When to let a dog go...

Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
13,640
Location
Los Gatos, CA
The last decision we make for our pets is the hardest and most important. They cannot speak and tell us how they feel. I can tell you that your vet will give your beloved friend a peaceful, no pain transition to a good long sleep.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
3,592
Location
British Columbia, Canada
We've faced this question several times. And yes I've been up half way through the night, every night, to let an old dog out.

What I've learned:
  • When they stop eating it's time.
  • It's important to consider whether you're keeping a dog alive for their benefit or for yours. That gets to the quality of their life and the bonds and loyalty you have for a pet. If you're keeping them alive primarily for your benefit, it's probably time to let them go.
  • It's a hard and terrible decision and it doesn't get any easier.
  • At least there is a way out.
  • Every dog is the best dog ever.
  • Keep their ashes so they can be buried with you, or scattered on your grave or at a favourite place. We have 3 boxes of ashes on our top shelf.
  • Beyond that I have no further advice.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
4,259
Location
Virginia
I feel for you. We just went through this over Labor Day weekend. Our cat had been diagnosed with lymphoma of the digestive tract 2.5 years ago. Steroid medication helped her immediately but we were warned it would lose its effectiveness after 1.5-2 years. Seemingly out of nowhere she went downhill quickly over about two weeks, and sharply in her last two days. She was not eating/peeing/pooping anymore and she was miserable so it was time. We were 'lucky' in that it was obvious that putting her down was the right call and that we have no guilt wondering if we made the right decision. She was the child we never had and we miss her dearly but we loved her so much we had to let her go.
 

Jackson_Slugger

$50 Site Donor 2022
Joined
Sep 30, 2019
Messages
1,896
Location
New York
....
Fast forward to now - now she has a constant need for water...which flows right out of her 20-40 minutes later (although she can hold it longer if laying down). She can no longer go through the night without peeing. Meds have not helped. She is all skin and bones at this point. People that see her ask, is she ok? All you can see is ribs, hips, and her back. It’s part of her disease.
...
This is what happened to my guy before we had to put him down. He had good days and bad days but stopped walking with me and had some sort of event (a stroke?) about three months before he was gone. He had a harder and harder time getting up and would still try to go up the stairs even though he had virtually no hindleg strength left due to hip-dysplasia and would pull himself up with his front paws. I don't live there so my 80 year old mother had to keep him going and prevent him from doing stuff like that as he had slipped and fallen back once and there was no way she could do much if he couldn't get up being he was a large Aussie that was stubborn but very smart. Sadly, I think when they start drinking water constantly it sounds like their organs and possibly the thyroid might be shutting down. It's a tough call but certainly the dogs quality of life is a big part of it. Also you should keep in mind that dog's also instinctually hide pain and crippling injuries...
 
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Messages
8,453
Location
Scruffy City
When I read her symptoms- I immediately thought Cushings Disease there are medications… but it sounds like she’s suffering- when she won’t or can’t do things that are normal for her she’s in some pain. Dad’s had a couple of boxers and I think 13 is a long life for one.
 

OVERKILL

$100 Site Donor 2021
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
53,894
Location
Ontario, Canada
We went through this at the beginning of this year with our Newfoundland, who had cancer. When they are in pain/suffering, that's when you know it's time, and when that's happening, you'll know. We were able to enjoy several more months with him long after the emergency vet told us that he wasn't in pain, but had a huge tumour (which was destroying his mobility, but he was always lazy, so he didn't seem to care too much) and had advised us to consider euthanizing him. We weren't ready then, and neither was he. We knew when it was time.
 
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
8,774
Location
South Carolina
Its a really tough decision for you and your family. More so because you all are not in agreement yet.
Its a horrible decision to have to make. Yeah, one thing for sure you don't want them to be in pain and wow, you certainly did your part knowing she isn't and trying to provide her a good life over the years, now she seems to be wasting away, if I as a human was in that condition I don't think I would want to go on with life like that.
Its a decision only you and your family can make and live with though.

My dog (schnoodle) is my best friend, I can't understand this closeness I feel with him, now 13 years old, has his own challenges, my wife and I made some life altering decisions last year for him after many, many tears, he is still with us but now blind. He handles it quite well with his other senses so far. He can still play like a puppy and we make sure with the vet he has no pain but I can see this year that he is sleeping more, hearing not as good and can't help feel we maybe entering the sunset phase. Time will tell.

This thread isn't about me yet I am saying it because I can certainly understand the thought of losing a dog, at the time we didn't know if he would survive the night/for days with an uncontrollable glaucoma even an animal ophthalmologist couldn't control/ one eye ruptured the night before the operation, days later they still could not control it for the second eye and it had to be removed.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 3, 2002
Messages
9,048
Location
MI
Our decision about when "it's time" has always been around the dog's quality of life. It really sucks when it's time.
We, too, went through this process this past summer with the dog (Daffy) we inherited 4 years ago from my mom who had a stroke .

