Putting Your Dog To Sleep

‘Putting your dog to sleep’….. it sounds peaceful doesn’t it?

And so it should, after all that’s what we’re aiming for.

We all want to help our beloved pet cross the threshold from life into death, peacefully and gently.

Senior dogs and euthanasia

With modern day veterinary medicine, and by following the ‘Humane Euthanasia Protocol’, we can make this a reality for Fido or Fifi.

But for we owners, left behind to second-guess our decision, and wrestling with feelings of loss and guilt – it’s not peaceful at all.

Dog Euthanasia – A Final Act Of Love

Whether we call it ‘putting our dog to sleep’, ‘putting our dog down’ or ‘euthanizing our dog’,  it’s a subject no one wants to talk about – and with good reason.

But it’s one we must talk about, especially as the owners of older, elderly or senior dogs.

Our dogs are much-loved family members but they can’t (and won’t) live forever.

Dogs live for only a fraction of a human lifetime, and we know that when we bring Fido into our lives, but we don’t want to think about losing him.

But if your dog is now a ‘golden oldie’ that time is coming…. and it will be more difficult for you to make the right decision for YOUR dog if you haven’t thought it through beforehand.

There are lots of questions, a swirling maelstrom of emotions, and practical considerations as well…

On this page I’m going to take a close look at dog euthanasia  – and the questions, controversies and emotions that surround it.

Putting Your Dog To Sleep – When Is The ‘Right’ Time?

‘How will I know it’s the right time to euthanize my dog?’

This is probably one of the most common questions owners ask, and the most difficult one to answer.

I’ve seen (and felt) the distress, pain and internal battle that it causes.

In fact, there may not be a clear-cut ‘right’ time to euthanize your dog, but there is often (although not always) a window where it could be considered the ‘best’ time for a number of reasons.

There are some situations where the answer to this question is pretty clear-cut:

  • When a dog is in severe, chronic pain which can’t be relieved
  • When a dog is critically injured and won’t be unable to survive the damage
  • If a dog’s quality of life is so poor that he/she is merely ‘existing’ not ‘living’

But, there are more ‘gray’ areas than black and white.

Which is the right choice to make when:

  • Our dog is in long-term chronic pain, but it IS relieved by medication/treatment
  • He isn’t able to run/play and barely eats, but still seems to be comfortable
  • She has a terminal disease, but doesn’t have any insurmountable symptoms – yet
  • Our dog is mostly anxious/confused but has short periods of being her ‘old self’
  • He has no appetite, often refuses to drink and has trouble with incontinence


There are also other potentially difficult situations, such as:

  • When a dog is aggressive to the point of being dangerous, and training, behavioral modification and other treatments haven’t helped.
  • When finances simply don’t allow you to afford on-going, long-term treatment for your dog’s severe, chronic, and eventually terminal health conditions.
  • When your dog could survive for some time to come, but his life will be full of vet visits, painful treatments, anxiety and stress… with no hope of recovery, just management.

All of the above clearly shows that there is NO single, one-size-fits-all answer to any of these questions.

As owners, we know our dogs better than anyone else in the world.

We have to rely on our veterinarian’s for professional advice, but it’s important to remember that they only see our pets for very short periods of time – and that their advice will be based on general veterinary principles.

They have to be more objective that we are… and a veterinarian’s objectivity is sometimes essential if emotions are getting in the way of a decision that obviously needs to be made.

If chronic, serious and debilitating illness is the reason you’re trying to decide whether or not to put your dog to sleep, your vet’s input is very important.

But… your vet doesn’t know Fido the way you do.

He can’t tell what your dog is feeling by the way he holds his ears, or ‘read’ the look in his eye…. but you can.

Your dog can’t tell you when he’s in pain, in fact he’ll most likely try his best to pretend he’s fine, so don’t assume that if he’s not crying or whining then he’s fine.

Common signs of distress/pain in dogs include:

  • Excessive panting and/or drooling
  • Excessive shaking & shivering – even in a warm environment
  • A distended, rigid tummy
  • Short, rapid breathing patterns
  • Lethargy, hiding, excessive sleeping
  • Whining, crying or whimpering – when touched, moved or at any time
  • Loss of appetite and/or thirst
  • Vomiting, excessive yawning, retching

For a more detailed look at the way dogs handle, exhibit (and sometimes hide) pain check out this page Is My Dog in Pain? 

