How to Put a Dog Down at Home with Over the Counter Sleeping Pills

Dogs become part of our families and our lives the moment we adopt them. We care for them and watch them grow. Sometimes we manage their health conditions very well, but other times, it is out of our control.

When there is nothing you can do to improve their health, they always stay in pain, and the humane option is to euthanize. It makes anyone sick to their stomach, but it is a better alternative to the suffering.

Vets follow some procedures to make the process as painless as possible. Usually, the decision is arrived at with the consultation of a veterinarian. They can judge correctly whether any other option exists for you to pursue.

It is heartbreaking, but it is, in most cases, what is best for them. Dogs that can live to very advanced ages develop complications often. Their health status begins to deteriorate because of the condition of their organs deteriorating with age.

Old dogs also have compromised immune systems that leave them susceptible to many diseases. Their bodies can no longer fight off pathogens as it did in their youth and what would typically be a non-lethal pathogen becomes fatal.

Sometimes, it is because of a life-altering injury. Very active dogs are more likely to get injured, and while some of the wounds heal with time, others leave them in a lot of pain. A veterinarian can determine the extent of the injury and suggest a course of action.

The process is necessary whenever the quality of life your dog lives is way below standard with no hope for improvement. However, there are unsafe methods that everyone should avoid. They are inhumane, and one of them is by using sleeping pills.

Common Health Problems in Dogs

If your dog gets the proper care, they can live a long, happy, and healthy life. You should ensure they are well-fed, well-groomed, sufficiently exercised, and make regular visits to the vet for checkups.

However, as they grow older, the risks of them getting severe illnesses and injuries increase significantly. They may be unable to fight off disease faster at these advanced ages, even with the right nutrition and medicine.

They are susceptible to some of these fatal diseases and conditions.


Rabies is fatal because of how fast it spreads and takes hold of the body. It is transmissible through bites from infected animals. It causes seizures and paralysis. It almost always leads to death if no one takes the appropriate action in time.


It is a respiratory illness that still has no cure. Many infected dogs die from it. Luckily, there is a way to manage it through early vaccination. It is not a complete safeguard, but it reduces the likelihood of your dog contracting it.


This viral infection becomes fatal if it goes unchecked. The dog can get treatment to manage it from the onset, but vaccines remain the most effective solution. It is highly infectious, so vaccination is necessary even though there are no signs.


It attacks the body and compromises the functions of the liver and kidneys. This then causes a host of other problems. It is waterborne and challenging to detect in time. By the time the signs show, it is usually too late.

They are not only susceptible to these fatal conditions. Others include cancer, heart failure, and epilepsy. Some are non-physical conditions like mental illness, dementia, and arthritis, which affect the quality of their life.

When is the Right Time to Euthanize?

A decision like this one has to be made by qualified medical personnel. You can also judge whether your dog can stand the suffering and get better, or there is no hope for recovering. However, it is not as straightforward as it seems.

The decision’s basis lies in certain conditions like your dog’s overall health, age, and preexisting conditions. Therefore, it is better to watch them for a while to get a clearer picture of their status.

The things to look out for are mostly mobility, defecating, and apparent signs of pain. If they have increasing trouble moving from place to place or even resting comfortably, their quality of life is suffering terribly.

When they cannot go to the bathroom properly, their control over their bodies is gone, and many other processes are beyond their control. In most instances, it is an indication that there is no recovery.

Physical signs do not cut it alone. The mental well-being of the dogs needs to get the same priority as physical health. Most of these conditions do not manifest as physical symptoms, but the effects are devastating nonetheless.

Changes in behavior could be an indicator of stress from pain and a show of helplessness. They can get aggressive, fail to sleep, often get disoriented. Ultimately, the decision needs the backing of facts because letting a pet go is not easy emotionally.

The primary aim is to save the dog from a low-quality life of pain and suffering.

Euthanizing With Sleeping Pills

This practice is highly discouraged. Investigations have found it to be inhumane and cruel. However, some people practice it because they have confidence in their benefits. The belief is unfounded, and the cruelty overrules it.

Perceived Benefits


The visits to the vet cost significantly more than purchasing sleeping pills. Euthanasia costs may vary, but the average price is still high. Many people are unable to afford it and look for alternatives.

Other alternatives ensure you do not pay a lot. These methods help to reduce inhumane killing because of the financial costs. Below we look at some of the options available to you.

They prefer the dog stays home

Some people would like their dog to spend their last moments at home where they were cared for and loved. It is always ideal that they get comfortable, and that is why there are in-home veterinary services.

Some affordable veterinarians can do this, and your dog can die humanely surrounded by loved ones because the method is safer and the place is ideal.


