6 Signs It’s Time to Put Your Dog to Sleep

Here’s what you need to know about putting your dog to sleep. Veterinarian Marie Haynes shares the most important criteria for putting a dog down and offers help for healing.

6 Signs It's Time to Put a Dog to Sleep

Animals and the Afterlife

One of the best ways to cope with your dog’s death is believing that their souls and spirits live on – and you’ll be reunited one day. Read Animals and the Afterlife: True Stories of Our Best Friends’ Journey Beyond Death  to learn how some pet owners experience their beloved animal companions after their pets died.

Are you confused about putting your dog to sleep? You’re not alone if you feel devastated, guilty, sad, and lost. This information about pet euthanasia is from a veterinarian who had to put her own dog to sleep. She shares her story, and offers general information about the process of putting a dog down.

This is the most important thing to remember about putting your dog to sleep: “If you can save your dog or cat even one day of discomfort, you must,” says Dr Haynes.

Is It Time to Put Your Dog to Sleep?

The number one sign it’s time to put your dog to sleep is quality of life. If your dog is suffering in any way, then it’s time to say good-bye.

I hope this article on putting a dog down helps you cope with this difficult decision. I can’t tell you whether or not you should put your dog to sleep – only you can decide. But, this article may give you insight and clarity.

Dr Haynes says it’s often difficult to tell whether a dog is in pain or suffering, but there are some general guidelines it’s time to put your dog to sleep:

time to put dog down

“6 Signs It’s Time to Put a Dog to Sleep” image by Laurie

  1. Is your dog’s appetite suffering? If so, this can be a sign of pain.
  2. Does it seem like your dog is enjoying life?
  3. Does your dog still do the things that bring her joy?
  4. Are you enjoying having your dog around — or is there more pain than happiness?
  5. Does your dog seem happy more often than not?
  6. Does your dog look distressed or uncomfortable most of the time?

Here’s the bottom line about putting a dog down: There will come a day when it is absolutely clear to you that your dog is not enjoying life.  That day is one day too late.  If you can save your dog even one day of discomfort, you must.

As a dog lover, you want a clear answer about putting your dog to sleep, but it can’t just be the veterinarian’s decision. The vet only sees a snapshot of the pet’s life, while the pet owner has the big perspective.

“I see a scared, sick animal in the hospital,” says Dr Haynes. “You have taken care of your dog all its life. This is your final chance to take care of your pet.  If you can spare your dog pain and suffering, then putting it to sleep is the ultimate gift – no matter how hard it is for you.”

Putting your dog to sleep is difficult, but it could be the most loving thing you do for your dog. You can be present when you put your dog to sleep. Euthanasia is similar to falling asleep, and you can be with your dog when he or she drifts away. Dr Haynes says pet euthanasia is generally painless, and almost always goes smoothly.

Do you feel guilty about putting your dog to sleep? Read How Veterinarians Decide It’s Time to Put a Dog Down for guidance.

How Dr Haynes Decided to Put Her Dog to Sleep

“My shepherd/cattle dog cross, Eddie, had a multitude of problems and I couldn’t decide if it was time for euthanasia.  Then, one day he tore his cruciate ligament.  He had already previously torn the ligament on the other knee and although it was healed he had severe arthritis in that knee.  With both knees injured, Eddie was unable to walk.  My decision to put my dog to sleep was finally made for me.

should I put my dog down

6 Signs It’s Time to Put Your Dog to Sleep

I went to my office and collected the supplies I needed for euthanasia.  Eddie was such a good boy as I shaved his front leg and placed the needle in his vein.  I will never forget the look of love and trust he gave me as I made the injection.  Then, the life just went out of him and he was gone.  Once he had passed away, his buddy Joey (my other dog) came in the room but he did not seem to care about or comprehend what was happening.  Then, my two cats came in and I swear they suddenly had a look of glee in their eyes as Eddie was very much a cat tormentor!”

If you’re putting a dog down, remember to allow yourself to grieve. Take time to heal.

Help for Putting Your Dog to Sleep

Losing your dog is a heartbreaking experience. When I wrote Letting Go of an Animal You Love, I interviewed veterinarians, grief experts, and pet owners who had to say good-bye to their beloved animal companions.

It’s true that time does ease the pain of having to put a dog or cat to sleep, but it’s also good to learn what helped other people cope with the pain. For instance, I talked to one dog owner who got a paw print tattoo after putting her dog to sleep, as a way to remember her pet. I wouldn’t have thought of a tattoo, but she said she is comforted every time she sees it.

should I put my dog down

Dog Cremation Urn

If you want to keep your dog’s ashes, the Perfect Memorials Dog in Basket – Pet Cremation Urn pictured is a beautiful vessel.

I know it may seem too soon to think about cremation urns for your dog — you may want to stat by reading books about dog loss. Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet is Gary Kowalski’s second book on coping with a dog’s death, and it may help you heal after making the heart-wrenching decision to say good-bye.

And finally, How to Deal With Anger at Your Veterinarian is an article I wrote for a reader struggling to cope after putting her dog to sleep. It’s a difficult decision, but it’s sometimes the most compassionate thing you can do for your dog. But this final act of love can be destroyed by a veterinarian who is thoughtless or inept.

If you have any thoughts on putting your dog to sleep, please comment below. I can’t give advice, but writing can help you decide if putting your dog down is the right choice for you.

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Putting a Dog to Sleep - A Veterinarian's Guidelines
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A summary of what pet owners need to know about putting a dog to sleep. Veterinarian Marie Haynes shares the most important criteria for putting a dog down and offers help for healing.
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen on twitterLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on pinterestLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on linkedinLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on googleLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on facebook
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
I live in Vancouver, BC; my degrees are in Education, Psychology, and Social Work. Most importantly, I am a Christian! I love God, Jesus, Spirit. Your comments are welcome below, but I can't give advice. Are you lost, hurt, scared? Take a deep breath, and remember the reason you exist. "The eternal God is your refuge; His everlasting arms are under you." - Deut 33:27. Feel free to share your prayers and experiences here.

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579 Responses

  1. My prayers for everyone who is struggling with the grief and loss that comes with putting a dog to sleep. It is absolutely heartbreaking, and it’s not fair. Dogs are so loyal and loving, and I wish we could have them in our lives forever.

    May you heal from the grief, and know that your beloved dog will always be part of you. Your dog is in your heart and soul, and you will be reunited one day. Oh, the things your dog will be so excited to show you when you meet again! Remember how excited your dog was when you got home – whether you were gone all day or for 5 minutes? Well, triple that – and that’s how joyful and excited your dog will be when you meet again.

    With great love comes great suffering.

    in sympathy,
    Laurie

  2. Christina says:

    Thank you for the article above. My husband and I have decides that we must put our American Bulldog down tomorrow. He suffers from a brain tumor and we have talked to our kids but I’m so worried about telling our 10 year old. She will be so heartbroken.
    Please keep us on your thoughts.

  3. Adrianna Mahoney says:

    Im at a torn here, my dog that is 13 has cervical (neck) disk disease which is a disk pressing on her spinal cord causing a lot of pain. We found this out about a couple months ago and she was good while she was on the medicine, but i do not feel right keeping her on a bunch of medicine bc of the other things that could wrong with that aspect. Lately, she doesnt get up much and when she moves she yelps also when we move her she yelps (not all the time but very common) . I dont want her to be in pain all the time but i also dont wanna loose my baby.

  4. Kevin says:

    I’m so heart sick. We noticed our 14 1/2 yr border collie having labored breathing last week. Didn’t seen too bad bad at the time and vet set up a cardiology apt for tomorrow. It got worse and she spent weekend in a emergency clinic. Drained fluid from her lungs, sent out samples, did a scan, some organs are questionable for cancer. The breathing still maybe a heart issue, possibly treated with drugs. she’s laying at my feet now, we played short rounds of ball out back earlier. my boss let me work from home. we are probably going to make decision after cardiologist. my wife is stronger than me, I’m a basket case. I have to be there to hold her when its time, gotta find the strength somehow. I feel so lost

  5. Janetta says:

    I’m so lost right now!:(. We just found out this past week that our 13 year old Norwegian Elkhound has lymphoma and cancer of the liver and spleen! She is also deaf and has a bit of hip trouble. She has had loss of appetite but now I put real bacon pieces and chicken broth in her dog food and she is finally eating again! We have spoken to the vet about options for her treatment, and none of them of course guarantee if it will help her or make her sick, so we are worried about the possibility of her having to suffer and have decided we couldn’t do that to her! We are going to be putting her to sleep in the next week or so!:((. This is devasting for our daughters and us right now! In the last few days my beautiful sweet dog Misha has been giving me glimpses of being her old self, but then she tires and needs to sleep, and her showing me glimpses feels like a little bit of hope, or maybe she is reminding me of the puppy she was and can no longer be! This is so hard because she is my first baby, and I got her at 6 weeks old! I’m so lost just thinking of the idea of her not being in the house or around us. Some days she looks at me like mom I’m tired and I don’t want to fight anymore, and other days it’s like what are you crying for I’m fine, which makes me feel torn about putting her to sleep! I love my Misha and I just want to do right by her, and I hope and pray this is the right decision!

    • Amy says:

      Hi Janetta,

      I can see why you are torn, I would be too! I pray that God gives you a sign, so that you can be at peace withyour decision.

      You are a very good Mom to your Misha!

      Peace be with you,
      Amy

      • Janetta says:

        We have made the decision to put our beautiful girl to sleep on Friday afternoon! Since I posted last I have seen my girl in pain and have seen her struggle to get up and go outside! I know longer see the healthy happy dog she used to be, and enjoying her life! She deserves more than to suffer and get worse everyday! I’m pretty sure she knows she is sick just by the look in her eyes! I have come to acceptance of taking the pain away from her, by putting her to sleep! I will miss her so much, and our family will not be the same without her! She has been loyal and loving and protective of our family and she will always have a special place in my heart, we will never ever forget you Beautiful Girl! Love you Misha

        • Crystal says:

          Janetta,
          I usually don’t post comments places but after reading about Misha, I felt the need to do so. I am in the exact same situation with my 10 1/2 old English Mastiff, Liberty. The similarities are uncanny really. We too have made her appointment for Friday afternoon. I have been having a hard time coming to terms with her failing health and wondering if we were making the right decision. After reading your story, I know that we are. I don’t want to be selfish with her & I don’t want to see her getting worse and being in pain! We’ve been talking about it for a little while now, we actually had an appointment scheduled for her last Thursday but we just weren’t ready to let go. We took her in and she was put on temporary pain medication. She seems to be doing better but in my heart I know its only temporary and it’s time. I just wanted to say Thank You for your story and opening up my eyes and seeing what is truly best for my Liberty! Give your Misha some love for me and hugs to you and your family!

