How To Euthanize A Dog At Home Without A Vet?

Mercy killing or euthanasia is a very sensitive topic of discussion for all animal lovers. To make such a decision is not only difficult but also emotionally taxing. No matter the reason, it’s never an easy conclusion for a pet owner. However, it might come to the point where this is inevitable. As this is a sensitive process, it’s crucial that you know how to euthanize a dog at home without a vet, and what your best options are.

Euthanasia can be an incredibly emotional and arduous process. Conventionally, this is done at a veterinary clinic, and this is the recommended option. The veterinarian can make sure that the procedure goes as planned and that your pet can pass away peacefully and painlessly. It can also be less traumatic for you and your family.

However, this isn’t necessarily the right option for everyone, and more and more people nowadays choose to do this in the comfort of their own home. In some situations, you might not even have any other option.


How to Euthanize a Dog at Home Without a Vet | What You Can Do

"Euthanasia" is a Greek term meaning “good death.” It refers to ending an individual’s life and thereby minimizing or eliminating pain or distress.

Although this isn’t a decision that any owner wants to make, there are times when it could be easier for you and your pet and more merciful to let them go. Experts recommend that if your pet suffers from an untreatable condition that stops them from living their life, it is probably time to ask your vet about euthanization options. You might find yourself asking when is it time to let go?

ways to euthanize your dog at home

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The most significant factor to consider before making a choice is what your dog’s quality of life is. Here are some signs that you might need to consider euthanization:

  • Your dog could be terminally ill with a condition like cancer.
  • Your pet was injured in an accident that left them with severe damage or leaves them paralyzed.
  • Or, your elderly dog starts to struggle severely with the side effects of old age to the extent that it’s hard for them to complete everyday tasks.
  • Your pet has a physical condition that is untreatable and leaves them in a lot of pain.

At times like these, the right decision to make is often to ease their passing. Your vet will be able to advise you on when to euthanize your dog and whether that is the last resort. Before making a decision, you should take your pet to a visit to a vet for a full exam.

Your Options

euthanize a dog at home yourself

As has been mentioned, the conventional way to put your dog to sleep is to take them to a veterinary hospital. It’s a very safe way to approach this issue. Owners often find themselves asking will a vet euthanize a dog at home?

The following are reasons that can lead you to decide on euthanizing your dog at home:

  • You live in a rural area or too far away from a veterinary clinic.
  • Your dog could be terrified of veterinarians or car rides, and you might not want them to be so distressed.
  • Many people feel it will be more meaningful to share their pets last day with their family in their home. Your pet is a beloved member of your family after all.

If you decide against having the procedure performed at a veterinary clinic, there are different options for you to consider. 

One option is to ask a vet to come to your home and to perform the procedure there. This way it is still done by a trained and trusted professional but in the privacy and comfort of your home. Veterinary technicians or nurses can also be able to assist you. In some areas, there are even vets who specialize in providing at-home care, including euthanization. They might even let you administer the drugs used under their medical supervision.

Are You Worried About the Cost?

The cost of this will vary depending on the vet, whether it is a large or small dog or how far they have to travel. However, it will probably not be much more expensive than going to the vet’s room.

Controversially, some people nowadays look for ways to euthanize their pets at home without a vet. The reasons why are often sentimental, because of the price or because of lack of access.

Three major concerns with this method are: the safety of the owner, the possibility of causing pain to your dog and difficulty in accessing suitable medication.

What to Consider When Planning to Euthanize Your Dog?

The Aftermath

No matter how you choose to go through with this emotional procedure, the aftermath tends to be even worse. Most dog owners want to be in the same room after the dog passes away. It can make the heartbreak even worse.

If you decide to have your pet euthanized at home, it can be more challenging to treat your pet's remains respectfully. For many people, seeing the room or the place where their pet passed away on a daily basis can be too much to handle.

In a 2012 study shows that veterinary staff employs many emotion management techniques which can make the process easier for owners to handle.

Medical Assistance

As I have mentioned, some people prefer to euthanize their dogs themselves. However, this procedure can be too complicated to perform without medical assistance. A vet will be able to make sure that your pet doesn’t suffer. Your pet needs to be sedated sufficiently before the final drug is administered. Some of the possible side effects of the drugs are seizures, pain, and vomiting. To avoid your pet being harmed, it’s better to carry out the process at the clinic or with assistance.

State Laws

Before even thinking about how to euthanize a dog at home without a vet, consider the laws of your state. Performing the procedure without a license or training could be illegal. It’s possible that the only way to legally put your pet to sleep is with the help of a vet or trained technician. Animal shelters often employ staff with the necessary training.

In most states, only veterinarians and certified technicians can perform the procedure. For example, in North Carolina and Maine only licensed veterinarians or certified euthanasia technicians.

euthanize dog at home

Technicians can perform the procedure. It is only legal for non-veterinarians to euthanize animals in a minimal number of states. For instance, in Texas, somebody who is not certified can do this as a vet supervises them.

Here is a list of the laws in the different states.

Aside from the actual procedure, the drugs might also only be available with a prescription which is written by a healthcare professional. The majority of states authorize the injection of sodium pentobarbital or a similar agent. Just a few states permit the use of carbon monoxide gas.

In addition to this, the possession of the medication is controlled. Laws in most states outline that only licensed practitioners can keep the drug. In some cases, animal shelters can keep the drugs on their property.

The regulations regarding euthanization are so strict to protect animals. The drugs also need to be controlled as they can have sedative effects on humans and animals and can be misused or abused.

