Recommended Caliber For Euthanizing Farm Animals or Pets

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by twofewscrews, Nov 27, 2021.

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  1. twofewscrews

    twofewscrews Member

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    I'm probably going to have to euthanize my little buddy, Onyx, because hes a biter. It breaks my heart, but my gf and I gave it all we had and he can't be reformed. Crates/cages make him go nuts so shelters and the like are out of the question, and at this point he has bitten enough people (6 people, 10+ bites) that euthanizing him is the only responsible thing to do. My gf and I were considering shooting him as opposed to having a vet or stranger euthanize him, but we decided to do it in the more humane manner.

    That being said I was left wondering what caliber is recommended for euthanizing farm animals and pets. I've been told that cows are euthanized with .22lr but that is from up close. I've been told horses are often shot when they injure themselves too badly too recover but no mention of caliber involved. I've been told people have euthanized their dogs using a .22lr and been fine, and people using a .22lr and having to fire 2+ rounds instead of 1. Some people claim the bigger the better, like one person who said they used a 30-30 on their dog, and some say a .22lr will suffice.

    So to those who own farm animals and pets, and have experience euthanizing their animals by way of a gun, what caliber do you recommend?

    Is the caliber weight/skull dependent? For example cows have thick skulls so a .22lr must be up close, but a 30-30 will do the job as long as your not at the end of its range. Cats have extremely thin skulls and anything above a .22lr will make a very big mess and prevent you from having a an open casket ceremony for the little one (think kids and a family pet).

    Is the caliber dependent on what you plan to do with the remains? For example, a family pet might get an open casket ceremony and this disintegrating its head would not be ok, where as obliterating the head of a donkey is acceptable because it will not receive the same good bye.

    What do you consider more humane, a bullet or a needle?
     
  2. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Both can be equally Humane as long as they're done right. In many areas, putting down your own dog is illegal, but in the instance of being hit with a car, I'm gonna put them down right there as opposed to trying to get them to a vet. Some dogs/cats are highly traumatized by going to the vet, so a quick shot to the head is a better option. A .22 is all you need for this. We put down a heck of a lot of cattle with a .22 when I was a kid. 30-30 was reserved for those steers that wouldn't let you get close. Both worked well if you did your part.
     
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  3. scaatylobo

    scaatylobo Member

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    A while back I was asked to put down a large race horse .

    The owners were close friends and they could not get the Vet in less than a few days.

    The horse was down [ if you know what that means ] and the shoulder was broken.

    I asked my Vet friend how to find the brain,he said to make a cross from left eye to right ear,then across the same on the other side.

    Where they crossed was the brain.

    I used a S&W .44 magnum with full house load [ yes it was not needed ] and I only fired one round from less than 6" .

    The horse went down and barely a quiver was left.

    I have also put down,cats,mules,pigs,possum,coons.

    The only one I fired more than one round at was the pig,she was HUGE and I thought she might charge me.

    She did not and I really did not need to fire the other 5 rounds.

    Too much a pet lover to have tried to do my own pets [ dogs or cats ] .

    But if required to,I will suck it up and do my duty.

    Good luck.
     
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  4. Fyrstyk

    Fyrstyk Member

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    I trapped for many years, and a .22 LR was all I used to put down trapped coyotes & fox.
     
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  5. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    Veterinarian here; 24 years private practice, 12 years in USDA/FSIS working in packing plants. Those establishments that use .22s are stunning the animal with a head shot, just rendering the animal unconscious. Federal regulations require death by hemorrhage, using a knife to cut major blood vessels in the neck or chest. Part of the USDA Veterinarian’s job is to ensure humane slaughter techniques. We observe the process to make sure the cut is made quickly enough after stunning to prevent the animal from regaining consciousness. If we see signs that the animal is regaining consciousness before the “stick” (knife cut) is made, we issue a non-compliance citation to the company.

    A .22 LR, if properly placed, will certainly kill dogs and cats effectively. The problem is getting the shot placed precisely and safely while restraining the pet. Many veterinarians will tranquilize the pet to ensure the euthanasia injection is not traumatic to either the pet or family members who may want to be present in the final moments.
     
  6. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    A needle.
    Pretty sure thats the choice of veterinarians as well.;)

    No way am I shooting my dog with my gun.
     
  7. TomJ
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    TomJ Contributing Member

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    OP, I'm sorry about you having to do this. If I could, I'd like to suggest another option. I had to put my dog down about a year and a half ago. She was 18 and was starting to suffer. We found vets that come to your home to euthanize them. We brought Bella into the back yard and fed her. While she was eating the vet gave her a shot to put her to sleep. Once she was sleeping the vet gave her a second shot to euthanize her. Bella was completely relaxed being in our back yard and it was the best way for her to go.

    To answer your question in regards to calibers, if that's what you'll do, one of my son's friends owns a farm and they've put dogs down themselves. They give them food to distract them and while they're eating they use a 9mm pistol to put them down.
     
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  8. KY DAN

    KY DAN Member

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    I be honest with you the old yellow treatment may not be the best for your psychological well being.

    I don't hunt anymore because I can't justify hurting animals, I am not opposed to the idea of hunting just not me doing it.
     
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  9. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    22 Mag from a rifle is effective for headshots on small varmints.
    I've taken dogs to the vet to be put down because they were old, it was their time; I'm glad I did not have to shoot them.
    I would not want my last image of a pet to be eye bulged out, blood running out its mouth, legs kicking.
     
