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When to put down a dog

July 24th, 2006, 01:30 PM
My 13 year old Pharoah Hound, Circe, is getting close to the end.
She's deaf and arthritic, has trouble eating, has lost a lot of weight/muscle
tone. The vet has been over to the house for an exam. She is on
meds for the arthritis, but she's unhappy. I'd like to have your opinion
on when the time is right to put her down.

Rich in Phoenix where it never rains

Rick C
July 24th, 2006, 01:41 PM
That's one of the most difficult questions in the world to answer . . . . . and, in the end, no one can really answer it for you.

Your veterinarian can offer you an opinion as to whether or not the dog is suffering or not, the quality of its life, etc . . . . that in turn can help.

What has your veterinarian said to you about those issues?

Rick C

July 24th, 2006, 01:42 PM
If you and your vet feel she is in pain and no longer a happy dog, or deteriorating rapidly it may be the time. You do not want the dog to suffer unnecessarily. It is one of the hardest decisions to make but do not do this lightly. Talk to the vet and get his opinion. I hope this helps

July 24th, 2006, 01:54 PM
My vet should be a diplomat with the U.N. He's not saying
anything, but his lips are moving. I had a Basenji a few years
ago that developed cancer. He went through surgery, and chemo,
but died alone on the kitchen floor, while I was asleep. Obviously,
I waited too long. I don't want to make the same mistake twice.
I know that there is no real answer. I'm just trying to get a feel
the prevailing thinking.

July 24th, 2006, 02:10 PM
I am so sorry about your current fur baby and extremely sorry about your Basenji :sad: . My only advice to you is to seek a second opinion. If you don't like the way your current vet is handling the situation, then go see another one. Good luck and please keep us posted.:fingerscr :pawprint:

July 24th, 2006, 02:11 PM
I lost my beloved rottweiler to cancer last year.

She limped a couple of times in the morning upon waking up. It was very cold outside and I brushed it off as "old bones" as my girl was about 10 years old.

The third time she limped was on a mild day in March. She tried to meet me at the door but couldn't put any weight on one of her front legs.

She was taken to the vet and x-rays were done. The diagnosis was osteosarcoma and the damage was extensive. I was told that I didn't need to make an immediate decision but there really was nothing that my vet could prescribe to relieve the pain.

The look in my girl's eyes when we carried her down the stairs and loaded her into my van to take her to the vet was not something I wanted to see again.

When the time is right, you will know. It is your greatest gift to her - to relieve her from her pain. It is the most difficult and selfless thing that you will ever do. And I am sure that you will do it with grace and dignity, allowing your beloved dog to have the same and to go to the Rainbow Bridge knowing that she was so very loved.

July 24th, 2006, 02:34 PM
i lost my beloved dobie girl to hepatitis, in 1995. she went through surgery, radiation meds, she went into remission for a few months but then the disease latched on for good... her abdomen was filled with fluid, she looked like she was pregnant with a baby elephant... she was in pain but never let it show.

one day we came home and she had been sick again (diarrhea) all over the floor, she looked so miserable and confused and guilty... i quietly cuddled with her on the couch, and to this day this moment is burned into my memory like it happened 5 minutes ago, hard to write through the tears... she was on her back and i was rubbing her swollen tummy where 35 stitches had barely healed... and she looked into my eyes - LOOKED deep into my SOUL - and it was like an electric shock, she said "mom... it's time now". i burst into tears and cried so hard, hugged her so hard, my husband had to give me some meds to calm me down...

the next day we brought her to the vet (a friend of ours), and she went quietly in her daddy's arms. I was not strong enough, we had said our goodbyes before... the vet let us take her poor ravaged body out the back door, where we put her in a white-satin lined casket that my grandfather had built for her. we buried her at her breeder's, under a tree, fighting the mozzies at dusk and smiling through our tears. RIP sweet girl, my soulmate.