So you need to check what medication is legal to use in your area and whether you can access it and what the regulations are regarding the process itself.

Final Consideration

euthanize dog at home

You should make sure to consider all of these factors beforehand and be prepared to deal with them. The most important thing to continually ask yourself when you decide on the best way to euthanize your pet is whether what you are doing is humane.

In the helpful video below, a veterinarian discusses what euthanasia involves and what factors will influence your decision making.

Choosing to put your pet to sleep at home with the help of a vet or a vet tech is a good compromise between the different methods. This guide will now discuss what to expect from this method and how to approach it.

What to Expect Euthanizing a Pet at Home?

Self-Managed Euthanasia

Before embarking on self-managed euthanazia it is important to understand that improperly performed it has the potential to cause distress and can harm the dog. If you decide to go ahead anyway you should take your dog to the vet for a last examination within a day of the event to ensure that you are making the right decision.

You will need his advice on the choice of sedative that you will require to calm your dog and bring him to a state of unconsciousness. This is because the euthanazia is a two-step process:

  • You inject the dog with a sedative. Whilst he loses consciousness you’ll have a chance to say your goodbyes
  • The second phase involves administering Pentobarbital Sodium which is approved for this purpose by the Humane Society of America. This drug is administered either by injection or by catheter which is normally inserted into the front leg of the animal. The drug can take up to half an hour to take effect. It will stop the do from breathing and the heart will stop.

If decide not to take this route but would still prefer to euthanize your dog at home, many vet will make home visits to assist in putting your best friend to sleep.

2018 Oct Updated: 

Recently, we received an email from Amelia, a respected reader of PetSoFun. She shared the story she had with Lily, "My beloved beautiful Golden Retriever."

Lily gets sick and becomes uncontrollable. Amelia and her husband asked for help from the vet, but they did not seem to help much. She was almost "flipping the internet" to find what could help. Finally, she and her husband decided to euthanize Lily with gas helium. The pain was over after that.

Based on her story, I have summarized the steps she has taken below. Hopefully, it can help someone here. 

With the Help of the Vet

If you choose to euthanize your dog at home with the help of a vet, you will need to arrange with one who will be willing to come to your home.

The method and the drugs that the vet uses will most likely be very similar to those used in a clinical setting. There are strict guidelines that should be followed by any professional that practices veterinary medicine.

The most common method that is to administer drugs is through intravenous injections of Pentobarbitone solution which is a type of barbiturate.

ways to euthanize your dog at home

Many veterinarians consider this the most humane way to euthanize your dog. It's rapid-acting, and your dog will quickly lose consciousness which will soon be followed by cardiac arrest. The drugs will inhibit voluntary motor activity, but your pet might still have involuntary spasms or show other movements.

Your vet might choose to sedate your pet first especially if he or she is in distress. There are few things that you will want to gather in order to go through the process:

  • The contact details of a local veterinarian.
  • A bed and blankets for your dog.
  • Your pet’s favorite toys and food.

Steps to Take to Euthanize Your Dog

1. Consult With Your Vet

Before making any decision about euthanizing your dog, you should arrange a consultation with your vet first so that they can examine your dog. Your vet will be able to help you decide whether it’s the right time and will be able to talk you through the procedure.

You should ask your vet whether they will be able to come to perform the procedure at your home and how you should arrange it all.

2. Prepare Your Family

best way to euthanize a small dog at home

Once the decision is made, you and your family should prepare yourself emotionally for your pet’s passing. You are never really ready but talking it through and showing each other care and support will help you to deal with this process.

You should pay particular attention to your children and their feelings. Explain to them what is going to happen and why and help them to share their emotions. You should decide beforehand who will be present for the procedure. If your children are too young or sensitive, it could be best not to let them see.

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3. Arrange the Procedure

safe way to euthanize dog at home

When you and your family are prepared, the next step is to arrange with your veterinarian to have the procedure performed. Feel free to ask them all the questions that you might have.

What is going to happen? How long will it take? Is there anything they want you to do to prepare?

You want to have everything ready beforehand to make it easier for you, the vet, and your pet.

4. Make Your Pet Comfortable

Your pet has given you so much love and loyalty if there is ever a moment that you should show them the same affection it is now. Try to make their last day as enjoyable as possible.

To prepare them for the procedure, make sure there is a comfortable space for them to lie down. Put extra blankets in their favorite bed or make a bed out of pillows and blankets. Give them some of their favorite treats and give them lots of hugs and kisses.

Even though it can be tough to be present during the procedure, at least one of the owners should stay with your pet so that they aren’t alone.

5. Going Through With the Procedure

best way to euthanize a small dog at home

The only step that remains is to go through with the actual procedure.

Ask whether there is anything you need to do to assist the vet or whether there is anything you can or cannot do.

You can stroke or pet your dog throughout the procedure while you say your final farewells.

How to Euthanize Your Dog by Helium Gas (Amelia's Story Based)

What Do You Need to Prepare?

Here is a list of the items that you need to perform the procedure:

  • The first thing you need is a crate or cage into which your dog will fit. One excellent idea is to use a container in which they are comfortable.
  • You need to get a plastic bag that will be able to fit over the container. It should be airtight and sturdy. You might want to use heavy duty bags.
  • You also need a role of durable string
  • The most critical item is the helium gas which you need to perform the procedure is helium gas. You can buy canisters of this from party shops and other shops that stock these types of supplies. For a larger dog like a German Shepherd, I would recommend buying two canisters just in case. It will cost you about $20 per bottle.
  • The last items you need is are stationery that you can use to close the bag and seal it. For example, masking tape, cable ties, and duct tape. I recommend having a variety of similar items on hand as you don’t want to interrupt the procedure because air is escaping from the bag.
  • These are the items that are necessary. Besides this pet owners often also use toys or their dog’s favorite blanket to keep with them until the end.
  • You should try to find out what you are going to do with your pet’s body. Veterinary clinics will probably be able to help you.

