Figures recently released by the British Veterinary Association show that 98% of vets at some time have been asked to euthanise healthy pets – and over half say that this isn’t a rare occurrence. Reasons for requesting this procedure included bad behaviour, moving home, poor health of the owner, and legal obligations. Vets will try every other option before euthanasia including:
It’s been proven that socialising pets at a very young age is vitally important – puppies and kittens should be introduced to a variety of people, other animals, and everyday household activities in their first few weeks. Puppy socialisation classes are the perfect follow-up to home training.
Puppies that are bought from illegal puppy farmers are always poorly socialised and need help from the professionals. Dogs may learn to deal with uncomfortable situations by reacting aggressively, and this trigger presence needs to be addressed.
Modern therapy techniques include the simple opinion that reinforced behaviour will increase – stopping the dog’s aggressive reaction by removing the reward so the trigger is leaving, and reinforcing positive behaviour with calming signals before offering the reward – the trigger is also leaving.
The therapist will set up exercises in a similar environment and they will aim to keep the dog’s reactions at the lowest level at all times. Rehabilitation occurs if the therapy happens properly and the aggressive dog will start to offer friendly and playful signals instead.
Owners may need careful counselling to resolve doubts and issues – if the problem seems too immense to fix in the owners mind the outcome may be unsatisfactory as the effectiveness of any program will be reduced.
After extensive risk assessments it may be possible to have an aggressive dog rehomed – but the new owner must have the experience to manage the dog, and to have the financial resources to continue with therapy training as necessary. As aggression often relates to specific context and stimuli, you may have to consider rehoming the dog if you cannot guarantee the safety of others.
Previously aggressive dogs often adapt very well to a change of environment, living in the country rather than in the town, but you need to take the history of the dog into account to ensure safety for all concerned. Controlling and resolving behavioural problems isn’t easy and may be too risky for certain family situations.
Rehoming may be an option when owners can’t cope with constant barking or howling, destructive chewing, and toileting issues. You can address these problems with the right training and a confident handler – challenging behaviours can seriously affect mental health of an owner that’s struggling.
Bear in mind that rehoming dogs with bite histories or cats with inappropriate elimination issues are often difficult and full of legal constraints. Many rescue groups just won’t take aggressive dogs because of liabilities if the dog bites someone in their new home.
You may have had no success with behavioural therapy and your dog still poses a risk to other animals and people. In this case, the vet has permission for the election of euthanasia. The vet will take your dog’s welfare into account – frequent anxiety and aggression means living a highly stressful life.
There are some types of aggression for which treatment is impossible. Your dog may have ingrained violent aggression to other animals, and deeply engrained aggressive tendencies. If you know this is the case, it is irresponsible to rehome this dog knowing the high risk of future biting. Euthanasia may be the only safe option here.
Euthanasia is a personal and permanent decision, and you should never need to second guess your decision. You’ll need to discuss all options with your vet to make sure you’re completely comfortable with your choice. When your pets and your family’s quality of life is suffering, euthanasia may be the only kind way forward.
Gentle pet euthanasia at home means that your dog gets all the attention it needs in a familiar setting. It removes the stress of having to struggle to take your dog to the vet. This takes away much of the stress and pressure. Your experienced vet will easily cope with aggressive dogs without using muzzles or unfriendly methods.
There process involves two injections – the first is a sedative, followed by a second , from which your dog peacefully passes. If you need help with other arrangements such as cremation your Cloud 9 Vets will do that for you too.
Did I do the right thing by euthanising my dog? Your professional will be able to give you all the help and support you need after the end-of-life-caring procedure – putting a dog down is always traumatic but you’ll come through knowing that your decision was the kindest and best alternative for your pet.
It’s normal to feel guilt over euthanising your dog or cat, but there are organisations to help. You’ll get support from forums, chat lines, and online. As a pet lover you may feel overwhelmed with the emotion that you’ve betrayed your friend. This may be accompanied by feelings of anger and helplessness.
Mild guilt may be helpful, but when it intensifies it can cause damage to relationships, self-confidence and well-being. If guilt continues to overwhelm you there are some things you can do to ease the pain such as: