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How Do You Know When It’s Time To Put Your Dog Down?

Pet euthanasia is the hardest yet kindest decision you can make.

It is difficult saying goodbye to your best friend, but it is a necessary measure, and most dog owners know this decision is unavoidable at some point.

It is important to known when it is time to have your pet dog put down.

There are several factors to consider and questions that require answering to determine whether it’s time to put your dog to rest.

Below are some relevant factors you need to observe to help decide on your pet’s quality of life and if it’s time to consider euthanasia.

Does your dog feed and hydrate normally?

If your dog cannot hydrate and feed adequately, consult your vet to determine the reason behind its poor feeding.

Keep a well-documented diary of what your dog is eating and drinking every day.

A dog with a normal appetite will feed and drink on its own.

If your dog has nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, and lack of appetite, you may need to hand feed her or use feeding tubes.

Be observant to see whether your dog can drink and if not, you can help with the use of intravenous catheterization or subcutaneous administration.

Your vet may also play a significant role in determining the problem and offering a solution.

Some symptoms may be a sign of degenerative diseases that may force you to eventually consider putting the dog down due to physical incapability.

Have you noticed a change of behavior recently?

Change of behavior doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog needs to be put down.

However, a notable change is an indicator that something is wrong.

You can get the opinion of others who interact with the dog-like your family members or the dog walker.

Change of behavior can increase sensitivity or aggression, sluggishness, and disinterest in food or walks.

The change of interest may be in things that please or upset the dog.

A consistent decrease in interest may be a sign of diseases and low quality of life, which may necessitate putting your dog down.

Is your dog hurt or in pain?

Be keen to observe if your dog shows signs of pain like panting, whining, moaning, lack of appetite, discomfort, and licking of the affected area.

A dog may be in pain despite being on painkillers or alternative home remedies.

It’s prudent to take your dog to the vet for further investigations and find out the cause of the pain.

Some conditions may cause your dog severe pain for a prolonged time, and there is no need to let your dog go through all that.

Continued pain will lead to deterioration of life and eventual death.

Don’t watch as your dog suffers in pain. Instead, start planning for him/her to be put to sleep.

How is the mobility of your pet?

Mobility decreases with age; however, when your dog shows signs of weakness, falling, and shaking when attempting to move, it may be time to consider euthanasia.

The common cause of immobility is osteoarthritis which is progressive and incurable.

Acupuncture therapy can improve joint inflammation and enable your dog to walk.

On slippery floors, you can add carpets and rugs to ease movement around the house.

When your dog is in this state, provide food and water nearby for easy feeding.

Short walks and exercise will prevent your dog from having stiff joints.

If the treatment and remedies you are using don’t improve life, then you may have to consider having the dog put down.

Is your pet interacting normally?

Does your dog enjoy interacting with family members as he/she used to?

If not, then probably something is affecting his health.

Observe if the dog can still play with his/her favorite toys and actively cuddle with familiar family members.

Dogs are known to be cheerful and playful, and if they don’t interact, as usual, consider reaching out to your vet.

Look for signs of depression-like decreased activity, anxiety, isolation, and the dog doesn’t greet you as before when you get home.

If the dog cannot perform its favorite tasks and enjoy life before, you should ask yourself whether you are prolonging her life for selfish reasons.

Does your dog cry or whine often?

When your dog is crying and whining, it can be a sign of pain, stress, and discomfort.

When in pain, your dog can cry and become aggressive or defensive following the discomfort.

Physical distress can be observed if the dog cries and whines while moving up the stairs or moving around your home.

Bloating and digestion interruptions can cause your dog to whine and cry often.

Bloating and indigestion can be corrected by changing diet and finding food with ingredients the dog can tolerate or not allergic to.

If the crying and whining continue despite trying many remedies, you should take the dog to see a vet determine if the problem can be solved or if it’s time to put him down.

What is your dog’s mental and emotional state?

When suffering from terminal diseases or slow aging, observe the dog’s emotional state.

Change in emotions will change behavior, and your dog will portray signs of depression, anxiety, and sensitivity.

Even worse, your dog may become violent due to depression.

You don’t want a dog that is grumpy all the time or one that can bite your child out of uncontrolled emotions.

If your dog becomes too aggressive all of a sudden, consulting your vet would be the best decision.

If the vet identifies that he is a danger for whatever reason or is in a deteriorating state of illness, then putting him down would be a good idea.

Are the bad days outnumbering the good?

When deciding to have your dog put down, you need to observe whether the bad days outweighed the good despite treatments and therapies.

With the deterioration of life, the bad days are more than the good, and you may find yourself hoping for signs of improvement like tail wagging and play.

Instead of waiting, remember that your canine companion may be going through more suffering, and keeping them longer prolongs the discomfort and pain.

At this point, euthanasia will be the best option to go for.

Is your dog having urine or fecal incontinence?

At old age, even potty-trained dogs can have a few accidents, which is common.

The urine or fecal incontinence can make the dogs nervous and anxious.

Having a large dog with immobility with fecal or urine incontinence is a burden to any owner and can affect the bond between two friends.

The unsanitary conditions will predispose your pet to further infections lowering the quality of life further.

The purchase of pet diapers may come as an added cost to reduce the number of accidents in the house.

Some of the causative conditions can be treated by the vet, while others may be due to preexisting medical conditions.

The opinion of your veterinarian

Before making this critical decision, it would be wise to get the opinion of your veterinarian.

The vet will examine, analyze and explain to you the severity of suffering your dog has to endure regularly.

This expert information will help you make an informed decision pertaining to your pet’s life.

Depending on the progression of the disease your pet is battling, the vet can make it clear how much time you have left with your best friend.

Some diseases are more serious than others, like diabetes is manageable for about two years, but some cancers can significantly reduce the quality of life of your dog, necessitating euthanasia.

Deciding to have your dog put down is the hardest and hurtful choice one has to make.

There is no need to prolong your dog’s life, only for him to continue living in agony.

Use a scale to assess the health status of your ill or aging pet on a regular basis.

It is a selfish choice to have your dog around while the quality of life deteriorates.

Having your dog put down will probably cost you about $50-$150, depending on the method and the vet clinic you visit.

Choosing euthanasia will allow you time to plan on how best to say goodbye to your best friend.

You can arrange a small ceremony for close friends like family members and say your goodbyes in style or just spend time with tour canine friend and hold him/her in your arms and share a final moment.

Once you have decided on euthanasia, you need to decide on how to deal with your pet’s body.

Common options include:

  • Burying the pet in your backyard as only a small grave is required.
  • Cremation.
  • Leaving the remains with the vet
  • Buying a spot at the pet cemetery.

Consider the available options and choose what makes you feel comfortable.

The hardest part is dealing with losing a close friend and family member; you will need a plan on how to cope.

The healing process will start with acceptance of how you feel and the void left by the loss of your pet.

Remember the good times by hanging some of the photos you took together.

Take your time to grieve, and don’t rush into getting another dog.

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National Canine Research Association of America