Is it a pet owner’s responsibity to be there when their pet is being “put down”?

My dog was put down today after a long battle with cancer in her leg. (As you can see by pic below, the bump was about grapefruit size.) Right before the injections took place, the vet asked if I wanted to be present and/or pet and calm my dog as it would go down.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Is a pet owner obligated to stay with their pet for their final moments?
My dog at the vet
My dog at the vet
  • No, a good pet owner is not obligated to stay
    Vote A
  • Yes, a good pet owner is obligated to stay
    Vote B
Select age and gender to cast your vote:
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146

Most Helpful Guys

  • I will not vote, I'm sorry, because the "OBLIGATORY" word implied. It should never be obligatory to stay or not in that moment... NEVAR!!! But... I think the best that you could do is to be there. Your pet is scared when you left it alone, when you're gone and a stranger starts to sting it with a needle and all around is getting dark. I think that you should be there for 2 reasons: 1) You will pacify your pet in a very confusing moment and, maybe, you face would be the last and delightful thing that your buddy will see, your voice its last sound heared, and it would pass away in peace. 2) Seeing it at that last moment will endure you a lot and help you to processing the duel better. You will accept it sooner than waiting for its body, seated on the waiting room. It is crude, even cruel, but it would help you to face your lost. Sorry about your doggy, she was beautiful.

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  • No especially not dogs, dogs are pack animals so when they dieing they will leave the pack and hide to prevent predators from find them you being there is causing him undue stress

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    • Interesting take. Would you argue for the reverse then-- that owners should not be there by their pet for the final moments? (or at least for dogs)

    • Yes its hard on them and harder on you and has no advantage

Most Helpful Girls

  • Aw im sorry your dog had to be put down. A lot of owners dont want to be present at the last moment because of emotional hurt, but i feel like its an obligation for the owner to be there to comfort the animal in its final moments <3 . I had a dog that was put to sleep when i was 15, he lost feeling from the neck-down he could only move his head, everything else stayed limp. Me and my parents were with him when he was gonna be put to sleep. He passed away as i was giving him a final hug. It hurt like a stake to the heart watching him take his final breath but it felt good at the same time being there instead of him passing away wondering where im at.

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  • Yes, I've been there when they were born, all the times in between. Then there is that day that finally comes, a time to say goodbye and bawl my eyes out! It hurts. What I find helped the most is remembering the happy times, the happiness that we brought into both of your lives, just knowing them loving them and being unconditionally loved back. Just makes their life so worth it!

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    • Thank You!! I'm so sorry hearing you lost your Fur Baby, just like with our human family when we lose one, can't replace their unique spirit the love they give back is far more than we as their "owner" (hate that term for a pup.); their human ever give them! I love coming home to our English Bulldog pup Murphy, he just wiggles and dances around and wiggle some more until he gets just one pet and a scratch behind the ears! I'd probably laugh myself silly, seeing my husband do that 'til I gave him a little affection! LoL! Yet it's that show of unconditional love our pup shows that has given him a piece loaf my heart that I'll never get back; I'm perfectly happy with that! When we choose to love, we also choose what's best for them, sometimes it's soo hard. Even the hardest of times with the pups that I've had in my life, their lifetime of love has always been what I remembered and what got me through their loss. You have to dwell on the good times, not how they were in or before their death. Also know that helping them out of their pain is one of the most extreme acts of love, it sacrifices our own wants for their needs, that's doing the right thing.

    • Piece loaf my heart should read; "a piece of my heart".
      Autocorrect again.

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What Girls & Guys Said

124
  • I think you should do what is in the best interest of the pet but I'm not sure what that is. If the pet knows it is being put down - having its owner next to him might make him feel betrayed - that the person who loves and trusts so much is allowing this to happen to him. But it might also give him comfort knowing somebody he loves is next to him. I'm sorry for your loss! your pet looks very sweet.

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  • what my vet has done was put the pet on medication to make them peacefully sleep before being put down, so you as an owner could step out and not have to watch their heart beat disappear. leaving when the animal is aware though is sad

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  • Hell of a small grapefruit. MAYBE an orange!
    When Murphy was put to sleep, I stayed right there and held her paw until it was over.

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  • I'm sorry for your loss. That's a tough question, I do feel it's the owner's responsibility but at the same time, it's not the right option for everyone. I have a feeling that I'm going to making the same call.

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  • it's like putting your family member down. the dog loves you so much I'm sure in his heart he would want the owner there with him and every step of the way

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  • I think we owe it to them to be there for it, as painful as it is. We shouldn't desert them in their last moments.

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  • They may not be here for your whole life, but to them you are their whole life. Yes, owners should stay. If I we’re dying, I’d want my family with me.

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  • I can't comprehend why anyone would not be right there by their side? It will be challenging but I'd think you have more guilt not being there for the last time with them 😥

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  • I think they should be, I stayed with my dog when she was put down even though it hurt like hell to watch, I just wanted to be the last thing she saw before she went

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  • Yes and it’s by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done

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  • I am sorry to hear this . I dread the day when this happens

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  • I’m sorry for your loss, did you stay?

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    • Yeah it was pretty sad, but I stayed to pet her and such

    • That’s nice. I think it’s always best for a pet owner to do that, it gives some comfort to the animal.
      May she Rest In Peace

  • I'm so sorry about your dog...

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  • Awww I'm so sorry about your dog, bud. ❤

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  • Yes. It’s what you would do for a family member and your pet is a part of your family ❤️
    (This question reminded me of this post I had seen on fb ) vvv

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  • Putting down a pet is the hardest thing. I think staying is more then okay. I would do the same. Mine ended up passing right before they were going to give the injection but I would have stayed. Sorry for your loss.

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