          The Rainbow Bridge

          “Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
          When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

          All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
          They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

          You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

          Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…. ”

          -Author unknown…

  6. Jim says:

    Its a sad day. Today has come and we took her down. It was so sad to let her go but I’m glad we did it. She had lost another 2 pounds this last month. We just donated all her stuff to the local spca. We’ll miss her. Rest in peace Shadow. Love you.

  7. Cindi says:

    She was completely fine–except for the arthritis. Never pooped or peed in the house since she was trained by age 12 weeks. I got her at 8 weeks. She was eating, drinking–so when I read all the info on “when it’s time” She didn’t fit any of them, except crying out in pain when lying down. I put her down too early–because her crying in pain was killing ME. I will never forgive myself–and haven’t stopped crying for weeks. I have to go into the bathroom at work to cry.

    Honestly, I want to kill myself. I cannot believe I took her life. –the memory of her whining after being sedated, then getting the Beuthanasia needle is too much to bear.

    • Amy says:

      Cindi,

      Oh do I know how you are feeling. I spent about an hour this morning sobbing for my dog I put down 6 months ago. It still hurts so much and I have lots of guilt. But my dog still ate, still loved treats, still loved to go for car rides, etc. but her pain & discomfort grew by the week. Her pain meds also stopped working, and she could not sleep through the night. I too saw my precious baby gorl look back at me when the vet took her arm to insert the needle. Just typing this makes me cry. You are not alone. You did the right thing. You are grieving. You will grieve for as long as it takes. It’s OK to take their pain upon yourself. See, your dog is no longer in pain, but now you are. If given the choice, would you switch it back? Would you let your dog feel the almost non-stop arthritis pain so that your emotional pain could be lifted? I bet not. You loved your dog so very much. You did the right thing. You will be together again one day, and you will know for sure it was right.

      • Cindi says:

        Thank you Amy–yes, I would gladly take her pain. Her pain meds did work, but the combo of Carprofen, Tramadol 50mg 2 T three times a day, Gabapentin 300mg at night, Melatonin, and Glucosamine made her start drooling quite a bit. That is nausea. And still, she would cry when trying to lie down. Siberian Huskies ‘howl” and woo-woo to talk. This was a loud moan.
        My problem is, she only cried out when lying down..and yes, she would get up and pace. Many nights I would lie on the floor with her, in her bed, and hold a heating pad to her hips. I work 10 hour days, so I was getting about 3-4 hours of sleep at night. BUT–other than that, she was fine. Still alert and seemed happy. Never an accident in the house her whole life.
        I wasn’t getting more than 3-4 hours sleep for 2 months. I was giving her 10 pills a day with peanut butter. I had 3 days off in late April, and knew I would need a couple days to mourn. I feel I did this FOR ME. Arranging and scheduling her death.
        They say–at the time your dog’s soul leaves it’s body, it ‘speaks” to you. She was quietly whining after enough sedative for a 200lb. dog, per the vet. She weighted 76 lbs. –She continued to whine, softly and so pitifully. I heard her speak to me when she passed. She said “Mommy, don’t do this! I will stop crying when I lay down if it bothers you. Please, don’t do this” And then she was gone. She had no other symptoms. I should have left her alone, and let her just be an old dog. I thank you for your reply–but I couldn’t even see my mother on Mother’s Day, or see my son. I feel like any enjoyment from life right now, is a betrayal to her. I am so sick of reading all this stuff online about how the signs are–not eating, not enjoying treats, soiling themselves, unable to go outside to use the bathroom, etc– because none of these applied, so I feel a monster. I miss her so bad, that I have cried and prayed for God to take 10 years off my life and give them to her–to bring her back. If I could just see her one more time. No one understands–everyone has children, husband, wife, other pets etc. And I have had other dogs, when I had my family. But it was just me and her. I want to try to plant some flowers tomorrow, and paint my bathroom, and I feel so guilty for even thinking about ‘moving on” without her, I can’t do it.

        • Amy says:

          Hi Cindi,

          Well, I also thought my dog was telling me the same thing. She looked back at me and I swear her eyes were saying “why are you betraying me?”. I had that terrible guilt for a couple of weeks, crying so much that I broke blood vessels in my eyes. It was torture. So much so that I cried put to my dog and God to forgive. As soon as I did that, a “message” came to me. That look wasn’t “why are you killing me”, it suddenly became clear that that look was “you aren’t leaving me here at the vet, are you?”. Cocoa hated being boarded, even at a friend’s house, she never wanted us to leave her. We didn’t leave her there, we took her body ourselves and drove her 45 mins away to the crematorium. Once I knew she was just afraid to be left, I felt so much better.
          I do not have any kids either, and Cocoa was my first and only dog. I had recently moved to a town I never wanted to be, and she was my comfort. She made it bearable.
          Your feeling like you “scheduled” her death for your own conveneicne is exactly how I felt. In a way, we did the same thing…doing it right before the holidays so that we could travel, because she could no longer travel well.
          If your dog whined while laying down, that is significant, because older dogs do a lot of lying around. If they can’t get relief from lying down, that is a serious quality of life issue, imo. Also, dogs are good at being stoic, and your dog very well may have been in pain at other times as well, but lying down, the signs came out more.
          You are in the throws of serious grief. Be good to yourself, your dog would never want you to feel so bad.
          I am not trying to lecture you, but I just want you to know that you are not alone, and your feelings are normal, and most of all, it will get better!

  8. Cindi says:

    I don’t want to go into the whole story, because if you have commented on this site, then you already know the pain. I put my Siberian Husky down 3 weeks ago at age 14.

    After my divorce of 21 years–she was all I had. I see the posts about–My husband and I had to, my kids and I, my other dogs..etc..But it was just her and I for the last 9 years of her 14 years.
    We had a spiritual connection, that was different from my other dogs in the past, because it was just her and me.

    She got arthritis so bad in her hips, she was crying whenever she would try to lay down. We did the NSAIDS, Tramadol, Glucosamine, and even Melatonin to help her sleep at night. She had a terrible time laying down. Crying out often, and getting back up–then having to lay down again.

    She had no problems getting up. She walked slowly near the end–BUT–She ate, she loved to swim, she loved the dog park, she loved her treats, she greeted me at the door–Spiritually she still loved life, very much. For the first time I have ever known, when putting her to sleep (vet came to my house) She whined. I have put 5 dogs to sleep in my life, and the vet did a very good job—but right before she passed, she whined–several long whines–like “mommy, don’t do this! I am not ready!” –that’s what popped in my head.

    I feel I put her down too early, and I am so sick and sad about it–my heart is maimed with guilt.

  9. Katie says:

    I had my beagle Misty for 12 years (we got her from the shelter and they guessed she was 2-3 when we got her)… Misty started acting strange about 2 weeks ago…not eating, drinking a lot of water, needing to go out every 2 hours and having accidents in the house which she NEVER did. I changed her food about a week before that and thought maybe it was just from the food change. Well this last Thursday I took her into the vet. He x-rays looked fine and they said they would have the blood results the following day as they sent them off to a lab. I got the call Friday that said she was extremely diabetic as her sugar levels were 680 (normal is up to 150). The vet said she was going into diabetic shock and also had the start of pancreatic cancer. The vet said she would need to keep her through the weekend and maybe longer as she was trying to flush her system with an IV. I called her later Friday afternoon and she said she was throwing up a lot and we talked further. She said with a diet change, insulin shots twice a day and weekly vet visits she could hang around for maybe 4-6 months. I was faced with the choice do I keep her around or do I let her go find peace.. it was VERY difficult but I called the vet Friday evening and told her with her age and how sick she was I thought it was best to let her have peace. I went up to the vet to be with her when she passed. The vet carried her into the room by me and she looked terrible… I knew I made the right choice. Her tail wagged a lot when she saw me so I knew she appreciated me being there. I hugged and kissed her and talked to her when they administered it. The vet let me stay as long as I needed when it was done and talked with me for awhile also. I made the choice to get her cremated and get her paw print and some fur. I have a 9 year old that has been with her her whole life and it’s been very hard on all of us. Our furry family members really leave an impression on us. It’s so strange not having her around..seems too quiet. She will be very missed and it will be hard for awhile but I know I made the right choice. I would have loved to have another 4-6 months with her but it’s not worth the suffering and pain she would have went through. There comes a point where you need to think are you doing it to avoid the pain of losing them, or is it what’s best for them?

  10. Stephanie says:

    Is it time? I’m crying my eyes out right now. Last month I came home from work and found my 16+ year old dog limping. I took her to the vet and he suspected a torn ligament in her knee. I have no idea how it happened since I wasn’t home when she got hurt. He ordered 2 weeks of bedrest. I took her to my parent’s house for recovery since they are both retired and can dote on her and care for her full time. Instead of getting better she got worse. She can’t stand up from a seated position, she can’t walk, she can only stand for a few seconds. My parents took her to the vet in their hometown and were told she was just too old. Unfortunately the only pain medicine she will take is metacam which is hard on her kidneys. I called my vet and described the symptoms – he didn’t sound very positive and said she may have a spinal or neurological problem. My parents brought her back today and I have an appointment with her vet on Monday for an exam. This is so hard for me because she’s still eating and pooping fine (with assistance since she can’t squat or stand by herself). The worst thing is I’m having trouble picking her up without biting. She’s not in pain when laying but I think picking her up hurts her. She never would’ve bitten me in the past. I’m so scared to move her. To make matters worse I have a small child at home to watch out for. I think on Monday I may have her be put to sleep unless the vet can give me some miracle cure. This is killing me – I’ve had her for over 15 years and I feel like she’s my first born. Am I doing the right thing?

    • Rachel says:

      Monday has come, so I hope you made the best decision possible. It does sound like it’s time for her to be at peace. 16+ years is such a long, wonderful life. I have an 11 year old Boston who I think it’s time for me to say good-bye as well. That’s how I stumbled upon this page. How do we ever know for sure we are making the right decision right? I plan to pray a lot about it and hopefully will come to the right answer. Prayers for you as well.

      • Stephanie says:

        We did put our precious girl to sleep on Monday. It was the right thing to do. She got even worse as the weekend went on. The vet said that most likely it was a tumor or blood clot causing the loss of use of her legs – nothing fixable at her age. I spent all weekend at her bedside. The morning we took her to the vet I gave her an extra helping of food and we shared peanut butter together. I snipped off a lock of hair.
        I chose not to be there for the procedure but my husband stayed and held her the whole time. I stayed until after they sedated her – I wish I hadn’t done that. Her tongue was hanging out and eyes glazed over. I wish I had left before that,

        I’m still crying my eyes out. Today is much better than earlier this week. I know I will be sad for a long time. I have her a great life and I know that putting her to sleep was the best thing considering her condition. But I miss her so much! I am so sad I won’t see her again in this lifetime.
        I hope the best for you and hope you make the best decision for your beloved dog.