Chronic problems like arthritis , poor sight or hearing, incontinence or confusion (such as seen in Old Dog Syndrome) can usually be managed effectively for some time, but eventually there will be a point where you have to differentiate between a ‘fair’ quality of life, and one that is ‘unfair’, to both of you.

But do remember, that what WE as humans might consider a poor quality of life, isn’t necessarily perceived the same way by our dogs.

Dogs don’t worry about the future,

There’s often a relationship between dog and owner that is more ‘sixth sense’ than it is physical communication, and your ‘gut’ may well guide you when it comes to choosing the right, or best, time to help him reach the Rainbow Bridge.

There’s no single way to make this difficult decision, as every dog, every owner and every situation (and combination of these three) is different.

I recently came across a couple of websites which might be of interest to anyone who is caring for a terminally ill senior dog, or grieving (whether in advance, or after the fact) the death of a beloved pet.

There’s information, advice, support, lists of relevant organizations & services (including pet cemeteries and crematoriums) plus newsletters, in memoriams, chat rooms and more. Check these out:

International Association of Animal Hospice & Palliative Care (IAAHPC)

The Association for Pet Loss & Bereavement (APLB)

Questions To Ask Yourself

Senior dog in his bedOur beloved George!

If you’re wondering whether this is the time when you need to consider putting your dog to sleep, these questions might help clarify things for you.

Although the answers aren’t going to be ‘cut-and-dried’, asking yourself these questions (and answering honestly) will help you gauge the quality of life your dog is experiencing.

This will, in turn, help you to decide what is in your dog’s best interest, right now.

  • Is my dog in pain which can’t be controlled?
  • Is he able to eat/drink/pee/poop without regular assistance?
  • Can he move around? Get outside to pee/poop? Toddle over for a cuddle?
  • Does he find enjoyment in food/toys/treats/cuddles… anything?
  • Is he scared, anxious or confused most of the time?
  • Does he take comfort from being around you, or at home, or is he oblivious?
  • Does he participate in life in any way, or is he just ‘exisiting’?

Once you’ve looked at the answers you’ve given to these questions, you’ll probably have a better idea of what you feel is the right path to take, at this point.

It could be that you realize your dog is still relatively comfortable and is getting enjoyment or comfort from each day.

If this is the case, then you may not need to think about putting your dog to sleep just yet.

I  suggest that you let your veterinarian give you the practical information that you need, and then follow your own heart and instincts.

You might also want to talk to your partner, other family members or dog-owning friends and ask for input, advice or just a shoulder to cry on.

Although non-dog-owing friends will be eager to help you too, if they don’t feel the same way about dogs as you do, and/or have never been in this situation, they’re unlikely to be able to understand your emotions.

And don’t forget faith and prayer.

Personally I believe dogs most definitely have souls, and I believe that God cares for all animals and I have no qualms about praying for guidance in reference to my pets as well as humans!

You love your dog, and you’re doing the best you can to make sure that he doesn’t suffer and has the chance to pass peacefully from this life to the next.

It’s a very personal decision and one you’re putting a lot of thought into, so once you have decided, try not to second-guess yourself.

Trust your decision-making process and do your best to be calm and accepting, your emotions will spill over onto your dog so make it easier for him/her by being easier on yourself.

What Happens During The Euthanasia Process?

This is something else you might not want to think about, but I know that in order to make a decision about something, I always need all the facts. You may be the same way.

When the time came to euthanize my old friend, I wanted to make absolutely sure that she got the very best care and the most peaceful and pain-free farewell possible.

Having a working knowledge of the way euthanasia works helped reduce the anxiety and fear that I felt for her because I knew that she wasn’t going to be afraid, or suffer from the process.

While holding her head and watching her face I could clearly see that she slipped from this world slowly and peacefully. I couldn’t have asked for more.

I am so very grateful for that.

There’s something called the ‘Humane Euthanasia Protocol’ which is basically a set of guidelines for veterinarian’s who are administering euthanasia – whether in a veterinary clinic or in a dog’s own home.

