to know when to euthanize. If your dog is critically injured with no hope of recovery, and the vet recommends euthanasia, it may feel like the right (if painful) thing to do. The situation is harder with a dog suffering from a terminal illness. Animals with terminal illnesses have their good days and their bad days. Although their health is in general decline, a sick dog will often have good days when they feel stronger and happier.

It is understandably difficult to look at such a happy dog and agree to euthanasia, yet it also feels wrong to allow the disease to worsen and cause further suffering. You may feel paralysed by indecision, uncertain as to the right course of action. Your vet can advise you, but at the end of the day, this tough decision is in your hands.

One way to help you decide when it’s time is to rate your dog’s quality of life. Many vets use this method to help them decide if euthanasia is the right course of action. The quality of life scoring system involves scoring different aspects of your pet’s life on a scale from one to ten, then adding the results together to determine a final score.

  • Pain(1-10)
  • Appetite(1-10)
  • Hydration(1-10)
  • Hygiene(1-10)
  • Mood(1-10)
  • Locomotion(1-10)
  • More „good than bad days”(1-10)

If the final score is over 35, then your dog has an acceptable Quality of Life. If the score is lower, then your dog’s quality of life is poor. They are probably suffering, and it may be time to think about the end. If you are concerned, talk to your vet. Ask them what they would do if it was their dog. A good, compassionate vet will be sincere and honest, and will encourage you to make the right choice for your dog.

What to expect

It may be possible to have your dog euthanized at home. This is often a good choice, as your dog will feel more at ease in peaceful, familiar surroundings. If this is not possible, you can take your dog to the veterinary clinic to be put down.

At the clinic, you should be taken to a quiet room with your pet. You can ask for time to say goodbye; this can help if you are feeling emotional. It may be better to settle the bill now, as afterwards you may be too upset.

A good veterinarian and their staff will do their best to meet your wishes. You can choose to stay with your pet for euthanasia, or to leave the room. Both options are equally valid. Although there is a common opinion that leaving the room is tantamount to “abandoning” your pet in their last moments, it is all right to leave the room. Your pet will not frantically look for you should you need to step outside (unless they suffer from severe separation anxiety).  It may even be worse if you are extremely upset and stay inside, as your pet is sure to pick up on your distress. Remember that everyone copes with grief differently.

The Steps of Euthanasia

The steps of euthanasia may vary a little between clinics, but generally follow the same basic steps. The vet will place an IV catheter in a vein (typically one of the front legs): this means giving your dog fewer injections. Then the vet will give your dog an anaesthetic, to help them sleep. Some vets like to give the dog a sedative before this, so that they feel perfectly relaxed. Once the dog is asleep, the vet will give the final drug, which will euthanize the animal.

Don’t be surprised if your dog does not close its eyes, as anaesthetised animals often keep their eyes open. Many animals give a last big gasp as they are euthanized. This is not a gasp of pain or distress, but a reflex movement of the chest, pushing air out of the mouth. Remember that since all the muscle relax when an animal is dead, your dog may involuntary urinate or defecate (wrapping the dog in a towel can help). Alternatively, the drugs may cause involuntary twitches; again, this is not a sign of pain.

What to do afterwards

Once the euthanasia is over, you may need a little time to recover. As people react different to grief, you may be too upset to leave for a while. The vet and their staff should be compassionate and caring, and give you a moment to grieve.

You can choose to bury your dog’s body if you have enough land to do so, or permission to use someone else’s land. It’s also possible to go to a pet cemetery and purchase a plot for your dog, though this is more expensive. Pet cremation services are available in many countries, and you may choose to keep your pet’s ashes, scatter them, or bury them. It’s also possible to leave the body at the vet, who can dispose of it for you. An alternative is donating your dog’s body to a veterinary college; some owners appreciate the idea of young vets learning from their dog, and using this knowledge to help other animals in the future.


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The following is needed to bring a puppy into Dubai:


  1. All dogs entering Dubai from a low-risk country at least 15 weeks old, and those entering from a high-risk country must be at least 27 weeks old.
  2. Microchip – All dogs entering and residing in Dubai must be equipped with either a 9 or 15 digit microchip.
  3. Import Permit – All dogs entering Dubai must be equipped with a Special Permit from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. Valid for 30 days.
  4. Vaccinations* – Depending on the country of origin, your pet might need a rabies shot on top of all the age appropriate vaccinations. Dubai specific vaccinations: Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Parvo Virus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Rabies.
  5. Rabies Titer Test * – All dogs entering Dubai must be tested for rabies no later than 14 days before the planned travel date. ( Only from specific
  6. Parasite check - All pets travelling to Dubai must receive preventive treatments against internal and external parasites in the 14 days before travel by an authorised and competent vet.
  7. Health Check – A Health Check by a veterinarian is mandatory in order to obtain permissions to enter Dubai.
  8. Pet Passport – This document verifies that the puppy is fully healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations.


