Aug 252013

Here’s what you 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.

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. Here’s 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.

6 Signs It’s Time to Put a 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:

  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. 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.

time to put dog down

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

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.

Putting a Dog to Sleep - A Veterinarian's Guidelines

“Putting a Dog Down” Cremation Urn

Odyssey Cremation Urn (pictured) for your dog’s ashes, so you have a beautiful memory of your dog’s life

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.

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.

  319 Responses to “6 Signs It’s Time to Put a Dog to Sleep – A Vet’s Guidelines”

  1. Dear Emma Ames,

    It sounds like you made the decision to put your dog to sleep out of love for him. If he was alive today, he might be in so much pain — and you want to spare him that!

    You did the right thing. He is resting in peace, and not suffering from the physical pain he’d be feeling if he was alive today. My prayer for you is that you stop second-guessing your decision, that you accept that you made the supreme sacrifice out of love for him. You made the decision to put your dog to sleep so he could be spared even one minute of pain and suffering, and that is a gift of love and compassion for your dog. Now it’s time to grieve your loss, but know that you did the right thing.


  2. Dear Vivi,

    What did the veterinarian say about Eddy? I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

    In sympathy,

    • Hi sorry to join this conversation but I had to have my dog put to sleep yesterday, I have had him for 14 years, he may have been a little older than this when I had him he was not a pup however I lived him with all my heart . His name was Ben, a Labrador cross, He had arthritis and had starting to be incontinent .. I took him to vets and they said his symptoms would only get worse so I made the decision to have him put to sleep .. however I feel like I betrayed him and feel distraught and guilty .. I feel like I should have spent another day with him, pampering him and loving him . I don’t know how to deal with these feelings . Thanks Emma

  3. Dear Debbie,

    Yes, it would be so nice if our beloved dogs could go peacefully in their sleep, wouldn’t it? That’s the double-edged sword part of modern medical technology: we have the tools to keep our dogs (and people) alive much longer than “normal”, but then we still have to make the difficult decision about when to put our dogs to sleep.

    Have you heard the saying, “When it’s time, you’ll know”? I’ve heard that about the decision about when to put a dog to sleep. I’m not sure if I believe it fully, but many dog owners say that the time is clear to them.

    But, just because it’s the right time to put a dog to sleep doesn’t mean it’ll be easy! It’s such a huge decision – it’s life and death – and our dogs rely on us for everything. They give us their hearts, lives, and unconditional love, and we feel like we’re betraying them by putting them to sleep.

    But, I don’t think putting a dog down is betrayal. I think it’s a final act of love, kindness, and compassion. When it comes to put my dogs down, I’ll probably err on the side of too early rather than too late, because I hate the thought of them being in pain. I know it’s difficult to tell when a dog is suffering because they’re so stoic, and I don’t want my dogs to suffer for one moment. I would rather they rest in peace for eternity than suffer through a painful minute on earth.

    That said, however, each dog owner needs to dig deep into her heart to discover when the time has come. Maybe I’d make the decision a few weeks or months earlier than you – I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that you need to feel at peace with your decision.

    Sit with Gypsy, and try to get a sense of what she wants you to do. Is she ready to leave this earth? What is holding her back? If she’s ready to go, maybe the only thing holding her back is the humans who love her so much. Maybe the humans need to make the sacrifice, and set her free. I don’t know if this is the case, I’m just thinking out loud.

    I’m sorry I don’t have the answers you need, but I will keep you and your family in my prayers.


  4. Dear Michael,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your struggle. That’s a tough decision to make! It doesn’t sound like Chelsea’s health is much of a problem, other than the extreme heat and dog-unfriendly nature of Dubai (which are big obstacles to owning a dog there!). Most of the comments I get on this article about putting a dog to sleep are from owners whose dogs have health issues, or whose dogs are very old.

    I don’t think it’s bad or wrong of you to think about putting her to sleep. It’s an option, and you need to think through your options. I also don’t think dogs — generally speaking — feel pain when they are put to sleep, but I have heard bad stories. I think it’s like with anything – sometimes you have a terrible experience, but if things go as they normally should, then the dog will just fall asleep. I also don’t know how the veterinarians are in Dubai, but I imagine there are some good ones there. Like anywhere, there is probably good and bad.

    If I were in your shoes, I’d call the humane societies and veterinary clinics in your area, and talk through the options. There may be options you haven’t thought of.

    And, I would consider relocating to a dog-friendly apartment or house. Personally, I’d have a hard time putting my dogs to sleep for any reason other than illness or old age. But this is a different decision for each person – we have to make choices that we can live with. I can’t tell you what the best decision is, or predict how you’ll feel after you make our decision.

    I encourage you to take your time, explore your options, and be open to making the decision that best suits Chelsea, you, and your family members. This is a decision that you’ll feel the effects of for the rest of your life, so it might be good to move slowly.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


  5. Dear Claudia,

    I never think that putting a dog to sleep is about bad ownership. On the contrary, saying good-bye to a beloved dog you’ve had for years is a huge sacrifice, and a sign of extreme love and loyalty! Keeping a dog alive in spite of all health issues and problems is selfish, I think. We may have the technology, medicine, and power to keep dogs (and humans) alive no matter how sick or old they are, but that doesn’t mean it’s a better life.

    The bottom line is that you need to be at peace with your decision. If you think Maggie is ready to go, then you need to give her the gift of release and freedom. Someone once told me that our dogs tell us when they’re ready. If we be still and sit with them, we will learn from them if they’re ready to leave this earth.

    Our dogs love us so much, and I believe we need to love them back by accepting that death is a natural part of life. However, I know this is an extremely difficult decision – I dread the day I have to decide if it’s time to put one of my dogs to sleep. But, I also am ready to open my heart and home to another dog or two after mine find their way home to God.

    I will keep you in my prayers as you make this decision. May you love Maggie as only you can, and may you feel peaceful about whatever happens.


  6. I am trying to decide what to do with our dog, Gypsy. She is probably 14 or 15, we got her from the shelter, so we are not sure. She is a “canardly” breed – we “can hardly” tell what kind she is! Actually, she is mostly golden retriever and german shepherd. She had melanoma on her jaw 2 years ago and we had it removed. The pathology report said the cancer cells were all the way to the end of the sample. She has done well, but now she has another smaller tumor on her jaw in the same place. Our normal vet is out of the office until September and the vet who fills in for him is not a surgeon. The regular vet will be back in the office sometime in September. He will probably xray her lungs to see if it has gone there. If it hasn’t he may be able to just take it off so it’s more comfortable for her to eat. But I am seriously considering putting her down. She is on Proin for bladder issues, still dribbles and pees when she lays on a blanket on the floor. It went thru to the hardwood, which I wasn’t real happy about. She sleeps most of the time, and when she isn’t sleeping, she is whining to go out, take her out, she whines to come in, then out, etc. She eats fairly well, but sometimes leaves her food for quite a while. We discovered the first tumor when she was whining when she ate. If I put broth or something on her food she will gobble it up, but the vet said not to do it cause she was overweight. So we cut down on her food and quit the broth, and she lost weight and was eating all her food. Then she started acting hungry, so we started giving her more. She is hard of hearing and doesn’t get up sometimes even when I put her cheese-covered Proin right in front of her nose, and I have to shake her to wake her. We are going away for a couple of days and are going to have someone come in twice a day to take her out, but I’m not sure this is going to be enough. I know I’m going all over the place with this, and I’m tearing up just thinking of putting her down! It’s my daughter’s dog, who is out of the country. She would rather we do it while she is gone. I have never been really fond of the dog, too much mess and dog hair, but I find as she gets older and I am the one home with her most of the time I have come to care for her much more. My husband says he is not ready to put her down yet, but he doesn’t have to stay home and hear the whining that much or clean up the messes, though he will take her for a walk often when she whines when he is home. Is it time to put her down? she still likes to go for a walk, eats grass and whatever else she can find, will run for a bit if I run, but not long. Getting to like shorter and shorter walks. I would hope we could just wake up one day and find her gone, but are we willing to wait for that to happen? Thanks for any comments, I just needed to say this!

  7. I have had our American staff, Chelsea, for almost 10 years. We got her in NY and then moved to London. In both London and NY Chelsea was a happy dog, running freely, playing ball etc. However last year we had to relocate to Dubai and took chelsea with us, however the apartment we moved into forbids dogs so I had to find her a foster home. She is living with a wonderful couple, but they I think that the time has come where they would like their space. I cant keep moving Chelsea from one home to another and Dubai is such a dog unfriendly place not to mention the extreme heather in the summer with temperatures reaching 45 celsius. I know Chelsea cant be happy as she cannot run off the lead and in the summer its just too hot to be out for more than 2 minutes….What do I do? Is it bad of me to think about putting her down? Will she feel any pain? I am so upset. Any advice would be welcomed.

  8. We are trying to decide what to do about our beloved dog Maggie, an English Springer Spaniel. She is 14 years old, diabetic and blind. She’s also become hard of hearing. We give her two shots a day and monitor her blood sugar each morning. Her behavior has changed from being fun loving and energetic to sleeping most of the time. She now gets extremely anxious if there is any slight variation in her routine. She also has times of incontinence which are distressing. If we put her outside for even a few minutes she whines and cries and scratches the wood off the door frame. Are we bad dog owners for thinking it might be “time”? We love her and want to do the right thing. She still has joy when she eats and when she has a short walk but other than that she seems to be in her own world and not very aware of us. This is all so distressing. I’ve talked with our vet but she just thinks about more meds….ie mood stabilizers, etc. Should we try this…along with the insulin and incontinence medications?