The Humane Euthanasia Protocol basically calls for there to be two parts to the euthanasia procedure:

  1. First, a sedative/tranquilizer/pain-reliever (or combination of these) is given
  2. Once the pet is relaxed and sedated, an IV is inserted for the administering of the euthanasia solution
  3. Then, after a few minutes spent saying ‘goodbye’ to family, another sedative may be given followed by the final drug which will stop the heart

Following these steps ensures that your dog doesn’t become scared or stressed, and that he doesn’t feel any pain as he passes.

It’s the most humane form of dog euthanasia.

There are additional costs involved because multiple drugs are used, but it’s not prohibitive and to my mind it’s more than worth spending those extra dollars.

The bad news is that veterinarian’s aren’t obliged to follow this protocol!

The generally acceptable method of putting a dog to sleep (which is in fact considered the ‘best practice’ by the World Society of Protection for Animals) is for a veterinarian to stop an animal’s heart with one injection of barbiturates.

Barbiturates are drugs which depress the central nervous system and given in high enough doses it will cause anesthesia, then death.

This form of euthanasia is effective, and relatively quick, but it’s not always pain-free and can cause short-term distress or anxiety.

I definitely don’t want my dog to feel pain, fear or distress, so when the time comes I will make sure that my veterinarian follows the Humane Euthanasia Protocol – to the letter.

You can do this too.

Simply let your vet know that this is the procedure you want for your dog  – and insist it’s followed!

Your veterinarian should be familiar with it, if not you can describe the steps as I have above, it’s not difficult to understand.

Where Should My Dog Be Put To Sleep?

This subject is fraught with questions, dilemmas and decisions… and the subject of where your dog should spend his last minutes is another big one.

Most commonly dogs are taken to a veterinary hospital/office for the euthanasia to be administered, but there are vets who are willing to come into your home and put your dog to sleep in his own bed.

There are pros and cons to each of these options, and you’ll need to take into account your dog’s size, mobility, and temperament as well as your own needs and abilities.

My daughter had her adopted senior dog, George (pictured earlier on this page) euthanized at home, and although it was a sad experience it was also quite stress-free – for him anyway.

* Just added – very recently my elderly Rottweiler collapsed suddenly and was euthanized at home. Read my personal account below of how Pet Loss At Home helped us through a difficult and heart-rending situation.

You can discuss this with your own vet and ask if he/she would be willing to make a house-call and perform the procedure for you.

If the answer is ‘no’, then check out mobile veterinarian’s in your area. The In-Home Pet Euthanasia Directory has a comprehensive lists of suitable veterinarians in both the USA and Canada.

So does the American Association of Housecall Veterinarians (www.homevets.org)

If you feel that putting your dog to sleep would be easier/better in a clinical environment, your own vet can do that for you.

Here’s a quick look at the positives and negatives of at-home v clinic procedures…

At Home Dog Euthanasia

This might be the route to take if:

  • Your dog is too large, sick or immobile to be transported to your vet’s office
  • If he’s very anxious about car trips or the vet clinic stresses him out
  • There are other dogs in the family (they’ll benefit from seeing his body)
  • If you feel that YOU will handle the situation better at home
  • You’d appreciate the privacy of experiencing this and grieving at home
  • If money isn’t a big worry. At home procedures often incur extra costs

Euthanizing Your Dog At The Vet Clinic

This might be the right choice for you if:

  • You want your own vet to perform the procedure, but he won’t make a housecall
  • You’d prefer a ‘neutral’ location without the memories being associated with home
  • Going in the car or to the vet’s office doesn’t make your dog anxious
  • He is still mobile enough, or small enough, to transport easily
  • Cost is a concern

A Possible Compromise:

Depending on how well you know your veterinarian and how flexible and caring he/she is, you can often make a clinical euthanasia experience more comfortable and homely by bringing stuff from home to make your dog feel more relaxed.

His bed, blanket or a favorite toy can help. Also, you can ask your vet to prescribe a mild sedative (or sedative and pain reliever) that you can give to your dog a little while before you leave home. This will relax him and alleviate some of his anxieties.

As you can see there are a lot of things to take into consideration when you’re planning how/where to ease your pet from one world to another.

It’s a very personal decision and only you can make it.

My Personal Experience of Dog Euthanasia at Home

Almost a week ago, on January 27th 2016, I had my first experience with euthanizing a dog at home when my 14 year old Rottweiler, Bonnie, collapsed suddenly as she went out for her pre-bed potty break.

