How to Know When to Put Your Dog Down

Veterinarian Marie Haynes describes the most important things to look for and how to know when to put your dog down. She also shares her experience with putting her own dog down at home, and offers help for healing the grief of losing your dog.

Are you confused about putting your dog down? It’s natural and expected to feel devastated, guilty, sad, and lost. This information about when to put your dog down is from a veterinarian who had to put her own dog to sleep. She shares her story, and offers general information about the process of putting a dog down.

putting a dog downThis is the most important thing to remember about putting your dog to sleep: “If you can save your dog or cat even one day of discomfort, you must,” says Dr Haynes. To learn about the different types of discomfort and pain, read through the comments section below. Many readers have shared their experience and struggle with knowing when to put a dog down – reading their experiences will help you see you’re not alone.

The number one way to know when to put your dog down

When your dog has a poor quality of life – or is in pain – it’s time to let go.

If your dog is suffering in any way, then it’s time to say good-bye. There are other guidelines and signs that will help you know when to put your dog to sleep, but the bottom line is always quality of life. It’s a difficult decision – and it’s not always easy to know what your dog’s quality of life is.

Dr Haynes says it’s often difficult to tell whether a dog is in pain or suffering, but there are some general guidelines that will help you know when to put your dog down:

  1. Is your dog’s appetite suffering? If so, this can be a sign of pain.
  2. Does it seem like your dog is enjoying life?
  3. Does your dog still do the things that bring her joy?
  4. Are you enjoying having your dog around – or is there more pain than happiness?
  5. Does your dog seem happy more often than not?
  6. Does your dog look distressed or uncomfortable most of the time? That’s when it’s time to put your dog down.

The bottom line about putting a dog down

There will come a day when it is absolutely clear to you that your dog is not enjoying life.  That day is one day too late.  If you can save your dog even one day of discomfort, you must.

when to put your dog down

When to Put My Dog Down

As your dog’s guardian, you want a clear answer about putting your dog down. But, it can’t just be the veterinarian’s decision. The vet only sees a snapshot of your dog’s life. You have the big perspective…which makes it hard to know when to put your dog down.

“I see a scared, sick animal in the hospital,” says Dr Haynes. “You have taken care of your dog all its life. This is your final chance to take care of your pet.  If you can spare your dog pain and suffering, then putting it to sleep is the ultimate gift – no matter how hard it is for you.”

Ease the pain of putting your dog down

Putting your dog down is hard, but it could be the most loving thing you do.

Want to Blossom?

Free weekly Blossom Tips! One email a week, short and sweet.

* indicates required

You can be present when you put your dog down. Euthanasia is similar to falling asleep, and you can be with your dog when he or she drifts away. Dr Haynes says pet euthanasia is generally painless, and almost always goes smoothly.

signs its time to put your dog down

How to Know When to Put Your Dog Down

Trying to figure out when to put your dog down is painful because dogs are almost closer to us than people. Dogs don’t change, grow up, fight with us, or leave us. They always stay dependent on us and only grow old…which means they go back to being even more dependent on us! We care for our dogs from start to finish, and our relationship with them is intimate. We feed them, train them, exercise them, help them piddle and poo, take care of their health and medical issues, groom them, and cuddle with them.

Dog owners feel a universal heartache when we have to decide when to put our dogs down. Allow yourself to grieve, and know that you are not alone. If you feel guilty, read Dealing With Guilt When You Caused Your Dog’s Death.

“What you once enjoyed you will never lose. What you loved deeply becomes a part of you.” – Helen Keller

How Dr Haynes Decided to Put Her Dog Down

“My shepherd/cattle dog cross, Eddie, had a multitude of problems and I couldn’t decide if it was time for euthanasia.  Then, one day he tore his cruciate ligament.  He had already previously torn the ligament on the other knee and although it was healed he had severe arthritis in that knee.  With both knees injured, Eddie was unable to walk.  My decision to put my dog to sleep was finally made for me.

I went to my office and collected the supplies I needed for euthanasia.  Eddie was such a good boy as I shaved his front leg and placed the needle in his vein.  I will never forget the look of love and trust he gave me as I made the injection.  Then, the life just went out of him and he was gone.  Once he had passed away, his buddy Joey (my other dog) came in the room but he did not seem to care about or comprehend what was happening.  Then, my two cats came in and I swear they suddenly had a look of glee in their eyes as Eddie was very much a cat tormentor!”

If you’re putting your dog down, remember to allow yourself to grieve. Take time to heal.

Helpful Resources for Coping With Your Dog’s Death

how to heal after losing your petPutting your dog down is difficult…and then begins the task of grieving.

Read How to Heal Your Heart After Losing Your Pet: 75 Ways to Cope With Grief and Guilt When Your Dog or Cat Dies, for support. I interviewed veterinarians, grief experts, and pet owners about healing after putting a dog down.

It’s true that time does ease the pain of having to put a dog or cat to sleep, but it’s also good to learn what helped other people cope with the pain. For instance, I talked to one dog owner who got a paw print tattoo after putting her dog to sleep, as a way to remember her pet. I wouldn’t have thought of a tattoo, but she said she is comforted every time she sees it.

Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet is Gary Kowalski’s second book on coping with a dog’s death, and it may help you heal after making the heart-wrenching decision to put your dog down.

putting your dog down

Dog Cremation Urn

If you want to keep your dog’s ashes, the Perfect Memorials Dog in Basket – Pet Cremation Urn pictured is a beautiful vessel. If you’re still searching for how to know when to put your dog down, it may seem too soon to think about cremation urns. However, if you know you want a cremation urn for your dog’s ashes, you’ll need to tell the veterinarian.

One of the best ways to cope with your dog’s death is believing that their souls and spirits live on – and you’ll be reunited one day. Read Animals and the Afterlife: True Stories of Our Best Friends’ Journey Beyond Death  to learn how some pet owners experience their beloved animal companions after their pets died.

And finally, Sympathy Gifts for Dog Lovers After Their Dog Died is an article I wrote for a reader whose friend’s dog had to be put to sleep. It might help you express your sympathy to someone who has to put their dog down.

If you have any thoughts on putting your dog to sleep, please comment below. I can’t give advice about when to put your dog down, but writing can help you decide if euthanasia is the right choice for you.

May you feel peace and guidance as you make this decision. I pray that you know when to put your dog down, and that you know that your dog will rest in peace afterword. I pray for healing through the grief process after you lose your dog. May your heart heal, and open up again to love another dog.

“There is no death. Only a change of worlds.” – Chief Seattle.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

826 thoughts on “How to Know When to Put Your Dog Down

  • Terri

    Let me first say how sorry I am that you are experiencing this. I too had a 13 year old, jack russell that suffered from a trachea collapse as well as an enlarged heart. The heart condition was made worst by the trachea collapse. In order for my dog to get enough air his heart worked overtime, thus becoming enlarged. The space in which your dog has to bring air in his lungs is compromised. It could be like breathing through a straw. I have personally experienced this myself. It was a nightmare. Fighting for every breath is scary. I can only tell you that I allowed my dog only 4 days to live like that. He was diabetic, had an enlarge heart and collapse trachea. He could not live with a collapse trachea. He was fighting for every breath. Don’t allow your baby to suffer. It’s time to let go. Allow your baby air to breathe by letting go.



  • William Garland

    I want to thank you for this site I have struggled for weeks until I read some comments. Our Harley had diabetes and it was tough watching him slip away as if he had a lot of pain and looked so depressed. It got to a point he was losing weight, would not eat and drank a lot of water then throw it back up. I struggled not for him but for my own guilt of letting him go. Was I ending his life too soon, was I being cruel keeping him alive, was I being cruel by putting him to rest. We said good-bye today to our Harley it was one of the toughest thing I had ever done. I told him I was sorry and I loved him and asked him to forgive me. I’m still trying to come to terms with his passing and my heart aches. I know he’s not suffering anymore but yet the hurt is still real. Again Thank You for such a Blessed website.

    • Sue E.

      Oh William I am so sorry. I have been through the same thing and in hindsight, when your heart isn’t so broken and you look back at pictures you will see that it was time and it is a blessing to have an owner that cares as much as you did. We just lost our little Bugsy. He died in his sleep but I think we should have put him down a few months ago. He was my son’s dog and he just wouldn’t do it…I do think he suffered at the end but it was not my decision to make. I am sorry for your loss.

  • Cheryl Michaelides

    My border terrier is 14, he’s diabetic, has Exocrine Pancreatic Insuffiency, hesblind and deaf. I can’t leave him stone as he gets stressed, he won’t go outside unless I carry him, then he wants to return immediately. His lifelong companion died 5 months ago, he followed her everywhere. Now he sleeps most of the time, he’s still eating. I know he has no quality of life, but his diabetes is under control. I know I must make a decision about having him pts. My vet said he’s not adjusting to the loss of everything he knows. But I feel so guilty, I make a decision then change my mind. I don’t know what to do

  • Twila Doss

    I have a 13 year old Shih Tzu. He has been a diabetic for almost 5 years now. He has lost his eye site and has become very nervous around people. The only time he seems to be at rest is when he is in my arms or on the bed with me. He pees all the time and has actually started peeing while he is asleep. We just took him to the vet and they ran blood work, every thing looks good they say. He does eat and drink pretty normal. He has become very skinny and frail, his spin shows through his skin drastically. My concern is his quality of life at this point. He still plays with me some while laying in bed together (his safe place) he is the most loving dog I’ve ever met. If he can’t see, he has to pee constantly and only enjoys moments with me is this enough?? I just don’t know! I would never want my baby to suffer.

