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'm a full-time freelance writer and blogger in Vancouver, BC. I created the "Quips and Tips" blog series; my degrees are in Education, Psychology, and Social Work. I welcome your comments below, but I don't give advice. I can offer you a prayer and a blessing, though! You'd be surprised how helpful a prayer can be....

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496 Responses

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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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