It was around 8pm, totally unexpected, and moving her was not on the cards as I was sure her heart was failing and the stress and fear of being carried and then a car trip was more than I wanted to put her through at that point.

As we scrambled to find a mobile veterinarian in our area (we found 3, none of whom could come out), my son-in-law called the number on the Pet Loss At Home website and was put in touch with a local vet. She was lovely, came out immediately and evaluated Bonnie, deciding that she was most likely in heart-failure (the other, possible but unlikely, option being torsion, but I was sure in my heart that was not the case).

My sweet, sweet girl would most likely not have survived being moved, let alone a fairly lengthy car ride (we live out in the country) and a rigorous exam. So, we all agreed that the kindest (and most appropriate) option was euthanasia, but it was a heart-wrenching decision nevertheless.

Thankfully this wonderful lady vet walked us through the whole procedure. She was so kind, calm and compassionate, which made it bearable. She even made a cast of Bonnies’ pawprint for us to keep (at no extra charge).

I had dreaded having to face this decision, more with every passing year (at 14 our Bonnie had lived longer than 99% of Rotties normally do), but circumstances dictated that she be euthanized at home, and the vet we were lucky enough to get made it manageable for everyone (although there were still a lot of tears).

Bonnie never seemed to be in pain, or really distressed, she slipped slowly to sleep after being given the pain-killer/sedative combination (she lost consciousness I guess, but she seemed to be dozing).  Her heartbeat actually slowed and then stopped of it’s own accord before the euthanasia solution was administered. However the vet did inject it anyway just to be absolutely sure that Bonnies’ heart had completed stopped before she was moved. Bonnie was much less stressed and upset than we were, which is exactly how I would have wanted it to be (although we did hold it together for her sake until she was ‘asleep’).

The Humane Euthanasia Protocol (talked about earlier on this page) was followed, and the cost of the whole procedure was $550 which included the call out, all medications and removal of Bonnies’ body (which was done with love and dignity) and cremation. For personal belief reasons I chose not to have her ashes returned to me, but could have done so at the cost of an additional $100.

So, not inexpensive, but not ridiculously over-priced either, considering that the whole procedure took almost 3 hours from vet arrival to departure, plus 3 large doses of drugs (my Bonnie girl was a big dog)… and that it was late evening and we live outside the main city.

I’m not sure whether Pet Loss At Home vets often make after-hours visits as this is a service which is often arranged for in advance, but I am eternally grateful that this lovely lady answered her phone last Wednesday evening and came straight out to help us. My Bonnie is at peace now.

Thank you Dr. Smith and God Bless you too.

Death in general is a difficult topic for most of us, and I know that I hope that when death does come looking for my pets… and for the people that I love… that they will all have the luxury of slipping away peacefully.

Euthanasia for pets, especially when done at home, is the very last gift we can give our precious animal companions. Perhaps one day a similar type of option will be available for us to choose if we want to as well.

This 5 minute video by veterinarian Jessica Vogelsang uses gentle humor to address the topic of death, and euthanasia in our pets…

 

 

The Cost Of Putting A Dog To Sleep

This time we’re talking about cost in a purely practical way… not the emotional toll it takes but the financial one.

As with everything else, location affects pricing – and if you live in a small town in a rural area, chances are most things are going to be less expensive than if you live in a big metropolitan area.

In-home euthanasia is going to be the most expensive option – and even then the cost can vary depending upon ‘additional services’ or the amount of veterinary hours it is going to take up.

The additional services can include removal of your dog’s body, and cremation/burial and memorial options.

The size/weight of your dog also affects pricing because a bigger dog requires a larger dose of drugs.

From the research I’ve conducted, it would seem that average charges for dog euthanasia do vary quite considerably, but these are ball-park figures:

Cost Of Clinic Euthanasia:

Somewhere between $75.00 and $350.00

It’s possible that if you live in a rural area and have a ‘big-animal vet’ whose job is to call on rural farms and homes, he may charge less.

Then again, if you live in a big city where everything costs more (such as New York or LA), or opt for several additional services, it could almost certainly cost you more.

Cost Of At-Home Euthanasia:

Somewhere between $300.00 and $800.00

The basic procedure will usually fall at the bottom end of this scale.