  11. Patricia Wagner says:

    Dear Amy, Karen, Janice , and all of you who have experienced the loss of you closest and best friends, my hear grieves for you and I pray for your healing.
    Ever day for the nearly 70 years I have been on this earth I have shared it with a dog. The happiness they have bright to me is beyond words, and the grief at their passings worse than a knife in the heart. I only know too well how you feel and the depth of your sadness.
    To those stupid enough to think the Gates of Heaven are not open to animals convince me they really don’t know God or true pure love.
    My theory, and I have shared it repeatedly is get another dog as quick as possible. You won’t betray your best friends love, but will instead glorify him or her by
    Giving a home and loving another member of the species. May it be a dog sitting in a pounds, or puppy mill, you have the ability to give out happiness and a loving home. And you well know what the returns are in love, loyalty, and a forever bond.

  12. My Beagle , Honey D. Beals , is losing the ability to get around , her back legs , as well as a large tumor is restricting her movement.the vet will not remove the tumor as she is 13 years old….she can barely get up the ramps ,to the couch ,bed , or the steps to get in the car. is it my decision or the vets , as far as who makes the decision. Thank you

    • Marci says:

      Hi Richard,

      Sorry about the situation with your dog. You make the decision, not the vet. The vet can advise and tell you they can’t treat your dog anymore because there is nothing else they can do, but ultimately you have to decide. It is so hard. Sending you good thoughts for guidance and strength. Take care.

  13. Jim says:

    Our black lab is turning 16 this month. She’s been progressively getting worse – losing a lot of weight and making messes. We’ve been to the vet and he thinks she has dementia, is deaf and is having problems seeing. Medications have helped with some of the issues with her not being able to control her own functions, but it only lasts for a few weeks, then it starts again. The vet doesn’t think she’s necessarily in pain, but her walking isn’t that great as he figures she has arthritis. I’ve been having a terrible time coming to grips with the decision that I think I need to make. She still seems happy being with us and enjoys it when our children be with her and pet her. But I’m afraid that I am just prolonging a situation that will get worse. Aside from the companionship, I don’t think she enjoys any of the things she used to. I’ve been reading all sorts of articles lately and most indicate that the quality of life is so important to consider. Do I let her continue for another month or two? My heard wants to keep her around longer, but I’m wondering if I am being selfish. Its killing me, but the point made in this article about being one day too late is really resonating with me now and is making me question trying for more time.

    • Jana says:

      Jim, Your story is very similar to mine. I have a 14 1/2 year old female Boarder Collie mix. Like your pup, she has lost weight and is making messes everyday while I am gone at work. The Vet thinks that she has heart problems and Sundowners. She does not sleep well, pants and paces during the night. She is on pain meds for a torn ligament in her knee, and wears a calming collar. Neither of which seem to help her anymore. Please give an update on your situation. I am really struggling with this decision to put her down. She is still eating, and drinking, but is very anxious if I am not around. I want to do what is best for her, but I know at her age the medical help is limited. The article talks about being one day too late – I do agree with that statement. However, I also don’t want to do it a day, week, or month too early. My biggest fear is that I am putting her down for selfish reasons. Yes, she is difficult to take care of. Cleaning messes, and not getting sleep myself because of her restlessness. But, is that enough reason to put her down. In the end, her comfort and quality of life is what matters. Jim, I know it has only been a couple days since you posted your comment. Have you come to any decisions? I would like to hear if your thoughts, or if you are still torn.

      • Debbie Henderson says:

        I would tell you that the quality of life is diminishing quickly. Pets who do not normally mess up a house, know that they are doing so and that it is wrong. The look of guilt on their face when they can’t help it tears at the heart. I have made the decision to put down (today) our beautiful Basset Hound Lucy who is 13 or 14. We adopted her 12 years ago from a rescue. She is not eating and can’t get herself up from a laying position. Once we help her up she can take a few steps. She has had walking issues before and usually in 4 days she was back to her old self. Tomorrow will be a week and there is no improvement and she has not eaten (except some chicken I feed her a couple of days–and after lots of coaching to get her to eat). So it’s time. She sleeps a lot and seldom wakes up even with load noises and she pants a lot when awake (which could be congestive heart failure). My head knows it’s time but my heart is breaking. We have two younger basset mixes from the rescue too–so that will help some but Lucy will be sorely missed by my family.

        • Jim says:

          Hi Jana – it is so tough… I have to admit… I delayed it out a little longer but it is coming time. I’m glad she got a little more time, but its clear that she’s just existing. We’re going to book an appt with the vet for this coming Saturday morning. :( I know its going to hit our family like a ton of bricks. But its the right thing to do.

          Debbie – so sorry to hear about Lucy. I hope that you will be ok.

  14. Jeff says:

    hi all, I just wanted to share my recent experience. We have had our chocolate lab since he was a puppy. He was 13 so I’m sure he had a long and happy life. He had his yearly vet visit in March and he was doing good, only thing that was maybe hindering him was arthritis in his hips, but still ran around fine. Fast forward to April 23, he began throwing up, a little at first and still eating and drinking then it got progressively worse, he also stopped eating completely, not even table scraps which he loved!! I had to get him in to see what’s wrong. The vet did blood work and his red blood cells were low and he was dehydrated. He had lost 10 lbs since March. An x-Ray was taken of his midsection and he had a large tumor on or next to his spleen. I was devastated. I knew before the vet even told me what the options were. You can put him through a major surgery which he may or may not make it through and pay a large amount of money or euthanize. I still question if what I did was right. This has been so hard. We decided to euthanize based on the fact he may or may not make it, and we didn’t want him to starve or suffer anymore even though I wanted to do anything to keep him around. I took him home Friday so everyone could say goodbye and monday we put him to sleep. I really hope I did the right thing. It breaks my heart he isn’t here anymore.

    • Amy says:

      Jeff,

      Sounds very similar to my choco lab’s issues…we put her down 5 months ago in order to end her suffering.

      You did the right thing. It’s so hard, but you did it for him. You essentially transferred your dog’s suffering from him to yourself. That is an act of love.

      Peace be with you.

      • Karen says:

        Jeff comment needs commended! It even made me feel better about putting my dog down March 9th. I never thought of it as ending our beloved pets pain and putting it on ourselves! It did make me feel better reading that. I do hope all of you reading this who have been in a similar situation are getting through your loss. God knows what are dogs meant to us and will help us through. Thanks again Jeff!

        • Jeff says:

          Thank you both Amy and Karen, it really helps to share this with others who have been through it, it is soooo hard. I cant help but feel guilty I didn’t do enough or we didn’t catch it sooner and reading other stories on here really helps. It is also reassuring to hear we did the right thing, I don’t want to feel guilty that we didn’t spend the money and put him through the pain and recovery of a surgery at his age and if he didn’t make it I would not have been able to say good bye or take him to the lake one last time.

          • Amy says:

            Hi Jeff,

            You are in good company right now. Just know that yes, it IS sooooo hard. I kept saying “I have a 70 pound hole in my heart”. My Cocoa occupied that spot for almost 15 years, so life without her was so different, and not as fun or meaningful it seemed.

            I cried ALOT during the first month after she passed. Right around the one month mark, the intense pain lifted. Now, I still cry for her every so often, but I feel like I am not crying about her death so much as that I just miss her.

            Anyway, right now, just let yourself feel all the emotions…every emotion you are feeling (guilt, second guessing, regret, anger, etc) is normal. But it does get easier.

            Once you are ready, please adopt a rescue dog, that will really really help you more than anything!

            Take care,
            Amy

    • Marci says:

      Hi Jeff,

      I’m sorry for your loss. Making that decision is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and it never gets easier. Since you love your dog so much I’m sure you didn’t make it lightly and did what you knew deep down to be the best thing for your dog. I am going through pretty much exactly the same thing right now with my dog Gracie. She’s a very large dog, part Australian Shepherd and part mystery very large dog. Anyway, our beloved border collie/lab lost his battle with cancer about 6 weeks ago and we thought our dog was depressed. The vet tried to perk her up with some anti depressants but they were no help. Then she stopped eating. After a couple of days of no eating, we took her to the vet and her red blood cells were so low the vets couldn’t believe she was alive. We were told out best option was a blood transfusion which would buy her about a week and give them some time to find out what is causing her problem – cancer, auto immune anemia, etc. An x-ray showed an enlarged spleen as well, but no visible tumor. Her blood work was way too bad for the vet to attempt surgery, she would almost certainly die. We were sent home with her test results and told to visit the specialist for a transfusion. However, after speaking to two different facilities we were told the cost for a dog blood transfusion would probably be upwards of $5000.00. After some research on the internet I read about some food sick animals would almost always eat called critical care, I think made by Hills. Went to the vet and got a can of than and she started eating again, more than she ever has. At her next blood test a couple of days later her blood was even worse, she had lost even more weight and there was more guilt about the transfusion. (I love my animals, but to spend that much money with very little hope for a good result with two college aged kids and retirement 10 – 15 years away, isn’t the right choice for us.) The vet said she has two days left, max. This was a week ago last Thursday. Then she seemed to get better, went on walks, greeted people at the door. We felt hope, but this morning she can’t stand up without a lot of help and she is not eating. She doesn’t seem to be in pain, just fading away. Like others have said here, you took on the pain so he didn’t have to. You sound like a good and kind person and the sadness will get better with time. (Trust me, in the past year I lost my father to cancer, my sweet cat to FIPr, my oldest dog to cancer and am now facing putting down another sweet dog.) Remember, “it is better to have loved and lost than never to love at all.” Anyway, sending good thoughts to all of you and I hope I make it through this one more time myself.

  15. Cheri says:

    I have read the stories on this site and it has helped me in making the hardest decision and that is to let my girl go, she is part Rhodesian Ridgeback and mutt, she can’t see or hear anymore, eats very little except her treats. I took her to the beach this last weekend to let her run and smell the ocean, she did pretty good, got high centered on a log, but she had a good time, but I know it’s time. She been the best girl ever and always had the unconditional love non-dog lovers will never know. Thank you for your stories.

    • Amy says:

      Cheri,

      I am so glad you took your girl to the beach for one last romp. We also tried to give our lab the best day ever, right before we let her go.

      It is the hardest thing I have ever been through.

      I hope you find some peace with your decision.

  16. Fran says:

    My dog is 15 years old. The past few months have been kind of hard. He has a tumor (benign) on his neck, arthritis, trouble hearing, and recently has had trouble breathing through his nose. He doesn’t walk that great, he has to be carried up and down the stairs and is stumbling most of the time. He is drinking water but eating little. I know he is suffering, he’s not the happy dog running around the house like he used to be. But I feel so guilty putting him down. It’s not only my decision, how do I even bring it up to my family?