You should make sure that you choose a day where you have several hours to devote to this. Don’t plan to do anything strenuous afterward as you might feel to upset.

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Steps to Take to Euthanize Your Dog With Helium Gas

1. Gather and Prepare the Supplies

Once you have made the decision, you have to prepare and gather all the necessary items. If your pet is very ill and in pain, it will be the kinder, the sooner you do it. You should make sure that you have everything on hand so that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

2. Prepare Your Family

The death of a pet is always a tragic and potentially traumatic occasion. If you have children and other family members, you will want to prepare them beforehand for what is going to happen. If some of your children are too sensitive it might be best to do it one day when they are not at home.

3. Prepare Your Dog

Make your dog’s last day one of their best days. Treat them with all the things they love the most.

To make the procedure as stress-free as possible you can attempt to make them used to the crate and the bag. You can start by putting treats in the container or some of their toys so that they associate it with positive things.

4. Put Your Dog in the Cage

Once everything is ready, and your pet is comfortable in the container you can move on to the next step. Give your pet as much love as possible and coax them into the crate. Now is your time to say your final goodbye.

Try to make them as comfortable as possible with blankets and pillows.

5. Secure the Equipment

Now it is time to put everything in place. You should close the container and put the plastic bag around it. You should put the nozzle or the pipe into an opening in the bag. Then you should try to close the bag around it with tape and cable ties. It should be as airtight as possible.

6. Open the Gas

You can then open the valve for the helium gas. You should leave it open to let it fill the bag and cage. While doing this, listen and try to check whether there are any leaks. Try to close any that you find immediately.

It works best if you cut a hole in the corner of the bag to allow the old air to escape. As the helium fills the container, you can seal this hole shut.

7. Inflation

You should leave the gas on so that it completely inflates the bag. If the container is huge, you might need to use a second helium canister. The best way to switch the bottles is to remove the pipe and nozzle from the first bottle while leaving it in the bag. Attach the tube to the second canister.

Keep your finger on the hole in the pipe to stop gas from escaping.

After it is filled, you can close the valve on the canister and secure the bag to make sure that nothing escapes.

8. Wait and Monitor

The next step is one of the hardest. You should know that your pet will probably lose consciousness within the first few seconds. After this, they won’t feel any pain or sensations anymore. Their suffering is over. But this does not mean that they have passed away yet.

During their passing the might have involuntary muscle and bodily movements. These movements can distress you but remember that your dog isn’t feeling anything.

Now you have to wait. You might find it more comfortable to take a step back. It will take about 30 minutes for your pet to completely pass away. While you wait, check every few minutes to make sure that the bag is inflated and whether your pet is still breathing.

After this period breathing should have ceased entirely and your pet’s suffering is over. You have given them the gift of mercy.

9. Ventilation

Now that that part is over it is time to open the bag. Before you cut it open, you should open all the windows and doors in the house for ventilation. Turning on some fans can also help the process. Once you have done this, it is safe to release the gas and remove the bag.

10. Clearing Up

The next step could be very hard, so prepare yourself emotionally for it. If you need support, you can ask a partner or family member to help. When a person or animal passes away, they might defecate or urinate involuntarily. So you will want to clean this up.

It is now time to take care of your pet’s remains respectfully. Your local veterinary clinic will be able to help you, but there are also many companies that will aid you. For example, some services can cremate your beloved family member for you.

11. Mourn

Understandably this process will be, and you can find it very upsetting. Now that everything is done you can peacefully mourn and celebrate your pet and the life that they lived. Holding some memorial service with your family can help you to deal with your pain. Share your feelings and give each other as much love and support as you can.

My Story

I found myself in this very situation this year. My beloved Lily was a beautiful Golden Retriever. I have shared my life with her from my tenth birthday. She had turned seventeen this year. You can imagine how close we were.

But the last few years have been tough on her. She began showing the usual signs of old age. The last year was particularly hard. I could see that her time was coming, but I tried to avoid it. She battled to stand up in the morning and walking was became too much for her to handle. She even struggled to eat.

It was then that I knew it would be much kinder to let her go. I knew that I had to consider euthanasia. As my last act of love, I wanted to help her drift away painlessly and smoothly surrounded by those she loved.

As her suffering became more severe, she became more and more aggressive. She was always just a loveable fluff ball, but suddenly she became unpredictable. Her fear of pain was taking over her life. She regularly snapped at our children and eventually even tried to bite my husband and me. We became terrified.

There were always children in our house. Out children and their friends loved Lily and still wanted to pet and play with her. But we no longer trust her with them.

Eventually, we went to her vet. She confirmed that the pain she was experiencing was driving her crazy. She prescribed some medicine to calm her down, but it didn’t help. After a lot of close calls and discussions, we decided that it might be time to let her go.

We tried to think of all the alternatives, but none of them would work. For example, we couldn’t find anyone that was willing to adopt Lily. We concluded that euthanization was our only option. However, all the vet’s in the area quoted us ridiculous prices because Lily was so big.

Besides that we wanted the procedure to be more personal. We didn’t want her last moments to be spent in that cold and sterile clinic room.

Therefore, we wanted to euthanize her at home. We settled on using helium gas as it was risk-free and effective.

