Euthanising a physically healthy dog is one of the hardest things a dog lover has to face but is one of the most frequently requested options when dealing with behavioural problems. For the owner these can be emotional, frustrating, and financially taxing when trying to find a way to solve them. Euthanasia due to aggressive behaviour may be a solution…
There are some types of aggression that are almost impossible to treat and human safety always has to come first. Some dogs have deeply engrained and violent aggression to other animals as well as people, and this makes the risk of attack and savagery very real.
Other behavioural issues include constant howling and barking, destructive chewing, and toileting issues. These can all impact on the mental health of owners and have to be taken seriously.
Vets will try every other option before considering euthanasia – any aggressive dog should have extensive medical tests to make sure that pain or illness isn’t causing the behaviour. Very few problems can be solved in just one visit – particularly when the problems are aggression and anxiety. If the owner is frightened of the pet this makes the success rate lower.
Behavioural factors are most important as these often determine the resolution. Questions that need to be addressed include:
There are many other factors that need to be taken into consideration as these can make altering behaviour easy or more difficult and these include:
Working on a treatment plan needs to be carried out with the owner and a professional. A complete and thorough pet history will be taken and a physical examination performed – this may have to be done under sedation. The owner’s relationship with the pet will be evaluated and a goal will be set.
At the end of the program the vet will reassess the situation. They will determine how hard it has been implementing the safety management steps. Also, how much time they spent on the training exercises, and how stressful it was. Then they will assess any changes in the animal’s behaviour to see if it has improved or worsened.
The use of behavioural therapies may help cure some problems. The vet will break the therapy down into different stages:
For every aggressive episode there is a trigger – repeatedly exposing the dog to the trigger stimuli stops the aggressive response in your dog
By using a combination of distraction and positive reinforcement you can make the trigger stimuli positive – using treats will give positive consequences
This is the process of teaching your dog to sit calmly before he gets what he wants – helping them learn that positive things happen when they are calm as he’s in a more relaxed mental state
Curbing aggressive behaviour with exercise channels energy in a positive way – reducing the act of aggression considerably
A gentle massage can remove some of the root causes of aggressive behaviour as it relaxes and soothes – taking away the stresses of noise, smells, and activities.
Many rescue groups won’t take dogs with a history of biting due to legal liabilities of the dog bites someone in the new home. If, however a specific factor triggers the aggression is and is predictable then the dog may well be able to be placed in another home.
New owners must understand that the dog has to learn to go into another room if children are a cause for concern – or the dog may simply be found a home without children. Often aggressive dogs thrive in different settings as they can feel safe and happy in a rural setting rather than an urban one. However, you must remember that visitors still arrive and there will be other dogs and cats in the vicinity too.
It’s very difficult to find prospective owners that have the skills and the lifestyle to make it possible for them to rehome an aggressive pet. You must also take finances into account as working with a trainer or behaviourist can be quite expensive.
“Vets aren’t obliged to euthanise healthy animals when you ask them to. They most feel ethically obliged to help the owners deal with what is often a pressing problem. And the sad truth is that for some animals, for a variety of reasons, euthanasia may be the least worst option”.
Putting a dog down at home takes away a lot of the stress and pressure of having to take your pet into your local vets – particularly if your dog is aggressive – vets from Cloud 9 Vets have years of experience and never need to resort to muzzles or take unfriendly measures.
The treatment will involve the administering of a sedative followed by a second injection that induces a deep sleep. This is the case whether for putting a cat to sleep or euthanising your dog. We’ll provide you with all the help and support you need during this traumatic time from highly trained, fully qualified, and caring professionals.