When to put a dog down?

When is the right time to put a dog down? What are the signs?  I got a 13 year old lab that’s hips are shot and her joints are always sore.  She is consistently licking her legs, paws and has a tough time squatting to go to the bathroom.  On cold days her back end will drop often and she will struggle to lift herself up.  She has been on medication for her arthritis and takes medication for bathroom control.  In twelve years she had one accident in our house, in the past year she has gone multiple times in the garage and sometimes I think she leaks urine on herself.  I have pushed to put her to sleep for the past 6 months and family has fought it.  I hate to see her struggle through life and it feels right to put her down.  The tough part is that she still wags her tail and jogs at a slow speed as fast as she can towards me every time she sees me with excitement.  In the past month she has just started not carrying a fetch toy of some sort around.  We also have a new lab puppy that I want to train but feel as if I’m betraying her when I give the pup attention or training.  The puppy is full of excitement and is constantly knocking down the older one without even knowing it.  My wife feels that I just need to accept her for the dog she is now and let her live.  The thing is I don’t know if I want her to live if she is constantly struggling.  Summer is coming and the warm temps should help, I really don’t know what to do.

riverview's picture
riverview
Offline
Joined: 12/25/08

A very tough position to be in. I have been through it a few times. I wouldnt feel guilty about training your new pup, just make sure and give the old dog a fewor special attention.  By the sounds of your old dogs condition  i would give her the spring and do what you think is best. Dogs dont live long enough. good luck and work the new pup every day

wslayer's picture
wslayer
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 7/27/02

  A very difficult decision for sure. She will be OK with whatever you decide, you have given her the best life possible and thanks you dearly for it. See what the warmer weather brings and  "family" decide what is best. She will be with you always.
God Bless!!!

boze's picture
boze
Offline
Joined: 12/3/03

Put her out of her misery. I know its a tough deal, but put yourself in her paws. If you can hold out till frost goes to dig her a resting spot, then wait. Been there, done that. I can gaurentee you will cry like a baby.  

Total Outdoor Network's picture
Total Outdoor N...
Offline
Joined: 3/17/08

 Man, that's a tough one.  I had a springer that made it till 19 years, she was with me since I was 10 years old and to this day is the toughest decision my family had to make.   I was 28 at the time and yea, cried like a baby - but he was a great dog.  All I can say is, you'll know when the time is right.  If it doesn't feel right to do it now, don't do it.  Give her some extra attention and see how she is this summer.  You'll know when the time is right. 


Headhunter's picture
Headhunter
Offline
Joined: 12/17/01

yeh, I feel your pain.  I have a 10 year old Golden Retriever who is a member of the family no doubt,  was diagnosed with Cancer  in Febuary..... totally out of the blue sky.. on a routine Vet visit. It was  in his leg and spreading quickly.  Doc said 3 to 6 months, unless we amputate, then he wouldn't guarantee  even  6 months.........talk about shock.

So, off came the leg about 3 weeks ago. he's a bit limpy but is still my old buddy, just have to help him into the pickup every day, and up the stairs in the house..........

Started him on Chemotherapy  2 weeks ago, he's doing pretty darn good...........we do everything to keep humans alive, be darned if I'll skimp on him,  More loyal than any human ever has been..........who know's, mabeye we will be chasing pheasants next October right?   Good luck with your decision......My thought is,  once they are visibly suffering, it is time to end it.

winchester64's picture
winchester64
Offline
Joined: 12/22/08

I agree this is a tuff one, I would wait and see what the warmer temps bring and go from there. Your taking the first steps now towards the ending proces already and you will know when the time is right. We all have traveled this route once or twice and it is never easy and it's different for everyone.  I'm sorry to hear about the loss thats coming.

P.S. Good luck with the new pup!

tearbear's picture
tearbear
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 11/12/07

A topic that hits me hard! My dog(Curly)  was diagnosed with a large internal tumor in January along with his heart murmur going from grade 2 to grade 6. The tumor is growing rapidly and the time is coming soon! He can no longer go for his morning walks and I am struggling with it! I paid good money for him as a pup and found out a month later about the heart murmur, the breeder would exchange him, but would of put him down. I didn't have the heart to do it, so I kept him. The vet gave him 4 years, he's now pushing 8 years old! He's never been a barn burner in the field, but he's given me all he had with complete loyalty, if only I could of found a woman like that! I know the time is coming soon and it hurts like hell, but I owe him not to suffer.  When is the time right? I really don't know! I just can't watch him suffer much longer.  I just hope I am shown as much mercy when my time comes!  May god bless all you dog owners and help you make the right decisions when that  time comes!

sargent41's picture
sargent41
Offline
Joined: 3/17/05

What a tough and emotional question. I don't have an answer and I too am a loyal dog owner as my dog is loyal to my family and I. The only thing I know for sure is someone should put down jaksamas for his stupid responce to a sensative question. I feel for you carpshooter!