PRO TIP: This book has helped me overcome my pain

​The pain of losing your pet - a loyal friend who has followed you for decades - is the same as when you lose a loved one.

But not everyone can understand and share that experience with you.

They simply tell you that it's just a pet and as time goes by, everything will be fine.

But it didn't work out that way, at least for me.

Lily was the only furry friend I had for many years. We have gone through many turning points in my life, and she was always by my side, listening to all my stories, enduring my erratic emotions, and never intended to abandon me. Even in her last moments.

I listened to everyone's advice, hoping that time could heal that wound, but it didn't.

Day after day the feelings continued. I became quiet and sink to the bottom of my emotions when I couldn't share this with anyone.

I looked around for books about pet loss, and knew that I was not alone. Many pet owners out there face the same problem, and they have come up with solutions for themselves and for people in similar situations.

I read the ebook titled "Recover from the Grief of Pet Loss" and thank God for finding it while I was struggling with the pain of my loss.

Robin - the author of the ebook wrote it when she tried to fight the negative emotions when her pet, Andy had died of brain cancer.

This is not a simple rational dry book here, you will read page by page following Robin's story: how she used all her energy to research, and wrote it as if it were the last thing she would write.

The book offers a step-by-step approach - not to "get over it" since we can never "get over it", but to understand your pain at least, accept it and overcome it to so as to feel satisfied and happy once again.

I recommend this book to all pet owners who are suffering from the loss of their pets. You will surely find an effective way to help yourself overcome that pain, just as I did, thanks to Robin.

from Amelia's Story


We hope that this guide helps you answer the question how to euthanize a dog at home without a vet. Saying goodbye is never easy, and any owner who faces this has my sympathy. Give you and your family time to grieve and to deal with the loss. Find a way to commemorate your pet so that he or she will remain close to your heart, for example, planting a tree in their honor.

There are situations where euthanizing your pet could be the kindest road to take.

No matter what choice you make, you should always remember that it is your responsibility as an owner to make sure that this is done humanely and safely. The best way to ensure this is without a doubt to seek medical assistance from a trained veterinarian.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. It is only intended for your general knowledge. You should always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the site.

44 thoughts on “How To Euthanize A Dog At Home Without A Vet?”

  1. My sweet and beautiful Abbey, 13.5 years old, is facing euthanization soon. In the last few months, Abbey was diagnosed with CHF. A couple weeks ago, she was diagnosed with kidney failure as well. A terrible and difficult combination to work with. What helps the heart, goes against the kidneys and vice versa. For the past couple days, Abbey’s vomited several times. She was given a regimen of pills including Vetmedin, which makes her sick. I know this little angel can’t keep going on like this and the thought of euthanization is tearing my heart and stomach apart. I’m trying to get prepared, but is there such a thing? Just the thought of having this procedure done on her makes me sick to my stomach. I keep praying to God for a miracle, but God may have other plans and how do I go against His decision? I keep praying little Abbey will go peacefully in her sleep, but how often does that happen? No, it’s a tormenting hell for pet lovers. Some people think it’s best, but I hold on to ‘what ifs’. What if a drug came out the very next day that was a cure for these two conditions? Or, I’m hoping she’ll linger until I’m tired of watching her go down everyday to the fact I’ll be more ready than ever to let her go so I won’t grieve so hard. I know this is a selfish act by me, but when she’s gone, I’m so afraid of what my life will become without her. Empty. The last 2 babies I lost, I grieved a year. I’ve taken the initiative of getting my doctor put me on anxiety medication. Right now, it’s not helping. I cry all the time. If anyone can ease this fright, sorrow, and emptiness I’m feeling, please tune in.

    • Hi Cindy,

      Allow me to share your feelings now, with all sincerity.

      It is difficult to understand the feeling of loss when actually facing it, just like you are facing. But still, I would like to say that you need help from a qualified person. The veterinarian will give you helpful advice. And, before you decide for yourself anything with your Abbey, make sure you bring her to the veterinarian and ask him if he really can do anything else.

      In case you decide to euthanize your Abbey, it’s best to let your vet do it.

      I hope your bad feeling will quickly pass.

      Kindest regards,

  2. Is it possible to help her with a massive over dosing of Tylenol 3s or aspirin etc, making her pass in her sleep? The same way humans suicide? Restful, peacefully doable?

    • No, do not over dose your pet with Tylenol or any other over the counter drug. Tylenol overdose (although a popular method of suicide for people) is extremely painful and can take several days. It causes liver toxicity and you slowly die as the rest of your organs shutdown. Tylenol overdose is one of the most tragic things to take care of in a hospital. All you can do is try and sedate the person and take away their pain as they slowly die over the course of hours to days. Often times after they realized they no longer want to die.

    • I was so close to death after talking over 100 hydrocodone pills, it was the most awful experience of my life!!! I woke up in the ICU with tubes in my nose and throat. I’ve never thrown up so much in my life. It was agonizing! I spent 4 days in ICU and 5 days in regular hospital.

  3. My dog started bleeding at night on a sunday and monday was a holiday. No vets around here were open. My little dog suffered all night and finally passed in the morning. I felt so helpless. Sure wish there were more options to do it @ home

  4. I want everyone to know don’t believe all u read out there. I believed an article that said an od of sleeping pills would make the dog pass in its sleep. I gave my dog the recommended dose for her size to help her pass but it just made her seize and hemorage it was a terrible thing to see. Please take to a vet or do the gas method. I will forever be tormented by my dogs suffering at my own hand. She was very much loved and I had her a very long time. She was to the point of couldn’t eat or walk and I chose to help ease her pain but I didn’t help. I had to put her down another way and will never forgive myself. So please I bet if u love ur pet do it right.

