When is it time to put your dog down?
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Thread: When is it time to put your dog down?

  1. #1
    Member DoggieGirl's Avatar
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    When is it time to put your dog down?

    This is so heartbreaking. Everyone says I should know when it's time. I don't want my dog suffering. Any advice? When do you know its time?
    DoggieGirl

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    Senior Member luv2byte's Avatar
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    Your vet should be able to help guide you thru that process. I'm sorry your heart is breaking. We have only had to make the choice once, our cat made it clear one day. I took her to the vet, he confirmed what we knew. She was put down that day, hard but it was done with a loving decision. Only you & your vet can make the choice of when.
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    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    No one likes to consider that question...
    1. When a dog stops eating, it is a bad sign.
    2. If he is blind and deaf, it's OK for the dog.
    3. If he stops wagging his tail, it is a bad sign.
    4. If he has trouble getting up, but eats OK, and still wags his tail, he may be OK.

    What you look for is quality of life. When his quality of life degrades, then it is time.

    If he has a terrible, terminal, debilitating disease, some people prefer to put their dog to sleep, when he first starts to decline.

    However, if he's just an ancient dog, blind, deaf, with arthritis, but still having a reasonably good time, he could live another 3 - 5 years with a reasonable quality of life, pain meds, and a little more care from you.

    I don't know your situation, so I shot in the dark. Hope it helps...

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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    We knew it was time when Mocha could barely make it up and down the stairs to go out, was incontinent because she could not get up, and quit eating. When I could no longer medicate her for the pain because she would not eat, it was her time.
    Amy

  6. #5
    Senior Member spotted nikes's Avatar
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    I just want to caution about the "not eating". Many older dogs develop arthritis in their neck, and will appear to stop eating...because it hurts to bend over. Raise their food dish to a higher surface (like on a cinderblock/telephone book), and they will eat. Many dogs that seem lethargic and stiff, will become more like their young selves with appropriate NSAIDs (pain/immflammation meds).

    Generally, I'd say it's time, when, after working with your vet to improve quality of life, their quality of life has declined to the point where they are no longer comfortable, in spite of meds, and no longer enjoy things they used to enjoy. If they stop eating, in addition to those, then it is time.

    If you don't have the funds to make the dog comfortable, and the dog is elderly, then it's time. If it would take extreme measures to make the dog comfortable, and the dog may be in pain for a while recovering, it might be time.
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts and advice. Today, was the worst day yet. She still has an appetite and wants to eat but she has such bad jaw pain from her nasal tumor. The tumor is hitting some nerve that is affecting her jaw. So today when I got home from work, she wanted to eat. But she yelped then stopped eating and I tried to hand feed her and she yelped again and stopped eating. Then she has a pretty bad nose bleed. She is on tramadol and gapapentin. I just am not sure how much pain she is still in with these meds. She still wags her tail for us and visitors but she is not herself anymore. She was ALWAYS with us ALL the time. Now she stays alone in her bed or her cage. very sad. Last night was the first time in a while where she stayed on our bed and slept with me all night. So the vet said to take it day by day and when the bad days out weigh the good, its probably time. I just hate this if she is in pain. And she seems very dopy from the drugs. This is just SO SAD.
    DoggieGirl

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    Senior Member jenz's Avatar
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    I was once speaking with a dog person about euthanasia and she said her philosophy was, "it's best to leave the party while you're still having fun." I took that to heart with my last dog, Clifford. I picked out 2 things he loved to do - he loved to go walking & he loved to play with his toys. I told myself that when I saw his excitement in either of these activities even START to wane... it was time. He had severe Lumbosacral Stenosis and Larangeal Paralysis... summer was coming... and he was my "heart dog"... but when I saw him begin to lose interest in going for walks... it was time. I didn't want life to become miserable for him.

    I'm so sorry you have to go through with this.

    Jen

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  9. #8
    Senior Member spotted nikes's Avatar
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    I'm sorry you are dealing with this, but just make sure you do it before she is suffering. It's hard to decide to do it, but much worse if you wait too late, and then will be forever kicking yourself that you let her suffer.
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    What I've heard from others, is that they'd rather do it sooner than later - if your dog has no chance of surgery or recovery due to the tumor and her age, and can't enjoy day to day things because of discomfort, then it might be time. I've done the 'one more day' thing too, our old girl passed away last weekend. She had good and bad days, mostly pretty good days, had a bad day two weeks before that where I was debating but she was sleeping and comfortable, so I let her rest. The next day she picked up and was doing fine, the day she passed she was going up and down stairs, getting into the cat litter and climbing on a chair to steal food - not bad for a 14 year old golden. We went out for dinner, came home and she wasn't very responsive, did not stand outside to pee when I carried her out, so I put her back on her bed, got my hubby to come in to say goodbye and she passed shortly after that. Had she ever had more than 24 hours of pain I would have had the vet come.

    If it helps, see if the vet can come to the house - we did that with our last dog. I drew the shades, lit candles and the vet came, did the paperwork and then was able to leave afterwards and we had a more private setting than a clinic.

