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lillycoyote's avatar

What is the best, the most humane way, to euthanize a bird, mouse or baby bunny, e.g., that has been critically injured, beyond hope, by your dog or cat?

Asked by lillycoyote (24637 points ) December 9th, 2012

How do you do it, if you do?

I thought I was done with this heartbreak when I got dog, after a lifetime of cats, but my dog got hold of field mouse last night… the first time in the almost two years I have had her that she has done anything like that.

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25 Answers

Unbroken's avatar

As quick as possible is my method. Usually breaking their neck.

lillycoyote's avatar

Thanks @rosehips. I always ask my questions so late at night and now I’m too tired to respond but I want to talk to you more about this.

Coloma's avatar

You can use C02 gas, aerosol, in a small box or bag or, attach a small box or bag to the exhaust pipe of your car and use carbon monoxide, which is quite quick as is the C02.
You can also wrap the animal in a cloth and put it in the freezer where it will experience hypothermia, but this may take an hour or so.
Poor little thing. :-(

Unbroken's avatar

@lillycoyote sure any time.

rooeytoo's avatar

Carbon monoxide is the easiest on you and the critter. The dingo’s last victim was an old cat that made the mistake of coming into our yard. The dingo wears and electric collar so she can’t get out of her yard but whatever comes in is fair game to her. Anyhow by the time I got to her the cat was beyond hope but not quite dead. I dragged the dingo into the house and finished the cat by whacking it with a shovel. Not a pleasant task.

lillycoyote's avatar

O.K. Thank you all, so much, for your answers.

I was kind of afraid to ask this question. It’s been a long time, 8 years or so maybe, since I had to do this, since my Bugsy, my cat, who was quite an avid hunter in his youth. He died at 18, 7 years ago and he had gotten old, old enough, couple of years before that to have lost his taste for hunting, and my Casper, who was never much of hunter to begin with, most of the time he settled for Bugsy’s slopppy seconds, died about 4 years ago… so it’s been long time…
As I mentioned, I thought I was done with this heartbreak but last night, when I had to kill the mouse, I started to question my normal method, which is to put the little creature in a plastic bag, I use Baggie brand bags, because I always have them around the house. I have Ziplocs too, but in terms of food storage, there are circumstances where I much prefer Baggies to Ziplocs… so anyway…

My standard procedure is to put the poor, sweet little creature in a Baggie and try to get as much air out of it as I can without causing the animal further pain and discomfort, and then tie it off, either by tying a knot in the Baggie or using a twist tie.

Is that horrible? To do that? CO kills by displacing the oxogyn in the brain with CO. In the time it would take me to generate CO, though if it is available in a can… I will have to look into that… the poor little thing could be dead. I know I have to kill the little creature, even if I don’t like it and don’t want to do it, but I don’t want to add to it’s suffering.

So is killing the animal by suffocating it the wrong way to go? That’s how I have always done it.

I would break it’s neck, clean and fast, as @rosehips suggested if it weren’t for the fact that I am so ham fisted, and more likely, simply not made of the stuff that would allow me to simply snap the little creature’s neck, even if it were the best and most humane way to deal with it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I am sorry you are going through this. Your heart is in the right place.
This is why some people keep grandpa’s old .22 Marlin 39A in the house. It is quick.

lillycoyote's avatar

@LuckyGuy While I most certainly appreciate your understanding and compassion towards me in my current situation, really, I do… I’m just thinking that blowing away a single, pretty much already field mouse, with a 22 Marlin 39A, is both a whole lot of overkill and serious a waste of ammunition, if nothing else.

wildpotato's avatar

I would not kill by suffocating. I helped out in my mom’s mouse lab when I was a kid and we always killed the mice by putting them in a clear sided box and then either taking the air out or putting in CO2, I can’t remember which. They seemed, to me, to realize something was terribly wrong and tried to scrabble at the walls to escape. So I think this method probably causes the animal some fear, though not prolonged suffering.

Here is a site on mouse euthanasia. It’s hard to tell what the best option is. Good luck!

Unbroken's avatar

It’s not that I’m cruel. And luckily my cat brings them to me dead or not at all these days. I have just found it to be the quickest most effective death which I hope equates to the least traumatic painless death possible.
And yes it is incredibly hard. I will have to check out @wildpotato‘s link just in case.

gailcalled's avatar

As distasteful as it is, I drop the occasional mouse who is not already dead into my creek.