  5. I used the helium method on my 17 year old cat with renal failure. It worked perfectly. Although painful for us to do, it seemed painless for him and merciful. I highly recommend the method. I got the party balloon kit from Target for $20 and used it with a trash bag.

    • I’m having a terrible time with letting go of my 18 yo beloved kitty, and due to thr financial burden, am considering the helium method? I wish I could find a low cost clinic to help?!!
      Heartbroken, but my cat is suffering.

      • For starters, helium is more expensive than using a vet . Your regular vet who has helped you along the way will frequently perform the procedure at no charge if you discuss your financial situation discreetly with them.
        Older vets with basic clinics are more likely to do this for you than fancy new clinics. You can also take your animal to an emergency hospital and surrender him. He will be humanely euthanized but his body was still end up with the city where you will not be able to bury him yourself. I would NEVER take my pet to the shelter for euthanasia.
        No mention was made of a stethoscope in this article and that is an important tool for a trained professional to know that your dog or cat’s heart has stopped beating. There’s nothing worse than burying an animal alive. Pet shelters will also euthanize however it requires giving up the body and the body is not treated ceremoniously. it is thrown on a pile of other dead bodies in a freezer then dumped at a landfill. It’s not an option I would choose. It’s very important to be with your pet during the procedure. I had a cat that didn’t die from the vet procedure because of collapsed veins. Had I not been there the vet would have put my cat in a sealed box to die an agonizing death of suffocation over days. (My cat was in kidney failure, horrific pain, not able to move but conscious.) I had to insist that the vet use a stethoscope (my cat mewed at me as I held him close for 2 hours saying goodbye!) The vet finally conceded that my cat was still alive. The vet had used the femoral artery in the leg which was collapsed. He had to switch to the jugular vein in the neck for success.
        On a side note, helium should only be used on dogs and cats. For instance, Turtles can hold their breath for days. Never use helium on other types of pets. I learned this when rescuing a turtle that had been hit by a car. I contacted my local wildlife rescue for advice.

  6. I can’t tell you how helpful this article was and how it made a heartbreaking experience a little bit easier. Minimal cost, peaceful, she laid in her own bed in a plastic storage container and peacefully went to sleep. Thank you, thank you, thank you and God bless you for providing safe information for those that need it.

  7. I have been permanently Disabled for 11 years, and I have had my rocky for 11 and 1/2 years! I know I am going to have let him go eventually. This may sound dumb, but how did you all confirm the passing? I would want to know for sure he is gone. Not sure I could close him up in a plastic bag, or would it be too macabre to expose this idea to him now. Personally, I think I like the idea of having a vet come to my home. Then he has all the comforts as well. He is a chihuahua-terrier mix. so size is not the issue. I had to put down 2 springers earlier in my life, and they were hard. and they spent about 1/3 the time my rocky has with me daily. after becoming disabled, rocky was by my side for about 23 out every 24 hours every day! so, we are close!

    • Stethascope – takes a trained professional to detect the faintest of heartbeats not detectable by fingers or the human ear. There is also body heat. The body will go cold. Anal thermometer can be used pre- and post death. Also, there’s rigamortis although it could take hours for this to happen. In a cold climate it could take a day.

  8. Ruby Smith is that a Red Min-pin in the picture with
    you ? My Ace is a Red Min-pin , just turned 11 , born
    3/10/08 . Ace has been my constant companion 24/
    365 . I go nowhere with out him . He developed a cough while drinking , which really turned bad . Took
    him to Emergency Clinic at 10 pm . The news turned out to be devastating , a tumor on his spleen ! I had hoped for 5 to 6 more years with him before I would
    be at this point . Do not know how I made it home
    that night , do not know where the last week went to…

  9. My Furbaby Biskit, is a 4 1/2 lb Maltese. She is now 19 yrs and 12 days old. We have thought for the last year that she would peacefully pass in her sleep. She can’t see ,hear, ect, and now has a horrible infection in both eyes. She has bad deminsha *sp and doesnt know what , where or who we are. We waited too long, thinking Time would take her , but her little heart just wont give out, so we have made the decision to put her to sleep. I love the helium method, it seems like a good alternative as our first Maltese, took 2 1/2 hrs to pass away at the vets. I held her the whole time, then finally got someone in there to take care of her and give her enough to put her asleep. I dont want to go thru that again with Biskit, I just cant. It’s too hard. In fact it was a nightmare for me. Thanks for putting this out there, it is something to think about today.

    • Have you done it? I’m in the same boat. I’m hoping to leave in God’s hands but my doxie’s heart won’t give out either and its awful to watch. he doesn’t eat, doesn’t walk. going to bathroom on himself, just lays there. I’m so torn. my doxie is 16. I don’t know what to do.