  17. Caroline says:

    Hi , I have a jack Russell , max. He has been the most wonderful friend and I love him dearly. He has a twisted spine , vet says he was most likely born with it. He finds it hard to walk and he cannot raise his head much from the floor he falls a lot and his front paws fold making it impossible for him to walk at times. Max is 14 years old and my heart breaks for him everyday. He goes out three times a day on short walks then I put him in his doggy cart I have two more jack Russells so I need to take them out for walks and couldn’t bare to leave max behind. I no I have to make a decision sooner rather than later but I’m finding it so hard . I’ve read all the other story’s and my heart goes out to all of you .

  18. Kris says:

    I’m crying reading these comments. Such a hard life experience, I am facing this with my 15 year old Lhasa, He has eye auto-immune disease and doesn’t see well, arthritis in his hips and back legs, a tumor in his right ear so he doesn’t hear well at all, allergies and “doggie dementia “. He gets very confused and afraid if I am not with him! BUT it’s still such a hard decision!!

    • Amy says:

      What you have written described my 15 yo lab exactly, with the ear tumor and everything! We made the decision to let her go last November, and it was the hardest thing ever. I still, 5 months later, miss her so much and cry so much for her. It will be very difficult and very sad, that is just the truth. I am so sorry. You are not alone, we are all in the same boat here. All you can do is love on your sweet baby as much as possible unitl that time come.

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks to all who have shared your experiences with your beloved pets. I feel like I’m being selfish by keeping my 9 year old chocolate lab alive. He has diabetis, constant ear infections, skin disease (the medicine that would treat his skin counteracts with the insulin so he constantly bites himself until he bleeds.) I’m having a hard time letting go because when I come home, he still greets me at the door, wagging his tail. That is the only enjoyment in his life. As I type this, I’m realizing what I need to do, but I’ve never been through this with a pet and I’m scared for him and me.

      • Amy says:

        Jennifer,

        I am so sorry you are going through this. My dog was also a chocolate lab. She also had the diabetes and skin issues. She was always hungry, she drank so much water she would puke, had stinky gunky ears, and her hair fell off in patches.
        We did put her on a grain free, low carb diet, and went from feeding twice a day to feeding less food but spreading it out over 4 meals to keep her blood sugar more stable. We bathed her in special medicated shampoo to help her skin. We got drops for her ears and just cleaned them more often. We found a holistic vet who treated her with cold laser therapy and acupuncture. All is made a huge impact on her health and happiness and gave us another solid 2 years with her. She died last fall at almost 15.

  19. Dear DJ,

    My heart goes out to you and your little pug Stewie. I love him too, and I’ve never even met him! I love the name, and I love pugs….and our earth will cry out when Stewie is gone.

    It’s difficult to discern when a dog is in pain, because they are so stoic. They hide it so well! My dog Georgie had a huge scratch on her eye (from killing a squirrel, but that’s a whole different story), and she didn’t seem to be in pain at all. She ate, chased stuff, slept, growled at strangers at the door. The only way I knew something was wrong was that one eye was closed, like a permanent wink. The veterinarian told me that eye scratches are incredibly painful, and she immediately gave Georgie painkillers. I felt terrible – I didn’t take her to the vet for 3 days, because I kept thinking her eye would heal on its own.

    If my dogs became ill, I wouldn’t want to do extensive tests or treatments either. I love my dogs so much, but I don’t want to put them through anything painful. I believe that death is far more painful for us survivors than it is for dogs or people. I really believe death is “resting in peace” and being enfolded in a constant embrace with God. The thought of not having my dogs with me is heart wrenching, but worse is the thought that they’re suffering.

    I wish you all the best as you make this decision. May you take Stewie to the vet, and trust yourself to be honest with the vet about your wishes for Stewie’s life. I pray that the vet you go to is like-minded, and supportive of your decision. May you right now be filled with faith, confidence, and strength to do what you believe is best for Stew. You know your dog best, DJ. Stewie is your dog, and he loves you with all his mind, heart, and soul. May you put his welfare before your broken heart, and take care of him all the way to the end of his life. He will love you all the more for it.

    It is such a sacrifice to even think of putting a dog to sleep…but all sacrifices are a heavy blend of extreme love and extreme pain.

    Let us know what you decide, and how you’re doing.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  20. DJ says:

    Probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to consider is what to do about my best friend. I have a little pug named Stewie and for the past 6 months I’ve been treating his diabetes with two shots per day. Recently, due to the onset of blindness, that was almost instantaneous, he has begun to run into things and fall out of bed at night when trying to get a drink of water. He has the trademark bulging pug eyes, so because he can’t see he doesn’t know to close them around bushes and objects in the house, so recently somewhere in the house he has poked his eye or scratched it. He can still open it but he’s very scared of me getting too close to it. Anyway, the insulin stopped his constant urination and massive drinking for awhile, but it’s started again, he has accidents all the time and he’s afraid to go up or down the stairs without my guide. The hardest part about this decision, is that he doesn’t seem to be in pain. He’s eating well, drinking well, taking his green bean and carrot treats. The only thing that leads me to believe he may be uncomfortable physically is that he’s not as excited and jumpy, just sleepy and dumpy. I love my dog so much, he’s been with me through some tough moments and I saved him from a terrible situation. He was my rock after I quit drinking, smoking and ended my marriage. He’s been my copilot in my new life, next to me every day, and the thought of him not being with me is making it nearly impossible for me to type this. It just seems it can only get worse for him and that’s just as hard a thought to bear. I’m afraid to go to the vet and tell them that I think it may be time, I don’t want them to think I’m an awful person. I don’t have the cash to do all the testing and treatments to determine other problems and frankly, I don’t want Stew to endure that. I’m just not sure what to do. He’s laying right next to me in his usual spot, snoring away against my leg, and I’m considering putting him down I feel horrible. He’s a beautiful boy and the best friend I’ve ever had, but I don’t know what to do.

  21. This poem, written from the perspective of a dog who is saying good-bye to his family, made me cry. I think it’s really important to let yourself grieve your loss when you put your dog to sleep. Don’t avoid the pain and tears — pass through them, so your heart heals and you can love again. For life is love….and life is loss.

    Time To Go

    The time has come I think you know
    the Lord is calling so I must go
    I love you so much; I wish it wasn’t so
    I wish I could stay; I don’t want to go

    You’re the best family a dog ever had
    so kind and gentle, never mean or mad
    I’ll never forget the day that we met
    I was so lucky to become your pet

    You opened your door and showed me your heart
    I’ll never forget you; we’ll never part
    You loved me and cared for me over the years
    you taught me everything and took away my fears

    The Lord is calling now I must go
    but before I go I want you to know
    I know it hurts to lose a friend
    but I’ll be with you even at the end.

    Written by John Quealy

  22. Debbie says:

    My Jack russel is 18 years old, blind and deaf. He seems to be healthy. We are considering putting him down. He is confused, bumps into walls and we only foud out yesterday after the neighbours came complaining that he doesn’t stop barking the whole day. I think he feels unsecure even when we are at home i have to spend he whole time to keep him quiet. Unfortunately there is no one during the day to look after him although he is with my 2 other jack russels, he still keeps on barking. He doesn’t play anymore or do anything other than eating his meal to show that he still enjoys life.no one can pick him up except for me, he hurts when you pick him up, I am not sure where exactly, but I know just how to pick him up. am i making the right decision? I feel so guilty!!

    • Amy says:

      Hi Debbie,

      18 is very old even for a small breed. However, you say your baby is still i. Good health and likes to eat. So, what I would do is ask the vet about getting him on an NSAID and pain medication as well as an Rx for cognitive disorder (dementia). It might be worth a try to medicate him to make him more comfortable and less anxious.

    • Janice says:

      I lost my 15 year old Jack Russell two days ago, my heart is broken, feel like it won’t heal. It was the hardest thing to do, but I loved him so much, I didn’t want him to suffer anymore, he was very sick . It is a most difficult decision to make. Talk to your vet and see what they think. Buddy took Prozac for a while. they have other meds that they can use to help calm Jack Russells . I would try different things first,, but it is your call. Make a list of positive and negative things about your dog and go from there. Please talk to your vet, they may have some solutions to the problems. I will pray for you and your dog.

      • Janice says:

        Today was a difficult day for me, I went and pick up Buddy’s ashes and urn. It is cooper with paw prints all over it. I put it on the bookcase, top shelf, in the middle with a picture of him next to it. My Buddy has been gone 11 days, I hurt and am very sad, my best friend is Heaven, I love you Buddy

  23. Karen says:

    I adopted my dog from the SPCA. Named him Rugger.(Rug-ger) he’s been my best friend for 13 short years. I had to take him to the vet yesterday because his back legs are going out on him. He falls up steps and that’s not like him at all. When the vet checked him she said his hips felt fine. His back may be a little sore. But nothing terrible. They did an X-ray and saw nothing. They did a full blood panel that came back fine. I spent 300.00 and they have no answers for me. Today I had to carry the dog outside to go potty. He only went one time. He refused to eat anything this evening for the first time. When we took him back out and tried putting a leash around his neck and bottom half so he could walk he just flops over. Lays on his side. I know he won’t ever walk again. He’s getting worse now since he won’t eat. I feel like if I choose to put him to sleep I’m sinning against though shall not kill. I have prayed to either make him better or take him in his sleep. That way I don’t have to make such a hard decision. I know soon he will not be her with our family…especially me any longer. My next question is this…..Would it be horrible if I were to get him stuffed? Then I will be able to see him everyday for the rest of my life. My mom says I’m wrong. Having him skinned as she put it. I’m so confused. I’m so sad. I’m so angry I’m not rush and can’t get the answers as to what this is that’s going on in him. If anyone ever tells me money isn’t everything again….I will SCREAM!!!!! If I had more money I could keep figuring out what the issue is. Possibly fix it and he will be with us longer. So I have all these decisions if he doesn’t just pass on on his own soon. He can’t get up. He just lays there. We roll him over every few hours. We carry him out to go potty even though he hasnt gone but early this morning. I keep trying to get him to eat things like chicken, cheese, ham, canned dog food etc. I read an article that says animals don’t have souls? That confused me. I thought everything breathing thing had a soul. I’m convinced he does and am struggling with the decision to put him down. This has given me no time to prepare. Get answers. I can’t stop thinking. Or crying. I want him to just get up already. Ugh! I love him so much. He’s my dog. My life. He’s been through a lot with me and no matter what he is always there. He forgives me and used to cry and lay by get door when I had to leave. Please help me figure this out. Or just let me know your praying my precious Rugger boy just goes peacefully in s sleep so I don’t have to think about this decision. Thank you to everyone.

    • apple says:

      He’s in pain…nobody would blame you for letting him go…I’m letting mine go very soon as well….crying right now.

      • Karen says:

        Thank you. It happened today. Been crying non stop. It hurts. He was my baby. 13 years just wasn’t long enough. I did a paw print and cut some hair from his tail. Have his name tag and other tags on his collar. But crying right now because I want to lay with him and he isn’t her to do that with now.