    Lana

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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    Thanks Jen and Lana. I know everyone cremates their dogs. I am just so terrified of burning her body and the thought is driving me insane. I thought about burying her in a casket in the backyard but my husband does not agree. He thinks animals might dig at her. Is that possible if she is low in the ground??? My husband wants to cremate her. But the thought of getting back her ashes is horrible to me. A pet cemetery is very expensive....Anyone buried their dog before?
    DoggieGirl

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    Senior Member Selah Cowgirl's Avatar
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    Euthanasia is the last greatest gift you can give your loved pet, weather it is their time due to age or they have been sick and you can not figure out what is wrong. When I put my last two dogs down it was heartbreaking to me, they were mother/daughter and they lead me through some very tough times in my life. I let them go to long in pain because I could not handle loosing them. When it became so obvious that their quality of life was gone, I let the continue to deteriorate. I was selfish. Once I made the decision to say good by and did, the relief at seeing them fully relax and be out of pain for the first time in a long time made me realize how selfish I really was. They were ready to say goodby long before I was. You are giving your loved one a dignified end to s uffering they don't fully understand.

    I have both my girls buried under some pine trees and have just planted my favorite plant over them. I know that where ever I go, they go with me in my heart.
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    Thank you Selah! I am so sorry about your doggies. Jen, I am also very sorry for the loss of your beloved, Clifford. Lana, I am so sorry about the loss of your girl too!
    DoggieGirl

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    Senior Member Selah Cowgirl's Avatar
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    I also live in an area very highly populated by coyotes and they did not dig at my girls. And after seeing their suffering end, I would have rather done it 4 months to early then a day to late.
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    Senior Member KodiBarracuda's Avatar
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Selah Cowgirl View Post
    I also live in an area very highly populated by coyotes and they did not dig at my girls. And after seeing their suffering end, I would have rather done it 4 months to early then a day to late.
    I think there is a to say in that last sentence. I thought we would have to put my dog Lady down a year ago. Lucky for us the meds helped, but I was ok with the fact that, if her life didn't improve significantly than I would go ahead and go the PTS route. I do not want to see her suffer, especially because one of her favorite things is to run and chase cats and she has a back/spine injury and before the meds she could barely move. I know that when she becomes too sore to chase cats its time. She never catches them, and its because she chooses to, because she is fast enough to catch them, but chooses not to. I cant bare to see her not be able to chase cats anymore.

    Ironic, she had her downhill slide start because she slipped in the wet grass chasing a cat...

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    Senior Member Pawzk9's Avatar
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    Quote Originally Posted by DoggieGirl View Post
    Thanks everyone for your thoughts and advice. Today, was the worst day yet. She still has an appetite and wants to eat but she has such bad jaw pain from her nasal tumor. The tumor is hitting some nerve that is affecting her jaw. So today when I got home from work, she wanted to eat. But she yelped then stopped eating and I tried to hand feed her and she yelped again and stopped eating. Then she has a pretty bad nose bleed. She is on tramadol and gapapentin. I just am not sure how much pain she is still in with these meds. She still wags her tail for us and visitors but she is not herself anymore. She was ALWAYS with us ALL the time. Now she stays alone in her bed or her cage. very sad. Last night was the first time in a while where she stayed on our bed and slept with me all night. So the vet said to take it day by day and when the bad days out weigh the good, its probably time. I just hate this if she is in pain. And she seems very dopy from the drugs. This is just SO SAD.
    If you feel that it is time, it probably is. You are the person who lives with the dog. I think it is easier on the dog to let them leave a little early than a little late. It's a terribly hard decision, but whatever you decide for your dog, she will know that you are doing the best you can for her. And she'll be okay with it. And when you let her go, she will be free of a body that no longer works for her, and the discomfort she may have had will be less than a memory.
    Last edited by Pawzk9; 09-28-2011 at 08:30 PM.

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    Senior Member ladyshadowhollyjc's Avatar
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    Quote Originally Posted by DoggieGirl View Post
    Thanks Jen and Lana. I know everyone cremates their dogs. I am just so terrified of burning her body and the thought is driving me insane. I thought about burying her in a casket in the backyard but my husband does not agree. He thinks animals might dig at her. Is that possible if she is low in the ground??? My husband wants to cremate her. But the thought of getting back her ashes is horrible to me. A pet cemetery is very expensive....Anyone buried their dog before?
    I share your feelings on cremation. I've never done it, but I think I will try it in the future. One thing that has helped me come around to it is talking and getting to know our cremation company. I work for a vet, so I see the guys every week. They are very open about their services and welcome you to come and visit.

    All of our past pets have been burried in my parents backyard. They plan to always keep the property, so it has always felt like to us that they're still with us. We've burried everything from fish, to reptiles, dogs and a few cats. None have ever been dug up, but we do put blocks on top of the graves for a while after they're first there.

    Anyway, my heart is with you. This is never an easy decision to make.

  18. #17
    Member DoggieGirl's Avatar
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    Thanks so much everyone for your thoughts. <3
    DoggieGirl

  19. #18
    Member synrgy501's Avatar
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    Personally, when one of my animals is suffering I have a moment where I realize that I have gotten to a point that I am keeping them alive for myself and not for them. This is the point that I always know it is time to give them one last gift and let them go.
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    Senior Member Sibe's Avatar
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    Re: When is it time to put your dog down?

    You can create guidelines, but there is always a spectrum. The basic thing for me is that when my pet is suffering and nothing reasonable can be done for it to have a near painless, comfortable life, then it's time to let go. When ending life is more humane than forcing it to continue.
    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ― Mahatma Gandhi


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