Humane Euthanasia Protocol in Dogs and Cats

Humane euthanasia is never easy, but something that unfortunately comes with our field of practice. Although it is hard, it is also a blessing that we are able to help end suffering. Every euthanasia is a reminder to me of how fragile life is, and not to take it for granted. ♥️ you all, be kind to yourself.

In this post, I walk you through my personal choice of protocol for humane euthanasia which has always gone extremely smoothly for me. It is one protocol, and there are others that are also commonly used. What is your preferred protocol? Humane Euthanasia Protocol in Dogs and Cats Note that there are a few different protocols. Included here is one protocol.


Introduce yourself to the owner and the patient if you have not previously met. Examine the patient - every situation is different and sometimes only a brief exam is needed. Explain how the process will work and have the owner complete all required paperwork and financial transactions. Let them know that they can take as much time as they need throughout the entire process and let you know how much time they need.


  1. Place an IV catheter
  2. Return the patient to the exam room with the owner (sometimes the IV catheter is placed in the exam room).
  3. When the owner is ready:
  • a) Flush IV catheter to ensure patency.
  • b) Propofol 10 mg/mL, 8 mg/kg in dogs, and 13 mg/kg in cats IV (note that these are the higher ends of the dose ranges, which are what I personally use, I also generally will round up and may add a little more based on each individual case).
  • c) Euthanasia agent with pentobarbital 390 mg/mL, 1 mL per 4.5 kg (10 lb) of body weight IV (I personally will round up and may add a little more based on each individual case).
  • d) Flush IV catheter.
  • e) Examine the patient to ensure that he/she has passed.

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