My dog yelled when she was put to sleep!!!

September 28, 2013

Just the other day I had to put my precious 7yr.old Chihuahua to sleep. I had been present before when dogs were put to sleep and it was a peaceful thing. Well this wasn't my case and it is haunting me so bad. My vet has always been the best. That morning he told me he would sedate her first and then he brought he to me and I loved and talked with my little animal. He told me to let him know when I was ready for him to inject her. Well when I got ready and told him, he proceeded to put the medicine in her catheter. My sweet animal let out a scream and then acted like she was having a seizure. I was devastated! In all the animals I have witnessed I have never seen one do this. I yelled at the vet to please make it stop and please tell me why she was doing this. He really didn't say anything,,,he just said she is gone now. Can someone please tell me if this is a normal thing that can sometimes happen or why it happened if she was already soooo sedated!! I can't get that picture out of my mind!!

Comments (15)

  • chickadee4


    I am sorry that you recently had to euthanize your wonderful Chihuahua .

    What you heard that sounds like a yelp/ yell is the air in the lungs leaving . Their body relaxes and the breath races over their vocal cords thus the sound produced.
    I too heard this a few years ago when I had to make an emergency vet visit and freaked thinking was she not ready to leave.
    You did nothing wrong.

    I have had to put down horses and dogs . Each time the process was different due to their size .
    I hope you find some peace .

  • sylviatexas1

    & the vet was a jerk.

    What a callous, inexcuseale way to treat a loving pet owner (who's paying him to do much much better than that.)

    I'm so sorry you lost your beloved little Chihuahua, & I wish someone had been there for you.

    If you want to print my message & send it to the jerk, please feel free to do so.

  • medic2012

    Dear Chickadee4. I saw what you are referring too. Little Georgia did the agonal breathing as she was taking her last breath. This was at the beginning when he injected her. I expected the other but not the yelling and seizing at the beginning. He even had to inject more. If I thought all of this was right, why would I be venting at something I thought was wrong. I have read different things. Maybe i'm just having such a hard time with this. I feel like I killed her when I saw her do this. I am so sorry!

  • spedigrees z4VT

    To avoid anything resembling this horrible scenario, I always have my vet inject my animals with enough tranquilizer to render them completely unconscious (not just put them into a relaxed state). Then, and only then, do they proceed with the lethal injection. This way there is no possible way that my animal(s) can have any awareness or feel anything.

    I am very sorry for the nightmare situation that your vet caused you and your beloved dog. I would advise finding a different veterinarian, and having a talk with them up front about how you want euthanasia handled with your pets, if you are to be their client.

  • medic2012

    Dear spedigrees, She was well sedated before he brought her back into the room. I thought she was already dead then the way her little tongue was hanging out. If I wouldn't have heard he breathe I would have thought she was,,but she was alive. Like I said, She was well sedated and this still happened. Some have stated it's normal while others say its not. I'm at a loss! Thank you for responding.

  • socks

    I'm so sorry you are agonizing over this and can imagine how it haunts your thoughts. I hope wonderful, happy memories of your dear pup soon overtake these sad ones. Do something positive in her memory: donate some blankets or whatever to your shelter, plant a pretty bush or tree, make a photo album. I feel your pain.

    Someone in our family insisted on keeping a pet alive past the time to euthanize. There was suffering, and I cannot forget it.

    If we can put animals under anaesthesia so they are completely "out," why can't we euthanize them at that time when they have no awareness?