  10. My baby girl is 19and 3generation of same family of shihtzu dogs she can’t see or hear and now developed a bad eye infection it breaks my heart butknow she is suffering and just want to see her out of pain and try to put our lives back together and know it’s right to have her pass here with us at home ..I think the helium would be how I’d want it done to me ..just drift off to sleep and join all the fur babies that have passed before me..she’s been a great girl and gone through so much already in this life(parvoh as a pup and always tummy problems because of it ) she just cry’s out in pain every time she moves and she is sleeping 24 hours a day without any life quality at all …I love her to much to not choose the helium way and had bad experience with a vet doing it before and can not risk it . My manners a Weiner dog had a horrible passing the vet didn’t give enough or whatever and he was gasping and suffocating he bloated up and cried while begging me with his beautiful wonderful eyes he was my everything and suffered for what seemed an eternity I can’t do that to my nefertitie she is the queen of my heart and won’t go through that nor will any animal I havebeen blessed to share my life home and family with they are my best friends and I cherish every wonderful moment I get to enjoy the love they bring and will help my girl pass with all the love. Compassion and dignity I can give her and protect her from seeing another night in pain .
    I know what a hard decision it is but in reality there is no choice but to use helium my girl deserve to pass pain free and surrounded by her family and all those that love her

    Thank you for helping my girl and I hope my story will help anyone struggling with the same desision we all are facing
    My love goes out to u all
    Maggie may

  11. Hi there,
    I unfortunately have decided that it would be best to euthanize my 16 year old German shepherd. She is suffering a lot and I want her to finally find her peace.
    How much helium gas will I need?
    It says a canister in the description but how much is that?
    Where I live helium doesn’t seem to be sold in canisters.
    Thank you very much, your help is much appreciated

  12. I have a chihuahua puppy that was dropped off to my.porch yesterday ( I have a chihuahua here so someone that I must know I’m sure) but this puppy is blind, and screaming in pain. I just lost my job and don’t have the money to take this poor dog to the vet to be put down. I can tell it is suffering and I’ve tried everything to.comfort it but it’s not helping, its been crying and howling since last night, her body is limp. I have a helium tank that i used for my son’s party, I’ve never heard of this but this seems like the only option at this point for this poor baby. My heart is breaking for it. Every other option I’ve seen seems inhumane. I’ve called my local shelter and they won’t/ can’t do anything. Rest in peace to all fur babies and bless all of you fur mommies and daddies facing this difficult decision.

  13. You guys, I just tried this and I have no idea how it works bc I put the puppy in a crate, took a Trash bag and covered it then put the poor puppy bf in and filled the bag with helium and it was airtight and closed, the puppy continued crying for 5 minutes, it didn’t sedate it. It just cried and I felt like all i was doing was suffocating the poor thing. I don’t know what I was doing wrong arms now I feel worse

      • The failure does not have anything to do with sedation. Most of the Helium party balloons are not any more filled with pure helium, but contain up to 20 % oxygen, about the same percentage in air. Suicide kit with helium canister is being a well known method for suicide and authorities are trying to avoid it adding 20 % oxygen to the helium balloon canister. One has to try with pure helium, pure nitrogen or pure argon. They are all non irritant inert gases that induce unconsciousness. The advantage of helium is that it is very light and it is easily breathed whereas argon as a heavier gas, sinks heavy in the lungs. However all three gases are adequate to induce unconsciousness painlessly. Nitrogen is as light as air. Argon is heavier, and helium is very light. One more point : in case of Argon, for evacuation of the remaining air in the bag, one has to do the outgas hole on the upper side part instead of on the bottom as described for Helium gas, since air, much lighter than argon, would accumulate on the upper part of the bag. In helium case, air would accumulate on the bottom side, therefore the hole must be done opposite to the entrance hole and close to the bottom to remove the remaining air. For nitrogen, just on the opposite location, as it is as heavy as air.

  14. I will always trust a vet to do this process, even i love my pet. i will not be the one who will end his/her life by my own hands. i brought him to a pet hospice back then and after a while i’ve decided to end her wonderful life not just because i want her to get rid on my life but i know she is now in pain and her age shows that she needs to go. euthanizing your own pet by your very own hands is not acceptable for me 🙁

      • That’s an unnecessarily rude remark. You may disagree with their reasoning but there’s no reason to be cruel to people who are just trying to do the best for their beloved pets. No one is forcing anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. Choose the method that you prefer and let other people choose what they prefer.

  15. That Balloon Time helium cannister shown on this page if you read the technical print it says its a mix of 80% helium and 20% air; so does it have to be 100% helium that the dog inhales to get the job done or is this 80/20 mix effective for a large dog 60 lbs? anyone know? also I was thinking of using a mask on a dog instead of wrapping up a crate as not everyone has a crate or dog isnt used to a crate. a sedated dog could wear a mask ie a cage muzzle that is tightly secured correct? anyone know?

  16. You do realize that what is happening is that the helium is displacing the oxygen, and the dog or cat is suffocating to death, right? You may as well just tape the bag over its head and just wait, thereby saving the 40$ in helium (or 55$ at the vet) that you would’ve otherwise spent on your beloved pet.

  17. Just a note to pass on to anyone trying this method. Helium is lighter than air. Therefore the small hole cut in the corner of the plastic bag must be cut on one of the lower corners at floor level. If someone were to put the vent cut up higher, then the helium will just escape and the container with the pet inside would never completely be void of oxygen. Remember that your pet’s head is also at floor level so you do want to let as much air escape while filling with helium.
    Anyway…. vent at lower corner and then seal it up with tape….wait 30 minutes.

  18. Our beloved Libby is very old. She has started to have seizures and it’s breaking my heart to see her like this. She’s blind and deaf and has no idea what’s going on. I’ve read the articles about euthanasia. I do NOT want the vet to put her to sleep. The vets around my area don’t make house calls anymore. I would like her to be in the comfort of the only home and people that she’s ever had before I let her go to sleep. I will contact her veterinarian before I do anything. This is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. I just don’t want her to suffer anymore. I was hoping that there would be some more information about what I can give her so she can just go to sleep and not have anymore pain. I honestly don’t know if I CAN do this. Thank you for the article. I’ll take it into account.