    • Hi Claudia…my name is Lindy and your situation sounds similar to mine. Last Sunday we put to sleep our beloved yellow lab, Bodie. He would have been 13 in November. He was diabetic and blind, too. He had been sleeping most of the time and would go off into different places in the house during the day to sleep. He ate pretty well and loved his treats. He used to love to go on walks and swim in our pool, but that was becoming difficult for him and he hadn’t done those things for months. He became more anxious about things and he would lick his front legs periodically and panted even though it wasn’t a hot day, so we knew he was in pain…he had all the symptoms. He was incontinent for quite some time and I was constantly cleaning up his pee and poo…the vet put him on Proin to help the peeing, but he still had accidents. It was the hardest decision my family and I have ever made. I still question if we did the right thing even though everyone says yes. The final point that made me realize it was that I didn’t want him to get worse and suffer…now I am the one suffering his loss, but I would rather do that than have him be in more pain and not enjoying his life. We had a vet come to the house to put him down and he fell asleep with us surrounding him with love and soothing words. My husband thinks he knew and wanted to go. I’d like to think the same thing myself. The grief is almost unbearable at times, but I know it will get better. I pray we made the right decision. Prayers for you and others trying to decide…it’s not easy. Best, Lindy

      • my name vivi my dog (yellow lab)
        is named eddy (after my father),long story. eddy is 14 and about 4 mo. I have never had any dog or cat that i had to make the decision about putting to sleep, they all died from something out of my control that i did’t have to decide about.i look at him now and he is laying by the chair, and peers up at me every now and then. like he knows what i am trying to do.
        he is so smart, i think. i just don’t know. he walks down and up 15 stares sometimes w/ my help sometimes not. he has number 2 accidents in the house and i don’t care. never pees in the house.
        i am now disable and, humane wise,, completly alone.and i hate going through this alone. anyway i will talk more to his vet tomorrow. we will see what happens. wish us luck, vivi

  9. Dear Jacqueline,

    Thank you for being here – it sounds like you have a very sad good-bye coming up. Poor Casey, it sounds like she needs so much help, just to get on with daily life. She is winding down, and maybe she is ready to go.

    You have loved her for so long, and it’s heartbreaking to say good-bye. But, with great love comes great sacrifice. Casey will rest in peace after you let her go – she will be running in spirit, enjoying her food, and playing with all the other dogs — including Sooty! And every so often, they’ll stop playing and they’ll look down on you here on earth, and they’ll watch you with love. They will feel the love you have for them in their hearts. And then they’ll go back to their free, joyful frolicking without any pain or sadness!

    May you have a peaceful good-bye, and enjoy your holiday. You’ll always have Casey with you in your heart, no matter where you go. She wants you to be happy and free.


  10. I have an 18 year old papallion . she looks as cute today as on the day I brought her home aged 4 weeks. she is white long hair and has a very gentle nature.
    She is now living in the kitchen so I can keep an eye on her. She sleeps most of the day but now and again. She will have a few minutes of excess running in and out the kitchen door.
    I dont know what to make of that behavior. – its like a panic attack.
    She still goes out the dog flap day and night to go to her toilet area.
    She has bad cataracts so is blind.
    She has bad teeth – she has had 2 operations to remove some. Therefor not many left.
    She is deaf and I have to put her chopped up food close to her nose. – she likes it when I feed her.
    There is no sign of her being in pain. Sometimes she just stares at the wall or what ever and I will then pick her up and take her outside.
    I am going on holiday for 5 weeks and have booked my 4 yr old chirahaha into boarding kennels.
    I told the owner about Casey – she advised me the best thing I could do for her was put her to sleep.
    She said she would stress after me – 5 weeks is a long time to not have contact with me.
    I know – casey has had a good innings – but its hard for me to make the decision when theres no pain.
    I cant ask anyone to take care of her because that too wouldn’t be fair on Casey.
    I know it has to be done before I leave to go on my holiday – I just felt I needed to write to someone.
    My friend has the only other surviving dog, called sooty, She is so distressed at the thought of him going – Sooty is worse than casey. I told her that if she put sooty to sleep – I would do the same for casey at the same day and time.
    However I have a month before I leave and I will be seeing my friend with Sooty whilst on holiday.
    Ok thanks for listening all you dog lovers.

  11. Dear Tammy,

    Thank you for being here – it sounds like it felt like a major betrayal that your family put their and your dog to sleep without acknowledging you. I would want to be told, too — even if it wasn’t my dog! We want a chance to say good-bye, maybe even in person, and to be present during our dog’s final moments — even if we aren’t in the same room or city or state.

    I would feel the same way, like I wouldn’t want to care for my family anymore, either. I would want to punish them for making feel feel I wasn’t part of my dog’s life, that I wasn’t important enough to be included in the process.

    My prayer for you is that you rise above those feelings of pain, bitterness, end even revenge. My prayer is that you find forgiveness in your heart — because if you hold on to the resentment, you will suffer worse than they will. I pray that you can see the situation from their perspective, and trust that they were doing what they thought best. For your own sake, I pray that you are able to find peace in your heart, acceptance in your soul, and love in your actions. I pray that you are able to remember your dog with love, joy, and no shadow of the pain you now feel.

    I will keep you in my prayers!


  12. I’m 50. My mother/sisters put their dog to sleep (whom I love very much) without letting me know. I know the dog was very sick with cancer – I’ve been very involved, even the day before. Then my sister said she called the emergency vet line. I was led to believe to see if the Vet would come and see a plan of action (as she put it). I was carrying my cell phone with me at work all day. When I ddin’t hear from them, I called, and she told me the Vet came and put the dog to sleep like 2 hours before. I feel betrayed and angry. If she told me at the time the vet came, I would have said “if that’s what the Vet feels is best” yeah, I would have cried, but to not contact me to spare me like I was a child, not part of them, etc. hurt me very deeply. They wanted to call when I got home. Well, I drove home crying anyway – more feeling betrayed than for the dog. Today I feel deeply depressed and don’t want to give a hoot for them anymore or anyone. Petty maybe, but it’s how I feel.

  13. Dear Emma,

    Thank you for being here – I am so sorry that your beloved vizsla is hurt. It’s a terrible thing for us humans to see the dogs we love so much in pain, and to feel powerless to help them. Your dog used to be happy, joyful, and playful…and now her whole life is different.

    I don’t know what the right thing to do is, and I’m not telling you what to do. But, for me the bottom line is the quality of life. If my dogs weren’t enjoying life anymore because they were in pain or suffering in any way, then I believe for me the right thing would be to say good-bye. I wouldn’t put my dogs on painkillers because I have no idea what their pain is like. What if the painkiller only dulls the pain, and my dogs are living with a low level chronic pain? My personal opinion is that I would not want to go this route.

    Sometimes we love our dogs so much, we can’t put them to sleep. I think love can blind us, and lead us to keep our pets alive longer than is good for them. I don’t know if this what you’re doing, but it’s important to remember that putting a dog to sleep can be a final act of selfless, perfect love. It’s a sacrifice for us to put our dogs down, because we want our dogs with us forever! It’s a terrible heartbreak. But that’s why it’s a sacrifice, because we are doing something that causes us pain but could be the best way to love our dog.

    My prayer for you, Emma, is that you find peace with whatever decision you make. I pray that you are able to connect with your beloved vizsla, and listen to her heart. What does she want? My prayer is that you are able to use your intuition to do what’s best for her, not what’s best for you. May you find peace, guidance, clarity, and compassion as you be still and sit with her. Let her guide you, and tell you what she needs from you.

    I will keep you and her in my thoughts and prayers.

    Blessings and sympathies,

    • Thank you for your sweet words Laurie. I actually got as far as getting the vet out for the last time this afternoon, and then cancelled him and took her for a swim in the sunshine instead. And I felt like we had cheated death. I could see glimpses of her joyful self and I could have burst with gratitude. And then when we got home she could hardly walk. I do have to release her beautiful spirit I know. Thank you for your kindness. It means a lot.

  14. I would really appreciate any advice. I am in such a horrible mental state. My beautiful (only) 2 year old vizsla was injured last year. As a result she has degenerative discs and a very significant foreleg lameness. Her thighs are swollen. Her gait is awful. She cannot run properly or play with other dogs. That was her joy. I take her swimming each day and lots of gentle stop and sniff walks, massage, chiropractor, acupuncture, painkillers etc.We don’t go to the beach or camping or the mountains or anything. Her life is flat and I wanted it to the best life a dog could have. I cannot find the words to say how much I love her or how wonderful she is. I didn’t know a dog could be so completely lovely. I used to think her name should have been ‘Play’ or ‘Happy’ because that was all she ever was. Now she stays under the bed as much as she can.

    The orthopaedic vet surgeon advised pts. My regular vet says to keep her going with pain relief. I can’t work or think. It hurts to breathe and it just goes on and on month after month. I am just consumed with it all. If I let her go on like this it won’t be the right thing and if I have her pts it won’t be the right thing. What is the right thing and how did I let such a perfect friend get hurt?

  15. Dear Carolyn,

    I’m sorry you haven’t heard from Robert. I just wanted to say I wish you all the best as you try to decide if you should put ThunderBear to sleep. It sounds like she’s been having a hard time of it, and you aren’t sure what is best for her.

    There are no easy answers, but I really believe what the veterinarian said in this article is true. If you can spare your dog even one day of suffering, then maybe it’s the right time to let her rest in peace. Sending her off is painful, but it may be the most loving thing you can do. You won’t have to worry about her suffering longer than she needs to.

