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Updated: 4/17/2007 12:07 pm Published: 4/17/2007 12:07 pm

Euthanasia is a method of humane killing sometimes used when animals have a terminal illness or severe injury and are not expected to recover, especially if the pet is in pain or its quality of life is seriously compromised. The procedure is also known as having an animal put to sleep.” In rare cases, euthanasia may be necessary if an animal is vicious and dangerous, despite the efforts of the owners and professionals to modify its behavior. The decision to euthanize a pet can be extremely difficult. For this reason, it's important to choose a veterinarian you trust and who shows understanding and compassion. If you have young children, it's best to include them in the decision. Having a pet put down without telling children the truth can make the animal's death even harder for them. The euthanasia procedure itself is almost always carried out by injecting a painless, death-inducing drug. Before the fatal injection, many veterinarians will give the animal a tranquilizer. During this time, you may wish to hold your pet until the doctor is ready to proceed. After your pet is gone, it's natural to experience grief and loss. There are many books, organizations, and support groups dedicated to consoling those who've lost a pet. Don't hesitate to seek help if you need it.

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