Many dogs are given Benadryl for seasonal allergies, itching, watering eyes and allergic reactions to stings and bites of insects. Can it be used as a way to put your dog into his final sleep? Why would you want to? We’ll discuss some of the reasons for assisting your pet to the other side using an over-the-counter antihistamine.
Why Would You Euthanize at Home?
For some pet owners, it is a matter of privacy at what they consider a very personal and tragic time. Many humans take the loss of their pet worse than a relative. We mourn our pets, sometimes for a very long time.
When a dog has been with you for a long time – ten, twelve, or as long as sixteen years, it is very difficult to let go of them. It’s almost inconceivable to think about living life without them wagging their tail at our side, but alas they don’t live nearly as long as we do and so we must let them go.
For some, choosing euthanasia at home is simply a matter of preference. They may even pay a veterinarian an exorbitant fee to come and do the deed for them, as they gather around and offer support and kisses to their dog.
For other families it may simply be that they cannot afford the services of a veterinarian at the time their dog is in crisis, either in pain or simply losing his grip on this world rapidly. They don’t want their pet to suffer and for death to be prolonged in relief.
By opting for an overdose of an over-the-counter medication, these people also have options and while some people may be judgmental, opting to put them out of their misery when you have little other choices, is a moral decision. It is always the right thing, to help them out of pain.
It can cost as much as $400 to have veterinarian euthanize a dog and if you simply don’t have that money, then you may choose this option. While it isn’t highly recommended, because you aren’t a professional, it does give you an alternative to watching your dog fade away in pain. Besides you can also Euthanize a Cat at Home.
Using Benadryl to Euthanize Your Dog
Benadryl is an antihistamine that can be given two to three times per day, at a dosage of 1mg per pound of body weight. Giving three times the normal amount will make it a euthanizing agent.
You can also use Tylenol or insulin to overdose them and cause them to fall into a coma that they will not wake from. This is essentially what will happen with the Benadryl as well.
This option allows you to choose when to let them go and how to do it, on your own terms. For many people, this is the only financial option that they have and it gives them and their dog a little bit of dignity at the end of a life.
You can choose to make it a very quiet and private moment or you can choose to make it a very ritualistic event, like a wake, that celebrates their life. You might light candles, say prayers, adorn them with flowers, favorite toys, etc. It’s your call.
How Do You Decide When?
This is often the most asked question of veterinarians. When do you decide it is time to let them go? The best answer is that when they no longer can enjoy life, it’s time.
They will stop eating. At this point they are going to continue getting weaker and they will die a long and drawn-out death from that point. It may take days or weeks.
When you see them showing no zest for life anymore, with no interest in food, water, walking, or their favorite toys, it’s time. You will also need to give yourself time to adjust to the idea.
It’s often recommended that you give yourself a deadline, something like a week. You say that if they aren’t doing better by this day, then we’re going to let them go. In that week or however long you’ve chosen, spoil them rotten. Take them places and create final memories, if they are able to still go out of the house.
If they’ve gotten to a point that they are too weak to walk or move, then it is already time to let them go. Seek advice from your veterinarian and if he or she concurs, then you may go home and make the decision to end his life at home.
Remember that You Aren’t a Professional
Ending your dog’s life at home, by yourself, isn’t the most ideal decision. If you choose to do it, make sure that you use more than the recommended fatal dose to ensure you make no mistakes.
Have all of your preparations in place. Remember that an animal who is dying will lose bladder and bowel control, so bear in mind where you place them. If you are going to send them off with candlelight vigil, make sure that you’ve gathered all the things necessary so that you make no mistakes and are in control of the situation.
Be mindful of who you tell. Not all people will agree with your way of doing things. It may not be considered legal where you live as well. It’s no one else’s business and you may bury your pet quietly if you so choose to do.
Be prepared for an onslaught of emotion. The moment that you give them the fatal dose, you’ll second guess yourself and you’ll begin to feel awful. This is normal. You don’t put animals down for a living and you likely never thought you’d be ending your best friend’s life at some point.
Just remind yourself that you are humanely helping him to die with dignity. It will still be traumatic for you to some extent. Everyone is different in how they handle it though. Some people are very relieved and not sad.
Loving Them Enough to Let Go
When we pick a puppy out of a litter, or spot that little dog available at the shelter, we aren’t giving a single thought to the day we’ll have to let them go. Inevitably that day does come though.
Dogs are personable and want to please us by giving emotional support. They follow us around, get into things, lick our faces when we are sad, and sometimes can be a royal pain in the rear end, but we love them. We grow to depend on them emotionally.
Letting them go is perhaps the most difficult part of owning a dog. The puppy years, when they chewed a $300 library book, seem hard; but the day you say a final goodbye is truly the hardest.
The decision is a difficult one. It’s gut-wrenching and heartbreaking to come to the realization that your best furry friend is coming to the end of his life.
They don’t live long enough, that’s the worst thing about dogs. Love them fiercely. The day you bring them home for the first time, you already love them. When their time to leave you has come, love them enough to let them go.
Do it in whatever way is best for you, that you can afford. He will be relieved of his pain and you will grieve, but if you are like most dog owners, there will be another one in your future.
Dawn Greer is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.