Your girl will tell you when it's time... believe in her :-)

July 24th, 2006, 02:51 PM
I always thought this was one of the best essays on this sad topic - it was written by a veterinarian:

How can we make that difficult decision to end the life of a Pet whom we have loved and nurtured, played with and lived with? The Pet may have been with us for a short time or for many years. It may protect us, serve us or just be there when we need something to cuddle.

Our domestic pets have maintained many of their "wild" instincts. One of the most important instincts, however, is to mask pain and illness. Many pet owners advised that their pet is suffering from a serious disease, comment "But he's not acting very sick"; what happens to a wild dog or cat that "acts sick"? Invariably they are killed by other animals -- sometimes even by members of their own pack.

When we have to make that final decision we feel guilty, we are torn by feelings of helplessness, guilt, anger and sometimes the misguided notion that we owe it to the pet to keep it alive at all costs. How can I tell my veterinarian to give my pet an injection that will kill it?

When a pet becomes ill or is seriously injured, we must make a decision based on several factors. We must set realistic limits which include emotional expense to the pet's family, physical costs to the pet, and many times, unfortunately, financial cost. It is best for the family members, or the single owner, to sit down with all the facts in front of them and, as rationally as possible, set those limits. This is the fairest thing pet owners can do for the pet and for themselves.

So, we come to that difficult decision-making time, we have to decide what is best for the pet, regardless of the decision, we face the possibility of feeling guilty because we made the wrong one.

We feel guilty if we elect to have our pet euthanized. We feel guilty if we choose treatment and its unsuccessful. We should put ourselves in our Pet's position. "What would I want done if I were in this situation"?

If an owner, after evaluating all the available information, decides euthanasia is necessary, he or she must tell the veterinarian. In those cases, the owner must realize that sometimes we have to love our Pets enough to let them go.


We are never quite prepared for the death of a pet. Whether death is swift and unexpected or whether it comes at the end of a slow decline, we are never fully aware of what a pet has brought to our lives until our companion is gone.

Our involvement with the final outcome may be passive. We may simply not pursue medical or surgical treatment in an aging pet. Perhaps its ailment has no cure and the best we can do is alleviate some of its suffering so that it may live the remainder of its days in relative comfort. An illness or accident may take it suddenly.

Everyone secretly hopes for a pet's peaceful passing, hoping to find it lying in its favorite spot in the morning. The impact of a pet's death is significantly increased when, as responsible and loving caretakers, we decide to have the pet euthanized.

Euthanasia is the induction of painless death. In veterinary practice, it is accomplished by intravenous injection of a concentrated dose of anesthetic. The animal may feel slight discomfort when the needle tip passes through the skin, but this is no greater than for any other injection. The euthanasia solution takes only seconds to induce a total loss of consciousness. This is soon followed by respiratory depression and cardiac arrest.

Doctors of veterinary medicine do not exercise this option lightly. Their medical training and professional lives are dedicated to diagnosis and treatment of disease. Veterinarians are keenly aware of the balance between extending an animal's life and its suffering. Euthanasia is the ultimate tool to mercifully end a pet's suffering.

To request euthanasia of a pet is probably the most difficult decision a pet owner can make. All the stages of mourning may flood together, alternating rapidly. We may resent the position of power. We may feel angry at our pet for forcing us to make the decision. We may postpone the decision, bargaining with ourselves that if we wait another day, the decision will not be necessary. Guilt sits heavily on the one who must decide. The fundamental guideline is to do what is best for your pet, even if you suffer in doing this. Remember that as much as your pet has the right to a painless death, you have the right to live a happy life.

Each of us mourns differently, some more privately than others, and some recover more quickly. Some pet owners find great comfort in acquiring a new pet soon after the loss of another. Others, however, become angry at the suggestion of another pet. They may feel that they are being disloyal to the memory of the preceding pet. Do not rush into selecting a replacement pet. Take the time to work through your grief.

To help you to prepare for the decision to euthanize your pet, consider the following questions. They are intended as a guide; only you can decide what is the best solution for you and your pet. Take your time. Speak with your veterinarian. Which choice will bring you the least cause for regret after the pet is gone?