Coloma's avatar

Aaaagh….I can’t take it! These stories are not a happy way to start the day.
I had this awful experience a few years ago where a car ran over a big gopher snake and it was still alive but crushed in the middle. I picked it up and tossed it off the road into the weeds but…..it got hung up on a barbwire fence and was writhing around! 0-o
Sooo…I hiked down the hill and banged it’s head in with a rock. It was just awful!

ccrow's avatar

I’ve had to dispatch the occasional chipmunk, as my old Australian shepherd girl used to catch them often, but kill them slightly less often. I’ve always just bashed the poor thing with the shovel as it seems the quickest thing I can do.

gondwanalon's avatar

Carbon dioxide (dry ice) will quickly kill a small bird or mammal. Simply put a few small chunks of dry ice into a large jar, close the lid and let it charge up (about 15 minutes) with CO2 gas. Then open the lid and place the bird into the jar and close the lid. The bird will pass out in just a couple of seconds after a little struggle and dead in a few more seconds.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^You have dry ice lying around? It is not a common household item here.

lillycoyote's avatar

Thank all for your answers, on a difficult subject. Hopefully, the occasions where I need this information will be few and far between.

But, just to lighten things up for you all, particularly for @Coloma, here is a clip from one one my favorite episodes Everybody Loves Raymond that’s pretty on point.

Sometimes you do what has to be done.

”.. like when a rodent gets into the root cellar, you don’t want to bang it with a shovel… but you do”

From the ELR episode The Bird

Sometimes you do what has to be done.

”.. like when a rodent gets into the root cellar, you don’t want to bang it with a shovel… but you do”

To 3:32 is about as far as you have to go, if you watch the clip at all. It’s one of my favorite scenes from the show. I think it’s pretty funny, at least.

Symbeline's avatar

I’ve never done it, but I suppose if the situation came up, I’d snap the neck, as said by others. Seems quick and efficient, and then the animal would die quickly and no longer suffer.
Before I attempt something like that though, I’d hope I would be able to do it. Not just the heart, but the method. Snapping a neck might seem simple, but maybe isn’t SO simple. If you mess up and hurt the animal even more, that would suck even more. :(
Of course there’s no way to train for this, and anybody who has the job to put animals to sleep probably has access to tools and things not available to us. But that’s what I would do, or try to. Can’t think of anything that would be quicker, except maybe a firearm I guess.

My dad told me that in his day, he had to kill a dying cat, and what he did was choke it with his hands. But it was a big adult cat, strong enough to withstand this for minutes, even if it was sick. But maybe something smaller or more than seriously injured wouldn’t last that long.

gondwanalon's avatar

@gailcalled I don’t have dry ice just laying around but I can get it easy enough. just google dry ice for your town. It is sold by many places to support parties and transport of goods. There are two such venders in my town of Tacoma and I saw several in Seattle 50 miles away.
Good luck!

rooeytoo's avatar

@gondwanalon – just out of curiosity, is it expensive? We bought enough to cover the bottom of a medium sized esky (cooler) and it was $70. I know Australia is ridiculously expensive in a lot of things, but that seemed totally outrageous.

gondwanalon's avatar

@rooeytoo You are right about being over charged for dry ice (by U.S. standards). I can buy dry ice here for about $1 (U.S. dollar) per pound. It comes in several forms (medium pellet, small pellet, powder and several different size and shape blocks.

rooeytoo's avatar

@gondwanalon – I thought it was expensive, but that is a GIGANTIC difference. It was the only place in town that sold it so I guess that gives them a license to steal.

gailcalled's avatar

No sources within 50 miles of my neighborhood.

gondwanalon's avatar

@gailcalled That’s no problem. You can contact a dry ice manufacturing company out of your State or Country and I sure that they will be happy to ship you some dry ice overnight FedEx.

gailcalled's avatar

@gonwanalon; So that would be a $1/lb plus Fed. Ex? It seems like a complicated solution compared to my $4.95 Havahart and the five mile drive, which I do anyway almost every day.

Plus, we have been four days without a mouse. I may be speaking too soon, but will keep you apprised.

Thanks for the advice, however. What country are you living in?

gondwanalon's avatar

There are many ways to humanly euthanize a small critically injured animal. For me the dry ice method would work best. Especially since I receive reagents and controls at work on dry ice nearly every day. I try to recycle the dry ice with our specimen couriers but most of the time they have plenty and so I just dump the dry ice into the sink and run warm water over it. I would use the dry ice method on a rat or tiny bird but no way would I consider doing on a cat or small dog. I would take it to a veterinarian.

I live in the U.S.A.

FYI: My wife told me that the supermarket less than 2 miles from our house sells dry ice by the sheet. She didn’t know the price, but I’m pretty sure that it isn’t too much.

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