How To Know When To Put Your Dog Down

One of the most difficult decisions that a pet owner may ever have to face regarding their pet’s care is deciding when to put their dog down. Euthanizing a beloved pet is never an easy decision, but it may be necessary to prevent further suffering. In this blog post, we will explore the signs that indicate it may be time to euthanize your dog and discuss the option of euthanizing at home.

Firstly, it is important to understand that every dog is different and there is no set timeline for when a dog should be euthanized. Not all of the signs mentioned here must be present.  For example, it is not uncommon for a dog to have a very poor quality of life, such as not being able to walk, yet have a great appetite.  But a pet that gets great enjoyment from patrolling their home perimeter, following you around the house or protecting you from the mailman, can suffer great mental anguish and confusion from not being physically able to do their ‘job’ any longer.  This very much has a negative impact on quality of life, even if their appetite is preserved.  Below are some general signs that indicate your dog may be suffering and euthanasia should be considered. 

The first sign is chronic pain that cannot be managed with medication or other treatments. It can sometimes be hard to determine if your dog is in pain because dogs demonstrate pain much differently than people.  Chronic pain can include profound nausea, headaches, dull ache, inability to move, pressure type pain such as abdominal pain, arthritis and even air hunger.  Dogs, like many animals, must hide their pain so as not to attract unwanted attention.  Attention specifically from predators.  Today many modern dogs should not have to be worried about predators, but the instinct remains.  Signs of dogs with chronic pain include loss of appetite, inability to walk, lack of interest things they used to like, limping or general stiffness when walking, sleeping alot, chewing on 1 side of the mouth, soiling in areas they didn’t use to, less desire to interact with family members and the list goes on.  Sometimes a few of these symptoms can be alleviated with treatment or pain relief to improve their quality of life.

Loss of control of basic functions is another sign that it may be time to put your dog down.  If they are no longer able to perform basic functions such as eating, drinking, or going to the bathroom. If your dog has lost their appetite and is unable to keep food or water down, they may be suffering from a serious illness or condition that cannot be treated. Similarly, if your dog is unable to control their bladder or bowels and has frequent accidents in the house, or worse, in their bed, it may be a sign that they are nearing the end of their life.

Behavioral changes can also indicate that it may be time to euthanize your dog. If your once active and playful dog becomes lethargic and uninterested in activities they used to enjoy, it may be a sign that they are in pain or discomfort. Additionally, if your dog becomes aggressive or shows signs of anxiety or depression, it may be an indication that they are suffering.

When making the decision to euthanize your dog, it is important to consult with your veterinarian. They may recommend some tests or empirical treatments to see if your pet’s quality of life can be improved.  They can also provide guidance on whether euthanasia is the best option for your dog and can help you understand the process. Alternatively, you can also use the Quality of Life tool found on Codapet’s website to help you with the decision.   It can be a more objective measure to help you decide if it is time.   If you decide to proceed with euthanasia, you have the option of having it done at a veterinary clinic or in the comfort of your own home.

Euthanizing at home may be a more peaceful and comfortable option for both you and your dog. It allows your dog to be in a familiar environment surrounded by their loved ones. However, it is important to note that euthanizing at home should only be done with the guidance of a veterinarian. They can provide the necessary medication and ensure that the process is done safely and humanely.

In order to euthanize your dog at home, you will need to make arrangements with your veterinarian. They will typically provide a sedative to help relax your dog and make them more comfortable. Once your dog is sedated, they will administer the euthanasia solution which will stop their heart and breathing.

It is important to prepare yourself emotionally for the process of euthanasia. Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is never easy, but knowing that you are ending their suffering can provide some comfort. You may also want to consider having a memorial service for your dog as a way to honor their memory.

In conclusion, deciding when to put your dog down is never an easy decision. However, if your dog is suffering from chronic pain, unable to perform basic functions, or showing behavioral changes, it may be time to consider euthanasia. Consulting with your veterinarian and considering the option of euthanizing at home can help ensure that the process is done safely and humanely.