    I know it’s a difficult decision, and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    In sympathy,

  16. Dear Robert,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your experience with your shepherd chow mix. What’s his name?

    I called my veterinarian and asked about putting a dog to sleep in an owner’s home, and found out that it doesn’t happen very often. But there are mobile veterinarians who proved hospice-type care for dogs – including euthanasia. You might try searching the internet for “at home euthanasia for dogs” and add your location, to see if there are mobile veterinarians in your area.

    As I said, my veterinarian rarely puts pets to sleep at home. Not only is it more expensive, there is also the issue of taking the dog’s body away for cremation or burial. Plus, if things don’t go smoothly, there isn’t the same type of support they’d have at the vet clinic.

    As far as the right time goes….I’ve heard dog owners say that when the time is right, you’ll know. But many others say that it was a difficult, terrible decision even at the very end. Other owners say that you have to listen to your dog, because your dog knows when he’s ready to go. I don’t know what you think about this, but maybe it’ll help in some way.

    I wish I had the rightest, easiest answers, but I’m afraid I don’t! Let me know what happens.

    In sympathy,

  17. I have a shepherd chow mix I adopted when he was six months old, he is now 15+ and showing all the signs of old age. he still eats but not as much, he has relieved himself in the house, sleeps most of the day. Occasionally has a limp and has trouble standing up but still wants to go for a walk each day although those walks have become much shorter. His hearing is much reduced along with his eye sight. I know the time is coming but I am unsure when is the right time. Do I wait until he can no longer move around without great difficulty? Or should end it before that. I do not want to deprive him of a single day of life but also do not want him to suffer.

    Is there a Vet that will euthanize him at my house? I do not want his last moments to be stressful, I want him to die where he has been the most comfortable.
    Robert Bailey

    • Robert,
      I have a chow mix, her name is ThunderBear and she is 18 1/2 yrs old. The problems you are experiencing with your dog are exactly the problems our Bear Bear is facing. I just don’t know what to do. She does not appear to be in any pain, but she has such difficulty standing, laying down, walking etc. The other morning we were woken up to a very strange groaning noise. She never barks anymore or makes even whining noises when she wants to go out. My husband and I rushed down stairs and found her laying spread eagle on the kitchen floor, unable to get up. It’s as though the pads on her paws no longer grip the tile floor and her forearms go out to the sides and her back legs give her little to no support anymore. We helped her up and she was fine, other than the fact that she relieved herself on the kitchen floor. My husband walks her 3-4 times per day but she rarely does anything outside anymore, waits until she comes in and goes to the bathroom in the house. My biggest fear is that she will collapse and not be able to get up, while we are gone during the day and spend the whole day agonizing on how to get up. That kind of suffering or anxiety, I don’t want her to have. Every part of my mind tells me to let her go to doggy heaven, but I am so worried that it is too soon and she may have several more good days ahead of her. We are going out of town next week and I don’t want to board her, but I am afraid to keep her at home all day and have my kids check in on her periodically. We all work which makes it difficult and we have to make this trip, my sister has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I feel so guilty that I am rushing this decision because of all of these factors, but I come back to thinking; is waiting for her to fall asleep one night and not wake up, ever going to happen and how long do we hold on????? I am sorry to go on so, but I am hoping that you could let me know what you have decided to do about your dog and maybe give me some clarity regarding my decision.
      Thanks for any advice,

  18. Dear Lauren,

    Putting a dog to sleep is a sad, difficult decision to make. The only advice I have is to think about how your dogs feel. Are they suffering? If they’re in pain and/or not enjoying life anymore, then letting them go is the most loving thing you can do for them. I know it’s difficult to determine if your dogs are suffering, but there are some signs that dogs just aren’t happy anymore.

    If you can spare your dogs even one day — one hour — of suffering, then maybe it’s time to put them to sleep.

    What does your veterinarian advise?


  19. Im facing loss of 3 of our 7 dogs. One is a shi tzu who is 14 & almost died last week but was saved with ER visit, oxygen tent, antibiotics, etc. He is not wanting to do much now and I hate thought of just finding his body one morning. My other 2 are a spanish mastiff and st. bernard. both close to 8 yrs. they fought and mastiff lost more. he has many staples but worst is his back legs give out about 75% of the time now and he cant use stairs (he fell down them) and barely gets around now. hangs his head and I feel so bad for him as he lays there. not himself. St bernard got bites to his chest that caused huge “water balloon” and has 2 shunts. first recheck they kept them in cuz he still has much to drain. he not the same either. but at least he still gets excited by walks and car rides. Any one of these is HARD. I can barely type this thinking about it. But I need to know what to do. my kids are affected too. any advice greatly appreciated. thank you.

  20. Dear Grace,

    I’m sorry that you have to make this decision, because it sure isn’t an easy one. Nobody can tell you what the right decision is – you have to know in your heart that you’re doing the right thing. Some dog lovers would say putting a dog to sleep is the most loving thing you can do, if the dog is too old or sick to keep going. Others say we should keep them alive as long as possible, regardless of the financial or physical cost.

    I lean towards putting dogs to sleep when they need alot of medical attention. I don’t think it’s pleasant for them to undergo surgeries and other medical procedures – especially when they’re old dogs. I know many dog lovers disagree with me…..and I guess that’s the hazard of inviting opinions on when it’s time to put a dog to sleep! There is no one “right answer”, or right way of doing things.

    I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. You are showing these old dogs so much love and kindness towards the end of their lives…I know they’re grateful and happy to be with you. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to stay alive forever, chug chug chugging along.

    I wish you all the best as you make this decision. I know you’ll do the right thing – whether it’s saying good-bye before things get worse, or going forward with the medical procedures. You’ll know in your heart what the best thing is.


  21. Hello:
    I am hoping someone can help with my decision. I came across 2 sweet old dogs at a garage sale. The owner has moved out the country and left friends in charge of all her belongings including these dogs. They looked fragile and weak and had yellow nasal discharge and what looked like infected gums and decayed teeth. I decided to take them to a local vet- who informed me that their teeth have not been cared for and the results was years of plaque build up and now infection. After blood work- their organ functions surprisingly came back normally abnormal for their age- but no sighns of failure. He suggested putting them down but also says that there is an option of oral surgery which will fix the core problems of their current illnesses. I discovered that One is 19 and the other is 16 yrs old. Ive been giving them oral antibiotics and feeding them regularly keeping them sheltered in my own home. They had been kept the house where no one lived anymore, the dog owner’s would feed them in the morning, leave them in the yard during the day and then bring them back in to sleep in a closed in area b/c they are have never been house broken. The owner is angry that brought them to the vet- saying she wishes them to die naturally and be given to a home that houses Alzhiemer’s patients. Well this place has refused them since they are unable to accomodate these dogs high needs. I’ve been told that these dog’s are suffering b/c their person has abondonded them…however, they seem to warm up quickly to anyone how holds them, they wag and have super appetites despite all that has happened to them. The most difficult thing against them in being adoptable besides their age is that they are not potty trained. Is it ethical to put these dogs down b/c no one has the time for them? Resuce programs Ive called say they do not want to invest in older dogs? I have 2 dogs already and honestly it is a lot of work to care for them, expensive pee pee pads, vet bills out of my own pocket already. The dental work alone will cost $$$ and w/o gauarantee they will survive the anesthesia given their cardiac and kidney age. I know I cannot keep them, but also saddened that they may be at risk for further abuse b/c they are not potty trained. The owner may want me to bring them back to that empty house where feeding and human touch is inconisitent… I am am given permission to take over them… thoughts have came up that I could care for them for “a time” to give them sweet memories ….. before putting them to sleep? But how much time? And I am already struggling with the given estimate for the oral surgeries for them. Very hard to think of making that decision when I still see those tails wag, big appetites. Any advice, words… ideas please for helping me decide the faith for thesed dogs?

    • Hi Grace C.
      I wanted to say that first of all, THANK YOU for taking those dogs out of that environment. I will never understand why people do this…mistreat animals.
      I think ALL decisions that are now made about those dogs are now YOURS. They don’t get any voice in the matter. When they gave them to you at that garage sale and you took them in…they became yours.
      I am glad that you took them to the vet and now have them on antibiotics. It is probably helping them feel better.
      As for the teeth work that is needed, I don’t know where you are, but there are lower cost ASPCAs here and there that will do things like shots, neuter, teeth, etc.
      But in all honesty, if you can’t take care of them and no one else can either…what is the choice? I guess I would put them down before I would abandon them once again in their life. They don’t deserve to be left alone again.
      Harsh truth, yes. A 19 year old dog and a 16 year old dog won’t have much of a chance anywhere else.
      I think it’s awful that the other owner didn’t take care of those dogs in the first place, humanely. Geeze…the former owner wants them to die naturally? WTH!!??!!
      Sorry…this one just upsets me, and I usually don’t get this way.
      I am so very proud of you and others that try so very hard to do the right thing…feeding, vetting and loving on them. At least you tried, versus those who don’t.
      I am sure you will make the right decision for them. Just please, don’t give them back to those awful people who had them before.
      Thanks for all you do.

  22. Dear Linda,

    It’s such a difficult decision – I’m sorry you have to think about putting Brandy to sleep. I think it’d be good see what the veterinarian says. Sometimes they can give us information that helps. I have heard of “doggie diapers”, but part of me thinks that’s just prolonging the inevitable. And, I’m sure it’s not fun for anyone to be in a diaper. It must be confusing for the dogs, and maybe even potentially unhealthy. Infections and such, with urine in contact with skin that could have a cut or something. I don’t know much about it, obviously!