  10. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    I had to put down 2 of our dogs over the past 2 years. It's hard yes. But sometimes it has to be done. One was a Pit bull/boxer mix. The other a golden retriever. 22 hollow point between the eyes 2 inches above them in the skull. It was almost instant. We raise rats to feed our snakes. Sometimes one has to be put down because of tumors. pellet works on them.
     
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I have had friends put down dogs because of age or incurable disorder and the hot shot by the vet was their choice, except my FLG who shot his own dog with a .22 revolver. .
     
  12. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    Any caliber will do the job. Barrel 1" from animal, behind ear, pointing toward opposite side eye.

    Getting ready to butcher a 410# hog. Put out feed bucket. Hog started to eat. Put revolver behind ear. Hog dropped and never quivered.

    Done same thing with 1400# bull, except bull had broke ankle in a gopher hole and was MEAN! Waited for bull to try and charge. Side stepped and stuck .357 behind his ear. Dropped share he stood.

    Neither bullet exited. Neither critter knew what hit them. instant lights out.

    Doing a pet is harder, but it is quick, when necessary. Daughter has a dog that was a biter.
    She asked me to take care of it. S-i-L couldn't handle it. Hog and bull were easier, but it had to be done.
     
  13. Coyote3855
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    Coyote3855 Contributing Member

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    Not really any of my business, but were it my dog it would have been long gone before it bit six people.

    And on topic, my pets at the end of life go to the vet. We have a good one. I could not shoot a loved animal except in the extreme situation another poster has described (injury too severe to be treated and too far from a vet).

    If you go that way, a .22LR is plenty.
     
  14. dh1633pm
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    dh1633pm Contributing Member

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    I am not sure that what you want to do is legal in NY.
     
  15. daniel craig

    daniel craig Member

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    I can’t imagine having to euthanize my pet myself. Well, I can, and it sucks.

    There are many traveling/doorbell vets that will come right to tour place for for such things. That’s what I’d recommend. They do it enough that it’s a science and humane.
     
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  16. Hugger-4641

    Hugger-4641 Member

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    I've had to do this unpleasant task on many occasions, some were pets and some were strays. Where I live unwanted pets get dropped off and become a nuisance and a danger. Local shelter is always full and won't take the ones you can catch. I've actually taken in a few as pets including the pit mix I have now.
    We have a county dog catcher in theory, but calling him is like trying to get the pope on the phone, and then him actually showing up and resolving an issue is next to a miracle.
    If you are up close, a 9mm or .357 pistol through the ear is quick and sure. I've used 22lr, but its not always an instant and convulsion free death.
    If I have to shoot one at any distance, .223 to the head is usually instant.
     
  17. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Needle

    I've had to do this and there is no question that the needle is more humane. People screw up killing their pets far too often.

    Also, you don't kill pets or livestock from a distance. Pests and varmints, sure.
     
  18. Hugger-4641

    Hugger-4641 Member

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    Pets, I mostly agree, but for livestock, that's about as out of touch an opinion as they come. I'd like to see how close you could get to some of the hogs, bulls, and goats I've slaughtered or helped with.:cool:
     
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  19. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    When my sister worked for the Humane Society she used the nitrogen chamber for animals that she couldn't help.
    They just go to sleep.
    For butchering sheep, goats, cattle and pigs, we have usually used an Iver Johnson .38 S&W revolver.
    That was what we had.
    It worked.
     
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  20. crstrode

    crstrode Member

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    Don't do it.
    There are many Vets that will come to your home to humanely euthanize your pet.
     
  21. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    dogtown tom said that he is not going to shoot his own pet.

    Same here.
     
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  22. Waveski

    Waveski Member

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    If the goal is to minimize trauma, I would think that forcing a pet into a chamber would be quite unpleasant. I understand that it is a necessary procedure in the case of Humane Society operations, but it would not be my choice for putting down a family pet.
     
  23. twofewscrews

    twofewscrews Member

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    Thank you for all the kind replies. I was a bit of a mess when I wrote posted this this morning. From the comments I now realize I implied I was going to use a firearm to take little buddy out of this world. We decided on chemical euthanization with a local vet who assured us he would not be kept in a crate and then restrained before killed.

    I was, and still am, very curious as to peoples caliber preferences for doing so, and for doing so to larger animals. I don't assume this practice is widely done anymore, but I also assumed that if I wanted to find ethical answers from those who had or still do I could probably find them here.

    So far 6 people said a .22lr will do the trick, but 9mm, .357, .38, 30-30, 22mag and .223 were mentioned.

    The round has to be semi proportional to the size of the animal, I mean you wouldn't shoot at an tiger with a .22lr or a squirrel with a .50, so excluding caliber to animal proportions,
    is it proper shot placement (brain shot) rather then caliber that is the key to an ethical kill here?
    If I shoot a smallish creature, say a dog under 50 pounds or a cat, with a 12 gauge slug instead of a .22lr, does shot placement matter less?
    Is it more ethical to try for a proper brain shot or just blow the thing to bits?

    Sorry a little morbid I know, but as people are fond of saying, we all grieve in our own way.
     
  24. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    I euthanized a big buck that had 3 broken and mangled legs with a .380 (LCP) after it euthanized my friends Honda Accord. 1 shot in the head was all it took. The LCP is a pistol I often carry and was carrying that day.
     
  25. Cypress

    Cypress Member

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    I’ve had to do it on occasion and recall thinking more than I should have on what gun to use. I always asked myself what I would choose if it was to be used on me. That always ruled out the .22. Being certain that it wasn’t botched was worth any mess I had to see.
     
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