  • Donna Thompson

    We have a 16 year old Yorkie. He is still eating but skinny and can’t figure that out . His tongue hangs out all the time and wants to constantly lick and licks so much his hair on legs and feet are thining . The vet gave medicine and also medicine to put on him but has not worked . He also is constantly kicking on the other two Yorkies . He’s licking constantly. He’s also completely blind … he cannot pee like normal males do and squats very low to the ground . Even when he poops he can’t hardly stand up his butt is actually all but touching the ground . I do not know if he’s in pain or not .

  • Nicola Allan

    I have just had to say goodbye to my loving best friend my fella my Boxer dog Blade 10 years and 9 months as I would call him my fella as he has seen me through some terrible times followed me everywhere and slept by my side. Was it too soon I just don’t know..he started loosing the use of back legs, had a heart murmur on beta blockers and told he had stage 3 mass tumour on his bits which had been removed but they found 5 tumour in this area not sure if it has spread or not as there was no test to guarantee he had not . He seemed to improve on steroids but had side effects with drinking so much, putting on lots of weight and constantly panting. He loved to go for walks but this became a chore at the end, kept lying outside in the freezing cold, a little incontinent, could not go up and down the stairs where he loved to go and watch what was going on. Became restless at night and it was so sad to see. I just can’t believe I let him go. I miss him sooo much and life will never be the same without my boy.

  • Denise

    My Bichon Sebastian is17 yrs old I’m thinking the end is near for him he’s going blind and deaf has arthritis in back legs we have female bichon sabrina she’s 15 she is having health issues too These 2 have been together since 6 weeks of age they dont do nothing without each other we can’t separate they cry for. Each other . Should I put them down

  • Bronwyn Williams

    My 14 year old miniature poodle loves her food but regularly throws up after eating her dinner. She has had blood tests, ultrasounds, etc but the vet does not have any answers. I have changed her food to boiled chicken, rice & noodles, and some vegetables but while she does not throw up quite as much, she still throws up. She is losing weight but again the vets don’t know what is wrong. She is not in any pain and generally still enjoys life despite some arthritis. Why can’t the vets work out what is wrong with her (large vet clinic with 9 vets). I don’t know what to do.

  • Stacey

    I loved what you wrote on your site. I have a Wheaton poodle mix. He turned 14 in November. It is amazing he is live this long as he has had allergies and other issues most of his life that eventually those medications affect the liver and kidney. We just started doing the shots that try to get the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. I find it in a few days if it’s been working. He has lost a lot of muscle in his back legs so I do have to carry him up and down all the stairs in my house and he has lost control of his bowels. He was always the type of dog that was incredibly house train since he was four months old. He was a therapy dog For seven years and we visited retirement homes. We’ve been through a lot of up-and-down‘s in life as who hasn’t over 14 years. I do think in the next couple weeks I’ll have to make the decision and it’s pure agony . I actually feel like I’m going to have to move from where I live because the memories are everywhere. Not even sure what I am writing but the emotion overcame me when I read your website.
    Thank you for listening.

  • Emily

    About 6 hours ago I had to put my baby bear down. He was. 13 year old Australian Shepherd. I am struggling because of the quickness. He’s always been a healthy pup. A little over a year ago he started having hip issues. We’ve had him on hip pills and aspirin ever since but he’s taken quite the decline in the last 6 months. His eyes seemed foggy, he could barely hear and had a hard time walking. He’d collapse and lay for a bit sometimes. He couldn’t walk in anything but carpet. He slept more but was always happy to see us and ate a TON of food. Today we took him for an 8am groomers appt. leaving the house he was hopping, dragging his legs, falling and refusing to move. We got him to the groomers and it was just getting worse. He was panting and groaning. We walked out the door and the second the door closed I looked at my husband and said, “are we doing the right thing? Is it time?”. He said, “yeah, I think it is”. So we took him to the vet and by 9:30 he passed away. He wasn’t combative like he usually is at the vet. Only barked a handful of times. He leaned in my husband and started at me while I held his hand. It was something we saw coming but the suddenness of the decision and the act left guilt in my place? Was his lameness and pain temporary? Should we have asked for pain meds and let him come home? He was my best friend and I am so lost without him. I think I’m my mind I know I’m being selfish and it was time but the Internet loves to make you doubt and I’m too lonely and agitated to put my phone down. Gah! I just wish I could hug him one more time and tell him I love him.

  • Susan Killough

    I have 7 dogs, 4 large, one medium sized n 2 small. One large is adopted, spayed n I.’ve had her for 4 years. The medium is adopted, I.’ve had her about 6 months n she.s not spayed. Both small I.’ve raised from pups n r male, not neutered n one is 1 N a half the other is 6 months. The other two r brother n sister, raised from birth.
    I shouldn’t have all these, I am unemployed n have to have help in providing food for them.
    I can tell each one of them wants to b my only dog. I have to keep 4 of them separated at all times due to fighting.
    I can tell each dog isn’t the happiest n the brother n sister look depressed all the time.
    All shelters r full around here. I don’t believe in dumping them or killing them just cuz they’re a ‘pain’ which I do not look at them like that. Two have been injured pretty bad due to fighting. I am alone with not a neighbor or friend to call when a fight happens. Please help. O cringe at the thought of putting them down. I too am depressed about it all the time. They look so unhappy.

  • Godina Barbara (Babs)

    My Westie Glory is 15 1/2 years. She is eating well, sleeps most of the time except when she puts her little toy we call her baby in her mouth and walks it all around the house and then tries to put it in her bed and cries softly as she does i
    We thought she had a stroke but she recovered completely from it although she has some arthritis.

  • Kirk C.

    Hi everybody,
    I had to let go of my Westie on Sunday, his name was Oliver. He was 13 and a half years old. He was my baby, loved him so much. What makes it harder is he didn’t have anything internally wrong with him, he had a great heart, no kidney or liver problems, no cancer. He was a healthy puppy/dog until about 1 year of age, and then the skin infections and ear infections started. As he got older, the flare ups of this atopic dermatitis became worse and worse, along with the chronic ear infections. He was on countless antibiotics all of this life on and off, atopica, apoquel, steroids, etc, and changed his diet countless times. He did have some good stretches of relatively good health, sometimes his skin issues were more controlled than other times. . Once he went on the Apoquel around age 10, he did do a little bit better for a few months, but around age 11 he lost his vision and hearing, and then he started to have even worse flare ups with his skin and ears. For the last few years, he was no longer able to go for walks, and he began to become incontinent and have trouble holding his bowels. Every time I would bring him into the Vet for the latest round of drugs, he would bounce back a little, but he would never bounce back to his previous level of skin and ear health as before. It’s hard to say how many more years he could of kept going, but it just was breaking my heart to see him not enjoying his life and biting his legs and thighs to the point they were bleeding, and his mobility from losing sight and hearing… I don’t know if I did the right thing, I feel guilty for putting him down. I wonder if I was a bad dog owner for never being able to solve his skin and ear issues.

    • Terri G

      Kirk C
      I am truly sorry for your loss. Oliver was very blessed to have such patience and love in his life. You did everything you could possibly have done for Oliver. He knows how much you loved him. He felt your love with every decline that was made in his health. You let him go. Oliver feels no more pain or discomfort. He is free from medications.You were correct in letting Oliver go, it was time. You made the right decision as always for Oliver. You are brave and you should celebrate Oliver’s life of love.

    • Michelle

      I’m so sorry. You are not a bad owner, in fact the opposite. You gave him so much love and many people would not even do the amount of medical care you provided to him. He is grateful eternally for you.

      It’s hard when they are suffering and you can’t help them. Try and know this. It’s possible his skin would never get better or you may never know the cause and that’s ok. Don’t let that haunt you. Keeping him happy and comfortable while he was here is what he needed and you did that. We have lost a few pets that left me with guilt wondering what if we had tried X med or did something different, anything. Some times we can’t and sometimes when we keep trying, it becomes for us and not them. It is always a hard choice. So sorry for your loss…. your sweet Oliver is not in pain anymore and sounds like he had an amazing companion for his 13yrs. God bless❤️

    • Stephanie

      Thank you for sharing your story of Oliver. I am sitting here with my sweet 12+ year old dog, max. We have an appointment today to put him down for many of the same reasons Oliver suffered with. Max also had his front leg amputated several years ago which has so hampered his mobility lately. He is constantly biting himself, whining, and falling as his body ages and gives out. Fighting his skin and ear infections has been a constant in our home too, with not much relief. He spends most of his day just laying and itching.
      Your post was what I needed to hear today! Thank you. I am struggling with this decison as I write, but deep down I know he is suffering and his qualily of life is so poor. I know you will still grieve your sweet Oliver, but know we all think you did the right thing for him.