* The United Arab Emirates classifies all countries into two rabies categories:
  • Low-risk countries: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Falkland Island, Fiji, Finland, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Montenegro, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Portugal, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK, and Vanuatu.
  • High-risk countries: All other countries are considered high-risk countries.
** Only for puppies from high-risk countries
Travel Requirements

The following is needed to bring a puppy into Abu Dhabi:


  1. All dogs entering Abu Dhabi from a low-risk country at least 15 weeks old, and those entering from a high-risk country must be at least 27 weeks old.
  2. Microchip – All dogs entering and residing in Abu Dhabi must be equipped with either a 9 or 15 digit microchip.
  3. Import Permit – All dogs entering Abu Dhabi must be equipped with a Special Permit from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. Valid for 30 days.
  4. Vaccinations* – Depending on the country of origin, your pet might need a rabies shot on top of all the age appropriate vaccinations. Abu Dhabi specific vaccinations: Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Parvo Virus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Rabies.
  5. Rabies Titer Test * – All dogs entering Abu Dhabi must be tested for rabies no later than 14 days before the planned travel date. ( Only from specific
  6. Parasite check - All pets travelling to Abu Dhabi must receive preventive treatments against internal and external parasites in the 14 days before travel by an authorised and competent vet.
  7. Health Check – A Health Check by a veterinarian is mandatory in order to obtain permissions to enter Abu Dhabi.
  8. Pet Passport – This document verifies that the puppy is fully healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations.


* The United Arab Emirates classifies all countries into two rabies categories:
  • Low-risk countries: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Falkland Island, Fiji, Finland, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Montenegro, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Portugal, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK, and Vanuatu.
  • High-risk countries: All other countries are considered high-risk countries.
** Only for puppies from high-risk countries
Travel Requirements

The following is needed to bring a puppy into Hong Kong:


  1. All dogs entering Hong Kong must be at least 3 months old.
  2. Microchip – All dogs entering and residing in Hong Kong must be equipped with either a 9 or 15-digit microchip.
  3. Import Permit – All dogs entering Hong Kong must be equipped with a Special Permit from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Valid for up to 6 months.
  4. Vaccinations* – Depending on the country of origin, your pet might need a rabies shot on top of all the age appropriate vaccinations. Hong Kong specific vaccinations: Canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus and rabies.
  5. Health Check – A Health Check by a veterinarian is mandatory in order to obtain permissions to enter Hong Kong.
  6. Pet Passport – This document verifies that the puppy is fully healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations.
  7. Captain’s Affidavit – Document to be provided by the airline personnel confirming that your dog has not left its crate or interacted with other pets at any point during the journey.


* Hong Kong classifies countries into 3 groups. Vaccinations against rabies are only required from Groups 2 & 3.
  • Group 1: Rabies-free countries (at least 6 months of residency) Australia, Fiji, Hawaii, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Bailiwick of Jersey.
  • Group 2: Rabies-controlled (at least 4 months of residency) Austria, Bahrain, Bermuda, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Guam, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Vanuatu, Bahamas, Belgium, Brunei, Cayman Island, Denmark, France, Gibraltar, Iceland, Jamaica, Maldives, Mauritius, New Caledonia, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, The Netherlands, USA (Continental), Virgin Islands.
  • Group 3: All other countries.
** Only for puppies from high-risk countries
Travel Requirements

The following is needed to bring a puppy into Switzerland:


  1. All pets entering Switzerland must be equipped with a 15-digit microchip that is compliant with ISO 11784/11785.
  2. Dogs must be vaccinated against distemper.
  3. Rabies vaccinations are mandatory. Dogs must receive their first rabies vaccine at least 21 days before entering the country.*
  4. The state veterinarian of the origin country must equip the dog with a valid Health Certificate.
  5. Import Permit – all dogs entering from a 3rd level rabies country must carry an import permit issued at least three weeks in advance. Entry points through Basel, Geneva, Zurich.
  6. Different regulations depending on whether it is a commercial purchase or individual and where the dog is coming from.


* Specifications differ for booster shots. ** Switzerland categorises countries by level of risk of rabies in three levels.
  • Level 1: All EU Member States and Andorra, Switzerland, Faeroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Northern Ireland, Norway, San Marino, Vatican City State.
  • Level 2 (Low Risk of Rabies): Ascension Island, United Arab Emirates, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Aruba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Barbados, Bahrain, Bermuda,Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Belarus, Canada, Chile, Curaçao, Fiji, Falkland Islands, Great Britain (including Crown dependencies), Hong Kong, Jamaica, Japan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Cayman Islands, Saint Lucia, North Macedonia, Montserrat, Mauritius, Mexico, Malaysia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Russia, Singapore, Saint Helena, Sint Marteen, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, United States of America, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.
  • Level 3: All other countries are considered as having a high risk of rabies.
Travel Requirements