The higher end of the price range usually includes additional services such as cremation, return of ashes and so on.

You can take a look at the prices of the the ‘Euthanasia Packages’ provided by one of the veterinarian’s on the ‘Pet Loss At Home’ network.

In my research I discovered that it’s a good idea to pay for your dog’s euthanasia in advance of the ‘Day’.

That way you don’t have to worry about payment at a time when your emotions are running high, or have to re-live the heartbreak when you get the bill later on.

This all makes perfect sense to me, and I think it’s sound advice.

Pet Cremation, Burial & Memorials

So, you’ve decided that it’s the right time to put your dog to sleep, and you’ve decided where, and how, you would like it done.

But there’s now once last decision to make – what do you want to happen to your dog’s body once his spirit has left it.

The options are the same as those for people… burial or cremation. Your veterinarian should be able to help you with both of these.

You’ll need to know about city ordinances which apply to at-home burials of pets, and also the location of pet-cemeteries or crematoriums.

You may want to have your dog’s ashes returned to you, usually in a decorative urn or box.

Rainbow Bridge poem from dog

Or you may not want to do any of the above. No decision is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ here.

There are a lot of variables here and you’ll need to do whatever you feel will help you let your pet go, yet keep him close in your heart.

Your veterinarian is familiar with the facilities and choices available to you and will be able to help.

It doesn’t hurt to lean on family/friends either at this time.

You need to grieve, and you’re entitled to do it in whatever way you want to, and take as long as you need to come to terms with your loss. Your pet was not ‘just a dog’!

Hang onto keepsakes if you need to, or hide everything away. Set up a memorial for him if you want to. Whatever works for you is what you need to do.

Moving On……

Once you’ve grieved for your dog, and have adjusted to his loss, you may want to consider adding another dog to your home and family.

Of course the ‘new’ dog will never replace the ‘old’ one in your heart, but it can help to ease the loneliness and sadness.

BUT remember, every dog is different and don’t compare your second dog to your first. They’re separate individuals and deserve to be loved and appreciated as such.

In our family we honor the memory of the previous dog by rescuing a lonely, needy dog from the local pound or rescue. It’s our way of making sure that something positive comes out of a pet’s death… and it really seems to help, everyone.

24 Comments

  1. Although this was probably written a couple of years ago, thank you for the information and comfort. My 14 yo min-pin has had diabetes for 4 years now, and lately he has been having some issues. It is very hard because just 4 years ago, I lost my best friend, 13 year old mini-dachshund. She was my min-pin’s best friend too. He and I have become best friend’s now, and he helped me through a difficult time after losing her. Now, it seems soon will be his time, and frankly I am not ready for it! However, I will not let him go through pain and misery just so I will have him longer. My only regret is not doing more with him when he was healthier. My wife and I do not have children, and she is not as sensitive as I am with the dogs. I do not know, but when the first one passed on, I felt as if I lost a child. I have decided after this one, no more pets, I just cannot handle it emotionally.

    • I completely feel your pain. This past Friday, April 13th I had to put down my companion of 8 years. He was diagnosed with ketoacidosis and there was no way of curing him. I am sitting here at work feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. What if I was more patient, what if I treated him sooner, what if I missed the signs etc. The vet told me that it is a genetic problem and there was nothing I could have done. That doesn’t really help me feel any better. He was a good dog. I feel like I failed him. The loss of him has destroyed me.

      • I totally feel your pain. April 28th I said good by to my fur baby and best friend of 16 years. She was our rock and joy. So smart and playful. Always knew exactly what was needed. Most vocal lady ever. I also am blaming myself and wondering if there was more i could have done. so many what if’s going through my head. I just try to take comfort in the fact that i loved her so much and spoiled my Tana-Lou Rotten.
        No matter what I too feel like I failed her somehow. I loved her with all my heart.
        “When I needed a hand she gave me her paw”

      • I feel your pain Leigh. I lost my precious Sammie last July, so it will be one year since I lost him. Your words, I felt it all too. I kept saying I failed him.still struggling with the pain of losing him. I wish we could have them for longer. My chihuahua Little Ricky is nearing his time at 14yrs, he has seizures and is on meds but the last few days they’ve.gotten really bad so he will see tomorrow. Hopefully an increase in meds will help..