        • Amy says:

          So sorry. I know the pain. It cuts so deep. Just cry as much as you need to. I had to put mine down 5 months ago and still I cry for her often. I call out for her and talk to her. Seems pitiful, but I miss her so much. Just know that you gave your baby a wonderful life and you will meet again at the rainbow bridge.

        • Tammy says:

          Taking my pretty girl Scout to be put down was the hardest, most painful experience; strangely, it was worse than my father’s death because Scout’s death was MY decision. The night before, I laid down on the floor next to her, and I believe she assured me then that she was ready. She lived her 14 years to the fullest and had given us her very best. After she passed, our vet said, “now I know how much you loved her.” I am most grateful for those words. The sadness and, worst of all, the emptiness takes time to overcome. Today I share my ice cream with my sweet boy Pete, so different from Scout, but I know she approves and I believe I will see her again.

    • Janice says:

      I am so sorry about your dog. God gave us our animals because he knew we needed them. I know it hurts, My Buddy was my life, he saved my life and I his, was going to be put down the next day, I knew then this is the dog God wanted me to have. He brought joy and pleasure to me, my best friend. I am trying to figure out how to go on without him, he was my baby, my everything. I had hoped Buddy would go in his sleep, but he didn’t. I think he was holding on for me, but I knew it was his time. He helped me through my depression and mental illness. I got him at the animal shelter here in town.
      It is your decision, he is you baby. It may be time to let him go. be at peace and I believe there is a Heaven for our animals. There is a poem about Rainbow Bridge, the place where you meet up with your animals when we pass away. You will see him again one day. Buddy was good to me and saw me through a lot too. He knew when I needed extra loving. The process of having them put to sleep was very peaceful I held Buddy as the vet gave him the shots. He gave one to make him feel no pain, and then the medicine that made him go to doggy Heaven. I will pray for Rugger and you, Bless you and Rugger.

      • Karen says:

        Thank you. Your so kind. My Rugger is missed and I am so sad at times. I knew he would never be able to walk again. He had lost he use of his hind legs then it went to the front legs. It was a very hard decision to make and I kept him around like that longer then other people would have. I kept thinking he wasn’t ready. I know I wasn’t. I also felt like God wouldn’t forgive me if I made the decision to end his life. It’s not my decision. Well, it ended up being my decision in the end. I kept praying asking God to heal him or take him. For some reason God wanted me to learn something from this situation. Though, I haven’t figured it out as of yet. I do also believe we will see our beloved pets again when we make it to Heaven. I have never heard of the rainbow bridge though. I will have to try and google that. To find that story. Again, thank you for your comment. And I wish you peace in your healing process with your beloved Buddy. God bless you in this sad time.

        • Janice says:

          Bought several books about pets and other animals on what happens when our best friends pass away from this earth. I am reading now, I will see you in Heaven, has a picture of a dog on it. I know I will see Buddy again, God brought us together. The hurt and pain are still there. My kitty know something is different, she goes into the others room and meows, I think she is looking for Buddy. I keep thinking this is all a nightmare and I will wake up and Buddy will be at my side. Then I realize that it is real and Buddy died.. My heart breaks all over again, I don’t know if I can allow myself to get another dog and going through this again. I will get, the time is right, a dog from the animal shelter. I will save a life.

          • Karen says:

            Janice,
            I’m so sorry for you. As I know what your feeling. I put a pair of black boots down in front of our couch the other night. I sat down and started browsing through channels on TV. Then from the corner of my eye I saw the black from my boots and actually thought it was my Rugger! I started to say Rug what are you….and then I realized they were just my boots sitting there. I was sad. B I do have to say I was more upset and cried a ton more for my dog when he was sick. I was and am still upset I couldn’t keep paying for more testing to find out what caused him to not have the use of his legs. I used to lay with him and cry and say GET UP PLEASE! JUST GET UP to him over and over again. I would sob. He would then start to sound as though he was crying. It was very hard. I did make a paw print with clay and saved his collar and tags. My daughter made a cross from sticks and put it in our flower garden with his collar around it. I saw his collar today and took it to bring inside. I do t want it to fade. I’m going to hang it on a hook in our office area and put the paw print on a little stand if I can find one on the desk. I also cut some hair from his tail and kept that. Were you able to do anything like that with Buddy? I’m sure you have lots if pictures of him and him and you….
            Maybe if you haven’t already you can put some in a frame and hang it in a spot where you can define as a little spot to remember him? If you saved his collar you could also hand it on a hook near the pictures. That may help.
            We have two other dogs. They are labs. Yellow and black. My husband saw our black lab, Hemi today from the side and said how much he looked like Rugger for a second. But Rugger was only 53 lbs. Hemi is like 80-85. One day we will get another dog. But like you, I am not ready for that right now. I hope you had a good weekend and when thinking of Buddy you are able to smile at the silly things he did or just remember the joy he is having in Heaven right now with my Rugger! God bless you.

          • Janice says:

            I cut some hair from Buddy, Have his collar, will put them by his urn when I get his ashes. Yes, I have the final pictures of Buddy and me. my sisters took at the vet office. I was holding him and one where I was kissing him good bye. It’s been four days, I keep looking for Buddy, then something reminds me of the fact that he is gone, but I have joy knowing I will see my Buddy again one day, I hold on to that, helps me. I will keep you in my prayers.

          • Karen says:

            My Rugger was 4 days ago too! I did not have him cream aged. I wanted to get him stuffed. To be able to look at him every day for the rest of my life. But then, I felt like my heart may never be able to heal if I had to see him not alive everyday for the rest of my life. I couldn’t afford to get him cream acted after all the money I spent at the vets when he first lost the use of his hind legs. I brought him home and my husband burried him. I have been trying to find a nice marker to put with the cross in the garden. I also have pictures with Rugger that my daughter took at the vets. One of me laying on the floor with him on a dog bed kissing him. Another just holding his head in my hands. Such a sad time for the both of us. Seems we have more in common then we may realize. Well, Janice it is very nice to meet you. We can help each other heal and find peace in knowing our dogs are looking down on us and are probable the best of friends now! Maybe they somehow brought us together! God is an awesome God and does have our backs. We will mend. Just thank The Lord for the time you did have with Buddy. For The Lord knows what we need and that our dogs needed us! Sleep well.

    • Pat says:

      My dog was very sick over the weekend and had to be rushed to the urgent care where he stayed for two night, costing 2100.00 dlls…. wow! He is 13 and I see the inevitable coming soon. M

    • Pat says:

      My dog was very sick over the weekend and had to be rushed to the urgent care where he stayed for two night, costing 2100.00 dlls…. wow! He is 13 and I see IT coming soon. He seems to be doing ok but the vet suggested additional test for Cushing Desease, I have read some articles and it describes him to the T. All i know that my heart will break in million pieces but I will do for him what I want for myself when the time comes. I will be in pain because he is gone but he will not suffer, not if i can help it. I love him way, way too much. He brought so much joy to my life, so much unconditional love and will miss him like crazy, but I do believe that God will reunite us one day.

  24. Nosilac says:

    I just had to make the decision to have my beloved 12.5 year old black labrador put to sleep this morning. Libby was rejected as a Guide Dog for the Blind (too friendly apparently!) and came to us in December 2003 at the age of 14 months. She has given us many wonderful years and has been a great friend to my youngest son (now 17) who as Asperger’s Syndrome.

    She had a major elbow operation for diseased cartilage in 2008 and bounced back. In June 2012 we thought we’d lost her with what turned out to be inflammatory brain disease. She confounded our vets but getting back to full health within 5 months. Her zest for life and enthusiasm never wavered.

    She was a great character and you never quite knew what she would get up to next, but was the most gentle, loving dog we could have hoped for. In the last year she has been struggling with arthritic hips, on top of the the arthritis in her elbow which was inevitable after her elbow operation. Two weeks ago she picked up a dreadful gastric virus and this led to the discovery that she had advanced kidney disease, and could no longer take the anti-inflammatory medication for her arthritis. She was obviously in a lot of pain, and the kidney disease led to her drinking excessively and hence losing control of her bladder and this was making her very distressed.

    After discussion with our vet, who’s been treating Libby with acupuncture for the last year and knows her well, I made the decision to let her go this morning. She’s came into my life 9 months after I lost my mum and 9 months later I lost my Dad. In that time I had my youngest son diagnosed with ASD, and in the last 18 months she’s been my constant companion since my husband left us. I know I can’t have another dog just now, I now work much more than I did when she was younger and my youngest is about about to head off to uni. She’s been the best dog ever, My heart is broken, but reading this page has made me surer of my decision and it’s a comfort to know I’m not alone.

    • Tom says:

      Hi Nosilac,
      I am very moved by your letter. I live with my son, Chris, who has a very old dog “Haley.” Haley is arthritic and mostly sleeps on the couch all day. She has trouble making it up steps and can still walk ok. She enjoys a walk. Chris has high functioning autism and was initially diagnosed with ASD. I’m wondering how your son is doing ?
      -Tom

  25. Nikki says:

    I am having a hard time trying to decide whether or not it is time to put my dog to sleep. She is a Shih-poo mix, approximately 10 years old. I read they can live 12- 15 yrs though. I don’t have to money for her to see a vet right now. She has lived with us for about four years after her previous family was unable to care for her any more.. She came with fleas and dental problems. In the past couple months she has just changed. She is going #1 and #2 all over the house which isn’t usual, is no longer greeting us at the door. She is normally very friendly and greets us and jumps on us and sleeps with the kids. Now I never know where she is, she is usually hiding under the bed and when the kids try to pet her she bites them. Even when I try to pet her, and I am her favorite! Like I said, I cant afford to take her to the vet so I am not sure if there is anything medically wrong but cleaning up pee and poo all day I s starting to get exhausting and also worrying about her biting the kids. She is still eating, but not as much. Any advice?

    • Amy says:

      Hello,

      I am sorry about your dog, that is a tough situation to be in!

      I would say your dog is either in pain or suffering from a cognitive disorder.

      Does she seem like she is feeling pain in her legs, teeth, or spine?

      Does he “get lost” in familiar places? Such as trying to go outside at the wrong door or cannot find her way out of the kitchen?

    • Amy says:

      I womder if you could take her into the vet and just get an opinion and not spend too much. What if the fix is something simple?

