How to Euthanize my Dog With Over the Counter Drugs

How to euthanize my dog with over the counter drugs?

Deciding to put down your loyal pet can be devastating. You may need to euthanize a dog that has gone out of control and attacked someone. Also, if your dog has reached the end of its lifespan or is suffering from a terminal illness, putting it down will be the best option.

If you decide to euthanize your dog, doing it at home will be the most comforting option. A disclaimer before we begin: most of this information was gathered from online sources. The decision to euthanize your pet is deeply emotional, and seeking professional help ensures you bid farewell to your pet in the most compassionate way possible.

We also need to emphasize that we are not encouraging you to euthanize your dog at home by yourself. We are simply providing you with insight and information if you choose to do so.

It’s not easy dealing with a terminal illness or an aggressive pet. Ultimately, we’ll advise you to consult with a veterinarian. If you want to know how to euthanize your dog with over the counter drugs, you’re in the right place.

Why You Should Consider Euthanizing Your Pets at Home


Dog euthanasia is putting down an animal painlessly, often because it has gone out of control, due to old age, or a terminal illness. Euthanasia is usually a last resort for dog owners who have exhausted every other option. Some options for euthanasia are gassing, lethal injection, or injecting a barbiturate like sodium phenobarbital. A certified vet can do this for you, but if you can’t afford one, doing it at home will be your next choice.

Gentle dog euthanasia at home allows you to say goodbye as your dog goes to sleep peacefully in familiar surroundings with the family he loves. For pets who experience anxiety at the vet’s office, euthanizing them at home saves them that extra fear and anxiety. [1]

Some of the indicators for euthanasia are:

  • Ongoing severe pain that is unmanageable with medication – your dog is in distress and having difficulty breathing.
  • An acute injury with no treatment option.
  • Lack of appetite or constant hunger and thirst indicating how uncomfortable your dog is.
  • Bowel and bladder control with incontinence that points to organ failure.
  • Everyday mobility – making your dog’s quality of life poor.
  • Terminal disease – when all options have been exhausted.
  • Aggressiveness– when all attempts at rehabilitation have failed.

Over-the-counter medications for euthanizing your dog include

  1. Benadryl
  2. Tylenol PM
  3. Sleeping pills
  4. Antifreeze

How to Euthanize Your Dog with Tylenol PM

Acetaminophen is sold under the brand name Tylenol. Tylenol is a drug that is found in every household globally. It is a medication that alleviates pain and lowers fever. Tylenol relaxes the muscles of your dog and also slows down its breadth.

You can administer it via shots. Tylenol is a popular choice for euthanasia because it is lethal to dogs even in minute amounts. As little as a single pill can cause liver toxicity leading to death.

If you want to use Tylenol to put down your dog, consult a veterinarian to help you with the correct dosage. This drug will make your dog relax and slow down its breathing.

You’ll notice that your dog will begin to gasp for air at some point. You can hold your dog during their last few moments to make their passing peaceful. A single dose of Tylenol may take around 24- 48 hours to kill the pet.

How to Euthanize Your Dog with Benadryl

Benadryl is an antihistamine with sedative properties. Benadryl is an inexpensive over-the-counter antihistamine medication used as a sleeping pill or to treat allergies. The active component in Benadryl is diphenhydramine, which comes in tablets, capsules, or liquid. Benadryl can indeed be lethal to dogs when given at high doses.

Veterinarians can also use it to euthanize animals. You’ll also need to consult the veterinarian for the prescription and appropriate dosage.

It is estimated that Benadryl can be toxic to dogs at 24 to 30 mg per kilogram of body weight by IV administration. Note that the impact of oral diphenhydramine in dogs has not been studied and this estimate is based on studies on other animal species.

A word of caution: Using Benadryl and Benadryl-like medications is dangerous and unethical. The dosage of the drug requires careful consideration of the dog’s size, health condition, and intended effect. Overdosing your drug with any of these drugs will not achieve the intended effect and will instead lead to some health complications.

The lethal dose for diphenhydramine in dogs ranges between 24 to 30 mg per kilogram of body weight by IV administration. For a 40-pound dog, this would be about 430 to 540 mg, or 9-10 tablets (for tablets with 50mg diphenhydramine – note that some are 25mg only).

How to Euthanize Your Dog with Antifreeze

Antifreeze is available in tablet or liquid form. It is odorless, colorless, tasteless, and extremely toxic to animals. The main ingredient of most types of antifreeze is ethylene glycol, a type of alcohol. Ethylene glycol has a naturally sweet taste. Antifreeze can cause loss of bodily fluid, a change in body temperature, and heart failure.

The minimum lethal dose of ethylene glycol is 2-3 ml/lb. In other words, less than two fluid ounces can kill a 20-pound dog.

How to Euthanize Your Dog with Sleeping Pills

There are two types of sleeping pills in stores: barbiturates and benzodiazepines. Barbiturates have a more powerful effect but a brief duration of action. So, it will need to be administered in higher doses than benzodiazepines. On the other hand, benzodiazepines can be combined with opiates if the dog needs extra pain relief. Sleeping pills are one of the easiest and most comfortable ways of putting down your dog.

Is Euthanasia the Right Option?

Many veterinarians report that families often look back and regret waiting to authorize euthanasia for their pets as long as they did. Consider starting the discussion at the beginning of a pet’s decline instead of the end. This preserves good memories and lessens the potential of the animal suffering.

When you ask yourself did I put my dog down too early? You need assurance from your vet that you decided to prevent further suffering and that you objectively assessed your dog’s quality of life.

My suggestion to anyone considering getting a pet euthanized is to make a list of everything you can find that makes the animal happy (eating a treat, chasing a ball, etc.). Before euthanasia, return to the list: can the animal still chase a ball? Does the animal get excited about receiving a treat? Let your dog’s last memories be of its favorite things.

What to Do After Euthanizing My Dog?

After your dog has passed away, you can choose what to do with their body. The options include,

  • Cremation – this is usually communal cremation with other dogs, but you can have your dog cremated alone.
  • Burial – there are pet cemeteries where you can bury them, or you can bury them at home. Ensure to speak with your vet as there are some rules you will need to know about legal burial sites.

Is it Legal to Euthanize My Dog at Home?

Dog euthanasia at home is allowed in most US states, but regulation generally restricts who is allowed to perform the euthanasia. This ensures that the process is done in the most humane way possible for your dog. In most states, at-home euthanasia must be done by a veterinarian professional.

You can face animal cruelty charges if you use methods other than those described above. There are also regulations against killing a healthy animal; it is illegal to kill your pet for no reason. The methods for killing a sick dog must be done humanely and quickly, painlessly.

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Final Thoughts

Saying goodbye is always hard! But there are ways to make it easier on you and your beloved pet. Euthanasia is one way to ensure that your dog doesn’t suffer unnecessarily. Doing it at home gives you all the privacy and comfort you and your beloved pet need.

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