    • Hello,
      I am struggling with when to put my adorable down. He’s eleven and a half. Unfortunately, we really don’t know if he has cancer of some sort or not. I suppose you’ll say ask the Vet. Well, I think I’ve been giving away money. An ultrasound was performed of his stomach and they saw “something” (they could not explain if it was a mass or not). I was never given a diagnosis. Now he has frequent UTI. They cannot explain that. I did try going to another vet but only for her to talk and not examine the dog. I do have an appointment with a specialist. I will not let my dog undergo any type surgery but I do want to know what is wrong. I suppose that will help me to decide as to what to do. Right now, he just sleeps. It’s hard for him to get up, he whine from 10pm until the wee hours. We cannot tell if he needs to relieves himself. We have to guess. We have to put a towel under his back hips to lift him. He doesn’t do the things he use to do. I am not liking this was of living for my dog and really have a hard time as to what to do. Is he ready now? OR do I keep the specialist’s appointment only to hear about this suspicious things in his stomach. Fill him up with more meds etc. Any help?
      Aggie

  2. i hear you i am heartbroken because i didnt know the signs of a blood clot , slowly creeping up until it was obvious however i do not know why they did not do a sonogram earlier i brought my love in on sunday having difficulty breathing … meds and sonograms should have been done along with the x rays , i am not happy with the care they gave my guy however i did not know what to ask for they suggested to let him go he was suffocating …. he looked very sad so i did what i thougth was best for him but i think the vet should have done more … very sad a terrible experience

  3. It’s beautiful all the way around, we choose to bring a animal into our lives. They make us laugh and are there o keep us healthy by walking us and it’s fun to teach them tricks and to be their buddies while they live. Cpt. Bruce was my best friend from when I adopted him to when he went in my arms at the vet. He could not stand up anymore and I gave him 3 days to bounce back and then he went on the the next realm of whatever is next. Helga is a 14 year old German Shepherd and she is close, it’s hard and I sympathize with your loss. We have to remind ourselves that we gave them a good life and not beat ourselves up over the possibilities of what we could have done differently. Bruce Cakes appeared in my dreams until I knew he was good and I’ll never forget his bark and goofy walk. We know when it’s time but also when it’s not time. Peace and love.

  4. I had to put my little guy down yesterday,May 29th, it broke my heart. He wasn’t quite 12 but he developed a brain tumor. I’ve been giving him seizure meds for the last 4 months and he seemed to be doing well. However, this last week he started to go downhill quick. I agonized over whether or not to put him to sleep for days but in the end my husband and I decided it was better to put him to sleep a week too early rather than wait a minute too long. He was a good boy and didn’t deserve any of this. It’s hard and I miss him so much but my husband keeps reminding that I always gave our pup what he needed and this was the final thing he needed from me. So to everyone who is going through this horrible time just remember this is just part of showing our pets how much we love them because we refuse to let them go through needless pain.

    • Ugh, so sorry to hear that. The decision is never easy and it’s important to remember all the joy he brought into your life.

  5. I really appreciate you helping me learn more about pet euthanasia. I have an old pet named Storm, he’s turning 11 years old next week. He’s my first pet and I love him so dearly. My Storm is sick for about two months now. My heart is crying to see him in pain, he might sleep for good.

  6. Thank you call for helping me make my decision. We are going to have take out dear Molly in today. She has had an ongoing problem with her bladder, and is now totally incontinent and peeing dark, dark urine. She has been a wonderful lab for the past 16 years, and this is hard. My Vet was right, you will know the time. We have a Boarder Collie at home with Bladder Cancer that we will have to deal with in the coming months. My heart goes out to everyone who has had the great fortune to love and be loved by and animal – may they all rest in Peace and be there when we cross the Rainbow Bridge too!

  7. Your article has really helped me. Our yellow lab will turn 14years old next month. She has had no bowel control for over 2 years. She recently has had pee issues too despite her being on a hormone to help with that. We believe she has dementia as she has some good days and bad. Her hips have gone out a couple of times and her tail has been down for a couple of years. She still is eating but sometimes doesn’t finish her food. She has lost weight in the last year too. She has times when she is trembling so she may be in pain. When she wouldn’t run after a tennis ball a couple of days ago we have decided it is time to let her go. Its such a painful decision but we dont want to let her get into pain and want to give her a Death with Dignity. We have planned to say goodbye to her the day before her 14th birthday. In the mean time we want to give her all the love and good beach walks till her time is up. Why does this feel so painful? We have put other dogs down but they were sick. She is just old….