    • Janice says:

      I had to take my 15 year old Jack Russell to vet again. He stopped eating and drinking fluids. He had kidney problems, liver problems, and arthritis in back legs. Vet does not feel like he is suffering at this time. I read when they don’t eat, they may be in pain, the vet felt his tummy and nothing seemed enlarged. He had an enlarged heart at well .Buddy saved my life and I saved his, He was to be put down the next day, I couldn’t let that happen. I was looking for a lap dog, but brought Buddy home instead. I named him Buddy. It wiil be 9 years on August 12 that I have had him. I saw my psychiatrist today and talked all about Buddy, he say to get another dog now, I want to give my full attention to Buddy. I suffer from suicidal depression, when I got Buddy I was in bad shape, he brought he out of it at that time. Don’t know what I will do when he is gone forever. He is keeping close to me. Which he always did anyways, but it is different this time. It’s likes he wants to be close by when he dies. I am hoping he will die peacefully in his sleep and I won’t have to have the vet put him to sleep I will have him cremated so he can always be beside me. I had my 18 year old cat put to sleep 3 years ago. It was a hard decision, but she couldn’t stand up anymore, I knew the time had come. Jack Russells can live a long time, I gave him 9 extra years. He is the best dog, always good at the vet.
      My worker was with me today and took us to the vet, she has had to put down 5 animals in the last several year, She knows the drill. I love you Buddy, mama won’t let you suffer. When I see the sign I will take you to Dr. Jon and then you will go to RainbowBridge where I will meet up with you when it comes for me to go. For those of you who don’t know RainBow Bridge, it is the place where you see you departed animals again. You are reunited with them. God loves dogs,, he made them, I bet even Jesus had a dog when growing up. DOG spelled backwards is GOD. That is a God thing for sure. I am praying for all those of you out there that is going through this now. Remember Rainbow Bridge, bless you and you animals.

  26. Mel says:

    I had my 13 year old Lakeland terrier put to sleep yesterday hes kidneys were failuing and he fought on for 6 wks but made the hardest decision to end he’s s pain. Our vet said she didn’t think he would make it over the Easter wk end my heart broke right there All I can say is I’m in pain now my heart really hurts its a pain I can’t even discribe I feel lost i just miss him I miss he’s snoring he’s click clack of he’s nails on the floor. the jangling of he’s collar when he walked about and being able to hoover without him trying to kill it will take sometime to get use too… It’s true what they say a house ain’t a home without a dog I have cats that I love dearly but they don’t fill this house like he did…

    • Amy says:

      Hi Mel,

      You are not alone. It hurts so deeply when they are gone. It is the hardest thing. I’m so sorry for your loss. Mine went to heaven right before Thanksgiving. It will be very hard for weeks. It took me a solid month before I could make it through an entire day without crying.
      Again, I am sorry!

      • Mel says:

        Thank you Amy for your kind words some ppl are like its a dog and you will get over it all I can say is they must of never loved or been loved by a treasured pet the wave of emotions you feel and go though is crazy Iv cried so much in these last few days my face is literally sore and now I just feel guilty but it’s nice to talk about him and remember he’s funny ways Iv only just today managed to clean the garden up of hes little poos as made as that sounds it was like removing the very last of him from this house feels like a betrayal mental I know… But I love him so much and he will always be in my heart

        • Amy says:

          Some people do not understand that dogs are almost closer. To our hearts than our kids because they do not “grow up and leave home”. They always stay very dependent on us and only grow old…which means they go back to being even more delendent on us humans. We care for them from start to finish, and our relationship with them is intimate–we feed them, help them potty, and cuddle with them in bed. Everyone I have talked to a out the loss of my beloved dog felt the same way a out their dog. It is a universal hurt when we lose them. Cry all you need to, just let it out. And know that you are not alone when you feel sad or guilty. But also know that you will see your baby again one day, and it will be wonderful.

    • Janice says:

      I know how you feel Mel, It is the worst hurt loosing your best friend. My Buddy(he is named Buddy, I named him that) Is close to dying, vet said he did not think Buddy was suffering, he had heart, liver and kidney problems, the blood work showed all that. X-ray of heart showed it enlarged . Vet thought the heart problem would make him die, but Buddy hanged on. I know it will be in a day or two. My poor Buddy went deaf and could not let me know when someone was coming. He was my watchdog also. I know it hurts, and hurts bad. You gave her 13 years. She knew you loved and you loved her.I . I still cry for my cats that I have lost years ago. Remember her with great love, all the fun and wonderful times with her. Remember Rainbow Bridge, I will try and get the poem to it and put it on here. It is ok to cry and cry all you want. You just lost someone most important to you. You are in my prayers, I bet you she is making lots of friends in Heaven.
      God Bless you and her.

      • Mel says:

        Thank you for your kind words it helps reading that other ppl are going though the same pain and understand how much our fur babies meant to us I’m sorry for your loss

        • Mel says:

          So I find myself here again from posting last wk the day after I had him put to sleep. Iv cried,,haven’t slept and barely been able to function but had to coz I have 2 young kids so putting on a brave face as they say! But today is a wk he’s been gone and I just had a little cry everyone around me just carrys On my kids have bounced back IT seems my partner doesn’t mention him I just fill down and sad not all the time but not being able to see if he’s okay I guess is why ? god it’s the worse pain I miss him

          • Amy says:

            I can relate to what you are saying. My dog was my husband’s baby, he had her before we even met. He was so claoe to her and I alwqys said he would be a total mess when she passed. Well he “got over it” so much faster and easier than I did. It has been 5 months since she left us, and I still cry for her so often. You are not alone!

  27. Dear Misa,

    I think Amy gave you some really good advice. It does sound like your little dog is in pain, especially since he’s limping and not eating.

    May you find courage and strength to do what’s best for your chihuahua. Loving our dogs until the very end is a huge sacrifice and it causes us so much pain…but we need to accept responsibility and let them go when they are suffering. I pray that you find the courage you need to take care of your dog by taking him to the veterinarian. Maybe he only needs medications, maybe he needs something else. Whatever your dog needs, I pray that you are able to give it to him quickly so he doesn’t suffer any more. I pray for wisdom, guidance, and healing for you. Amen.

    Let us know what the vet says about your dog.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  28. Misa says:

    Hello everyone I am here for some advise. I have a 15yr old male chihuahua he has a torn ligament in his back leg so if he walks a lot he begins to hop. Lately he has been having a lot of accidents in the house and his appetite to his food is slim to none. I have tried different foods and nothing seems to help. I can tell he is losing weight. When I get him up in the morning from my bed to let him out he cries when I lift him but then is fine to walk and climb steps. he is very very attached to me as I am to him. I am not sure weather or not it is time to put him down. Please help

    • Amy says:

      Hello,

      Waht does your vet say about this development?

      It sounds like your dog is in pain. Is you dog on pain meds or anti-inflammatories?

      Amy

    • Sylvie says:

      Hi Misa,

      Have you been to the vet to fix his leg? What does he/she say? It is a really hard decision which I have had to make 3 times in the last 2 years.

      Good luck and know that loving your dog is also loving it enough to let it go to a place where he will be pain free.

  29. patricia stoner says:

    we lost our dog angel to a immune disorder she was a shepherd collie mix she was so smart & sweet.she had a hard beginning in life. she was left alone in a trailer with no air or heat.she neaver saw a vet and had puppies by herself. when I got her we took her to the vet and had her spaded our vet loved her and when she got sick we all did everything to save her. I am so angry she died and did not make it. when other dog have I pray god will help me to accecpt this we had her for 4 yrs.

    • Amy says:

      I am so sorry!! It is so hard to lose a dog! It is so unfair isn’t it? You are going through the natural phases of grief. Anger is a normal emotion when we lose a dear loved one.

      Take comfort in knowing that your dog is no longer suffering.

      Please take extra good care of yourself during this time. Cry when you need to.

      When the time is right, rescue another dog that needs your love. That is the best thing you can do to honor the memory of your sweet baby.

      I am so sorry you are hurting, but I do know the feeling too well.

      It will get better with time, I promise!

  30. Alex says:

    Hi everyone

    Really feel supported in reading all your comments, although my situation is slightly different. I just euthanised my beautiful staffy cross ally two weeks ago today. She was eight years old. She attacked and nearly killed a neighbours dog (unprovoked) before turning on another of my dogs who just happened to be nearby. It was like a switch just flipped in her head, no behaviour like that ever before! I had to make the horrible decision based on the safety of my other dogs and my 18 month old son. Rehoming was not an option as a very anxious dog who would not have coped with a prolonged stay in a kennel environment – and all of the rescues local to me are at saturation point. I felt like it was the only decision that was safe for us and fair to her. But it hurts so much. I got her ashes back just yesterday. I’m a vet nurse myself and never in a million years thought id be making that decision. She came all the way here from Australia with me and was the silliest, sweetest dog I know. RIP little girl xx

  31. Dear Molly,

    Thank you for being here. I understand how difficult it is to actually go to the veterinarian, even if the signs it’s time to put a dog to sleep are clear. It’s heart-breaking, and many dog owners never fully recover from their dog’s death. It’s painful.

    But, part of loving our dogs is letting them go. We need to let them rest in peace – and we need to put our grief and pain aside, so we can love our dogs the way they need to be loved, all the way to the end. My heart breaks for all of us who have to make the decision to put a dog to sleep.

    Gently tell your mum that it is time. She knows it’s time — she just doesn’t want to be the one to do it. You need to be strong, and you need to take care of both your mum and your dog right now. Call the veterinarian, make an appointment, and know that you are doing the most loving thing you could ever do for your beloved Jack Russell.

    Let us know how it goes. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  32. Molly says:

    I have a 15 year old Jack Russell (16 in May). For about the past year she has had problems with her hip and when she first got them we took her to the vet who gave her shots for it, but it just seemed to make it worse. She can still walk but she does so quite stiffly. She is very skinny, but she still eats and drinks. Some days she is full of life, but other days she spends the whole time sleeping. I’ve suggested to mum we take her to the vet and she agrees but just hasn’t done it yet. We aren’t in a financial position for any treatment so I think she is procrastinating taking her as it’ll probably be bad news. She sometimes wets herself and poops without realising. You kinda get used to get skint appearance, but my aunt called around today and started tearing up when she saw her and saying it was cruel, which made me realise just how thin she is (she nearly looks like those pics of starved dogs you see on the internet), even though she still eats. If it were up to me I would have taken her to the vet awhile ago, but my mum loves her too much to say goodbye. Not sure if I should say something to mum or exactly what I should do.

  33. Laurie says:

    Dear Marci,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for being here, and for sharing the last moments of your dog’s life with us. It sounds like it was bittersweet, a mixture of a meaningful good-bye and deep pain, and your beloved dog spent his life being loved by you. He loves you deeply, and he knows how much you love him.

    Know that he is resting in peace and comfort, and he isn’t struggling with pain or confusion. He knows that you took care of him until the last breath, and that it was a huge sacrifice to let him go. He knows you did everything you could to prolong his life, and that it was for his own comfort that you decided to say good-bye. He devoted his life to you, and he knows that you were fully devoted to him. May you remember him with peace and joy, serenity and the knowledge that his spirit will always be with you.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

    • Marci says:

      Laurie,

      Thank you for your kind and comforting words. Your message really did help me feel better about losing my sweet dog. Thanks again and take care,

      Marci

  34. Beth says:

    Hi – we have a 2 1/2 beagle/lab. He is a good dog most of the time but we have been having a rough couple of months. We got kicked out of dog training school for being aggresive. Not he isstaring to growl at me. He not in any pain. Then we noticed he has been drinking a lot also. Called the vet and she came and seen him. Since he getting very aggressive she suggest to put him down. We have tried everything. He is not also starting to chase cars and neighbors kids. They not run by our house cause they are scared. I don’t know what else to do.

