Euthanasia, sometimes called “mercy killing,” “putting a dog to sleep” or “putting a dog down,” is defined as the humane, deliberate ending of the life of an animal – usually one that is suffering from an incurable illness. While the process should be painless for the dog, it almost never is easy for its owners. The goals of euthanizing a pet are to eliminate its pain and suffering, minimize the anxiety, struggling, vocalization, agitation, distress, pain and/or fear that it may experience while dying, especially those associated with loss of consciousness and loss of the ability to breathe, and help it pass away with dignity. Many old or sick dogs can be kept quite comfortably for months or years with a little extra tender love and care and veterinary assistance. Still, when a pet no longer enjoys getting up in the morning, moving around or eating, life may not really be worth living. These are the difficult times that owners face. It can help to be prepared for them before they happen.