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Views on euthanasia and the rehoming of dogs in Norway and Iceland
  1. H. S. Lund, DVM1,
  2. S. Eggertsson, MA, PhD2,
  3. A. M. Grøndahl, DVM, PhD3 and
  4. A. V. Eggertsdóttir, DVM, PhD1
  1. 1Department of Companion Animal Clinical Sciences, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, PO Box 8146 Dep, 0033 Oslo, Norway
  2. 2Department of Anthropology, University of Iceland, Sæmundargötu 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
  3. 3Section for Farm Animal Health and Welfare, National Veterinary Institute, PO Box 750 Sentrum, 0106 Oslo, Norway
  1. E-mail for correspondence: heidi.sjetne.lund{at}


According to several previously published studies, large populations of dogs are sent to animal shelters in the UK and USA each year, and estimates indicate that a substantial percentage of the dogs in such shelters are euthanased annually. However, anecdotal evidence indicates a different situation in Norway and Iceland. This study explores the attitudes toward euthanasia of dogs in Norway and Iceland, and investigates the practice of rehoming of dogs in the two countries. A general reluctance toward euthanasia of dogs was expressed, and participants stressed the need to consider alternatives such as rehoming. Rehoming of dogs was found to be negligible in Norway relative to international trends, and less than 10 per cent of the dogs assigned for rehoming were euthanased. In Iceland, the rehoming of dogs is yet to reach levels that necessitate the setting up of animal shelters. There is, nevertheless, reason to continue to explore the attitudes toward euthanasia and rehoming of dogs in Norway and Iceland, because there is a lack of statistical data on the reasons behind the owners’ decisions to give away or euthanase their dogs.

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