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My parents have two dogs, both are quite old and ill. Chances are high that sooner or later the decision to put one of them to sleep has to be made.

We want to make it as easy as possible for the other dog, so that it understands what we are doing. However we worry that the dog will develop a fear towards the vet - or worse, us - if we let him join the procedure.

While we could drive to the vets clinic, the vet already has agreed to come to our home if necessary. While we prefer the later, we still don't know at which point we should let the other dog join (after or during the euthanasia).

How can we make this procedure as easy as possible?

  • Baarn how did it end up happening? and how is his old companion? – user6796 Nov 6 '13 at 2:22
  • @Skippy-psI'mawoman see the chat transcript here. I think I'll write up an answer as soon as I see how she reacts to the vet next time. – Baarn Nov 6 '13 at 22:22
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We had two rescue kittens, a brother and sister. The sister went missing (she fell off the balcony and later died). Her brother would go onto the balcony day after day meowing for her. It was really sad.

If the dog attends while the vet does the procedure, it cannot process this situation. It is a human being coming in and doing something to the dog and the dog dying. There is nothing to be gained from it, from this aspect. You don't want your dog to have a bad association with the vet. Even if the dog was to attend after the procedure, there would be the smell of the vet and chemicals, and it wouldn't be a good association.

So how to reconcile the dogs need for loss, without causing a bad association with human beings?

I would suggest having the dog taken from the house and it done at the Vet's practice. The dog will grieve (as our cat did), but will eventually accept that the other dog is not returning.

I would suggest then giving the surviving dog more attention and affection in the proceeding months.

This is my advice, and I don't believe there is a definitively best way to proceed with this.

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    I wonder if a dog might benefit from some sort of closure in this situation, seeing the body and accepting the loss, rather than the other dog just disappearing one day and never coming back. Imagine losing a friend and seeing the body, or that friend just suddenly disappearing forever. I don't think I know the answer to that choice myself. – J.Todd Nov 4 '14 at 20:08

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