  • calliope

    It is very hard to not second guess at the death experience. I've had more than a few animals put down, and the reactions have been all over the board on their responses. Some have bothered me as much as this one has you. First of all, seizures can and do happen around the death experience. Not always. Vocal noises can and do happen and not necessarily the agonal breathing. Not always. Some seem to fight it. Not always. Some seem to just go to sleep. Not always. First of all, remind yourself that even IF the animal was aware that something was happening to it, it may not necessarily be a pain response and that very brief moment is mercifully over quite quickly and very preferable to further suffering had you not used euthanasia. Also know that each animal and each breed may be more prone to be vocal/not vocal/calm/excitable. My vet practise does not do the sedative catheter. They do direct injection slowly. I am sure my pets were aware 'something' was happening to them, but that I was next to them and holding them. I once lost five cats and a dog in the space of one year. They were all ancient and all in misery from various natural causes. By the time my beloved schnauzer was put down, my poor vet was just past the point that there were words to even say. It bothered him as much as me, and words at that time were redundant. He know what pain I was in. Your vet is human............and sometimes humans aren't the best at communication. If you trusted him/her, and put your dear animal in that care, you know without doubting that they did the best they could do as did you. Only once in my life did I have a vet who treated a euthanasia like 'business to get over'. It was rough and nasty and she kept proceding as I told her to stop before she even had the needle in the vein. Now THAT is a jerk. Please try to stop rewinding and replaying that one moment and know your dog left this world with you there and caring. That is enough.

  • spedigrees z4VT

    -----If we can put animals under anaesthesia so they are completely "out," why can't we euthanize them at that time when they have no awareness? -----

    Socks, that is exactly what my vets do at my request. I've had surgery before, which obviously involved what would have been painful cutting, but the general anaesthesia blocked all pain and awareness, so I have believed that my pets would be similarly unaware and protected from any pain.

    However, medic2012, your account is very disturbing and puzzling. It is mystifying that your little dog could have been so deeply tranquilized and yet still have reacted to the final shot. I'm surprised that they did not give him the shot of tranquilizer in your presence.. I'm not sure what to think, but I would probably demand to speak with the veterinarian and ask these questions of him. I'm very sorry that you went through this ordeal.

  • calliope

    And are any of you even positive that the dog's reactions weren't just an autonomic response? Something the body did without conscious intent and to which the dog had no perception? By all means, if it will give you comfort, talk to your vet. He/she has had more experiences with that moment when life leaves their clients, and there could be a possibility that the vet didn't see this as anything unusual, like you did.

  • chickadee4


    I get it.
    Our lives are intertwined with our animals that even in the last moments we hope to be making the right choices.
    Something occurred at the vet's office. I don't know enough about today's drugs to make an opinion.
    I posted so you are not beating yourself up over the event.
    When you are calmer I would address this with the vet so you have closure.
    I am sorry that you have experienced a horrific episode.
    It is hard enough to make the decision, take the ride and then left with the last memories being so wrong.
    Take a few days to let it all settle , compose your questions and see the vet.

  • Current Resident

    'just an autonomic response" - well, whatever, it was disturbing and the vet sounds like a bit of heel if he made no effort to console and explain to the OP what was going on. His job in this situation is to attend to the human as well as the animal, and if he can't do that he should not be including euthanasia in his practice, as much as he might be a wonderful vet in other areas. Seizure sounds like some brain/neural activity not just muscles spasming. Talk to other vets if you don't get resolution with yours - I have found in life with most things I just have a huge need to understand what happened and why and only then I can start to let it go.

  • medic2012

    Hi everyone and thank you all so much for your responses. My vet did call me today and he told me that what happened to my little dog is very rare. He hasn't even witnessed but a couple of times. He is a very caring vet. I guess since she was put to sleep last Friday and I couldn't talk with anyone until today I have just about grieved myself to death thinking I had killed her. I felt she didn't want to go and was holding on. I even talked with a top neuro dr. at auburn animal hospital in auburn,ga. They are one of the top vet hospitals around. She said it is very rare and that since my little dog had a brain tumor maybe it triggered something. She said my little didn't feel anything tho. I guess I can only go by what they say. But I will have that image forever in my mind. The pain is still great in my heart. Thank you all again you have been very helpful.

  • charia2626

    This could have been her spirit. Right after my dog stopped breathing, a female voice screamed the word W-H-A-T very loudly. It came from above my head and toward the door. No one was outside or in that area. I checked immediately. Your dog may have been jolted out of her body and shocked and bewildered to be out of her body.

  • HU-900189356

    My lovely sweet do was put to sleep

  • SaltiDawg

    charla2626 Yeah, that was probably it!

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