    I have nothing to advise, I just wanted to say my heart is with you as you think about putting your dog to sleep. I hope you can release all guilt if you decide to say good-bye, and that you let Brandy rest in peace. And if you decide to keep trying, I wish you well! Come back anytime, let me know how you are.


  23. I have a 17 year old lab mix. Her name is Brandy. i have had her for about 4 years. She belonged to my brother but when he was no longer able to keep her i took her in. She has recently started having accidents and urinating on her self. Some days are good and we have no accidents but outher days she completely wets her bed. It’s usually happens while she’s sleeping. She is also starting to move around a lot slower and some days she won’t eat her food but will partake in one of her doggie treats. She still wags her tail and gets little short bursts of energy but for the most part she does a lot of sleeping. I’m starting to think that maybe it’s time to put her down. I have what I call her “old lady” check up coming up the end of this week and will talk to the vet again about what she thinks I should do. I’m just looking for another opinion … I know putting her to sleep is something I’m going to have to deal with in the near future but I don’t want to do it to soon or wait to long. Any input would be great.

    • Hi. A 17 year old lab is quite the wonderful thing. Thank you for taking her in and giving her a home with you.

      I have just a few suggestions about the issues you wrote about.

      *You could give the dog Dasuquin…which is a mix of Glucosamine Hydrochloride and Chondroitin. I got mine from my VET and he gave me the brand from Nutramax. It is liver flavored chewables. It takes a couple weeks to see a difference in the movement of the dog, but it has helped my dogs move easier.

      *Rimadyl is a good pain reliever for dogs. Chewable. Prescription from the VET.

      *A tablespoon of Coconut Oil each day helps keep things moving.

      *There are drugs from the VET that helps with the incontinence.

      *Doggy diapers when she sleeps? Or put a doggy pee pad under her when she sleeps?

      If all those options works, great…but if not….that is fine as well. Only you know (and you VET) if the dog is in so much pain and unhappy that perhaps the next step is to seek peace for the dog.

      I wish you all the best. And thank you again for giving this doggy a home for it’s retirement years. You did great!

      • Thank you for the advice!!! I use the doggie pee pee pads and change her bed sheets daily … I know I wouldn’t want to sleep in wet sheets so I’m sure she doesn’t want to either!!! The vet has given her a few different things for her movement but I didn’t see any difference. She’s just old and slow!! Every time I take her to the vet they are always shocked that’ she is still alive and doing as well as she is. I know I don’t have a lot more time with her and soon I’m sure I will have to make a decision but for now as longs as she’s happy I’m happy!! She still gets super excited to see me when I get home from work and she and my 10 year old Chesapeake Bay Reteriver still play… It’s just for super short periods of time!!! Like all old people .. She has her good days and her not so good days. As long as the good days out number the bad I’m gonna let her keep hanging out with us!!! Thanks again!!!!!

  24. Dear Michelle,

    It sounds like you and your son are going through such a difficult, sad time right now. I’m sorry your poor dog is not a good candidate for surgery, and that it seems like the consensus is that he should be put to sleep. It’s heartbreaking, especially since your son and you have both experienced a great loss.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I hope you’re able to let your dog rest in peace, and that you can remember him with love and joy after he’s gone.

    In sympathy,

    • Dear Laurie,
      This morning he got up and went out to the toilet and he is barking and wagging his tail I know the pain killers are helping him. I was ready last night to euthanize him today but now I don’t want too. I rang the vet and she said it won’t get better (which I know.) I want to take it a day at a time …Is this wrong of me? ….michelle

      • Dear Michelle,

        You love your dog so much that you’d do anything for him – and that’s not wrong! You want him to live as long as possible, because imagining life without him is terrible. That’s not wrong, to want him to live so you can spend as much time with him as possible.

        I can’t tell you when it’s time to put your beloved dog to sleep – nobody can do that, because nobody knows how long he’ll live or how much pain he’s in (if any!).

        The bottom line is your reason for making a decision to keep him alive longer. Is it for him, or for you? Sometimes we make decisions based on the extreme love we feel, but that love blinds us to the pain our dogs are in if they’re struggling with an illness. I guess my question for you is, “Are you keeping your dog alive because he is healed and his quality of life is good again, or because you can’t bear the thought of letting him go?”

        The veterinarian I interviewed for this article about putting a dog to sleep said, “If you can spare your dog even one day of pain and suffering, then you must.”

        It’s not my intention to push you towards putting your dog to sleep. I have two dogs I love so much, and I can’t imagine the day that I have to say good-bye! It’s terrible. But sometimes love involves sacrifice…and sometimes that sacrifice is the heartbreak we feel when we release our beloved animals and let them pass on in peace.

        My heart breaks for you, whether you say good-bye to your beloved dog today or in a month. No matter when it happens, it’ll hurt – and I am sending you my sympathies.

        Come back, update me anytime.

        Warm hugs,

  25. Dear Alice,

    It sounds like your poor little terrier is on his last legs, and it’s time for you to let him rest in peace. I hope you’re able to see your way clear to making the decision that is best for him. I know that putting a dog to sleep is one of the most difficult decisions we could ever make…it’s heartbreaking. My heart and soul goes out to you, and I pray that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

    Listen to Rosemary’s kind and wise words – I couldn’t have said it better myself. You are not alone. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    In sympathy,

  26. Thank you so much for your reply. It has been a week today since I held her in my arms whilst she went to sleep. I have never had to make such a hard decision in my life. This week has been so hard it has made me very poorly even though everyone keeps telling me it was the right thing I did.

    I hope in time I will find peace with what I did I miss her with all my heart. Thank you for your lovely reply it is so nice to hear xxx

  27. My baby Beau is 14 and 3 months. I had his cruciate ligament fixed on his back right leg 4 years ago and yesterday he did his back left. I took him to the vet this morning and they said they can operate but he is not a good candidate for surgery. As he has a limp on his right leg and arthritis also he would be leaning heavily on his right leg which would be painful. His recovery would be up to 6 weeks and I will have to be with him at all times. Everyone says I should put him to sleep. I agree in my head but my heart hurts no end. I know euthanasia is the right choice but it doesn’t make it any easier. I will miss him so much and so will my son who lost his father 2 weeks ago and my other dog Chico who is 3. This is the first time I have had to make this decision all my other pets have passed on there own. He seems fine otherwise eating and drinking as normal. Why is life so hard sometimes?

    • Hi Michele,
      First off, the words that jumped out at me was that your son’s father has just passed on very recently. I am so sorry for your family’s loss.
      And now dealing with a dog that is in the age and shape that you have described…is heartbreaking in and of itself.
      Just like Laurie has said, she can’t tell you “when” to put an animal to rest, and nor will I. But, if your pet is in pain, can’t get better, and probably hurting more than you can tell…well, it might be what you need to do.
      It’s beyond hard and sad to do this for your pet…I know. Been there. Questioning when and why will make you crazy with quilt. I know. Been there with that as well. In the end though, peace is where things need to go.
      I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers for your family.

  28. I have little rat terrier 15 yrs old. He has had diareah for a week. Can’t seem to control it. He doesn’t even move he just goes. He has arthritis and several of his teeth have fallen out. All he does is lay and sleep. He is eating and drinking if I bring it to him. It hurts me to watch him walk he just looks so miserable. I live on a fixed income with limited resources so expensive vet bills are not an option. I have been hoping it would get better or mr peanut would go on his own, I just can. Not seem to make a decision . I am crying as I am writing this it is very hard to know what to do.

    • Dear Alice, I am so sorry for what you and your little pet have had to go through. I can see by the way you have described everything, that you know in your heart that you have to let you pet have final peace.
      I am so glad that he had such a good LONG life with you but now he needs you for one more thing…to rest.
      I had always hoped that when MY pets had gotten so sick and old that they would go to sleep forever on their own, but they never did. It seemed like they would just hang on because they wanted to please me. It isn’t about ME, it’s about the pet and their pain and suffering. But, in the end…I just knew that I needed to do what was best for my pet, and give it rest. It’s always…ALWAYS hard to do…but when done with love…well…love reigns.

  29. Dear Amanda,

    It sounds like putting your beloved dog to sleep was the right decision, because you prevented her from experiencing more pain!

    When you look back on your decision to say good-bye, your grief is causing you to second-guess your decision. But you have to remember that you made the decision to put her to sleep because it seemed like the best thing at the time. And, I believe it WAS the right decision, for all the reasons the veterinarian shared.

    But the grief is overwhelming. I’m sorry. I wish I had the right words to take the pain away. You’re not alone in this grief, and I believe your spirit will be reunited with Puddin’s spirit one day! She is watching over you, loving you, and feeling so happy and grateful that she was part of your life. She wants you to remember her with peace and joy, not pain and guilt.

    May you remember your dog with peace and joy, because that is what she would have wanted.

    In sympathy,

  30. Hi I wanted to write on here because I am having a very difficult time with what i have done, Friday just passed we had 2 hours to decide whether we start treatment for our old dog or put her to sleep.

    Puddin our bichon frise was 13 years old i had, had her since i was 14. 2 years ago puddin had to have a very horrible operation on her groin to remove a very large cancer it was a scary time for us but we decided if it came back we would let her live her life to the full. Puddin was never spayed which they said it might be the cause of what had happened but at the time we still couldnt do it as she was in heat. we decided to not let her go through more pain. Puddin’s lumps did not come back.