Consider the following:

What is the current quality of my pet's life?

Is my pet still eating well? Playful? Affectionate toward me?

Is my pet interested in the activity surrounding it?

Does my pet seem tired and withdrawn most of the time?

Is my pet in pain?

Is there anything I can do to make my pet more comfortable?

Are any other treatment options available?

If a behavioral problem has led me to this decision, have I sought the expertise of a veterinary behavior consultant?

Do I still love my pet the way I used to, or am I angry and resentful of the restrictions its condition has placed on my lifestyle?

Does my pet sense that I am withdrawing from it?

What is the quality of my life and how will this change?

Will I want to be present during the euthanasia?

Will I say goodbye to my pet before the euthanasia because it is too painful for me to assist?

Will I want to wait in the reception area until it is over?

Do I want to be alone or should I ask a friend to be present?

Do I want any special burial arrangements made?

Can my veterinarian store the body so that I can delay burial arrangements until later?

Do I want to adopt another pet?

Do I need time to recover from this loss before even considering another pet?






The final decision must be made by all members of the family, you may have to overcome your feeling of love for the pet and consider what is fairest for him. Do not let your emotions override the fact that your pet may be leading a painful, suffering life.

July 24th, 2006, 03:37 PM
Rich - So sorry to hear about Circe. It is indeed the most difficult decision one has to make. :grouphug:

Kaytris - Excellent post.

Marko - I think Kaytris's post should be made a sticky.

July 24th, 2006, 04:30 PM
Aldo,we had a shepard/Collie mix,her name was Mishka(RIP)she had Osteo-Arthritis(sp)in her spine.
The painmeds did not do much for her,we carried her to go outside to the bathroom,we knew life was not joyful for her anymore,no more running,no more rolling in the grass..
She used to eat with gusto all the time,always ready for a cuddle and we knew she was ready to go,when all she wanted to do was lay down and that's what we did,we let her go.The first pet we ever had to make that difficult heartwrenching decision for,but it was the right one.
You know your dog best and you will make the right decision:love:

Buddy's Heart
July 24th, 2006, 04:35 PM
I agree with all the people, when it is time, you will know it. Listen to your animal, look for the signs, and remember, YOU are doing the BEST for your loved one. Crossing Over is not bad, when one is sick, and quality of life is gone. You will make the right decision, when the time is right.

You both will be in our prayers.

July 24th, 2006, 07:42 PM
to the original poster, aldo, I feel for you having to decide this.

to LavenderRott, quote "The look in my girl's eyes when we carried her down the stairs and loaded her into my van to take her to the vet was not something I wanted to see again", I am so sorry, I have only had to do that once, but cry just thinking I will again with my others.

to technodoll, same as I said to LavenderRott, I am so sorry. I feel I will have to have those same sad, awful feelings again. We may have to make those same decisions if we keep taking care, caretaking, animals that are so important to our lives.

to kaytris, thank you for that article. Again, this hit home, my oldest cat is 15, oldest dog is 10...I wish I didn't have to think on these lines, but I want to take care of them -to my best - right to the end.

I hope I will listen to them, and hear when it is time. And not let myself hang on in a selfish manner. In the meantime, enough on this one, it has made me cry long enough.


July 24th, 2006, 08:11 PM
I wrote down on a piece of paper, in my drawer and wrote a letter to Harley. I also wrote a note to myself to make sure I do what is best for him when the time has come, not to be selfish. Harley has a great spirit, and I know once that is lost it will be time.
He does not show pain. I believe for me I will take the 3 things he loves to do the most, when he can not happily do 2 out of the 3, it will be time.
No longer enjoy car rides( too painful) no longer play with a tennis ball, and no longer curl up with mommy. Those are his 3 favorite things.
I say this so easily now, but when it will be the time, I will have alittle reminder letter to myself.
Only you will know when the time is right. But listen to your beloved pet. They will let you know in some way.

July 24th, 2006, 08:15 PM
aldo5,I'm really sorry you have to make that decision.Ready this,today,really hits home.