    • Sylvie says:

      Hi Beth,
      I am so sorry about the problems you are experiencing with your dog. I do not agree about putting your dog to sleep because of his aggression. There are behaviourists who specializes in aggression. You can contact a non-kill shelter who will rehabilitate him if you give him up instead of putting him down.
      Best of luck!

  35. Cheril says:

    I stumbled onto this page and I guess after reading everything I now must make that decision as tears roll down my face….
    I have a 17 yr old yorkie named Harley. He had such a rough start in life I never imagined getting to this stage, his mother died at birth so another mom nursed him, then his soft spot wasn’t closing and she thought she would have to put him down before I even had him, but we did he only weighed 1 pound and was so tiny & full of energy. Then my husband had him outside and turned his back for a second just as a Huskey got him by his butt took him out in the parking lot and shook him 3 times my husband luckily kicked that dog and he dropped him. We rushed him to the ER vet and found out his hip & pelvis was broken. I took him to a surgeon to find out he was too small to do anything, so I took him home and kept him in a clothes basket for a few days. He wouldn’t eat just yelp when he moved, I even took him to work with me. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and called the vet about putting him down, well we believe he heard me because one of my co workers had some cake and put it on get finger which he licked right up, it was uphill from there on.
    He went everywhere with me, my mom was in Ok and we went there a lot, of course she spoiled him so he adored her. She passed 3 yrs ago…he use to have to be by my side all the time, on the sofa, in bed everywhere I was he was. Then 2 yrs ago I had to have all of his teeth pulled because they were awful…I don’t think he has ever been the same since. He stopped sleeping with me, and here lately sleeps all the time in his bed.
    I have wrestled for weeks on this, now he has a sore of some kind on his face that when he scratches it he yelps like crazy, I pick him up and his little heart is just racing….I know I am a terrible Mom now that I write it down, but that decision is do awful to make that I just wanted him to go in his sleep….sometimes when he looks at me(probably can’t see me though) I think he’s telling me it’s time….sometimes he eats but most of the time not, he drinks water, & he pees a lot….my heart is truly aching over this I never wanted to have to make it again, I had to put my cat of 12 yrs down 10 yrs ago, I swore. he would have to suffer before I did that, I know that is truly unfair to the smallest little guy that has the biggest part of my heart.
    So I thank you all here for reading this and expressing your pain in helping me do the right thing for him. I know he will find my Mom and they can love on each other until I get there…I’m not to sure about the hole that’s going to be left but life will go on….I will sing”You are my Sunshine” with him in my arms until his heart no longer beats…good bye to my Harley……
    Cheril

    • Marci says:

      I’m so sorry you are going through this. It sounds like you and Harley were lucky to have found each other. I hope you both find peace soon. Take care.

    • Sylvie says:

      Hi Marcie,
      I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Harley. Just know that you did the best you could for him and he is in a better place.
      Take care

    • Amy says:

      I borrowed this from someome else, but it fits so well, and did give me some peace…
      The hardest decision, yet the easiest decision is to let the one you love, go peacefully in your arms. They spend their whole lives devoted to you and showing their profound love to you. You transfer their suffering onto yourself when you let them go and that is a final gift to them. Our heart is broken, but they are at peace. A dog doesn’t leave a last will and testament, but if they did, I believe that they would ask us, when the time was right of course, to open our hearts and home to another dog that needs love. To let a lonely, sad dog enjoy the warmth, love and caring that you can provide. No, your fur-baby will never be replaced, but what an amazing tribute to them when you can, in their memory, love another.

  36. Kirsten says:

    I have a white German shepherd, he will be 2 years old in april. His whole life hes been the most unhappy yet happy dog ever. His first year he had major growing pains in his legs and kept losing his fur and crying a lot so we took him to the vet only to find out hes allergic to grass, weeds, dust mites and green mites. Since hes been off his medicine to clear up his allergic reactions and ear medicine he was constipated and now has the runs. Hes been miserable for a month now and it breaks my heart. I feel like theres more we can do but we cant afford all the stuff they want us to do to help with the allergies. What would you all suggest doing? I feel like hes to young to be out down but at the same time hes not happy right now. He still acts like a playful happy puppy until hes in pain.

    • Sylvie Taher says:

      Hi Kristen,
      I would try feeding him raw meat with vegetables or a holistic dog food. Sometimes all of these allergies are sometime due to all the junk in kibbles. Here is a link on dogs with allergies.
      http://www.halopets.com/pet-education/pet-articles/allergies-in-dogs.html
      If you feel you cannot take care of him anymore there are associations/shelters that have a no kill policy where you could give him up instead of putting him down. But that could be just as hard.
      If you adopted your dog from a breeder, you can ask them for help too.
      I have a 17 month old long-haired GSD and I could not imagine having to put her down if she was sick or give her away.
      My thoughts are with you and I hope you find peace soon with whatever decision you make.

    • Marci says:

      I’m sorry your dog is having so many problems. Isn’t there an inexpensive medicine that can help with his stomach issues? I don’t know what the vets want to do that you can’t afford, but there are many groups that will help with vet care. But if you are like us, we aren’t poor but really can’t afford $5000 – $10000 for cancer treatment for our dog – even if we had wanted him to go through chemo. However, I don’t know your situation so I will suggest you search for some of these groups. The humane society had a large list as a place to start. http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/trouble_affording_veterinary_care.html
      Again, I’m so sorry. I had a sheltie with bad skin allergies and it was a miserable and expensive experience. He had a series of cortisone shots which the vet warned would shorten his life, which it did – but we didn’t have to put him to sleep and he had a good quality of life for most of his 12 years. I hope things work out for you and your dog.

  37. Marci says:

    Hi, I have a 12 year old lab/border collie mix. He is a sweet dog and the “protector” of our family. He is currently experiencing cancer on his front leg. We had the tumor removed twice in the past year and after the last surgery, in mid-December, it grew back within a month with a vengeance. His leg is currently bandaged, but when the bandage is changed is it clear that the tumor is growing like crazy and oozing blood and other fluid. It is also prone to infection. He is not as perky as he once was as he doesn’t wander around as much as he used to, but he still goes to the door to greet people, he still goes outside every time I go and tells me if he needs to go out. His appetite is great and he is drinking plenty of water. He barks at the mail and UPS deliveries. He occasionally even still plays – runs in the new snow or writhes around on his back and barks at the other dogs over toys. We wags his tail often and still begs for dog treats and occasionally tries to get our dinner off the stove. We will still go for a short walk. Are these moments of happiness worth the hours he lies on the floor or dog be and stares at me with a sad look? Just when I think I know he is suffering or unhappy he rallies. He is on some medicines – pain killers, antibiotics, prednisone, etc. We all love this dog like crazy and there is some dispute within the family about whether it is time or not. Any input from you who know what it is like would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Amy says:

      Hi Marci,

      To me, it doesn’t seem like time quite yet, but of course I cannot know like you can. But I think your dog does sound like it is still enjoying life enough now that it might not be time just yet.
      What does your vet say?

      • Marci says:

        The vet has pretty much given up on him and made me feel like the next time I felt he needed medical attention I should just have him put down. This makes me feel like I can’t ask questions about his pain level or get any other help with him.

        • Sylvie Taher says:

          Hi Marci,
          I agree with Amy, I don’t think it is his time yet, as for your vet, get another one, or tell him you are not ready to put your dog to sleep and you want his help…that’s what you pay him for!!
          Good luck, my thoughts are with you !

          • Marci says:

            Thank you both for your kind words and advice. I would love to give the vet a piece of my mind, but I have several other pets and need to have the clinic available until I can find someone new. Which I think I need to do. Thanks again.

          • Marci says:

            Well, much has happened in the two days since I first posted. My dog, Cooper, took a dramatic downhill turn with trouble breathing and even more trouble walking. When we changed his bandage that night we could see his leg bone – the cancer had eaten away almost all of the muscle and tissue and left horrible dead tissue with an even worse smell. This cancer advanced so fast it was shocking. We spoke to another vet who said there was really nothing else to be done and if his leg looked as we described he was probably in severe pain. We decided we could not make him suffer, so we cooked him a steak and gave him some of all his favorite things to eat. Family and friends spent time with him, and I spent a lot of time with him. He got lots of hugs and kisses. Yesterday was a warm and sunny day for a change and he wandered around our yard until he had to lie down. We took him to the shelter where we got him 12 years ago – since he associates the vet’s office with stress and pain – and he wandered around the grounds with all the interesting smells and enjoyed the sunshine and had a last dog treat. He was enjoying himself and seemed happy, and then we had him put to sleep. I thought I would feel more relieved since I was so worried that he was suffering, but I was just incredibly sad. Many tears have been shed since then, but I still believe we did the right thing. He was too good to us for us to be anything but kind to him. I will miss him for the rest of my life. R.I.P. Cooper and thanks to all of you.

          • Amy says:

            Marci,

            I am so so sorry. I cried when I read your post. I am still crying. My chocolate lab was in a similar same situation 3 months ago. On her last day, we grilled here a steak, took her for one last walk, and then took her for an ice cream cone on the way to the vet. It is the hardest thing I have ever experienced, and I still cry for her almost every day.

            There is nothing I can say to make it feel better. All you can do is know that you will see your baby again one day.

            Today would have been my Cocoa’s 15th birthday. I miss her so deeply. I know your pain. I am so sorry.

  38. Robin says:

    After reading all the comments it tears me apart how helpless people really are when it comes to the health of your pets. I have never lost anybody close to me but I feel very soon I will, my douge De bordeaux has just been diagnosed with severe heart dicease and it breaks my heart to see my dog who was once so strong, full of life bubbly now so fragile and depressed. The hardest bit is the memorys and wishing you had made more time with them when they were jolly and well.
    I can’t even begin to imagine the day that I have to put him to sleep because I feel at 4 years of age I did not expect him to go so soon, he became more than just a pet he feels like he’s my son as silly as it may sound, I raised him, trained him, showed him life , went through the bad times aswell as the good and to picture him not there breaks my heart, maybe a tattoo of him will comfort me in a small way , I still do not know how I will cope when he’s gone because somewhere along the line when I went to see this small puppy who blessed me with 4 years of his life became my everything

  39. Will says:

    Reading some of the comments on here has been really heart breaking. I have a five year old female jack russell. She has had a really bad life, burnt on her head which scarred badly, bladder stones which needed an operation. Then she has had a further two operations a spay and also something was wrong with her intestines. Unfortunately, after all of this, she now has Lymphoma. It has truly been one of the most heart breaking experiences of my life. It took them 6 weeks to diagnose and then to hear the words almost crippled me on the spot. She has been on a Steroid drug now for nearly a week and has a little more energy than before but she is not herself. I keep reading up on how to make the decision to have her put to sleep but i don’t know how to do it i just cannot imagine doing that to her. I know its an act of love etc but i feel like i am betraying her. I don’t know what i am going to do because i love this animal so very much i cannot stand to see her suffer.