    3 weeks ago puddin started to drink lots and lots of water and eat sooo much food and she was messing in the house and flooding the house. i thought that the cancer had come back and it was nearly time to say good bye. At this point she was still happy in her self playing with my new arrival who she loved dearly but then by this week we noticed she had lost lots of weight to the point i could see her bones. this scared me so we took her to get tested. the bloods showed that his has way too much sugar in her system and she was getting very poorly with it as she was sick twice and her eyes was going a funny colour. the vet said we can start her on treatment but she would have to stay in the hospital and it might not work because of her age. if it did work it would cost us alot of money a week and we dont have that money at all or insurance. the vet had advised us if we couldnt go through with the trial we would have to say good bye as she was getting worse. I could not believe that we was going to have to make a desision with in 2 hours. pudding was still happy and walking and eating but she was old as her legs was getting weak. we decided to say goodbye to her and let her drift off to sleep. i am absolutely devistated to the point i am sick. i feel so much quilt that we could of saved her even though the vets said her vains wasnt very good either. i am really struggling x

    • Hi Amanda,
      I am so sorry for your loss. I truly understand.
      Looks like you provided a great home to your dog and there was plenty of love to go around, all those years.
      I am sure that your Vet was trying to also keep your pet from feeling sick as well. A lot of times, a pet doesn’t LOOK sick or ACT sick, but they ARE sick. It’s hard to tell at times.
      You did a final loving thing for her, to give her peace.
      Try not to feel the guilt about it. Try to remember the good things about her.

  31. Did I do the right thing? My Peganise Sokkies (17yrs) had to be put down, the last few days she struggled to eat, can not swallow or chew food, her breathing was not normal, could not breath trough her nose, could not walk and exstreame weight loss, she weighed 2.3 the day I put her down… would she had a chance if I put her on a drip?

    • Hi Louise,
      First off, my sympathy for your loss at this time.
      Golly…your dog was 17 years old. I am always amazed at what love and kindness can do for some animals…and clearly, YOU gave lots of both love and kindness to your dear friend for her to live so long.
      I truly believe that you did all you could do for her and your final gift to her was to give her peace.
      It’s never easy, this I know all too well.
      Because of love, we grieve. We grieve because we love.

      • Thank you Rosemary, it is almost 3 weeks and I miss Sokkies so much, in the evening when I have to give the other dogs food, this is the time I miss her the most and to lock the doors at night and she is no longer with me…it is SO hard. Thank you and the other people who started this site, it helps to talk about it…a little. THANK YOU

  32. Dear Cheril,

    Thank you for being here. It’s wonderful to hear that you had 16 years with Harley! I have a friend whose dog is called Harley, as well. He’s a border collie who loves to herd everyone around.

    I hope that if you have to make the decision to put him to sleep, that you feel comfortable with it. I wish you peace as you think about what’s best for Harley. I totally understand that losing a pet is somehow more traumatic than losing a loved one…I’ve lost several family members and it hurts, but losing my dogs and cats is a different type of pain. Our pets are so vulnerable, unconditionally loving, dependent, and easy to be with…saying good-bye is devastating.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


  33. Dear Ms Eddy,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, as you put your dog to sleep today. I hope all goes well, and Bailey is resting in peace after a smooth transition from this world to the next one.

    In sympathy,

  34. Dear Alison,

    I agree with everything Rosemary said, especially the “quality of life” part. I believe resting in peace is preferable to suffering through surgeries, medications, and veterinarian visits. At some point, the pain and discomfort isn’t worth it, for either our beloved dogs or us.

    But of course this is your decision, and you have to do what you’re most comfortable with. I love animals so much, and I can’t stand to see them in pain. I’d rather say good-bye too early than too late, because it breaks my heart to see dogs hurting. My thing is that I can’t tell how much they’re hurting, because animals are pretty good at hiding their pain.

    Whatever you decide, I’m sending you my thoughts and prayers. Let us know how you’re doing.


    • Thank you for your replies. I still have not gone through with it. 2 cancelled appointments. UGH. She remains the same with a blown knee and I know I’ll have to make the call soon as the 3 flights of stairs are just horrible for us both. I can see how much pain she is in when I’m home yet she still is so lovable and seemingly happy. Except I can’t let her run or play or be a dog :-( This has been so hard and I’m really not sure if prolonging this for her or me. To make it worse her vet is making me feel even worse. They told me “I’m better off trying to re-home put down a perfectly healthy dog” She has never been healthy and I do my best but I do not see a good outcome doing this surgery and I also know most of the time the other knee goes soon after and I have to consider my financial situation. I never thought it would be this hard but I truly feel like she’s trusting me and I’m failing her.

  35. Dear Tes,

    I’m sorry I didn’t respond earlier, and my heart goes out to you for this tough decision you have to make about putting your English Springer Spaniel to sleep. It’s a very difficult decision, and it sometimes helps to talk it through with a veterinarian.

    Everyone seems to have a different perspective of when to put a dog down – and I believe there is no one “right” answer. Personally, I’m less inclined to put my pets through repeated surgeries, medications, vet visits, etc, especially if they’re getting old. But sometimes those operations and medications turn out to be good for our animals, and worthwhile. It’s such an individual decision, and nobody can tell you what the right thing for your dog – and your family – is.

    I think if my dog was aggressive towards humans, I’d lean towards saying good-bye. Sometimes aggression is a sign of pain – and it’s definitely not good to live in pain! Nor is it good to live in fear of what our animals might do to our family.

    What does your husband think about putting your dog to sleep?

  36. Our Shiba, Bailey, turned 15 on Tuesday. For months we have watched him go steadily downhill.
    A few months ago we thought he had a stroke; he couldn’t stand or walk.
    I cried the entire night, thinking thatvwe would have to out him down. When we took him to the vet we found out that he had severe inflammation in his inner ear; the prescription was to give him Bonine. It was like a miracle cure; as long as he had his pill first thing in the morning he could function.
    He is almost completely blind and deaf, and spends all of his waking hours pacing frantically and going in circles until he falls over. He gets stuck in every corner in the house and yard.
    He has trouble walking on the tile and wood floors so I have covered almost everywhere with non-slip area rugs.
    Sometimes he can manage the stairs but most times I have to pick him up and carry him up and down.
    He howls day and night; the vet said before that it seemed to be anxiety, but now it seems like more than that.
    He hasn’t been sleeping more than a couple of hours at a time, and it seems like it is getting harder for him to relieve himself.
    He has lost so much weight; I can feel his spine when I pet him.
    I kept thinking that I was being good to him by taking care of him for so long; going without sleep for months and constantly cleaning up after him. I thought it was like taking care of an elderly parent; that you don’t put down your dog just because he is old and takes up most of your time and energy.
    But last night, even with the sedative I gave him, he wouldn’t settle. He paced non-stop all night, howling even though we were right with him, petting him and talking with him. I had to wake my husband up to spell me about 4:00 am because I was so exhausted.
    His howling kept me from going to sleep so I got back up and took him outside, thinking that maybe he just had to go. All he did was circle the yard, unsteadily, because it is getting harder and harder for him to walk; he was whining the whole time.
    When I brought him back in, the howling started again. He seemed so frantic and confused. I gave him his Bonine and another 12 sedative. He finally fell asleep, but he is whimpering in his sleep.
    And now I know; it’s time.
    Not because I am tired, but because he is.
    And now I feel like I have been selfish for keeping him here as long as I have.
    I kept hoping that when his time came, he would just go to sleep and not wake up. I didn’t want to have to make that decision for him.
    I have been afraid of dogs for most of my life; Bailey is the first dog I have ever emotionally bonded with, so my decision has not come easy.
    When the vet opens this morning, I will ask my daughter (who was Bailey’s original owner), to go with me to help Bailey go to sleep one last time.

    • Ms Eddy and family,
      I am so sorry. I know it’s all very hard to muddle through. Your Bailey knew you loved him…dogs love, I KNOW this.
      You did everything you could have possibly done, and now you gave the ultimate gift….peace.
      My hugs, thoughts and prayers are with you.

  37. I’m struggling with guilt on whether to put my dog to sleep. First because she is only 6. She is a Rottie/Lab mix that has had one issue after another since I adopted her at 11 months old. First she had such severe allergies to everything that she would scratch herself raw. We managed to get them under great control. She also has severe separation anxiety which has gotten slightly better, I was bringing her to a doggie day care while I worked a few days a week. She has Pancreatitis and/or gastroentrinitis which has required trips to animal ER when she has flare ups she also has arthritis in her hips. I give her Glucosamine for that. Last week she tore her ACL or CCL the dog version. She is in so much pain. I’m reluctant to do surgery since we live on the 3rd floor (this is the ONLY place I could find that would take a dog when I was forced to relocate). I have quite literally spent several thousand $$ for her variety of issues over the years and I’m not complaining. I just can’t stand to see her in pain. Also not being able to play, go to day care and being home alone is causing her so much stress and anxiety. BUT she’s so young. I’m wrecked with guilt and sadness over even considering but I don’t know what more I can do?

    • Dear Alison,
      I am so sorry that your dog has had so many health issues. It’s always a puzzle to me as to ‘why’ some dogs (and people too) have struggles like this.
      It seems to me that you are a very loving pet momma…thank you!
      I get on here (on this forum) because I care about pets and their wonderful families. I see that you have asked some questions, so, here is just my opinion.
      Besides all the other issues that your dog has, NOW having a torn ACL or CCL is a BIG DEAL for a dog to heal from. I know that surgery can help in limited situations, but the dog is in constant pain and limited mobility forever more after it. Most dogs that I have known that have the surgery do not do well afterwards. It seems to me that dogs go through a lot of pain and you as the owner of the dog go through a lot of pain and money.
      I guess I wouldn’t do the surgery and I would help the dog rest eternally. Quality of life just isn’t there.
      But…I want you to know that this is just MY opinion…and you need to do whatever you need to do. I RESPECT you in whatever decision you make. You do whatever you need to do because of love. Been there, done that. It’s heart breaking, either way.
      Hugs to you.