In the same vein that some say one is keeping the pet alive for the human's benefit, some probably select to euthanize also for the owner's benefit (not wanting the inconvenience/challenge of dog hospice). Determining quality of life for someone else, especially an animal, is a difficult task in some cases, others not so much.

My wife was adamant (biased) that she thought it was more comfortable for our dog to die at home vs. the vet's office. We used floor pee pads and nursed the dog through seizures that occurred about 2 times a month (my stay at home retired wife chose this). My wife followed the vet's recommendation for medications and diet to prolong (right or wrong) the dog's life. My wife claimed she learned that dogs don't feel pain during seizures. Who's to say.

Our dog died at home. We carefully monitored signs of quality of life, knowing euthanizing might be chosen any day. Like Overkill stated "We knew when it was (was not) time." At least we tried to know.......there is no one correct answer.
 
Last edited:

doublebase

Thread starter
Joined
Dec 28, 2014
Messages
2,361
Its a really tough decision for you and your family. More so because you all are not in agreement yet.
Its a horrible decision to have to make. Yeah, one thing for sure you don't want them to be in pain and wow, you certainly did your part knowing she isn't and trying to provide her a good life over the years, now she seems to be wasting away, if I as a human was in that condition I don't think I would want to go on with life like that.
Its a decision only you and your family can make and live with though.

My dog (schnoodle) is my best friend, I can't understand this closeness I feel with him, now 13 years old, has his own challenges, my wife and I made some life altering decisions last year for him after many, many tears, he is still with us but now blind. He handles it quite well with his other senses so far. He can still play like a puppy and we make sure with the vet he has no pain but I can see this year that he is sleeping more, hearing not as good and can't help feel we maybe entering the sunset phase. Time will tell.

This thread isn't about me yet I am saying it because I can certainly understand the thought of losing a dog, at the time we didn't know if he would survive the night/for days with an uncontrollable glaucoma even an animal ophthalmologist couldn't control/ one eye ruptured the night before the operation, days later they still could not control it for the second eye and it had to be removed
Wow, quite a journey you’ve had with your dog.
 

AZjeff

$50 Site Donor 2023
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
7,337
Location
in Az where the Deer and Antelope play
Dogs live in the present. If they're in pain it's their world. If their life quality is diminished it's their world. They love us unconditionally, we owe it to them to do the right thing. Someone said it, do we keep them alive for us or for them? I bet we all hang on to our pets too long, some a little, some far too long. Letting them go is one of the hardest things a person can do.
 

doublebase

Thread starter
Joined
Dec 28, 2014
Messages
2,361
We, too, went through this process this past summer with the dog (Daffy) we inherited 4 years ago from my mom who had a stroke .

In the same vein that some say one is keeping the pet alive for the human's benefit, some probably select to euthanize also for the owner's benefit (not wanting the inconvenience/challenge of dog hospice). Determining quality of life for someone else, especially an animal, is a difficult task in some cases, others not so much.

My wife was adamant (biased) that she thought it was more comfortable for our dog to die at home vs. the vet's office. We used floor pee pads and nursed the dog through seizures that occurred about 2 times a month (my stay at home retired wife chose this). My wife followed the vet's recommendation for medications and diet to prolong (right or wrong) the dog's life. My wife claimed she learned that dogs don't feel pain during seizures. Who's to say.

Our dog died at home. We carefully monitored signs of quality of life, knowing euthanizing might be chosen any day. Like Overkill stated "We knew when it was (was not) time." At least we tried to know.......there is no one correct answer.
I think your last paragraph there is the balancing act we’re going through right now. Today I tried to talk to my wife about it, she seemed “open” to options. Problem is my daughter at this point - she is the one who is basically doing what your wife was doing...doing a lot of the work to keep our dog going. My hat goes off to her for taking on this responsibility...putting the diapers on her at night, waking at 3am to take her out. Watching her whenever she’s home - that’s what we all have to do now - watch the dog, adjust our lives to her every move. Otherwise a carpet is ruined, a bed, whatever. It’s tiring. She’s been doing this (and us) for the past 6 months, but really it’s been more like a year for my wife and I. And really two years since this downward trend has started.

I will try to have some conversations with my daughter when it’s right, problem is, seems like that conversation is something she doesn’t want to hear. I get that, but this thread is telling me THAT conversation is more important than her feelings. It’s an awful situation. I feel bad for what you and your wife went through.
 
Top