    • Sylvie says:

      Hi Will,

      Keeko, my American Eskimo was burned badly on her back with what the vet believes to be bacon grease prior to my adopting her 5 years ago. So on top of having problems with her back legs, being blind and death, and chronic gingivitis, she still goes on happy to eat and see us.

      I know what you are going through, and when it is time you will know.

      Good luck

  40. Laurie says:

    Dear Laurie,

    I encourage you to listen to your veterinarians advice about your sweet little Bruiser. When our dogs are our world – which your Yorkie is to you – we tend to let our unwillingness to say good-bye overshadow our perspective. We let our dogs live in pain instead of making the ultimate sacrifice, the final act of love and care.

    Are you keeping Bruiser alive for his sake, or yours?

    My prayers are with you as you make this decision. It’s terribly sad – heartbreaking – but it is an important way to take care of your dog. You will be crushed with grief, but you will know that you didn’t let your poor little dog suffer longer than he had to. You will mourn your terrible loss, and your heart will eventually heal. You will know that Bruiser is resting in peace, and getting all the treats he loves in his doggy heaven.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  41. Sylvie Taher says:

    Hi ladies,

    Thank you so much for all of your kind words. I have been questioning myself a lot about putting my beautiful Keeko to sleep and I have decided to wait a little while longer. She has not soiled herself in a few days and she is moving around well enough.

    I had to put my other rescue Chow mix who was 15 in November 2013 and I did not have so much doubt as I do with her. I just knew it was her time.

    I had to put my 12 year Himalayan cat to sleep a few months ago after he had had a stroke. In his case the decision was made for me. He had lost feeling in his hind legs and one of his front legs. I still see him take his last breath and the thought of doing this to Keeko is just too much.

    Thank you again!

  42. Christina says:

    Hi all,
    I myself am reading these stories and comments to find comfort for myself in the past few days. Last night I had to put my baby girl to sleep. She was a 16 yr old golden retriever, and up until 2 days ago she was a relitively happy/healthy girl. Until we woke up to her one morning unable to walk with her back legs. She digressed quickly through the day. Although she was alert..she was also partially blind, Un able to control bowel movements, and immobile. It all happened so fast. She was still understanding to what was going on but i could see her pain… It took a lot to admit it was time, but it I took comfort in believing there was more for her beyond this pain in her life, and she could pass on and be free. I was lucky to have such a helpful vet, and vet techs. They were comforting, supportive, and informative. I was able to lay next to my girl, tell her I love her, and watch her fall asleep peacefully. It has been one of the hardest experiences of my life, but it was gratifying in the sense that now my girl is at peace. She was my first and only pet, I got her when I was 10 years old( I’m now 26) and I feel like I lost a sibling, but my advice is to be there, say you love them, and remember every minute. enjoy every minute of every hug or kiss; because I havent forgotten them. I remember the first kiss I gave and the last. Every one in between is just as special too. I don’t write this to be sad, or make you sad. It was just my experience.
    What ever you have going on with your pets, the best advice I got was, ‘ you know when you know’ if the thought of ‘it’s time’ passes through.. then it’s a true possibkility because there had to be something causing you to think that. Go with you’re instincts, and if your baby isn’t really smiling.. Not just cause they are looking at you…but smiling all the time.. Then it’s time. And know it will all be alright. Remember them, love them forever, and it will be okay.

  43. Laurie says:

    I have a yorkie named Bruiser, he’s my world. About 6 years ago he had hip surgery on his left side, addition to knee surgery a year or so later. A few months ago, we came home and Bruiser couldn’t put his right rear leg down. I took him to the Vet they did blood work, x-ray etc.. to be told he would not be a candidate for surgery that his also in heart failure. I asked her what should I do he cant put weight on his leg. The vet stated if it was her she’d put him down. I left with Bruiser confused because he still seems happy, as the months have gone on, he just will urinate anyplace ( this is not him) I carry him up the stairs most always, he will on occasion but its rare come up, going down seems ok most the time. I struggle because he still gets excited for his treat. how can I tell if he’s in pain, according to the vet she said he his . It’s such a hard thing trying to make a decision like this. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Laurie

  44. Laurie says:

    Dear Sylvie,

    My prayers are with you as you decide if it’s time to put your dog to sleep. It’s a huge and hard decision, especially when your spouse or kids don’t agree. My friend put her dog to sleep, and her husband and adult children did not think it was time. But my friend knew it was time because she was with their dog all day long, and she could see how difficult life was for him. Her family is still unhappy with her decision….but she had to do what she felt was right.

    May your husband see how difficult this is for you and your dog. May he support your decision — and most importantly, may he learn how to process his grief so he can do what’s best for your dog. It’s possible that his pain and grief is what’s holding him back from letting her go.

    May you say good-bye to your dog with peace, and may you know that euthanasia is often the final act of love we give our dogs. It’s a huge sacrifice for us, but blessed resting in peace for them.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  45. Sylvie Taher says:

    Hi, I have an American Eskimo that I rescued 5 years ago. She was supposed to be 5 but my vet thought she was closer to 7. She has aged a lot since the last year and she is no longer able to get up from the ground by herself. She has no responses in her back legs. We are not sure why. She is now blind and deaf and has been soiling herself almost daily. We get up in the morning and she is lying in her pee.She can no longer go for walks as she limps and looks in pain. She cannot see where she is going and I need to put my hand in front of her for her to smell me to know where to go. She sometimes looks like she is lost in the house.

    I made an appointment to put her to sleep on Thursday, March 5th, but my husband does not agree as he says she still eats and is happy to see us when we get home.

    What do you think?

    • Amy says:

      Hi Sylvie,

      What you are describing sound just like what I experienced with my labrador, however, she was nearly 15 when she showed these symptoms. She was also very happy to eat and to see us, so that is also the reason why I had a very hard time deciding to put her down.

      My dog’s condition was brought on 2 years prior from a spinal injury, after which she was paritally paralyzed for 3 days. We rehabed her back with cold laser therapy, strong anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxants. She bounced back strong for a good year before we she declined again, and when she did, it was severe. She was just like your dog, went deaf, couldn’t get up without assistance, and started to poo and pee in her bed almost daily.

      My question is, what does your vet say?

    • laura says:

      Hi,

      Just read your situation and my friend was in the same situation not long ago her dog had the same problems as your dog is experiencing and her husband didn’t want to put him down.
      They came to a decision to go a head with it in the end.
      In your situation (and would have said the same to my friend) I would agree you are doing the right thing…. beacuase she is just like a human and plays a huge part of your family. But would you leave your family laying in wee and poo until your come home. Your lovely dog may look happy but is she inside? Does she seem in pain? She can’t see, bless her. If you think she is in pain or suffering, don’t let her my lovely, let her go in peace and comfort before it gets much worse and hurts you even more. (Hope this helps a little)
      Same as the lady above what does your vet say?
      Take care. Laura.

  46. Laurie says:

    Dear Laura,

    That’s so terrible and sad, that your poor puppy got sick so young in her life. And to see her in pain like that, I can’t even imagine how horrible it was. I’m so sorry that you had to experience this – and with your first pet.

    My prayers are with you, as you deal with the grief and shock. I hope you will be able to adopt another pet one day — because your experience was very unusual! Most of the time, we bring our dogs home and get to love them for years and years.

    May you find comfort and peace as you adjust to life without your little dog.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

    • laura says:

      Thank you for your kind reply.
      I have felt a bit better over the weekend. Feeling better about the decision made but I can’t help feeling we could have done more and could the vets have done more to really define the illness. Everything seemed to move so quick in a space of 12hours yet definment and answers were so slow and still not underlined. By thinking too much of the situation I guess is torturing myself. I can’t help but feel guilty.

  47. Laura says:

    We had our west highland terrier for just over 6weeks and was 4months old. In two days she changed hugely.
    First day, heavy drooling, tongue out, walking slow, we thought maybe she is having a sad day. Next day in the am very lively, come lunch time shes dropped again drooling, slow walking tongue out. Took to vets who gave an injection to stop drooling said see how we get on, 3hrs later it started all oveer again, took her back, done blood tests, all clear, normal temp.etc….they then look into it more abd was 99% sure she had a form of meninjitous, injected her with steriod and said see how she goes, got home around 7pm, all ok. 10-2am her whole tongue was our server drooling, couldnt breath and ger face had sunk back, crying it was herrendous! We took to emergency vets, who said she agreed with last vet and said she now cant move herneck, it just stayed down. They said they could do further tests which would cost around 1800. But spending this meant we would get that answer but no treatment could help her. At this point the destress she was in we could not bring her home to think about it!! We made the decision there. We then sadly let her go but at the end i said uts all, love yoy, kisses, her little nose just lifted as i went to kiss her. I cant help to think could we have done more. Dud i do the wrong thing. I feel extremely sad and sick. This was out first ever pet. :-(

    Laura.

    • Linda says:

      I understand exactly what you are saying, I am sitting here reading all these and its so sad. We love our pets so much, we want them to be with us forever. We want to do whatever it takes to achieve that. I have an appt. to put my 9 yr old rotweiller down due to lymphoma cancer. He isnt’ suffering yet but not eating, and other symptoms. I question am I doing the right thing? Is there anything else I could do to get just one more day with my beloved friend. I am doing this because he is my beloved friend and I don’t want him to suffer. I cry constantly, I question myself constantly will I have the strength to follow through with my decision on Friday. I am having doctor come to my home where he can be with familiar things and his other two pals, Harley and nana (Dogs) they all grew up together. Not quite sure they realize what is happening other than their mommy is crying a lot. So everyone who is reading this please say a prayer for my and my DOJA who will be loved and missed till the end of time. I know how everyone feels that is on this site, god bless you all.

      • Amy says:

        Linda,

        My heart hurts for you. I know the pain. I know the doubt. I know the guilt. I am so sorry.

        I too was faced with this very gut wrenching decision 3 months ago…my 15 yr old lab.

        I cried so much too leading up to it. I cried for weeks afterward. It got better after a month, but to this day I still cry for her.

        It is so hard. Dogs are one of the most amazing gifts God gave us.so hard to say goodbye to them, it’s just not fair.

        I’m so sorry. Tears!

  1. October 26, 2013

    […] to share what I’m learning here. I know my readers are interested in pet ownership, because Putting a Dog to Sleep – A Veterinarian’s Guidelines is one of my most popular […]

  2. December 2, 2013

    […] tips are inspired by a reader who had to put his dog down. Saying good-bye to your beloved dog or cat is heartbreaking – and it’s even worse if you […]

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