  38. Dear Patty,

    Tyler sounds like an amazing dog, and you and he have an incredible bond! We don’t connect with people the way we connect with our dogs, do we? We love our dogs so much – they’re part of our heart, soul, and spirit.

    I offer you my sympathy and prayers as you prepare to say good-bye to Tylerman. It’s heartbreaking, but it sounds like you know you’re doing the right thing for him. He needs to shed his slow, painful earthly body and pass over into lightness, freedom, and eternity. And I believe he needs you to be at peace with this decision, and let him go with joy and sadness.

    You will meet Tyler again someday. His spirit will not be extinguished! His physical body will be gone, but his the energy of his soul will always be with you.

    My heart breaks for you, and I will keep you in my prayers as you grieve your loss. It is a huge loss, and I encourage you to honor your pain and sadness. Say good-bye to Tyler, and allow yourself time to grieve. His death is just as traumatic as losing a loved one, and I hope you’re able to give yourself time and space to express your loss — and to remember how awesome it was to have Tyler in your life.

    Come back anytime and let me know how you’re doing.

    In sympathy,

    • Hi. I’m just searching sites this afternoon in the hopes of getting help and support for a tough decision we are having to make. I hope this works, we need it. We have a 9-year old English Springer Spaniel, who has had two surgeries on her right knee, and has now blown out her left knee; she has a disc separation at L7-S1 from injury several years ago; she is aggressive toward my husband, having actually bitten him in the face requiring 12 stitches; we can’t have our 5-year old and 13-year old goddaughters to our home because of her aggression….so, we are praying about letting her go before putting her through another knee surgery. Are we being selfish? We’re trying to approach this from the depth of our love for her, releasing her from the demons of aggression; and saving her the pain and misery of another surgery. Can anyone help me? Thank you.

      • Hi Tes.
        I am sorry that your dog is going through all of this. I am sorry that your family has to experience this. I truly am. Been there, done that.

        At the VERY TOP of this webpage are something helpful to think about…

        “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.”

        In the way you describe your dog, he is in a lot of pain and is lashing out. He is doing that because of the pain and the anxiety that he is experiencing. I don’t feel that he is safe to have around your family either. I do not feel that you are being selfish.

        If it was me, I would help my dog by ending his suffering. It will hurt you terribly to do so, but love is the “why” you are doing it. Give you and your family time to “say goodbye” to your dog. I find that it helps to have that one special day or afternoon with your dog where you talk to him, give lots of treats, love him as much as he will accept at the time.

        You asked for opinions…and this is mine. In the last part of your letter for help, you pretty much said already what you feel you need to do. I will keep you and your family in my prayers at this time. (hugs)

  39. Planning to put a dog down is one of the most difficult decisions to take. It is tough….

    • Our dog Tyler is 19 1/2 years old. I’ve had him since he was 7 (a rescue pup). The story is supposed to be that I rescued him, but in reality he rescued me. You see, I had just gotten a divorce after 25 years of marriage and Tyler came into my life and gave me a reason to live every day. Tyler has many health problems of course at his old age, we give him a handful of pills each day. We actually went to the Vet’s office yesterday to discuss putting Tyler down, and all we ended up doing is arguing (my husband and I) over what is right. For months now, Tyler does nothing but pace, turns circles, he is blind and deaf. The Vet said that he may know we are still around. It’s such a hard decision to make. I think I am ready, then I just can’t do it. I run the scenario through my head over and over. It has been months since I have slept through a night because Tyler is up all throughout each night and it is a matter of hurry up and get him out the door. He walks very, very slow. I know in my heart he is tired. I also know he has lived a great life since the day he came home with me. We were kind of like what you see in the movie, I took him around and showed him my house and told him this was not his room or area, what he was not to get on and what was okay to get on. I bought him a bed and put it at the foot of my bed. Each morning I woke up and he was right beside me and to this day he remains there each night. He has never been put in a kennel, he has travelled with me everywhere. He continues to eat and drink, but that is all he does, besides the pacing and turning circles. It breaks my heart and I sit here day and night watching him deteriorate this way. I get it in my head that next Saturday will be the day, but then as I said before, I just can’t do it. The guilt is killing me. The not knowing and worrying about something happening to him while we are at work is killing me and affecting my work. I know there is no reassurance that everything will be okay, but I just can’t imagine life on the other side without him beside me. Since he came into my life, he is the reason things have been done, I bought an SUV with him in mind for travelling, we bought a house next to a huge park with him in mind, every plan that has been made has him in mind and a part of it, we have birthdays in the park for him, family pictures made, he is truly my third child. It is my husband’s only child, other than his beloved cat. I guess what I am trying to say here is, I just don’t know how to plan such a thing for Tyler. You know when a family member passes away, you plan afterwards, you don’t plan the day for them to die. I pray God will help me and watch over my Tylerman!

  40. Dear Adele,

    Making the decision to put a dog down is one of the most difficult decisions we’ll ever make. And – as you mentioned – it never gets easier.

    It sounds like your husband is very uncomfortable with the decision, and maybe even scared of facing the heartbreaking grief of losing Romeo. Some people never get over the loss, and can’t open their hearts to love a dog again.

    I suggest giving your husband a book about coping with the loss of a pet – even if you think he won’t read it. You might read it yourself, to get an idea of how to support him as he grieves. And it’ll help you grieve your loss, as well. Most books offer really good suggestions on how to move on and heal after a pet dies.

    Another suggestion is to make time to talk to your husband about death, loss, and grief. What loss has he grieved in the pass, and what helped him cope? Did he get help, or did he face it alone? Sometimes, losing our pets brings up all sorts of past losses and griefs…it’s not always just about the loss of our dog.

    I wish you all the best as you make this decision. Stay in touch.


  41. Being a dog owner for many years I’ve put dogs down and have had them pass while with me. Neither of them get easier with time. I have a 14 year old male Yorkshire that loved life but now he is blind and deaf with multiple ear infections which gives off a terrible odor, has allergies which makes him scratch and itch most of the time and has recently been diagnosed with water in his lungs and has been put on water pills twice a day for the rest of whatever life he has. It’s been tough cause the pills make him urinate frequently as he does make it to the paper about 50 % of the time that other 50% not so good, I’m cleaning up urine all day long. He has a hard time standing still it seems his back legs what to give out so he just keeps walking and pumping into things being blind or he is sleeping. His life consists of eating walking and urinating and sleeping. I’m planning a move to California from New Jersey this summer and I know he will never make the plane ride. He stresses out in 1/2 hour car ride to get him groomed. I skim over the conversation about putting him down with my husband cause he can’t face Romeo being old and sick and leaving us. Romeo can’t be left alone for long periods of time which being a bit selfish stops me from my life. How do I handle this … the frustration is building I love the little guy but I don’t think has the quality of life that a dog should have. Any suggestions thoughts ideas would love to hear them :(

    • Hi Adele,
      I understand your concerns, and it is very obvious that you love your dog and even though you are struggling with his many health issues, you are still trying to do the best you can for your dog.
      I had a 13 year old chihuahua that was having kidney failure and arthritis and was on the verge of being diabetic. He peed a lot, cried when walking or being held, ate only if you hand fed him, etc. It was no qualitiy of life for him and really no quality of life for me as well. I couldn’t leave him. My home became an infirmary for my sweet friend.
      I had asked my Vet about “how do you know when” and he simply said this…”When your home has turned into a hospice for your pet, and all you are doing is making the pet last longer….it’s time to help the pet pass on.”
      Sometimes, it’s just so very hard to do what is needed to be done…but maybe it’s a “last gift” that we can do for our beloved pets.
      I don’t know that this helps you any, but just know that I can simpathize with your hard decision. You will do the right thing that is needed for YOUR family…whatever that will be. (hugs)

      • Hi, Rosemary–

        Thanks for your reply to Adele. It helped us make the difficult decision. The statement …”When your home has turned into a hospice for your pet, and all you are doing is making the pet last longer….it’s time to help the pet pass on.” is what confirmed that it was the right decision. We had become a hospice for Riley these last few weeks–special foods to try to get him to eat, carrying him when he couldn’t walk, giving him pain pills to help him get through the day.

        That statement made me realize that we really weren’t doing Riley any favors. So I called the vet and made the appointment, then we spent the following days spoiling him rotten and giving him all the love we could cram into the time left. Today was the day, and it was really rough. Riley always hated for us to leave him, so I stayed with him to the end, and even though it broke my heart, I’m glad I did.

        Even now I’m still crying. I’m dreading going to bed because we were the kind of parents who let their furbaby sleep with them (I always said that Riley graciously shared his bed with us), and I know that even though my husband is there, the bed will seem so empty.

        • Brenda,
          I am glad that I could help you in my very small way. It is beyond hard, yes, I know. My heart hurts for you. My sympathies for you and your family.
          Some of the hardest things we do in life, is for love.

      • Adele, Rosemary, and Vangie,

        I know what all of you have been or are going through. I am on my second senior miniature poodle, a rescue, who is exhibiting all the symptoms of my first one in her last year. Both blind and deaf, pacing, anxious, circling, back end failing, having to be hand fed, constantly cleaning up pee because I can’t, couldn’t, get them outside in time. I had and still have extreme guilt over my first poodle, Rachel, thinking that I could have done better by her after she lost her sight and hearing and became weak in her back end. I was the best owner up until then. We had an incredible bond. When she became infirm, I did everything I could think of at the time to help her.