    • I put my sweet girl down two days ago. I feel as if I have lost a child. I am complete devastated and broken. She had arthritis in her knee and her back. She would fall and trip a lot simply because holding herself up was too much sometimes. She couldn’t get up the one stair we had from the garage to the house without help. She peed all over my house every day for a couple of weeks at the end, it seemed like she didn’t even realize it was happening at times. She’s just be standing next to us when all of a sudden she would start peeing. Once she went in her own bed and just laid in it. I had to throw it away. She would tremble a lot, I was never sure if it was because she wasn’t feeling well or because she thought she was a bad girl for having an accident etc. Because she was peeing everywhere in my house, I had to put her in he garage when I left for work in case she needed to go. But when I got home she was really sad as if I was punishing her. That’s when I had to make my choice. She was 13 1/2 years old. I prolonged it because she was still eating and never whimpered as if she was in pain. But even on pain meds she could barely walk, needed help to get up. Was losing her mind and getting confused a lot. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I haven’t stopped crying since it happened. The vet did it really fast, first the sedative and immediately afterwards the euthanasia. I have mixed feelings about how fast it was. I am grateful I was able to hold her as she left. I felt her heart beat really fast at first because she wasnt sure what was happening, then I felt it slowly fade away. I keep replaying it in my head and I still don’t know if it was the right decision. But I am doing my best to not second guess my choice and be relieved knowing I did my best to give her the best life possible and she’s no longer hurting. I loved her so much. I will miss her forever. 🙁

  8. I’m having to put my Rottweiler to rest very soon. We just found out he has Osteosarcoma (bone cancer). It’s already spread to the lungs. We haven’t done it yet and I’m a complete mess. IVE been crying in the bathroom nonstop. I don’t want him to see me cry or be sad. I’m trying so hard to be strong for him and my bf. My bf has been crying and he hasn’t cried in 5 years since his friend past. Ive had many dogs before. I’ve never had the bond I had with them as I do with Sig now. I’m just not ready and don’t feel like I’ll ever be, but I don’t want him to be in pain. I don’t want to be selfish. This article made me decide to have him euthanized at home eating his favorite people food. Where he’s most comfortabl. I don’t have a lot of money but I will and have gone homeless for this dog. He deserves that.

  9. Thank you so much for this. Our furbaby is just 14. She’s been going down hill for about a year. Walks are shorter and she developed shaking in her back legs. Then last Sunday i woke up to lots of sick and poo. She keep being sick and she’s been pooing as she walks and in her sleep some times for about 6 months. She went off her food gradually and hasn’t drunk any water for about 6 days. We were syringing it into her mouth every day since Sunday but yesterday she just let’s it drop out. We booked a home visit for today and the children came round last night to say their goodbyes. I came on here to see if we are making the right decision and after reading this i know we have. I feel guilty for shooting at her for “dawdling” on her walks. If was more of a dog drag. But she was in pain! Vet said she has arthritis in her back and hips. Although bloods and Udine cane back clear the vet said she’s not a happy dog and she is suffering. This breaks our hearts. Or other dog has diarea so we had to rule out an infection with antibiotics and gave her lots of pain meds. But she’s still not drinking and only eating scrambled egg and rice so i know it’s the right decision. Goodbye Bellbells. You’ve been my best friend and comforter, and i know Poppy, Pepper and Suesue are waiting for you over Rainbow Bridge. See you later Bellinator.

  10. This artical was amazing it really did help me alot, I have a 13yr old German shepherd who had a stroke about two months ago, she’s made a 90% recovery, but I’m worried I’m prolonging something that’s not right, Kira sleeps alot, eats good, drinks plenty and still plays with the other dogs. When she comes in and goes to her bed sometimes she whines and lately she’s been having a little bit of urine incontinence nothing extreme yet.
    My question is this should I put her down before her quality of life goes away? I can tell when I look into her eyes she’s getting tired but I also don’t want to feel like I’m cutting her short but don’t want her to become miserable before I make the decision. I love her so much but I haven’t had to deal with this sense I was a teenager, with our old dogs we always waited until they stopped eating and drinking, but I don’t know if thats the right decision anymore, my husband is leaving it entirely up to me cause she’s my dog and he trusts whatever decision I make. Please help, looking for some advice.