  19. I have two very old doggies. Vets are extremely expensive and I am on a limited fixed income. Can they die comfortably with OD of tramadol or hydrocodone?

  20. The veterinary field is being ruined by greedy companies who set up “Vet in a Box” type businesses that are only interested in making a buck! I took my 21year old, stricly indoors cat, Muffin, to one of these such places for help with extreme pain in her back. She could no longer squat to pee and was making a mess every time she had to go. Her health was obviously in decline and she just needed help with the pain. The receptionist told me that unless, I was putting her to sleep, they would not allow me to take her home without them injecting her for rabies. I told them that was ridiculous under this situation. She explained it was to protect the vet staff. I asked how long before the rabies shot provided protection for rabies. She told me 10- 14 days! Not immediately effective! I asked how that provided protection for the vet staff if they were seeing her today. She ignored my question. Other customers in the waiting area with their pets laughed. The receptionist ignored my logical question. She lied and told me that it was the law since it had been more that a year since Muffin had had the rabies shot! Being a retired law enforcenent officer, myself, I knew that was a straight up lie. I told the tech under under no circumstances was my cat to be given a rabies injection being that she was already in extreme pain and a rabies shot would only add to her misery. They had already taken my cat to the back of the clinic behind closed doors to be administered an IV because the tech said she was slightly dehydrated, or I would have just left with my kitty. The tech injected my Muffin as soon as she left the room. Needless to say, I was furious. The vet came in to the exam room (for the first time) with my Muffin and said Muffin needed to be put down! Right! Add charges to my bill, giving my cat an IV for slight dehydration, injecting my cat with a painful & unnesseccary vacine when she was already in obvious pain & then tell me she needed to be euthanized!
    The nerve of these heartless jerks! I paid my bill which all together came to almost 300 bucks! I made a complaint to the corporate office and all they did was apologize! I really didn’t expect that they would do anything more than apologize, but somehow that apology did nothing to help me or my Muffin! I don’t have another $300 for euthanasia,now! So, sadly, I have to try to put my cat to sleep on my own. I will try the helium method.

    Thank you for publishing how to euthanize my beloved Muffin safely, humanely, and effectively. I think this is one of the hardest things I’ll ever do.

    • Wow sad to hear that I’m kind of the same boat walked away with a 300 + bill. They wanted a 3000 mri to tell me what they had already told me his back was damaged and the pain caused the whining . Now he whines constantly trips fall frequently refuses to eat his food and constantly has incontinence of bowels and urine. But The dementia is worst part 19 yo miniature poodle. They should have suggested to put him down at the visit instead the gave him the shot some pills and sent me on my way with the Very expensive bill. Now I have to make the decision to do what is best for the dog and my family. Because his behavior has become extremely disruptive to every occasion.

    • Yes. They pull on your heartstrings to run up the bill. The industry has become over commercialized.

      I took my 18 y/o dying cat to a vet at 3AM to avoid her dying in pain. All they were interested in was filling out a form for payment. That was their priority.

      To add insult to injury the vet was no where to be found even though I called them and told them I was coming and wanted to put the cat down ASAP. Needless to say at 3AM the place had no patients.

      In the end, by the time the vet came from the back the cat seizured to death on a cold steel table because they had no sense of urgency.

      Stay away from Westwood Regional Veterinary Hospital in NJ.

  21. Such sad stories😔
    I have a 12 yo sugar glider. He had a tumor removed in Sept. healed nicely but after about a month his incision opened up. Two options were euthanize now Or wait and see. He continued to eat, drink and poop. But started chewing the opening. He damaged the tendon to his tail and he lost his tail. Antibiotics and pain meds were given. He continued to eat and drink and poop.He seemed to get around fine in his habitat. In the last few days he has declined. Loosing balance and loosing hair and the tumor is regrowing rapidly. He fits in the palm of my hand. He seems to settle down when I’m holding him but I believe it is time. 😔 As small as he is, would a helium balloon or two have enough? He might weigh 5 0z. He has lived a good life. But I can’t bare to see him suffer any longer.

  22. Most of the Helium party balloons are not any more filled with pure helium, but contain up to 20 % oxygen, about the same percentage as in air. It is a new regulation from authorities to prevent suicide. One has to try with pure helium gas cylinders, or pure nitrogen or pure argon. They are all non irritant inert gases that induce unconsciousness painlessly. The advantage of helium is that it is very light and it is easily breathed whereas argon as a heavier gas, sinks heavy in the lungs. However all three gases are adequate to induce unconsciousness painlessly. Nitrogen is as light as air. Argon is heavier, and helium is extremely light. One more point : in case of Argon, for complete evacuation of the air in the bag, one has to do the outgas hole on the upper side part instead of on the bottom as described for Helium gas, since air, much lighter than argon, would accumulate on the upper part of the bag. In helium case, air would accumulate on the bottom side, therefore the hole must be done close to the bottom and opposite to the helium entrance hole to remove the remaining air. For nitrogen, just on the opposite location, as it is as heavy as air. Such pure inert gas cylinders are not easy to purchase. The method has become a difficult and not precisely cheap one. Vets do it much cheaper.

  23. You can buy various gases at welding supply businesses, but you must also get the tank and regulator, that’s the expensive part. I get CO2 and liquid nitrogen from them. I am a Federally permitted wildlife rehabilitator, I already have the tanks and gauges, since I’ve done this work for a long time and it’s a necessary part of it. I use CO2 to euthanize wildlife that will never be releasable. It’s a gift of mercy, and also required by law, for Federally protected species and as far as I’m concerned, for any unreleasable wildlife, whether protested or not.

    I take unsalvageable chelonians to my veterinarian to put down… it’s a multiple step procedure with controlled substances, and I don’t want to risk causing more suffering. You should never try the gas modality with herpetiles (reptiles and amphibians), ever. It would be cruel. I use CO2 with birds and small mammals. It’s nonflammable, and isn’t toxic for me indoors, either, and the effect on them is almost instantaneous. But I’ve done it for a very long time.

    But listen to me: you are going to be putting down a pet, a family member, and that’s different. You’re emotionally invested in that pet. You’ll remember it the rest of your life, and pet stewards shouldn’t do it themselves without veterinary supervision because it can be devastating to your sensibilities, and prolong their suffering if done poorly. There are sounds and smells. There is urine and feces. It can take time to end a life, it could take longer than expected if you don’t sedate first, and be cruel. That’s why we needs docs: they know more, and have skills we lack.

    A pet is no different than your child (sometimes you even like your pet more, LOL). You should have thought of all the eventualities before you adopted. Pets and kids both cost money, both are family members, and sooner or later, all living creatures get sick, injured or old. Do yourself and your heart a favor: find a vet to do this for you, even if you need to sign a promissory note. If you have an ongoing relationship with your vet, they sometimes give the gift of mercy for little or nothing when you explain your circumstances. No vet wants to see an animal suffer needlessly. Some vets have special programs for people living below poverty level… look into that, ask animal foster rescue organizations if they can suggest a vet you can work with, Ask if you can be present… some allow it. If you can afford wifi, you should be able to afford a payment arrangement for a pet. Get your priorities straight. And for godssake… don’t clip them for the bill, they were there for you and your pet, pay the agreed upon bill, so they can continue to help other animals… maybe even you again, in the future.

    Or surrender the pet to your local animal control or animal humane. They’ve got the right materials and have training. If it’s a volunteer nonprofit like an animal humane, remember to offer them a donation for the work they do. Even just a few bucks.

    You can still have a memorial service at home with a marker, even without the body, because they probably won’t return it to you: you’ve legally surrendered it to them, it’s no longer your property. Once deceased, your pet doesn’t care about that any more. They will live on in your memory just the same.

    If you use a homemade procedure and it becomes gruesome, you’ll have to live with the memory rest of your lives. Helium for balloons is no longer concentrated enough, it is mixed with oxygen. Not many laypeople are suited to the realities of veterinary medicine. I feel regret every time I euthanize, and make sure it goes quickly, respectfully, compassionately and smoothly. So do veterinarians. If an animal is suffering, it’s a gift of mercy. So show some gratitude for them being there for you and your pet. Most laypeople shouldn’t do it, you can’t be objective when you’re emotionally attached to a pet. That animal needs for you to do the right thing in its final hours… think of them, not your own feelings. If you can’t afford a vet or don’t have a good one in your town, go to animal humane or animal control and surrender it.

    Just a compassionate warning. Both you and your pet are suffering, you need to do the right things. It’s often not as easy as it sounds.

  24. Ok, so, this 80/20 mix…can u let out enough air (& how would u know?) for procedure to knock him out, then he basically suffocates if left in sealed cage/bag?
    Would a 14.9 F{3} tank of helium/air take out a 40-50 lb golden?

  25. I have a 14 year old male sugar glider. He’s been trying to die for 4 weeks. He eats very little and I haven’t seen him drink much in a couple days. I pretty much force him to eat and drink. He seems in physical pain in his hind area, very weak, and wobbly. He has been sleeping with me for a week because I fear him getting disoriented in the night and falling. He is all skin and bones. I can feel every vertebra. He does still love to be held, which I do almost constantly now, and he will purr lightly. How can I uthenize him at home, humanely?

  26. An addition query to my above one:

    Can CBD oil be used to humanely uthenize a sugar glider. Someone suggested that but I don’t know if that is accurate info or the amount to do the job

  27. Thanks for this. A botched veterinarian euthanasia prompted me to look for alternatives for my remaining pet. I’ve had it done properly at a vet too but just reading these instructions/comments I can tell the helium method would be much less stressful on your pet.

  28. The selfishness of many commenting. Dress it up any way you like: you’re looking to kill your pet on the cheap. Bet many of these complaining about the cost would be happy to buy tobacco,alcohol or the latest phone,but not pay out for a kind ending for their pet. I’m truly horrified to see the amount of people who treat this as another money saving DIY project. If you’re not going to care for your pet from birth to death then don’t take the responsibility of a pet on.

  29. Mary,
    Thank you for a very well-written, detailed, compassionate perspective on this issue. Like most everyone else here, words cannot express the love I have for Kona, my German Shepherd. Diagnosed with cancer, Kona continues to lose weight and refuses to eat with numerous indications she’s in pain. The vet advised us last week if Kona continues to lose weight, which is almost certain, euthanasia is the most humane thing to do.

    I considered doing this at home, with family. However, I’m now convinced even if the helium method is 98% certain (an estimate *not* based on science or personal experience; simply a marginally-educated guess on my part) to be effective as well as humane, it is not the right option for me.

    I cannot live with the 2% chance things may go wrong. Money is tight, particularly during the pandemic and with two daughters in college, but we’ll figure out how to insure Kona passes with dignity and as painlessly as possible.

    I’m a *firm* believer in the “You do what’s right for you” philosophy. As such, no judgment from me on the path others take. My heart goes out to whomever reads these words, as everyone who comes to this site is likely facing an extremely painful loss and carries the weight of a gut-wrenching decision to make.

    I wish you Godspeed.

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