  • Shelly O

    We are going through this now with our dog who is around 8-10yrs old. Around 2-3 years ago she developed a Tumor on her chest. It has now grown to something larger than a cantaloupe. It is starting to push her left leg out when she walks. She cannot put the leg down when she sleeps because of the tumor. She had adapted but does walk differently and has a hard with exercise. She loves frisbee! She would play for days. After a throw or two she is so winded she sounds terrible!

    Other times she seems to have something stuck in her airway and it makes this sticky/click sound as she tries to inhale. She does pee in the house, only on carpet. She has other extremely terrible behaviors that she will not stop doing. She is relentlessly trying to find food. She tears open trash bags daily, jumps to the counter and steals plates of food. Rips open unopened food packages! She is well fed I don’t understand.

    We have limited vet services here and I think I am posting because after reading all of the heartbreaking stories, although the owners seemed unsure, reading in writing what the dog was going though was a different black and white perspective.

    We are so upset and not sure we can do this. We have been praying she would just go to sleep but she won’t. She has happy times yes, she is very happy. She also has pain and that’s unfair. She seems to hide her pain well which makes it very hard. This is too hard 🙁

  • Debbie

    My 8 year old golden mix that ive had since 6 weeks old was diagnosed with a brain tumor 2 years ago
    He had multiple seizures
    I still blame seresto flea collar but its beyond that now
    Hes on keppra phenobarbitol prednisone cancer support n hemp oil daily
    He still has a seizure or 2 a month
    Hes losing his sight and hes having difficulities going up and down the stairs
    He has accidents in the house on a daily basis and sleeps most of the time
    If hes not sleeping hes walking in circles due to the tumor
    My daughter told me yesterday when she came to visit that hes not happy and hes not a dog anymore
    Im so very upset and i dont know what to do
    Hes eating and drinking but is now dropping weight
    My heart is breaking
    He gets confused and now is walking into things and standing in corners
    I rebuilt the stairs so he wouldnt get hurt
    I wish he would just go peacefully in his sleep so i wouldnt have to make a choice
    Please tell me your feelings on how to know when

    • Terri

      Debbie I am sorry for your pet’s diagnosis. From what you have described as your pet’s days, the nights for you must be hard too. Making this decision is a difficult one.I know first hand the agonizing feeling that comes when you make the decision to end your pet’s life. I must ask you. Does your pet have the quality of life as before this illness? Put yourself in his pet’s place. What would you want? This isn’t anyway for your pet to live out the end of his life. Don’t think of yourself. Think of your beloved pet and step-up and show all the love you have for him. Your pet needs you to be brave. Have courage. Let go. It’s time.

  • Perry Lutz

    I have a 16 yr, old Jack Russell, she was diagnosed with Diabetes 3years ago, i give her 2 shots of insulin a day. This past year she has began to pee in the house without being able to do anything about it. We’ve tried the diapers but she keeps getting them off. She can’t see good anymore, and can’t hear hardly at all. She walks around constantly kind of like a zombie walk, just aimlessly walking, stumbling around.She will stop strain at looking at seemingly nothing almost falling over , and then start to walk agin. Sometimes she does go ahead and falls over. Other times when she can’t seem to go anymore she will start to lay down and just collapse onto the floor. She eats very little, and when she drinks water, its an immediate trip outside or she wets in the house.We called our Vet last week to set up to have put to sleep, but at last minute my wife broke down and lost it, and I wasn’t much better. Please help? guide us through this time.

    • Terri Green

      I wanted to resond to you because I’ve been where you are. The pain of letting go of your beloved pet is more than it seems like you can stand. Your baby loves you. Your pet has already accepted the inevitable. Letting go is the new beginning that your baby deserves. Your pet is in pain and with diabetes there is constant thirst. Image if you could change places with your pet. What would you want done? I’ve learned through letting go of my pet that it does get better. You will feel better as time goes on. Your pet doesn’t want you to remember their painful days. It’s time to let go of the pain and believe that your heart knows the true way to help your pet.

  • Tony

    I just had to put Sammy my 14 year old English springer spaniel today. I don’t know if I did the right thing. I’m devastated with sadness and guilt. Sammy has been deaf for about a year. His eye sight was going. He has been unable to climb steps for about a year, and both doors to the house have steps. So I built him a nice long secure ramp which made things much easier for him. He has had a terrible chronic cough for at least a year also. The cough would be worse after he woke in the morning or from a nap. I thought he might choke to death eventually as terrible as it sounded. He started falling down almost a year ago. He would lay and shake badly. We then put him on deramaxx and he was much better. We also gave him tramadol but I didn’t like how lethargic he was while on that. He was starting to show signs of dementia. Bleeding from his nose on occasion. We couldn’t take him to the groomer anymore because he was in to much pain to stand that long. He struggled just to get through a car ride to the vet. He started vomiting just 5 days ago for unexplainable reasons. He started pooping and peeing more often in the House. But even after all that I’ve just described he still seemed happy, that is, when he wasn’t sleeping which was most of the day. I could only take him on short walks, because he just didn’t like doing it much anymore but was still able to walk him twice a day just around the block. But this afternoon I heard a noise that sounded like a door slamming, didn’t think much of it even thought it was outside of our house, but shortly after hearing that noise Sammy came walking out of our bedroom where he sleeps and was staggering badly, then fell over. He got up and struggled to walk like his muscles were all cramped, then fell over again. This went on for what seemed like forever. I was very upset and got him to lie down. I called my wife at work and told her what had happened and said she better come home. I laid with my Sammy until my wife got home. When she got home he got up on all fours and appeared to be alright. I told my wife he might be alright, maybe we don’t have to take him to the vet. But he was still staggering slightly. My wife and I had been sobbing this whole time as we decided to take him in. My wife said it was best to go see the vet. The vet said he had either a seizure or stroke, but they didn’t see signs of a stroke. The vet asked how long this had been going on and I said for a year now but nothing as bad as what I seen today. The vet said we could put him on steroids and take a wait and see approach. But my wife and I were already very upset with everything we had seen, and were afraid of just having to go through this again on another day. We decided it was time. It was absolutely terrible, my wife didn’t want to stay for the euthanasia but she wanted me too so he wasn’t alone. So my son and I sat with Sammy until he passed. I tried to imagine how this day was going to feel, but as most of you reading this already know it’s much worse than you can imagine. I wish I would have took him home and maybe tried the steroids. I’m crushed, and my heart is broken. But I couldn’t go through the pain of seeing him fall over again like he did early today, and I feel like it was going to get worse. I feel empty, I don’t know what I’m going to do. So sad

    • Terri Green

      Tony, I had a dog name Sam, he was a 12 yrs. old Jack Russell. My Sam had many illnesses too. He was in pain also. He passed on 5/29/18. It was extremely difficult for me as well. The comfort that helped me was to put myself in his place. I thought about how Sam felt. His pain. His sleepless nights and his heart. I imaged what Sam would want me to do. My family could do no more. It hurts but it true. The answer to helping Sammy was to let him pass. Allowing him freedom from all that hurt him was the answer. He hurts no more. He knew you and your wife loved him. You did all you could do. You gave Sammy a wonderful life. Focus on the happy Sammy. Before the illnesses. Just know you and his Mom gave that back to him and Sammy says “Thank You, I love you.”

      • Tony

        Thank you very much for your heart felt reply Terri, and I am very sorry for the loss of your Sam. Your reply help put it into perspective for me. Hopefully the pain will go away, it’s very hard right now to even be in my house alone because I am retired and my wife works during the day. I’m going to allow for grieving of my Sammy and try to see about getting another dog. I’ve been a dog person since I was a child, so I’m a dog guy. Once you’ve been blessed to have one in your family there’s no turning back. Thanks again, Tony

  • Deb.

    Our newer vet continues to comment that ‘she’s not going to get better’ (long-time prior vet moved out of town. My 14 year old German Shorthaired Pointer lost total use of her legs suddenly a year and 8 mos ago and though we never had a diagnosis of either disk disease or injury vs myelopathy, prednisone slowly helped bring She’d still occasionally slip off on a ‘toot’ chasing a squirrel, ck’ing neighbor’s trash cans, etc,, though I worked to keep her restricted. This was all difficult since her energy and stamina was exceptional even for her breed – and she always came around when challenged at all. Her back legs were getting weaker about 6 mos. ago when I started to help hold them up for walking with a winter scarf, and at which time the new vet prescribed dexamethasone, which she is still on. A recent (treated) UTI made her very ill and we had a fall when walking, with those legs getting much weaker and front ones start to weaken. She continues to eat and drink well and enjoy her treats including marrow bones. She’s weaker and much slower but still wants to go on our usual walking route – but this last week – she’s been just stopping and lying down along the way or outside our home, and not always controlling her urine indoors. Her breathing has been heavier and I’m worrying about her swallowing and some foaming with a little regurgitation. I read there’s no pain w/myelopathy – but I’m so worried and know she’s failing more quickly now. No stairs now, I carry her in a large plastic tub. Quality of life has truly gone downhill – but as I said, she enjoys her food and toys, and her eyes ight up when she sees me and I pet/hold her. As the time to lose her comes (I have been hoping for a heart attack) I become more terrified of euthanizing her. Only done it w/one other dog and it was a horrible experience. It’s just been this girl and I for these years (from a rescue) – and I have issues with loss (significant early life losses). I don’t believe in putting a dog down just cause her care has become inconvenient, and I’m grateful to be recently retired. I’m reading here with the hope of appropriate understanding and decision-making.