Other people hold the belief that sleeping pills are more convenient. However, sleeping pills take significantly more time than a professional procedure.

Dangers of Using Sleeping Pills

The benefits of using sleeping pills are misguided. The negatives outweigh any gains that this method is perceived to have. The following are some of the significant problems with the technique.

It is painful and cruel

The common misconception is that overdosing on sleeping pills goes smoothly, drifting into death while the dog sleeps, but it is very unpleasant. They take over half an hour to begin working because they are oral medication.

There is no actual way of determining the dosage because the pills’ design was not for this purpose. You would need to give the dog many drugs over a long period for it to work. No professionals can help with the dosage required, and they should not.

On the off chance you get the dose correct, there is a high likelihood that they will suffer for long as the pills take effect. That is not the right way to die if the intent is to show that they are loved and better with no suffering.

If the dose is not enough, the side effects are nearly as harmful. The injury they cause could be devastating because the pills will affect their organs, and their health will plummet.

Correct drugs are challenging to get

The drugs bought at the pharmacy are not potent enough to kill your dog. The drugs that might do it are not easy to find. Drugs are well regulated, and many of them that are strong enough to be fatal can be bought only with a valid prescription.

Anesthesia is useful in numbing the pain, and because it is rare, only medical professionals can acquire it. It is therefore only used in the official euthanasia process by vets.

It is Illegal

The method is illegal because of the grave concerns it raises. Only licensed professionals are required to euthanize animals. Veterinarians, animal service workers, and law enforcement are some of the people authorized.

In this manner, using sleeping pills could be termed as abuse, which carries a penalty that could include jail time. Besides that, there are fines for using this unsafe procedure, which violates animal rights.

Humane Alternatives 

Fortunately, other methods are humane, effective, and cost-effective that owners should use instead of sleeping pills. They include:

  • In-Office 

A visit to the veterinarian for the procedure is the best option by far. They are professionals and most likely already know the health history of the dog. They can use this information to determine whether it is time.

The best practice is to make an appointment ahead of time to allow you to spend time with them before the time comes. It is also good to get there on time so that the waiting room does not make your dog nervous.

It would help if you stayed to calm them and let them know you are there for them. They get more relaxed and will not spend their final moments worrying. It will be tough for you and the children if you have any, so make a point to go in there alone.

  • Injections

The veterinarian will give the dog two injections in succession. The first one is anesthesia to make them sleep and get more relaxed. This provides comfort and makes it easier for the doctor to inject the euthanasia.

Most veterinarians prefer using an intravenous catheter to reduce the number of times the dog gets poked with needles. It takes about fifteen seconds to be effective, and the process will be painless and smooth.

  • Afterward

The veterinarian can prepare the remains for either burial or cremations. Since most vets partner with crematoriums, they may suggest their services.

  • At-Home Euthanasia

Some veterinarians can come to your home for the procedure. The environment is comfortable for the dog, and you get to spend their last moments at home with them. The process is the same as the in-office visit.

They come early enough to spend time with the dog and give the dog a chance to be free around them. This option is relatively more expensive, but it is more preferred because it allows the dog and their owners to be with them for one last time.

  • Humane Society

Humane Society centers offer euthanasia services, and they can be a great option if you cannot afford euthanasia at the veterinarian clinic. They may also offer cheaper cremation services to make the process easier for you.

Natural Death

This is when the dog passes away without euthanasia. Some owners see this as a better option than euthanasia because this way, you do not choose to end your dog’s life. They are not at fault for believing so because the decision is hard.

However, waiting for death to take its course means that the dog’s suffering continues. The wounds that have not healed continue to hurt, and their condition could deteriorate even further. This could be worse for the dog.

Dogs hide their pain. It may be tough to know when they are in pain, so you should look out for any behavior changes. Their panting might increase, or their muscles keep twitching. They may also get more aggressive, disoriented and will bark a lot.

Knowing exactly how much pain your dog is feeling is near impossible with only the outward symptoms. Waiting for natural death could take almost an entire year, and they will suffer through all of it.

Regular visits to the vet help to know the health status of your dog. Choosing euthanasia is difficult, but it is more humane compared to natural death in some cases. In other cases, the dogs remain healthy till they are old, and there is no need for euthanasia then.

How to Euthanize a Dog With Benadryl


Euthanizing your dog using sleeping pills is wrong. It is inhumane and illegal because of how fuzzy the procedure is. Other options are low cost and remain humane. The three main possibilities are in-office visits, at-home euthanizing, and euthanizing at Humane Society.

Losing a pet is not easy and deciding to end their suffering is even more challenging. But in most instances, it is for the greater good. Natural death may seem appealing, but it may subject the dog to a lot of pain.

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