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How to Euthanize a Dog with Sleeping Pills

If you are considering how to euthanize a dog with sleeping pills, you need to read this post.

There comes a time in every dog owners life when we realize our best friend is ready to say goodbye. It may be that they are suffering from illness, or from the effects of old age.

Your dog could be in pain or have a serious case of canine dementia. Some owners want to put their pet to sleep themselves.

In good conscience, I cannot encourage the topic of how to euthanize a dog with sleeping pills. There is an alternative. 


When the Day Comes

It is really hard to think about letting our dogs pass away. They are a part of our family, and it just hurts to lose them. If you are like me, you want to be beside your dog for the entire journey.

The Animal Humane Society is Ready to Assist!  Contact Them Right Now for End-of-Life Assistance.  

When the time comes, please call our Pet Helpline at 952-HELP-PET (952-435-7738) to discuss your needs.  ~Animal Humane Society

Euthanasia is a scary word. Many dog owners prefer to say they are sending their dog over the Rainbow Bridge, or putting them to sleep. But how do you know if it is time to let your dog go?

When is Euthanasia the Right Decision?

I can’t answer this question for you. Every dog owner has to decide for themselves when it is the right time to let their dog go.

The reasons for the decision will vary from person to person. You have to make the decision that is best for your family’s situation.

I can, however, give you some guidelines to help you make your decision.Remember this tweet below.  The Humane Society is there to help you and your dog.

Consider Quality of Life and Consult with a Veterinarian.

Make a list of your dog’s physical problems. Consider things like pain and mobility, appetite or lack of appetite. 

Digestive issues like vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation should be considered. Is your dog having accidents in the house? Are there other unusual things going on with your dog’s health or state of mind?

Make a list of your dog’s current behaviors. How are they acting? Do they seem lost or confused? Do they bark nonstop or wander in circles? Are they acting aggressive or destructive?

Consider your dog’s quality of life. Do they still enjoy doing some of the things they use to?

Head to the Vet’s Office!

Once you have your lists, take your dog to the veterinarian for a consultation. Until a medical expert has taken a look at your dog, you don’t really know what you are up against.


Sometimes physical problems can be resolved by just adding an anti-inflammatory or CBD product. Don’t make any decisions until you have talked things over with the veterinarian.

If you want advice on how to euthanize a dog with sleeping pills, you should talk about this with your veterinarian as well. Your vet can explain why this is or is not a good option for your dog, and can give you information on alternatives.

Look at the Big Picture

Once you have your lists and have spoken to the vet, you will have a better understanding of your dog’s situation. That should help you make your decision. Even if you choose to wait for a while, you will have a better idea of when it is the right time.

If your dog is sick and suffering, or has lost all quality of life, then the decision might not be hard for you to make. Sometimes, though, things are in a grey area.

It is perfectly ok to decide to euthanize your dog because of serious behavioral issues, even if they are otherwise healthy. If your dog is so lost to dementia that they are miserable to be around, think how unhappy their life must be for them.

Look at things from your dog’s perspective, and remember, dog’s don’t fear death. Humans have that fear, but our dogs just take things as they come. Whatever decision you make, your dog will know you are doing your best for them.

Once You Have Decided to Euthanize

I hope you have discussed this with your veterinarian, but once you have made your decision it is time to get prepared.

Make sure that everyone in the family gets time to say goodbye to your dog. There is nothing worse than feeling like you didn’t get to spend those last happy moments with a family member.

Why Use Sleeping Pills?

When people ask me how to euthanize a dog with sleeping pills, I always ask them why they want to do this? I totally understand the desire to euthanize your dog at home, avoiding the stress of a vet visit. But there are other ways to accomplish this.

You could get a sedative to give your dog before the final vet visit. This will make them relaxed and sleepy instead of being agitated.

You could have a vet come out to your home, and do a euthanasia there. Many vets these days will travel for situations like this. You just need to ASK.

If cost is the primary reason, then know that many shelters and emergency vets will perform a humane euthanasia at a low cost or for free.

You may not get cremation services, but it likely won’t cost very much. Check around. There are many better options than sleeping pills.

Using Sleeping Pills for Euthanasia is a Bad Idea

There are many reasons why trying to euthanize a dog with sleeping pills is a very bad idea.

“Sleeping pills” is a generic term that covers many different medications. The most common one used in medicine for euthanasia is Pentobarbital.

Phenobarbital is a fast-acting barbiturate. It is also used in anesthesia and as an emergency medication to stop seizures.

In lower doses, it suppresses breathing and circulation, but in high enough doses it can stop the heart entirely. It is usually given as an injection along with other tranquilizers.

Are You Sure You Want to Know How to Euthanize a Dog with Sleeping Pills?

It is much harder to euthanize a dog using oral sleeping pills than many people realize. Most of the time, it doesn’t work, and it creates more suffering for the dog instead of ending their suffering.

There is a reason that veterinarians euthanize dogs by directly injecting the medication into the vein.

Sleeping pills are likely to make your dog vomit. Even if the pills stay down, it takes time for the pills to get digested and enter the bloodstream. Because these medications are fast acting, they are quickly removed from your dog’s blood.

This means that you could give an overdose, but the medication doesn’t hit your dog all at once. Instead of peacefully passing in their sleep, your dog is more likely to vomit, have seizures, foam at the mouth, act severely agitated and generally suffer a great deal- and survive!

Requires a Prescription

The only way to get a hold of a medication like Pentobarbital is as a prescription from your doctor or veterinarian.

These medications are strictly controlled and accounted for. They can be very hard to get a prescription for.

Not all sleeping pills will work for euthanasia, and many will simply cause serious distress and suffering. Don’t just give a dog a bunch of random sleeping pills.

It’s AGAINST the Law!

In many places, it is illegal for a person to euthanize a dog unless they have a veterinary license.

If things go south, you could find yourself arrested and in the news.  The internet never forgets.

The real question isn’t how to euthanize a dog with sleeping pills, it is why would you want to try it when the alternatives are easier on your dog?

Please Do Not Attempt to Euthanize a Dog with Sleeping Pills!

Have your vet euthanize your dog for you. Then you can focus on saying goodbye in a peaceful, quiet setting, and making your dog’s last moments perfect.

Thank you for reading this post and reconsidering this option. Your dog deserves a dignified death.  A lot can go wrong with sleeping pills, leaving you and your dog in a great deal of stress and anxiety.

Author:  T.R. O’Connell – Guest Post

I’d like to thank the writer for a fantastic job of writing on this very sensitive topic. 

Comments or Questions?  Please feel free to leave comments in the form below. You can also email me directly: 


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