Pat'sPlace's picture
Pat'sPlace
Offline
Joined: 2/20/09

with spring/summer coming I would let her enjoy lying in the summer sun...the family will all know when its time.

bucksnbears's picture
bucksnbears
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 5/5/07

it sounds like its time.  just put my lab down also 13 years.i called my vet and they met me in the parking lot and did it there. i already had the grave dug. i cried like a slobbering baby for the ride home but knowing i did the right thing eased the hurt somewhat. good luck/ 

the more food you have in your mouth, the better you can taste it !!

Birdhunter81's picture
Birdhunter81
Offline
Joined: 10/10/06

I gotta agree with Pat'sPlace. I'd give her the summer and then start thinking about doing it. Just remember all dogs go to heaven.

I joined the military not only to fight for my country but to fight for those that can't fight for themselves. Thats why I'm here.

bobkat's picture
bobkat
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 12/16/01

Look at it with this question in mind.  Are you prolonging life or prolonging death?   And is the poor dog enjoying life anymore? 
My last dog had a great life, 16+ years and a super last pheasant season, then laid down, curled up and when she wasn't up and at em late the next morning, still curled up, we finally realized she had died during the night! 
Thpough it would be nice if all dogs did this, it is not life for most of them, and hoping and wanting doesn't make it true!    I had a great Springer one time who got old and your description of your dog would have fit her perfectly.   Thinking I was doing a great and noble thing for her I kept her alive an extra year or two by all kinds of heroic nonsense.  In retrospect, that was one of the stupider things I've probably ever done.  To be old and wise too often means that at one time you were young and stupid!    Like the old "experience is a lifetime of mistakes" quote! 

I finally faced reality and though it was tough digging her grave while she lay there wagging her tail, barely able to move and gasping for breath watching me through her cataract'd eyes,  it had to be done!   Should have been done far earlier!  
Mauser's HSUS would have and should have been all over me like flies on feces! LOL

passiton's picture
passiton
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 11/28/05

Whoever's dog it is should make the decision.  You will know when you think that you have done everything you could and putting the dog down is the last thing you can do to help.  Some conditions are more treatable than others, obviously, and this will dictate some of the decision making.  If you feel you have a good vet than get their opinion as far as the dogs condition and internal organ functions.  If the dog is in obvious pain and yelps when you move its joints, and anti-inflammatories are no longer working, than I would say sooner rather than later 

Its the toughest thing I've ever gone through, but you did the right thing in getting a pup before you put the other one down.  I didn't do that and have put off getting another dog because I struggle with the thought of having to go through the whole thing over again.  Some people have an easier time with this than others.  I felt, like many, that my dog deserved every effort that I would have given any other member of my family.  Many, including my soon to be ex-wife, thought I was crazy and just throwing money away, but that was my decision, because he was my friend and my responsibility. 

I had a hole dug and made a casket for him, so that part was done, which made it easier when the time came, and doing this part right was the last thing I could do to honor him for what he had given me through the years.  The vet met me in the parking lot as well.  Spend as much quality time with your dog as you can, and you will know when the time has come.  Its tough cleaning up messes in the house all the time, but it goes with the territory.  You did it when he was a pup, so just grin and bare it now.
 

SDO Staff/Jim Sherman's picture
SDO Staff/Jim S...
Offline
Joined: 1/25/07

Very sensitive topic and a difficult one, thanks for sharing it. I have experienced this emotional turmoil more than once in my lifetime and it has never gotten any easier. The last dog I had to put down was my old fishing buddy Dryfuss, he loved the boat and the lake. it took me awhile to get another dog but having worked through the grief process I have another one named Hollie (she is very fond of the water) just not real fond of the boat - Yet
At any rate at least you shared your feelings which is the first step in the process, the final decision rests with you and your pal, God Bless. Jim Sherman

Jim S. - Sturgis, SD

z's picture
z
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 4/3/07

You are going to eventually make a very hard decision, but let me share this with you.  Two years ago our 13 year old border collie suffered a stroke and lost muscle control on one side of her face.  We treated with daily childrens aspirin and also picked up a new pup.  A year later she came out of it, and now runs around with the two additional dogs we now have.  Yeah , she is slow getting  up and can only hold it for about 10 hours, but she in no way at 15 years is showing any more age. It sounds as if it  still has a strong attitude, and wants to participate so I  would recommend holding off until it is absolutely required.  Good luck

ndcarpshooter's picture
ndcarpshooter
Offline
Joined: 11/22/05

Thanks for all the post, the dog was a present to me in 8th grade but has lived at parents house through out her life.  My mom called me yesterday sobbing saying that she would not let me put the dog down.  She said to wait it out and see what the summer heat and sun do to her.  I just hate seeing a dog with a low quality of life struggle every day just to get out of bed.

jokostel's picture
jokostel
Offline
Joined: 10/24/05

We waited to put ours down too long.
The poor thing ( the last day she was alive) had multiple sezures, and her heart was failing....

Don't wait  "too" long. Try not to let her die in pain... Give her a good send off- not one of necessity, but one of compassion... it's the least anyone can do for someone they care for.

I'm the devil's son..... call me young gun.

passiton's picture
passiton
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 11/28/05

Given the current information, I would say to let your parents make the decision as far as when to put the dog down.  Its obvious that they have played a much more important and responsible role in the dog's life than you have, since it has lived with them throughout her entire life.  I'm not saying that the dog isn't technically yours since it was a gift to you when you were 14, but the dog is far more emotionally attached to your parents.  So let them make the decision.  When you have cared for one almost everyday of its life, like a child, then you have earned the right to make the call.

foolforfishin's picture
foolforfishin
Offline
Joined: 4/8/09

Look her in the eye, she'll tell you when it's time. I had the same thing happen last year, same worries. My lab was broken down, but still wagged his tail in the morning and ran as best he could. One day the sparkle in his eyes was gone and that was it.

fishinfool

espringers's picture
espringers
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 7/25/07

geesh this is a difficult forum to read.  anyone with issues getting in touch with their emotional side need only log on to fishing buddy.  almost have to close my door to my office when i read this forum.  i really was hoping my dog(s) would live forever or at least die with me in a car accident.  i can't imagine having to make the hard decisions some of you have.  my heart goes out to you guys. 

Born to hunt and fish... Forced to work!

jokostel's picture
jokostel
Offline
Joined: 10/24/05

It's a horrible part of life, but at some point.....we all have to ride the lightning.

I'm the devil's son..... call me young gun.

BDub's picture
BDub
Offline
Joined: 3/9/09

I have been through this several times. Fortunately  a few have just died in their sleep. Others had to be put down. Luckily the dogs that had to be put down were in real bad shape. Strokes are tough on the dogs just like us. Tears are shed and then I start the search immediately for another pup. When dogs show signs of suffering they are in real pain. They can't tell us how bad it is.  I lean towards stopping the misery and get on with a new venture.

cruiser's picture
cruiser
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 4/12/02

i have the same thing in my home.  I have a lab that is 14 & is getting harder to get up & is falling down in the back end & i have a 1.5 year old winmer that helps her get up to go out side.  I had her senc she was 6 & is a vary good to the famly.  My dad had a springer sens it was a pup & the dog got pushed in frunt of the trater when he was moveing hay. So the hole famly go a big picher for my dad for Xmis & is on the wall on top of the tv. So I do not no how to deal with my situation ether.

bobkat's picture
bobkat
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 12/16/01

Whever we have a dog or any of our pets go to the happy hunting ground we dig a grave and plant a tree over it.    When we go for a hike we go by the "Bosley tree" and the "Darcy Tree' and the "Scrappy tree" etc.   
Burial  isn't always practical for someone in town on a city lot.  My ghoulish question - is that a pet crematorium with the big chimney at Club Fido?  And anyone know what it might cost?  And out of curuiosity what does it cost to buy a pet out at McDowell Dam, etc. 

jokostel's picture
jokostel
Offline
Joined: 10/24/05

club fido is a daycare and kennel for dogs... they have nothing to do with that sort of thing.

I'm the devil's son..... call me young gun.

Pat'sPlace's picture
Pat'sPlace
Offline
Joined: 2/20/09

I'll add that a buddy of mine had to make that tough drive to the vet this winter...what made it tougher is that he couldn't bury his dog due to winter, so he wrapped him in plastic  and  stored him frozen in the garage until burial can be done this spring. There is a pet crematorium in Fargo and maybe Minot. Someone tried to get a permit for one north of Bismarck in the county but the "neighbors" from a mile away protested, so the permit was denied. Also, going against other family members wishes can be as bad as the loss itself...I did that with a pet and suffered even more because of it.

Mr. Mike's picture
Mr. Mike
Offline
Joined: 3/26/08

Can't remember where I got this from, but hope it helps.
Rainbow Bridge
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt and maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing, they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent. Her eager body quivers, Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face, your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.........

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" - - - Benjamin Franklin
"If it doesn't have BEER it ain't Heaven!" - - - Mr. Mike

bobkat's picture
bobkat
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 12/16/01

"that sort of thing" ???  sounds like you disapprove, Jok.  Heck, there's a human crematorium right on 83 so I don't know why anyone would object. 
While they were building their kennels, it sure looked to me that it was a crematorim machine on the south side of the building, though I have never seen it in use, or at least smoke coming out.  Didn't look like a furnace, but I sure could be wrong.    Looks lije a great kennel out there - I should stop for the nickle tour sometime.
A good solution for a lot of owners. 
I wish dogs would live forever.  It's always like losing a family member.  Tough decisions when they get old and in pain. 

jokostel's picture
jokostel
Offline
Joined: 10/24/05

creamation? no- I don't disapprove..
was just busy as all heck when I typed that out.
who is anyone to be judge and jury of how someone sends off of loved one?

I'm the devil's son..... call me young gun.

TUFFdog's picture
TUFFdog
Offline
Joined: 9/19/06

If the dog is suffering, put it down. It sucks but I personnally can't watch animals suffer.

Once a King, Always a King

But once a Knight is never enough

Pages