        We were at the vet every three months to check her kidney values, which fluctuated. I would ask the vet, “What can I do for her in her older age?” and never got any answers other than “she’s old.” For the last seven months of her life, I gave her fluids under her skin every day, but she kept losing weight, even though her appetite was good. I took her to a number of vets, and none seemed interested in making her life better or prolonging it. Near the end, I was looking up dog carts and harnesses to help her with her back end failure. I just couldn’t understand why the vets were writing her off. Her heart and lungs were great.

        The day came when I knew that she was suffering, and I had a vet come to my cabin to put her down. Before the vet came, I took her out in the sun and took pictures of me holding her. I looked at them then, her raising her head up to me, but I have not been able to look at one picture of her since. Afterward, I was consumed with guilt and remorse. Why didn’t I know to feed her something different, why didn’t I get her teeth done and ignore my original vet who told me that she couldn’t undergo anesthesia again? Why did I put her in her canvas dog tent, where she would circle endlessly and then fall down? I thought that it would keep her safe.

        Everyone who saw us together would tell me that I was such a good mother. But after she left, I thought that I could have done much better. I read about all these people who go to great lengths for their dogs, and I thought that I had failed her in her final year, at 17 and a half years old. I’m sure I could have done better; the vets were no help. But the truth is, once she went blind and deaf, she stopped wagging her tail and never wagged it again. That really upset me. She went from a vibrant, happy, playful dog to one that got stuck in corners and who was never the dog she had been, although she still knew me and was comforted lying in my arms and sleeping with me.

        I felt extremely guilty about being frustrated with her at times, wanting her to settle down so that I could sleep. There was very little sleep for either of us the last year of her life. And now, just a year later, it is the same with Oliver. He is repeating Rachel’s last year exactly, minus the SQ fluids. But, he also has a suspected cancer on his hind end, which is growing. I keep forgetting about that when I see him pretty vibrant on our walks, and scarfing up food. I asked about a biopsy, and my vet said that it would leave a big, gaping gash.

        So I guess the bottom line, what I’m trying to say, is that sometimes our grasping at straws is not doing our beloved pets any good. How much is our wanting to keep them with us, all the memories of the happy days, overshadowing their need to leave. I empathize with everyone who is going through this difficult process.

        • Mimi,
          You have well worded the thoughts of many. We try to do the very best with what info and strengths we have. We do it all with love. Our pets know that, I truly believe that. We are bonded to them and they to us.
          I often wonder just WHY I have a pet at times…when they get old and sick is such a painful time. When it’s time to ease them into death just about kills ME.
          After I had to put a beloved pet down, I asked the Vet just WHY do I keep getting pets, when in the end, they leave me too soon? The Vet told me, “Love sends two souls together for a little time, and love sends us apart again. It’s something that is needed in our lives, to give love.” (I have such a good Vet! He should be a shrink actually! Very wise.)
          I have a cat who is just diagnosed with stomach cancer. It isn’t pretty as she vomits a couple times a day lately. She has meds to take to limit it some and some pain pills as well. (A person hasn’t LIVED until you have to give pills to a CAT on a regular basis!!!! haha) I also just noticed that she has a large lump growing on her lower lip…it doesn’t look good either…so I imagine it’s part of the cancer deal. My cat is 13. That isn’t ancient for an indoor only cat. I guess when the cat is visibly suffering, I need to make some decisions. It doesn’t get any easier.
          My dog is 8…a minpin. He has a condition where his body does not process fat well, and he can’t get rid of it. Of all places to store fat, it is affecting his eyes. It looks like he has cataracts but actually the fat cells are building up on his eyes. Weird. He has daily eye drops for this and a special diet to try to control all this…in the hopes that he won’t go blind. It seems to help.
          ANYway….it’s amazing what we will do to help our pets…our loves….our family. We do what we need to do. A lot of times, it surely is hard to do it though. I have full sympathy for those most hard of decisions to make.
          Big hugs to all who are hurting with a loss or hurting with decisions about what to do.

        • Thank You Mimi for your kind words I feel your painmy boy Romeo isn’t in pain that’s where the problem comes in if I knew he had pain it would be easy to the right thing but everybody keeps telling me it’s his quality of life not quantity. my concerns now or I’m moving to San Diego I don’t know if he’ll be able to make the 5 hour flight and being that he has water on the lungs and taking water pills I’m unable to sedate him to keep in relaxedso I kinda know what I have to do in my head but its not in my heartI do hope that God takes him before I have to do this.

      • Hello, I am kind of in the same boat as you, I have a 16 year old male yorkie that I don’t know what to do either. He s going blind, I think he can see a little, his hearing is going, he potties all the time ( I have rubber backed rugs everywhere), he eats some but is extremely picky, walks over smells it then walks away so I cook him a hamburger party which he eats until some of it comes back up, and the rest f the time he sleeps.

        Harley was never a socialable dog, he was attacked my a huskie right after I got him and he only weighed a pound so when the huskie shook him the third time he broke his hip & pelvis. So because he was so small there was nothing the vet could do for him which after 3 days of him being in pain and not eating I thought I was going to have to put him down then, but when I was on the phone with the vet he must have heard and started eating…now we are 16 years later and confused on it again.

        They say to ask 6 questions but when I look at them he really never was up for any of them anyway, he used to have to be laying on me either in bed or on the sofa, now he wants nothing but the bed I bought him, which smells like urine a lot which I guess is dripping off, so I dust it with carpet fresh all the time since you can’t wash them. I had to have all of his teeth pulled last summer because his teeth were so bad it smelled like his butt…which he has done very well with eating even dry food which amazed us..I see him drinking water so he hasn’t stopped that..but in general all he does anymore is sleep and pee. If I try to hold him he squirms wanting down and back on his bed. I even went to a animal psychic and asked her if it was time …yea I know…all she said was he stopped sleeping with me because he can’t control his bathroom times and didn’t want to mess on my bed….whatever..

        So like you I’m not sure if it’s time or he in pain? Doesn’t act like it, he doesn’t play anymore but he’s 16 who would, he eats but is very selective, he drinks water but certainly pees a lot, does he act happy! No but he really never did..I know he’s not as energetic as he used to be but neither would I at 112, My 84 yr old mother had ALZ for 7 years 2 of which there was no quality of life…but I didn’t put her down,..has Harley lost most of his quality of life?

        I had to put my 12 yr old cat down 9 years ago and I have to say that was almost as hard as losing both of my parents..I swore I would never make that decision again, and here I am. I don’t want to question my decision for the rest of my life, but I don’t want my dog to be miserable so I can remain without guilt…if he was showing pain there would be no doubt in my mind,..but….I know no one else can make ths decision but me but it does help reading others with the same issue… I pray every night that God just takes him in he sleep but I don’t believe that’s gonna happen…my heart will ache when he does go but I also know I have had 16 years with him and that in itself is amazing..

        Good luck with your decision I’ll be checking back to see what is happening…

    • It is hard I know, believe me I still struggle with guilt and regret for deciding to put my dog down two months ago. Her quality of life was suffering she was just existing and like my vet told me, only you know the dog he used to be but if I had known how much I would miss her honestly, I would have just waited and let her go on her own. Like you said, the frustration started building and I was exhausted cleaning up pee and poop every day. There are alot of helpful articles on this site and I was so glad I found it.

    • Thank you all for your kind words and suggestions they are greatly appreciated. Romeo is still with us, he doesn’t seem to be in any pain but needs constant looking after due to his urinating problem because of being on water pills twice a day. My problem now is my husband and I are relocating to San Diego and I’m not sure if Romeo will be able to make a 5+ hour flight. He gets antsy driving in his car seat 20 minutes to his groomer due to the urinating problem. I’m at a loss I’m heartbroken I don’t know what to do. I love him so much I think of nothing but what am I gonna do when I leave in July … This has saddened me and caused stress in my home and my life :(

      • Adele,
        Hi. I re-read what you had written on April 2.

        I also re-read what I had responded to you on April 2. I still stand by what I had said about : “I had asked my Vet about “how do you know when” and he simply said this…”When your home has turned into a hospice for your pet, and all you are doing is making the pet last longer….it’s time to help the pet pass on.” ”

        I am going to “go out on a limb here” and suggest that you have these options:
        1. don’t move
        2. move but DRIVE the dog even though you will have to stop several times along the journey
        3. Fly with the dog in a little carrier WITH YOU ON BOARD along with a LOT of pee pads with you. Also, perhaps give your doggy a little sedative when flying so it isn’t anxious. Heck, some PEOPLE need sedatives when flying! lol
        4. put the dog down before you move

        Just please don’t leave the dog behind withOUT you. Don’t abandon him. (I know you won’t do that, but I just stuck that in there…sorry if I offended you on that one.)

        It’s only May…see what June brings. If things don’t get any better for the dog or your family; you will then know what to do.


  42. Hello Vangie,

    That’s a great question – how do you know if you’re ready to adopt a dog after putting your dog to sleep? I wrote this article for you, it’s called
    5 Signs You’re Ready to Adopt a Dog After Your Dog Died. Here’s the link:

    I hope it helps. Let us know what you decide! I’d adopt a dog fairly quickly if I had to put mine down — but everyone is different. Some of us need time to grieve before we open our hearts and homes to others.

    The bottom line is that if you feel ready to adopt another dog, then it’s time. I wouldn’t be too concerned about what other people say. They don’t know your heart as well as you do.

    Are the people you live with supportive about you adopting another dog? That’s the second sign you should adopt :-) The first sign is your own gut feeling.