  • Phil

    Dr Haynes’ decision as written above is extremely comforting. Our dog is a 13 year old Springer Spaniel He blew out one of his cruciate ligaments 5 years ago and we had it surgically repaired. Still, that knee remained weakened. Today his other cruciate ruptured and he cannot walk or stand. He is also 80% blind and deaf. Today’s Event made the decision for us. His quality of life ended with his inability to move around freely in the House. Sad but necessary Dr’s final appointment tomorrow.

  • Kristi Miller

    I am really struggling. I rescued a 10 week old pitbull mix puppy. She is just under 4 years old now. At around 18 months old she started having accidents through multiple specialist it was determined she has a spinal fusion, malformation of the spinal cord and hip dysplashia. Surgery will most likley not help because of the spinal cord is still malformed even if they fix the fusion. She displays some nuero issues as well. I have had to adjust to a lot of clean up and she can hardly walk now and drags herself a lot causing wounds on her paws. I dont think a wheelchair is a good option for me or her. The wheel chair wont change her condition and I dont think will improve her life alot, she has never been a really active dog. This is so hard. I know she isnt happy overall, but she sure does try and is happy to see me. I dont want to accept what needs to be done and feel weak for giving up. I just want to hear some magic words of wisdom to help remove any doubts.

  • Terri

    I have a Jack Russell that’s 13 years old. Sam is a great dog. He was a rescued dog and has emotional issues. He is not social at all. We worked around it. He is so special. Sam developed diabetes at the age of 9. We accepted it. He is able to take his shots twice aday. Then we found out about his heart murmurs and collapse trachea at the pet ER. I rushed him there because he couldn’t breathe and his tongue was purple. This occurred and I told myself I will never put him in that position again. He has an enlarged heart and to look at him you would think nothing’s wrong. He now has 4 medications to take. That’s too much. He has also lost his hearing. We use our style of sign langage. He doesn’t enjoy life anymore. We used to play outside for hours now he comes in right after urinating or defecating. Maybe about 2 years ago I imaged what it would be like when it was time for him to go. I cried for days realizing that this day would come. Tomorrow Sam will be euthanized. He’ll be a happy Jack Russell again.

  • Natalia

    We have a mixed Lhasa Apso that my husband and I rescued in 2006. He has brought so much joy to our lives that I’m thankful that we repaid him for that joy with the best life we could give him. His name is Tyson, last year April he was diagnosed with diabetes, a treatment we were not able to afford, that would potentially be fatal and the vet gave him weeks to a month of life that he would live. Yet he is still with us today same pup happy go luckily just the way he’s been, except because of his disease he’s lost his sight. He’s lost most of his hair and has lost some weight. He continues to eat and drink well. He lets us know when he needs to go outside. Today we took him for a stroll around the neighborhood in a stroller and he was happy. Yet I couldn’t help but feel or think if maybe we’re being selfish in keeping him with us still. We just don’t have the heart to yet as we see no signs of discomfort. We love him dearly and we know there may be a day we have to make this decision. Any advice or kind words will gladly be appreciated! Thank you so much!

    • Kristi Miller

      I’m sorry you are going through this with your dog. The author of this article made a statement that is helping me some in my situation. “There will come a day when it is absolutely clear to you that your dog is not enjoying life. That day is one day too late. If you can save your dog even one day of discomfort, you must.” Keep researching about quality of life and hopefully you will find your answer and be able to find some peace.

  • Donny Espinoza

    My Maggie was a miniature Dachshund and was 14. I had her put down on 5-12-18 and dealing with it is very very hard. Crying does help but I just know she lived a great life and just try to think positive thoughts although the last month was hard because I knew what was the absolute best thing to do. I always said I would never have my Maggie put down until the night before that I realized I couldn’t go one more night seeing her suffer. My Maggie still was trying but I just knew in my heart. It hurts!!! I enjoyed reading this article. Thank you!!

  • De

    It is so hard, my sons dog Marley has been with us for 9 years. He started having seizures about 4 years ago and has been on medication since that time. Medication did not completely stop his seizures but he has had them less often until recently. It seems with each seizure he looses part of himself. Today he has had 3, he doesn’t recognize me and he is very scared. I am currently waiting for my vets office to open to call for direction. My son is 21 and expecting his first child in a few weeks, I know he wants Marley and his son to play together but I feel like I am letting Marley suffer to keep my son happy. Marley cries all the time so I know he is in pain. I am so unsure of the right thing to do right now.

  • Fiona

    We just had to put our beautiful 16 year old Lhapa Apso down. I was scrolling through and came across these stories. Our wee fluffy friend was the heart and sole of the family. She slept all day, had no interest in going out and was becoming incontienent. I just wanted to share there is never a good time nor the right time. Nor does it seem right coming home and house seems empty. One day our dog would be running about the next she was sleeping all day. Hardest desicion we have ever had to make…. and still feel guilty but know it was the right thing for her.

  • Joyce Dennis

    My 13 year old Maltese has been having a hard time breathing lately. She is only attached to me. She fights with our 5 year old Yorker and I have gotten bitten 3 times from the Maltese . She is very aggressive to others in house and people coming and going into house. She also has cysts that pop up and break and come back! Don’t know what to do

  • Rachael

    I’m struggling so badly because I’ve never personally had to put a dog down or deal with elderly dogs. We have 4 dogs now: 2 of them are 17 year old dachshunds. One has stage 4 kidney disease…we give her anti-nausea meds 2 x day and lactacted ringers every other day at this point. Some days are good, some days are bad. I thought for sure when the vet told me she was doing so poorly that my other 17yo dachshund, duchess, would need to be put down bc of the signs she exhibited. After blood testing though, they said she was completely fine other than congestive heart failure. This pup went from HAVING to be in our laps when we were anywhere around to not having anything to do with us. Sleeping all the time, shaking uncontrollably, walking in circles, completely disoriented, incontinence to the extreme. All signs point to cainine cognitive syndrome. She’s not interactive with the family at all for a long time now but there’s no physical reason to put her to sleep. I’m feeling so guilty at this point because I’m wondering if I’m wanting to put her to sleep for convenience even though she has zero quality of life (can’t stand to be touched period) yet my other dog that we’re having to administering meds too frequently technically should be the one we put down but since we’ve been giving her her meds she’s been acting ok for the most part. I don’t want to put duchess “down” but she continues to progress in her dementia phase even though her only health problem is chf. The other dog is exhibiting signs of dementia but she still seems to have some quality of life at least. What should I do?!

    • Kim

      This is such a hard decision to make, but it can also be the kindest. I had to say goodbye to my sweet dog of 14 1/2 years last week. She had noticeably declined – no interest in going outside, decreased appetite, unable to follow me around. She seemed to be in pain. I couldn’t let her like that. I took her to the park and just sat with her. We had one last good afternoon together. Then to the vet. She seemed happy to be there. Yes, it hurts. I miss her. But I am not wracked with guilt as I was with my previous dog. She was 15 1/2 years old with tumors, loss of bladder and bowel control, no appetite, but just kept going. So I waited. She did have one last good day, but I realized too late that I waited too long. That still hurts. I won’t do that again. Yours is such a hard decision! Someone once told me, better to be one week early than one day late. That really helped me make my decision. May you find the answer and peace you seek.

  • Sue York

    My almost 14yr old vizsla cross has chronic arthritis in both elbows is on medication but still sometimes struggles to walk, also his sight is going has various lumps on his body. He eats well but I look into his eyes and I see that he is old,tired and in pain is it time for him to go?

  • Craig

    I have a 12 year old Lhasa Apso and although he eats well he has a tumour in his mouth and constantly smells no matter how much he eats he doesn’t put on any weight. Every morning his eyes are full of what can only be described as gunk. He also has a heart condition where he can’t be put under as the vet says he wouldn’t awake. Such a hard decision but is it time ?

  • Lynda

    It’s just so hard. I have a mixed black lab named Ace. He’s going on 15. The poor boy has many tumors. He has a huge golf size ball in his mouth. He licks himself all night long on his front legs by his paws. Because the tumor is bleeding, he often has a bad smell, nothing that shampoo can fix. He still wags his tail. Still eats a little but is really skinny. We love him of course and he was our first baby. I don’t know if it’s time. How can I make that decision.. he brakes my heart.

    • Sue

      Take a picture of him and have it developed (like the old days;)….honestly after I put my lab Louie down I had pictures at the drug store, this was back in 2010 so we still went to the drug store for prints. Anyway when I looked at the photos I felt like I could see something that I didn’t see in real life and that his eyes told me it was time. In fact now, after the fact, I realize I waited too long. I’m sorry…it is very hard but that Ace lived to be 15 is a great testiment to you and the life/care you gave him.

