Letter Re: Advice on Disaster Pet Euthanasia

Mr. Rawles,
I am constantly impressed by the wealth of information that I am able to find on your web site and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and all involved for the work you do on this.  I was also wondering if you, or your readers, might be able to help me out with a certain, unsavory aspect of my preps.  

Currently, our family is overseas in a country where we are required to maintain an evacuation plan and needed supplies at all time.  I am wholly on-board with this and have done this, even when not required, no matter where in the world we have found ourselves.  This time, however, we seem to have hit a potential snag in our evacuation plan in regards to one member of the family – the dog.  We brought the dog along with us (as we have done to several other countries) and were fully aware that, in an evacuation scenario we would be legally required to bring her with us to the evacuation point.  We have no issue with this and are fully prepared should the need arise.  However, we have now been told (contrary to the information received when deciding whether to bring the dog) that the dog’s presence will potentially delay my children being evacuated as quickly as possible.  This, I have a huge issue with.  I have owned this dog since long before I met my husband or had our children, but I am still fully aware that it is only an animal, and my children’s safety most definitely comes first.  

Should it ever come down to my dog or my children, the dog needs to be removed from the equation, no matter how well-loved she is.  Our concern now is how to best prepare for the potential need to euthanize the dog.  Unfortunately, I have been unable to find reliable information on this subject on the internet, as the vast majority of voices on this subject spout that only a licensed vet should be allowed to handle euthanasia.  In an perfect world, that would be where I would take her, but in a chaotic, SHTF situation I will need something a bit more hands-on.  If we were stateside, we would have the ability to simply choose the proper caliber, but due to our current location, firearms are not an available solution.  

Ideally, I am looking for the quickest, most humane way to put down a dog when firearms are unavailable and without the use of drowning or baseball bats (two of the more cruel solutions presented online that I could never bring myself to use on the family pet).  She is roughly 35-40 lbs and I am no bodybuilder, so I’m assuming that attempting something bare-handed, such as snapping her neck, would be not only ineffective, but cruelly inhumane as well.  Are there human medications that could be used to put the dog to sleep?  If a knife is necessary, what type is most effective and what would be the most humane cut to make?  I have never had to dispatch an animal before so please excuse the ignorance in these questions.
Sincerely, – J.M.

JWR Replies: Readers are advised to research their state and local laws. As J.M. mentioned, it is not legal for individuals to euthanize their pets in some sissified Nanny States. The proverbial “long walk in the woods” is never pleasant for those who must pull the trigger, but a .22 to the brain is quick and painless. SurvivalBlog reader Steve N. recommends shooting squarely down into the brain at a point made at the cross of imaginary lines drawn from each eye to the opposite ear opening. The shot should be angled in such a way as to have the shot travel in a straight line to where the spinal cord would meet the brain. (Aim very carefully, make sure that you have a safe backstop and be advised that in most jurisdictions, shooting is not allowed inside city limits.) If silence is a must, then repeated hammer blows to the back of the skull work well, and generally this isn’t messy. For those who are soft-hearted about their pets, I recommend asking a neighbor to do the deed. And unless you are extremely soft-hearted, you should offer to return the favor, at a later date. (This way you aren’t euthanizing your own pet.)