  43. Thank you, Patricia – I think that’s really good advice. It’s so difficult to know when to put your beloved dog to sleep…but I think your comments help.

    Dionne, I wish you all the best as you make this difficult decision.

  44. Laurie,
    My boy Raydar is a lab/roti/dob mix and just turned 14 in Jan. When he was young he tore both his cruciate ligaments (one after the other). About 3.5 years ago he started slowing down and his back legs have now become progressively worse. He pretty much needs my assistance to help him up most of the time. He can’t really go out for a walk anymore because he falls every 10-20 steps or so. He has also has incontenance that started a year and a half ago. Lately he can’t hold his bowels and it just falls out of him. I am struggling with “when is it time?” I know it’s nearing but I’m not sure. He is still eating and drinking and seems happy most times. Any input for me?

    • My 14-year-old dog was eating and seemed happy too, but once he could not walk or get up easily and his bowels were an issue, I knew it was time. He could have lasted longer, but I am sure in retrospect that to wait would have been for me and not for him. We had a very peaceful exit planned in our home. He was happily eating treats from my hand and then gently fell asleep. I am very sad at his loss, but I am 100% certain it was right for him. Someone told me as Teddy was declining. “It is far better to do this loving act a week early than a day too late.” That really sealed the decision for me. I did not want him to get to the point when he could not stand up at all and had to be carried around. I let him go while he still had his dignity. It truly is a loving act to let them go before it gets to its absolute worst. Good luck. I am so sorry you have to say goodbye to a loyal companion.

  45. Vangie,

    You are a good person. I struggled and sometimes still do about putting my Taboo down the day after Christmas. I felt and at moments feel like I was being selfish and could have done more. We have to realize or believe that what we did was NOT for us but for them. I couldn’t deal knowing Taboo couldn’t be anymore the dog she once was. The next day after I removed her bedding, found the cutest picture of her and had it blown up to an 8×10 and framed an hung it next to my other to dogs who have since passed before her. Everyday I smile and know that she is better.

    We have to remember w/animals we are their voice, and care givers. They are animals they can’t tell us there is something wrong or it hurts there, or they don’t feel good. In days ahead it the sad will settle and the fond memories of the fun, love and all the other stuff you did will overwhelm the should of, could of.

    My thoughts…. remove her bed from your room, and fill the void w/maybe placing an Ipod next to the bed where you have to focus on that. I have her tags / collar in my jewerly box w/ DOG (our Beagle which died in my arms at home in Oct) Everytime I go in there I smile and think hmmmmm my funny funny babies. Keep them safe St.Francis. You can have a heavy heart but remember animals find us. Ebony will make sure in time you’ll have a new puppy bed along side yours. Prayers and hugs to know you are ok.

    • Thank You. I am so thankful that I found this website for support from others who have also experienced losing a pet.

    • I have a question: how long should one wait to get another dog? I have been feeling so empty and guilty that I was considering getting another dog and started feeling guilty about that! My coworkers say I shouldn’t get another dog right now but my family says it is OK to want another one.

      • I think you’ll find many different opinions on the subject, but it’s really your own decision. Some people get another pet right away, others take months or even years.

        Personally – and you can see my comment about my cat below – I got two kittens a week later. I felt miserable and was missing my cat, but I still had all of her things there, her tree/scratching post and pads, her toys that she hasn’t touched for a while. I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. and I was just missing having a cat. So I went to a rescue and got two kittens. I am still missing my cat, and no new pet will ever replace the old one, but they do fill the void. They have very different personalities, and they will never replace my old cat, but they are new lives to love and cherish. Besides, there are really so many homeless pets in shelters and rescues out there. Even poppies and kittens. People say how poppies and kittens always get adopted, but the two I got were “left over” from the kitten season (born in July) and they were growing older in the rescue.

        Do I feel guilty? Yes, sometimes, I even thought that the ringworm my kittens have is a kind of karma for getting them so soon (and I am not even religious), but bottom line is neither my old cat nor your dog care now how long we wait. So do what feels right. As long as you understand that your new dog is likely to be very different from your old one, you should be fine.

        This is just my personal opinion.

  46. Patti,

    Thank you for sharing your experience with Killer. I’m so glad you have no regrets, and you know the right thing was to put him to sleep.

    He is resting in peace. May you remember him with love, joy, and a peaceful spirit. Remember all the beautiful moments you had with him, and know you’ll always carry him around in your heart and soul.


  47. Dear Jenni,

    I hope your work day went okay, and that you didn’t break down. But it’s also important to let yourself grieve, even if you have to go to the bathroom and cry at work! You’re mourning a huge loss in your life, and you need to express and process your feelings.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


    • My heart is so heavy. I had my black cocker spaniel Ebony put to sleep on Monday, February 3rd and I am having a hard time coping because the guilt is so overwhelming. She was getting so old and her health was deteriorating in so many ways. She had lost weight, she was going blind, deaf, her hind leg would shake and her back side would slowly drop down to the floor. She was only eating small amounts of food and sometimes she would fall. Lately, taking her for a walk had become a challenge she walked slower and she started having accidents in the house which used to make me mad at first because she house trained and I didn’t realize something was wrong. She slept all the time and when she wasnt sleeping she would just roam or walk in small circles. Early December, the vet gave her some pills to help with her cognitive functions but it was helping much and she said if it didn’t I would have my “decision”. So I made the decision on Monday to have her put to sleep. I asked the vet if it were her dog if she would do it and she said yes to end her suffering. I watched the first injection and when she started falling down like she was drunk, I lost it. Then they layed her on the blanket sleeping and I cried so hard, I knelt down beside her petting her and telling her I love her but this was best so she wouldn’t suffer any more. I left the room for the second injection and when she was “gone” the assistant came and asked if I wanted to see her one last time and I went in and it was like she was at peace laying there so I was able to leave. This morning, I lost it again so I just prayed and asked God to forgive me but most importantly for my Ebony to forgive me because there were days I was so frustrated with her, scolding her and wishing she would just pass on her own than for me to make the decision for her. She was with me for 16 years and now when I go home and don’t hear her footprints on the floor or when I wake up in the morning and she’s not beside me in her doggy bed, it is really hard and I can’t stop crying thinking, wondering what I coulda, shoulda and woulda done to not have this void I am feeling for deciding to let her go.

      • You did Ebony a favor, it was for the love of her. When time passes you’ll realize that as well. I wouldn’t want my dogs suffering with no chance of having a quality life again.
        You had her a long time be thankfully blessed for that. Again guilt always looms upon us as a false feeling, of course you feel grievence.When my two Pomeranians reach the Rainbow Bridge I’ll be devastated as well then hoping for support of others.They’re five & four years old my wonderful furballs.My first dogs too,I’m on a site on Facebook called “I Love My Pomeranians’. Great photos & support from fellow Pom Owners.

      • Please be kind to yourself. You made a very loving decision to relieve Ebony of pain and suffering. There is no room for guilt. Sadness, yes. It is terribly sad to say goodbye. I had to say goodbye to my 14-year-old Teddy in December. It was unbelievably painful and I certainly miss him terribly, but I have come to understand that it was the loving thing to do so he would not live with pain and ailments any longer. Forgive yourself so you can fill up all that space in your heart with loving memories that honor Ebony and all she meant to you. If she could talk from beyond, I’ll bet she’s say thank you. Feelings are what make life worthwhile. Sometimes they are difficult ones, but joy is there too. You will feel joy again!

        • Thank you. This has been more difficult than I thought it would be. I have to excuse myself at work everytime I feel the tears coming. My little Ebony’s health was deteriorating so badly, my sister said she would cry because it was hard to watch. My mom tried to warn me a few months ago when she saw how much weight she lost. She told me to prepare myself because she thought Ebony was dying. I was in denial because I didn’t want to make the choice to end her life but what helps to ease my guilt is knowing that she is no longer in any pain or discomfort.

      • I have a question: how long should one wait to get another dog? I have been feeling so empty and guilty that I was considering getting another dog and started feeling guilty about that! My coworkers say I shouldn’t get another dog right now what are your opinions? 6 months? 1 year?

  48. My heart is broken. I said goodbye to my devoted and loyal companion of 18 1/2 years 2 days ago, New Years Eve of 2013. I’ve been battling with the thought of taking him in to have him put to sleep but I could not bring myself to let him go. This little Jack Russell/Shelty mix, Killer, has been the light of my life for so long that the idea of not having him around was unbearable. His appetite was great, still waking me up at 5:30 am for his breakfast up to the last day. It was when I came home from work at lunch to let him outside that I discovered him on the bathroom floor unable to get up. He had urinated and was lying in it. He was not even fighting to get up. When I lifted him to have him stand he could not stay standing. I held him for a while and tried to have him stand again but he was unable to stay upright. I knew at that point that I had waited too long to let him go. I called my vet. They stated they didn’t have any openings but to come in and they would fit us in. I wanted to take a little time to be with Killer before I took him in. I brought him on the bed with me and snuggled with him, wrapping my body protectively around his. He slept. We spent about an hour like this, me loving him, petting him, whispering in his ear how much I adored him. It was then time. I bundled him up in our snuggle blanket and put him in the car with me. As I waited in the patient room for the vet to come in I held Killer in my arms. I held my face close to his telling him I loved him and breathing in his breath. The vet was very compassionate, crying with me as Killer passed. Even though I’m heart broken I know without a doubt that I did the right thing. My only regret is that I waited too long. But the thing that eases my suffering somewhat is that he died peacefully in my arms and that he is no longer suffering.
    Goodbye my Sweet Baby Killer. You have been my four-legged soul mate and I will never forget the unconditional love we shared.

 Leave a Reply