  • Anne

    Oh God help me with this is my prayer each n every night. I had my terrier for almost forever, I had a family around many times as he enjoyed and played an so
    Many good memories, I’m alone now and only have him too take care of. He eats well but his sleeping is almost at a loss mainly at night. He walks around the apt aimlessly n whines. This affects my sleep n with that I continue to clean up his incontinance an just keep asking God to continue to keep up my strength physically n emotionally. I just don’t know how I’m going to do this … I feel so alone. Any suggestions I know will help.

    • Sue

      I’m sorry. This is so hard. The poor little thing, I’ve never heard of a dog that couldn’t sleep. I am an insomniac so I know how hard it is to get through the day on no or little sleep. Right now I am fostering a 7 to 9 year old Boston Terrier that was never potty trained so it is quite physical to be cleaning after him all the time but I got him doggy diapers and at least the mess is more contained, could you try that?
      It is just my opinion and I do know how hard it is but if he is in that much pain that he can’t sleep….if you’ve been to the vet and there is no help, it just might be time to let go. It’s a very hard decisions but you must do what’s right for him. Two years ago I had a rottweiler that I had to put down because he couldn’t walk more than a few steps thus he was pottying on himself. Even though he seemed to be in little to no pain, he had NO dignity and I thought that was sad so I helped him over the “rainbow bridge”. I hope you find the answers that will help you.

  • Diane

    I have two lab mixes—black and yellow—brothers from the same litter. They will be 13 in March. The black one who was always healthy had a tumor removed in November. Lab results were awful—stage 4 cancer. His lifelong vet thinks he has a few months to live. His blond brother has always had small benign tumors, but now he has a big one that is imparting his walking a bit.

    They’ve had a wonderful life with us—and us with them. My question is a heartbreaking one—do I end their suffering together or let each go at different times? I will be arranging for them to euthanized at home — they stress going to the vets. My heart breaks that it’s time to see either go…just don’t want them to have a broken heart.

    • Sue

      OMG Diane! This is a terrible situation. I am sooooo sorry. In my humble opinion, hard as it will be on you, I think you should let them go together. My BELOVED Eddie died March 7 2015 and his best bud Chewy was so heartbroken it was so dreadful. Not only was I heartbroken over losing Eddie but to see Chewy lost, staring at the wall, not enjoying our walks and not eating, terrible. I think at their age and the close relationship they had, it would be very hard for the remaining pooch. It is a very hard decision to make. I hope you find the answer in your heart and have support in whatever you decide because you will do what is best whatever that may be. Prayers, Sue

  • Clive Crowe

    I put my sweet lab down tonight. She was suffering with stomach cancer and had lost 18 kilos since her journey began. She came up to my home office today and spent her last afternoon with me. She knew it was but I refused to admit it it.
    I had previously called the vet to make an appointment for 6pm with the desperate hope the there would be some way of keeping her going and restoring her quality of life. But alas it was not to be. The vet knew instantly that the time had come and asked me if I was ready to make the final decision. I asked her ” is anybody”?
    In an instant I knew the time had arrives to say goodbye to my loving companion of 13 years plus a day but at the same time o was struck with a tidal wave of grief. I hesitated for what seemed like an eternity but was actually a few seconds. I said nothing as the papers to sign were placed in front of me to sign. It took every ounce of willpower to sign, but sign I knew I must as I looked down on my Chloe a yellow lab who was frail and ravaged by a tumor in her stomach. She had refused food of any kind including her beloved bacon or sliced ham for over two days. The last dinner the ate was some of my strioloin steak on New Year’s Eve. I later thought that if I had a last request, that’s exactly what I would love to have.
    I took her outside for a final walk beside the animal hospital. We had a little talk. I know from her look that she knew I was ready and to was she. It was 15 below outside but she had her winter coat on. The was so brave. In fact, the vet who is near to retirement and has much experience said she is a brave dog and has only made it this far to please you. Broke my heart.
    I am writing this as I know that those who read this also share my pain an loss. But further, to explore those not to let your loved ones suffer unnecessarily too long and to listen to when your pet is trying to say goodbye and not be blinded by an unwillingness to let them go. It’s natural to feel that way but algo selfish. However, I’m glad that we were able to spend New Year’s Eve together falling asleep on the couch and that she got to have a last dinner of striploin steak!

    • Sue

      Oh Clive I am SO sorry. It is so hard. I too had a yellow lab, Louie. He was 13 when I had to put him down. It was terrible, as you know. I agree with what you say though to those who haven’t had to go through this yet. We all do the best we can. I didn’t really SEE that I waited too long with Louis until we got the photos back after he passed over. (Before iPhones and instant photos in your hand). I waited too long for sure but wanted to get through the Christmas holiday as my kids were little and we had lost another beloved dog on Christmas day and didn’t want them to think their dogs always passed around Christmas. Anyway you are kind to point that out through your grief thinking of others. I am sure Chole was one of the luckiest dogs on earth….as were you to be hers.

  • Linda Sims

    It is Chrismas Eve 2017, and I have not gone to a four hour drive to be with my family for Christmas. My love, Miss Tootsie, a Shih Tzu of 12 1/2 yrs. will be put to sleep on the day after Christmas. My baby girl had an accident a few nights ago that played havoc with her patella. She, I and her vet have been doctoring many maladies Tootsie has never been free from for several years. I have decided to do this on the 26th for her. The quality of her life is fair to less. Her pain is being managed, but when I think she will be free of all earthly suffering, for me, there is no choice. I have been given a gift knowing these few days with me on vacation from work are a gift from heaven. My gift to my Tootsie comes very soon. Can you imagine being pain free? Can you imagine being able to walk and run at will? Can you imagine not having to endure topical and internal medicine everyday? She will see her ball coming to her for play, instead of three that have gone by and she is still waiting. Tootsie will hear when someone calls her the first time without clapping. The need to sleep twenty two hours a day will be no longer. How could I ever put my pain first? I know her good friend, my recently deceased husband will be waiting for her at Rainbow Bridge as sure as I am writing this. My joy will come when I can see them both well and looking forward to me. You cannot love your animal so much without the pain. My joy is she will be whole.

  • Marcia

    My husband’s 8 year old chihuahua has gone blind due to cataracts, is horribly confused (has to be lifted up the front step after going potty) & is scratching himself raw on a daily basis. We took him to an opthamologist but was told surgery would not help his vision. He looks worse day by day. My husband seems oblivious to the dog’s pain so how do I sit and watch the dog suffer?

  • Deborah Burnett Williamson

    My Yorker is 15 years old. I took him to the vet 2 weeks ago and the vet did blood work and it came back really bad. The vet said he had maybe 2 weeks so we brought him home in the last 2 days he has slept continually and is very wobbly when he walks. He eats if I give him food like chicken, hamburger but will not touch his dog food. He drinks water and then immediately urinate. I can see in his eye that he is not enjoying his life anymore, he can’t see or hear and he hasn’t played in quite sometime. He only sleeps and wants to snuggle and seems afraid to be away from me.

    • Shelly

      I’m sorry. I hope time has helped you. We are facing this now and terrified. Our other dogs went to sleep on their own. This is horrible.

  • Big billy

    If it should be that I grow frial and weak And pain keep me from my sleep. Then will you do what must be done.for this–battle–can’t be will be sad I understand.but don’t let grief then stay your hand for on this day more than the rest your love and friendship must stand the test. We have had so many happy years you wouldn’t want me to suffer so when the time comes.please.let me go.take me to where to my needs they’ll tend only stay with me till the end and hold me firm and speak to me until my eyes no longer see.i know in time you will agree it is a kindness you do to me.although my tail it’s last has waved free from pain And suffering I have been saved don’t grieve that it must be you who has to decide this thing to do we’ve been so close–we to–these years don’t let your heart hold any tears.💙❤️ In memory of our beloved Billy Thompson.. love you forever big feller always in our hearts you gave so much big bills until the day we our all on our cullivers together again your with patsey now on your cullivers xxxxxxxxxxx

  • Big billy

    My brother and myself had to make the hardest decision in letting our beloved big billy Thompson go to sleep for the last time on 27th October 17 bills was more human than a dog so clever loyal loving caring the big feller had it all my brother got bills from pet rescue he was abandoned in Ireland when just a little puppy bills came to England my brother and he’s late partner said it was love at first sight both ways wow what a feller he was bills made it to the age of 15 we seen him struggling since he was 13 he stop going up the stairs then he’s big soppy eyes goes grey he had one blue one red he was a special boy I used to call him red eye bill he didn’t go for walks it was cullivers travels what he went on when we’d say that he was up and out then he’s favourite song was your beautiful what a singer bills was on the 27th on he’s cullivers he collapsed 3 times with my brother in the morning he collapsed when I was letting him out for he’s duties he’d been collapsing now for six months we called the vets to home the big feller would never go in a car she came checked the old boy over we could of gave him pain relief but if you truly love your animals pls don’t let them suffer our bills fell asleep in he’s front room brother holding him loving him I went for a cuddle with him he look up gave me a big sloppy kiss as always then fell asleep in brother arms we took the big feller to get cremated he came home with us same day we seen him in chapel he look so peaceful dreaming of his younger days no doubt and the tricks he’d been up to you will know when it’s time to let them rest as me and my brother knew it’s a sad time for sure big bills gave us the look that said thanks guys you done all for me now it’s time for me to sleep.tears in my eyes every day since think of all the happy times you have with your pets like we do wow the house is so quiet with out bills miss him so much he went with he’s dads favourite sleepers a card from us few favourite treats he’s dads golf hat that always carried on he cullivers and he’s big soft bed he’s still on guard duty at home love to all animals lovers

  • Marie

    I know it’s time to put my dog down but I also know that when my last dog died, I couldn’t get over it. I have to take my dog to the vet and let her go but it hurts too much. I can’t do it alone. I’m single and my best friend said she’d help me say goodbye. She had to put her dog down last year, and she knows how hard it is to heal the pain.