    • I have a similar situation with my 14.5 year old Boston
      Terrier. She is blind, deaf, heart problems and special diet for liver problems. She still loves her food and treats but walks have become difficult for walking into walls, brush, trees etc.
      I can tell she is stressed over this.
      Do I wait until she gets really sick or injured to put her to sleep?
      I just need to hear from someone other than my husband what to do.

      • Jill, now that a month has passed since your post, it’s probably too late for a meaningful reply. I just wanted to say that my beagle is in the same boat and I’m asking the same questions. It’s hard to see him so confused. I hope you are doing better.

  11. I never want to be the one to say it’s time to say goodbye to a friend or let’s face it a furr kid but I had to make this horrible decision not so long ago and I still feel horrible over it but he was my little guy and I personally decided it was better for me to miss him and suffer the pain of not having him than have him suffer any longer. It’s not easy and I feel for you Jill, hang in there!!

  12. My 14 year old cocker spaniel was diagnosed with bone cancer two weeks ago. The Vet advised me to have her put down. I don’t have the heart to do it. She still eats and drinks but I know that she’s not herself anymore. She can’t stand up without assistance so i would carry her outside and hold her up while she relieves herself. Sometimes she doesn’t even make it outside and just have accidents everywhere. She’s on Tramadol and cbd oil, probably why she’s always asleep (but only in the morning). She would cry out in the middle of the night, between 12 am and 3 am. I would give her food, her meds, pet her and take her outside. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. She used to be really spunky and full of life, it breaks my heart to see her fading away. I just wish I am strong enough to make the decision of when to finally put her down.

  13. We decided to put our dog Katie down last week. I still feel so awful and cry a lot. She had cancer and I think it finally went to her brain. She would pace for hours and then just collapse from fatigue. She would try to jump on the couch, her favorite spot, but she sometimes made it and sometimes not. I can really relate to the others who say they felt like they let their pet down. I feel that way too!

  14. i have a 14 plus year old golden retriever. She had surgery for a mast cell tumor in June. though i was told they got it all she now has 3 additional tumors. she doesn’t hear very well and often seems not to know where she is. stares into space. She has a very hard time getting up and limps when she walks. the arthritis medication seems not to be having any effect. she still pees and poops outside but won’t walk any further than the 10 feet to her favorite spot. she still likes her stuffed toy but at home only wants to lay down and/or sleep. sometimes she moans. one of the tumors is constantly bleeding because it bothers her. I have made an appointment with her vet to euthanize her and am finding it impossible to live with myself. she remains obsessed with food loves to eat (anything). I look at her sweet face and feel like a murderer. she’s my shadow and i feel like i am betraying all the love and trust that she has for me. Do i let things be as they are now? i want to do what’s best for her but i don’t know what that is.

  15. My almost 13 year old Schnauzer is suffering from dementia. It’s happened so gradually that it took my husband saying “can’t you remember what he used to be like? It wasn’t this!” It hit me like a brick. He’s only getting worse. Bad days far outweigh the good nowadays. I am heartbroken at the thought of putting him down. He was born exactly 2 mos after my daughter. My 10 year old Morkie is co-dependent and doesn’t know life without him. It’s so hard. It’s even harder watching him pace in circles, stare at the wall and get lost in the house. He doesn’t even remember how to get to the door most of the time. We love him so much but as time goes by, I realize he is not living a quality life. I have to decide if it’s selfish of me to keep him here for my own sake. He’s the first dog I have ever had. I love him dearly. It’s just so hard to know when the right time is. I wish it were easier.

  16. This was very helpful: I adopted my boxer Roy in 2016, and just last month he had a tumor removed which turned out to be a cancerous mast cell tumor. Based on his report they are giving him 2-6 months to live. Just this week he has started throwing up and not able to keep anything down. We are going tomorrow morning to see if there’s anything we can do or if it is related to the cancer. I’m almost so sad it hurts…

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