    Thank you for writing this article. It doesn’t make it any easier to put my dog to sleep but it helps to know I’m not alone. Thank you, other readers, for commenting. I like to read how other dog owners coped.

    • Sue E

      I’m so sorry Marie. It is so very hard. I had a very, very difficult time getting over the death of my last beloved dog Eddie. I have nothing to offer other than to say you are doing what is best for him. I’m so sorry.

  • Sue E

    I had to turn my dining room (never use it anyway) into a “bedroom” for my older blind dog who could no longer go up the steps. I turned soft music on and he liked it. It’s very hard. I know it sounds weird but when I look back on pictures of my dog it seems his eyes were begging me to let him go. I didn’t see it at the time.

  • Lorraine Anderson

    I have a 14 year old crossbreed, she has arthritis in her lower spine and back legs, she is on medication for this, she seems happy when we are around and eats well, the problem I’m having with her is she has became extremely destructive when left alone, she paces at night time getting stuck behind the tv or in cupboards, bathroom etc, I’m thinking maybe onset of dementia, she also doesn’t like kids or my husband and if they are too rowdy around her will snap at them, she has caused a lot of damage to my house and can’t be left. My head is telling me I need to put her down, but my heart is telling me she is still relatively healthy and likes to go small walks and play with her toys, I just can’t handle her destructiveness and being woken through the night with her stuck behind furniture or in cupboards plus she can be snappy, , health wise it seems cruel to put her down tho, I do t know what to do

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Paddle pop,

    I’m sorry for what you’re going through, with your husband and your dog. It’s especially difficult when family members don’t agree on whether or not it’s time to put your dog down. It’s such an emotional, painful decision for a dog owner to make! And different opinions only makes things more difficult.

    What would you like to see happen with your dog? What does your husband want to do? Maybe you and he could talk to a veterinarian together, and work through the options. It sounds like an objective mediator might be the best way to know if it’s time to put your dog down.

    What do you think?

    – Laurie

  • Paddle pop

    My husband has an 11 yr old ridgeback cross, this dog was thrown over his fence when she was only a few weeks old. She has always had a fulfilling life of destroying things, escaping and putting herself in harm, without any consequences.
    She has always had issues with her back legs, mentally she believes she is fine and can do whatever, but she gets to the point of running and playing until she physically can’t move.
    Last year “2016” her front left leg swell up and she didn’t move for the whole day, we rushed her to the vets and there we found that arthritis has spread to her front legs and that either a bang or over exercise is what’s caused it to flare up, so she was given strict 10 mins of walk or play time. We don’t even get to 10 mins. We have 2 mins of throwing the ball and her running back and forth, as soon as we stop, I watch her struggle to sit down and pass out for hours on end. On top of all this, the escaping while we are at work has just been excessive. Yesterday we got a call at work about her head being stuck in the fence and sliced her neck open. It’s nothing major, although it looked horrible. She is stitched up and doing well, but I just feel like its unfair to keep her going this way. My husband and his mother are so very against my thoughts and make me feel bad, but I can’t help but see them being selfish and putting their own feelings over hers. Most people outside their family have agreed with me. What do I do? I don’t want to see my husband lose her or be upset, but I hate seeing an animal doing what she does to herself. Mentally I believe she has issues. Physically she can’t do much, everything else about her is healthy, except her brain.
    There is only so much we can do. At the moment his new choice is to leave her locked up in a room for 8 hours while we are at work, where our other dog will get locked in or out, which I find unfair, also the pop and wees left behind from doing this. Take her for longer walks I guess and let her suffer for days after, not being able to move. I seriously don’t know what to do. Someone help me or tell me I’m wrong.

    • Sue

      Is she on Rimadyl or anything for her pain? As an arthritis sufferer trust me it’s no fun but with meds they can help. I know some are against them but at 11 I think quality is more important that quantity. I would probably stop throwing the ball for her, sometimes they just do the old routine for you, not realizing the steep price she will pay. You should modify her exercise probably. I have heard that dogs will try to escape to die away from their owner, don’t know why but this has happened to my mom and that is what numerous people told her. I’m sorry, if you really think it is time for her to go maybe you could just try to gently explain to your husband that we must do what is best for her not us. Not easy.

  • Paige

    My baby is 10 or 11 ( we rescued him in 07 they believed he was 8 months ) anyways he was my first baby he sleeps with me did everything.. i got pregnant in 09 and he was so protective and he loves her as if she were his haha. Then came another baby that he loves and protects too. He is my first love and my first baby.. anyways hes been getting all these lumps everywhere from his chest to his hind legs in his gums.. he seems to have trouble breathing laying on his side aswell his vet said he looks and aounds good but i feel different about it. He eats okay drinks alot still plays time to time but he look like hes swollen he 108 lbs he pauses alot before he sits or lays down it just scares me .. should i have him put to sleep?

    • Sue

      Awe Paige, I’m sorry your pup isn’t feeling well. My little guy was the same way with the bumps all over his body…the vet did bloodwork and all was well, but he didn’t seem right to me so I had one of the bumps, not sure what you call it but they injected a needle and did a test to see if it was cancerous and it wasn’t. The weather is very hot so I think that adds to his general blah….he seems perkier when it is cool. I think if you had the vet check him out and he said he was okay…maybe you should just hold off a little if he doesn’t seem in pain as it may just be old age and like people they seem to have more bad days than good…not bad in pain etc. just bad from being old. If he still enjoys the family, eating and going to the bathroom without soiling himself he might be okay for awhile like that.

  • Jorge vargas

    I am a first time dog owner and just bought a dog out of the blue. I am very confused about me putting my 18 month old english mastiff down a week ago. I had a feeling she was sick but not what the vet told me. She had kidney disease. At 18 months? Was she born with it? Did I do something wrong? I’m crushed, she was the most beautifulest, loyalist dog, practically trained herself to do things. She was soooo smart, almost “human-like” is what my buddy’s said. I miss her. I never understood her eating, there were days she ate twice and days she ate once I mean it was never steady. Maybe that should have been a red flag? But I noticed she was eating well the last month or so because the dog food was lasting longer than usual. Then the vomitting came but she was still active and happy, tail wagging and ready to do anything. Still eating and drinking. Then from one day to the next I noticed she seemed disoriented and vomitting more and didn’t want to eat or drink and the seizures started(small not fall I g to the ground). I knew I had to go to the hospital. The vet recommended I euthanize her right away and kept suggesting to do so. I could not wrap my mind around it. I asked for alternatives but she kept saying I wasn’t doing the wrong thing. She was suffering and wouldnt make it past the night. Waterworks came after that and I did what the vet suggested. Lola died in my arms and I was destroyed because she was so young and couldn’t understand why? This happens to dogs that are old. I haven’t been able to find an article related to her. If anyone can help it would be much appreciated..

    • Sue

      Jorge, I am SO sorry. It is so hard when you lose a young dog because in addition to all the heartbreak that goes with losing any dog you have the added feeling of being robbed, because you were. It is not the natural order of things. I don’t know what to say, it is hard even owning dogs all my life I sometimes don’t know what to do or to trust the vet or my own instincts. I lost my dog last year suddenly and it was all such a blur, I was a mess. A few months ago my friend lost her dog and she kept calling me for advice etc. All my feelings of losing Eddie came rushing back, all the nagging doubts I had but was in too much of a daze to think straight when his death happened, anyway to make a long story short I sent a letter to the vet asking him/her to call me or write me back and let me know exactly what happened. It didn’t bring him back but it gave me some comfort. It’s so very, very hard. Lola sounded like a special dog indeed. I am so sorry. Really the only thing that helps is time but also know that you did the best you could and had her best interest at heart so relied on the professional. Hugs, Sue

  • Guy

    I’ve been very distressed lately because my 6.5 year old Saint Bernard, Oscar is having problems walking. He has hip dysplasia and is not a very good candidate for surgery. His front leg is very arthritic and he struggles to walk. Though he is a Saint I never exceed that I would be considering euthenizing at this age. The meds help but he is not getting better. Oscar is the second saint we have has and our last one lived to 14 years which is unheard of. I am so close to Oscar, ad it is killing me to consider putting him to sleep. But I know he is in pain. I am having such a hard time moving to the next phase of this.

    • Sue

      I’m so sorry Guy. My girlfriend lost her St. Bernard last Christmas, he died in his sleep but it was a great shock. I volunteer at a shelter so when we got a St. Bernard in I took special care of him and took him on long leisurely walks. I always loved big dogs but after spending time with this St. I realize what a noble creature they are. Maybe give the medication some time to work or ask vet if you can try something else. I know for my own arthritis the medications can take 2 – 4 months before you notice anything….or what works for one doesn’t work for another so ask to try something else. I am so sorry, you never expect to lose them at a young age…makes it even more difficult and heartbreaking.

      • Guy

        Thanks for your note Sue…last was a tough week as Oscar declined rapidly and was in much pain. We had x rays done and confirmed that he had bone cancer that broke two bones in his knee. The deterioration was noticeable in his films. On Friday w said Good Bye to our dear friend.

        This was my Facebook message about him:

        Today Paul and I said goodbye to a member of our family. Osteosarcoma and a couple of broken bones were too much for him to endure and too much for us to keep him with us longer then God intended. It has been a week of thinking about the dark side of endings so today we would like to focus on the brighter side. While many kindred spirits have visited us over the years in the form of fuzzy four-footed friends (Raja, Rocky, Tasha, Moose, Renoir, and many others), Oscar is just the latest of those for whom we had to say “goodbye and thanks for letting us be your family”. For anyone who knew Oscar, you know that he was proud, strong, stubborn, loveable, fluffy, agitating, a lover, and well, the best friend any two people could have. He was our protector and buddy-quick to demand attention in any way possible using his formidable and muscular frame to lean, push, shove, and sniff his way through life like a bull in a china shop. Though with us for a much shorter time than we would have desired, he reminded us that life is sometimes best spent snoozing, eating, or even just being—his favorite activities. As you may know Saint Bernards are not know for their athleticism but rather more so for their hard headedness, loving abilities, noble good looks, and protective spirit. When these character traits are combined (as was the case with Oscar) they make for a strong force to be reckoned with. We will miss his goofy smile, jumbo nose, fluffy head, ability to make people say “wow” and his constant reminding that ‘big is beauty!’ Most of all we will miss his warm snuggles in winter, his nightly almond snacking with Daddy, and that wonderful feeling of security in the middle of the night when you wake up and realize that there is 155 lbs of utter devotion sleeping at the side of the bed just waiting for your to rise so he can say good morning! As my sister once said, he was our “ luck dragon” in looks and spirit. In the movie, “A Dog’s Purpose” the spirit of a dog can return in a new form and possibly revisit an old master. I don’t expect to see Oscar in the eyes of another friend any time soon as all dogs have their own special soul. But if he were to return, I would want him to visit someone somewhere else so that they can experience his unique spirit we treasured for the past 6.5 years. As Oscar crosses the rainbow bridge, I think about all of our friends that have gone before him, especially Tasha that we hope is waiting for him to be reunited again. Happy journey baby dog! Run, jump, play—you’re on all fours again now and will always be a force to be reckoned with—in our hearts!

        Thank you for your concern….we will mis him ?

    • Sue

      I’m so sorry about Oscar. What a BEAUTIFUL tribute. My heart breaks for you, it is so hard to lose these dear friends/family members, especially so when they are so young. Gentle hugs, Sue

  • Barbara Godina

    My dog Glory is 14-years-old; she is a Westie we rescued from a breeder as she had a heart problem that was taken care of at TAM vet school at 12 weeks old. She now has a right rear torn ACL and is on pain meds. My hubby & I are both elderly & having lots of trouble carrying her. He has mentioned putting her to sleep & I became hysterical. I want to wait after she is on the meds for 2 weeks when we see our vet

    • Sue

      Hi Barbara, how is Glory feeling? I hope the medication has started to work. I had a dog with a torn ACL and lots of rest and confinement healed her to perfection. Maybe you should keep her kenneled until she is back to good health. I know that sounds mean but it would keep her confined and it would also limit you and your husband carrying her. Hope things are better.

  • Ann Shirley

    My 10 yr old Scottie went from fine to not eating or drinking.
    Vet said so much fluid couldn’t see his heart liver huge
    5 days no food threw up one pc of lunch meat on 4th day. Now full of lasix barely wets still no food
    Vet also took a needle biopsy of a tumor and said mast
    Cell tumor. He’s suffering doesn’t want to walk
    Vet still wants to save him. I don’t think he can stand much more pain. I know vet won’t put him down when we go back tomorrow. What can I do?

    • Sue

      How is your Scottie doing? What did the vet say? What were the results of the biopsy? I hope all is well. It is so hard to see them suffering and feeling you don’t know what to do.

  • Glenda Lewis

    My dear beautiful old boy Toby who is a sturdy Maltese, is 14.5 years and gradually went blind with hardened retinas, cataracts as well as deaf totally. Full effects developing around Xmas….(5 months ago) I call him the “Clarke Gable!” Of the white fluffy dog world!..As he really is “The King”…Gable was nicknamed that!! An air of gentle masculine strength!
    He came to me as an adoption after my dear friend and neighbour Tim passed away….7.5 years ago and we have shared beautiful moments of love and play together….but now as I watch him struggle in his world of no sight, bumping around the house, staring at walls, furniture, not hearing my gentle voice, not knowing where I am while his nose twitches wildly trying to connect to my smell…flinching when I go to touch him as he’s not sure what my touch is as I go to pick him up!….Although he’s incredibly stoic through it all…. Hes to be applauded watching how brave he is…finding his way in his silent, unsure world!…It all just seems so unfair as there really is nothing else wrong with him (a bit of arthritis)…and this is why I’m struggling with this most difficult of decisions. The most heart-wrenching of decisions Ive ever had to make in my life!…”Yes!…Is it the right time?” But his now distance from me, sleepiing continually, not responsive…except when a treat or food is available…(his twitching nose again!☺️)and scratching now of his eyes…Are they hurting?….I started helping him with saline eye drops yesterday…
    He does let me know when he needs to go out and can manoeuvre his way…he adores his food…He does bark when he wants something……but I don’t want to get to the point when a lot of these faculties give way too…It must be hard enough for him struggling with just getting about and being in his empty silent no seeing world….
    I had to get up out of bed last night, but I chose deliberately in the dark and fearfully struggled to find my bedroom door and thought of Toby in this way…except, I could hear as I turned the handle…He doesn’t share that grace!!….
    I had another Maltese and had to make his most final of decisions 3 years ago but I felt good about that as Nero was sooooo sick…And he came and told me it was time a month before. He had heart failure and suspected cancer. I felt blessed to be able to help him……
    BUT Toby?!!!…My continual pulling heartstrings will endure I guess for a bit longer as I gently watch him now peacefully sleeping beside me as I write this….
    “Is it time?….Or isn’t it?!”
    Thankyou to this most beautiful site/blog….It’s wonderful to truly be able to express these words, emotions and honesty of how I’m observing what I’m seeing, being a part of with truth and comprehension…??Much love to you all…..

    • Sue

      I am so, so sorry! You are a wonderful person I can tell from the love and caring you have for this most special dog. I always think why does the mind go but the body not, or the body goes and the mind doesn’t..for people too it seems. It is cruel. You will know when the time is right but I just want to say that I adopted a Rotty that was blind, had his eyeballs removed and he was about 8 years old and I was SHOCKED how quickly he learned his way around my house having never ever seen it. I was told that dogs don’t need their eyesight as much as their hearing. This does not help you at all but just to let you know that while we think losing eyesight is terrible, not so much for dogs. They also have special collars you can get to keep them from bumping into walls, I think they are called Angel Collars you can google. I never had to get one for Henry. I did final put him down even though his mind was sharp as a tack, he couldn’t see and he had DM, a disease like multiple schlorosis. He could not go potty without falling in it and I felt he had absolutely no dignity left, as hard as it was to let him go….because his mind was good I don’t regret my decision. I often get sad about it but no regret. Good luck to you. Hugs, Sue

      • G Lewis

        Thankyou Sue for replying so quickly and your kind words.
        Writing my ‘Ode to Toby seems to have settled me…henceforth I think he has picked up on that, and settled him, as he seems more sure and comfortable with himself…Yes. Must be the transference of energies!…Highly believe in that.??
        Yes. The time will come and I’m also a great believer in not prolonging the suffering…But for now, this stoic, brave little boy will continue forthwith his never tiring, caring Mumma caressing him the whole way..?☺️?
        As I conveyed to you before…This site has helped me/us so much??So thanks once again…And God bless you for creating it…
        Much love…..Glenda and Toby Lewis.xxxx

  • T. Love

    I am grief stricken, broken hearted and hurting. Our dog Sugar was put to sleep today. She was a member of our family for over 14 years. A loyal, loving, caring girl. We made the painful decision to have her put to sleep because she was suffering. She hadn’t eaten, insulin wasn’t controlling her glucose levels, she was lethargic, she was no longer our Sugar. I miss her so much!! I was able to tell her that I loved her. This hurts but I know she is no longer suffering but I can’t help but wonder if I did enough for her. I tried Sugar, we tried Sugar. Sad beyond belief!! Rest Our sweet Sugar

  • Donna Argenzio

    My 15 year old Pekingese has been dragging her back legs. She has trouble squatting to do potty. She still enjoys eating and does the happy dance after eating and when I come thru the door, there still has some joy in her. I’m very confused and don’t know what to do.

    • Rachel Brown

      Donna. You took the words right out of my mouth. First off I am so sorry you have to wrestle with the emotions. I am not sure if you have made that final choice. My small dog is 12 and is to a “T” what you are describing. I hope to talk with you soon.

  • Mariza Vocisano

    Thank you my dog is 13 lab mix and still enjoys life
    He has arthritis and has difficulty walking
    This has helped me he’s eating and happy and still wants to go for short walks.
    I’ll keep my eye out for signs it’s coming

  • Rita Saberniak

    My dog Chelsea turned 17 in March. She is a rat terrier mix and a rescued dog. She has been with me for 11 years, my constant shadow when I am home. She having some pain when walking, and coughing with a gag since January. The vet had said her lungs and heart are not normal sounding, and she could have a growth in her throat. Her vision has deteriorated, and her hearing is gone, but she still seem happy at times, wagging her tail and going for the toy. She is still continent except when she’s barking she leaks. I have an appt. tomorrow. I don’t know if that should be it or not.????

  • Patricia Pichler

    My shitzu Molly had to be put to sleep on the 3/2/17 I took her to the vet and I knew she wouldn’t be coming home. When my husband passed away in 2004 May, I got molly she was only 8 weeks old, she was my best support getting through the grieving. Last April she was diagnosed with Congenitial Heart Failure, the tablets worked for a good few months, then she started coughing again, at the end she hadn’t eaten for 6 days, when she drank water she just brought it back up, the morning I took her to the vet, she couldn’t stand up and was shivering. But I still feel guilty that I took her to her death. When she was on the vets table, I cuddled her and told her how much I loved her but I couldn’t stay to watch him give her the needle. I feel guilty about that aswell. I have her home and she is in a little urn. Thank you for reading

    • Sue

      I’m so sorry. Don’t beat yourself up over not staying to the bitter end. You gave her a great life and love. You are always with her in spirit. Take good care and I hope when the time is right you will adopt another special dog that will bring all new love and adventure.

  • Stephen

    I’ve had my Chaco boy for 12 years. He’s a chihuahua, but not the barky bitey kind haha, he has always been the sweetest, attention loving typical lap dog. He’s been a great companion over the years. He would always run around and wag his tail and smile if I said “wanna go for a walk” or even if he heard his leash he’d go crazy. He sits on my lap every day and night and if I say “gimmie hug” he will out his little feet around my neck and bury his face and head under my chin. If I sing a certain pitch he’d bellow and howl. If I said “wanna treat” he’d lose his mind. This past year, between his 11th and 12th year it went all down hill. His once chocolate colored hair was fading to a light brown with white hair on his forehead and t zone. His golden honey eyes now cloudy and eventually went blind. His chunky stubby stature is no more. He’s now a skeleton. His appetite has dwindled and now he seems really off balanced. He cuddles w me still but he sleeps and sleeps and sleeps. Doesn’t react to his leash. At first his walks got shorter and shorter. He started having incontinence issues and I was constantly cleaning his kennel and blankies and always mopping the floor. I literally got up every 2 hours to take him out one day he wouldn’t go outside and when he got up to go he collapsed and flopped around like a fish. I got him calm. He drank and ate and got sick. Sick from both ends. That was this past weekend. He had never gotten like that before. So I made the decision to put him down and that is tomorrow at 3 pm. I’ve taken him on some last drives, he definitely got his appetite back for cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets hahaha. He was always good at eating his own food and not begging. I took him to his favorite park to eat his food and to lay in the sun and take pictures. I used flour salt and water and made a mold for his paw prints and will get him cremated and delivered to me in a personalized engraved box. Right now he’s just laying on me sleeping but I can tell that he he really took in what was going and in some pictures looked as if he really has appreciated his time here. Some pictures you can just tell he’s ready. He’s let me love him so much extra and when I said “gimme hug” he did. He hasn’t done that in a while. When I cried he buried his face under my chin and looked up and licked me and pushed his little paw on my face and then rest his head on my chest. At first I felt guilty for making this appointment bc I feel I’ve had him as a baby and I should have him till the end and let him pass at home. But then the other part of me doesn’t want to see him in pain and suffering and I think it’s best to put him down. I love him with all my heart and can’t believe this is our last nigh together. I have another dog and a cat but they are 3 and 1 years old respectively and he’s 12. He was my first dog I got at 21 years old and he’s been by my side this whole time. It sucks that this is going down tomorrow but I think it’s the right thing. I have so many pictures of him from the past couple days and have spoiled him w food and treats. We even had a BBQ for him and let him eat some ribs tonight. For a little chihuahua he sure ate the ribs and chewed the bone all evening hahaha. Now he’s just knocked out and sleeping. Anyways. I think it is time for him to go due to his blindness and weakness. Sometimes he gets sick or can’t walk and I think it’s time bc that’s not like him and he’s not going to get better. I know I’ll sob all day tomorrow because I’m starting to cry now. It’s hard making this decision but I can just tell it’s time.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Karina,

    How have the past few days been – did you make a decision about your pug? You aren’t being selfish for not wanting to put him down, not at all. Our dogs are a huge part of our lives, and they take a piece of our hearts with them when they go. I’m sorry you have to make this decision; it is always painful to let go.

    My impression is that you’ve thought about this for awhile…what is your heart telling you to do about your dog?

  • Karina

    Our Pug is 12 years old, he is blind and deaf.
    He is coughing a lot and can’t breath, all signs point to cancer. He still eats good and goes outside but sleeps more than anything. He jumps up from a sound sleep, walks around slowly, coughing and trying to breath. We tried cough medicine our vet subscribed which didn’t do much good, right now he is on antibiotic, he has a lot of mucus coming out of his one nostril and I hope this will make him breath a little better. Last night I was up with him most of the night, he was panting a lot getting up moving around a little just to breath, coughing the whole time. His bad days seem to outnumber his good days anymore. He wants to be with me, follows me around through the house and wants to be held but I don’t know for how much longer I can watch this going on. Sometimes he just lays on the floor and seem to stare in front of him. I don’t want him to be in pain or suffer. Am I being selfish because I don’t want him to go? He loves car rides, gets all excited, how could I take him to the vet knowing that this is his last car ride? I’m crying while I am writing this, I love that “old man”

  • Debbie thomas

    I have read through loads of the comments and heartbreaking it is to have your animal put to sleep, I think the time is right for my gsh his name is bandit he is 7 yrs old an a epileptic he’s been having seizures for the last 5 yrs and gradually over the years have got a lot worse, he’s on medication but I think they have stopped working because over the last few days he’s had over 30 seizures which is not normal for him. I know he’s had enough bless him and as much as I love him I can’t watch him suffer no more.

  • Susan Highsmith

    Thank you all for posting your comments about your babies. I adopted my boy…a CoJack from a shelter a short 2 years 4 months ago. He has been a wonderful dog. So loving and grateful to be with us. He has been yelping at times from day one of my bringing him home. Now…he can barely use his hind legs. This has been going on for about 3 weeks now. I’ve taken him to numerous different Vets and he is on 4 different meds. He is no longer eating his food. Only treats. He refuses to go out to relieve himself. He is scared of hurting. He is whining and crying at night. He is such a social dog and cannot get up to socialize with us now. I see he is miserable just laying under the bed. I am putting my sweet sweet boy to rest at 2:00 today and it has been the hardest decision ever. I pray to God that I am doing what is best for him. I know he is tired of hurting. I love him so very much. I trust he will run free without pain. Until him and I meet again.

  • Heidi

    I have read through many stories and have been brought to tears. I especially liked the poem. I’m facing putting to sleep my beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I have so much anger inside me. She is only 6 years old and I thought we had so much more time together. She was always healthy until one day she started drooling from one side of her mouth, we took her in to have dental xrays and when they went to intubate her they saw a huge mass on her tonsil. Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the tonsils, very aggressive and unfortunately inoperable. I took her to an Oncologist and she said that she may live one possibly two months. Today she has lived 14 weeks since diagnosed. Now her breathing is becoming labored as the tumor is growing bigger and she has a lot of mucus in her mouth, I assume from the irritation. She is still eating, loosing weight but wags her tail, tries to play with her toys and loves to sit outside on the porch and short walks. She sleeps more, I guess he cancer is taking her energy. I don’t know how much longer I have but I know from reading all these heartbreaking stories that some how, some way I will do what is right and listen to her to tell me when the time is right. My life will never be the same….I hope I can eventually put away the anger I have at feeling cheated with only 6 short years together. I know people have had their dogs 12-18 years and that must be hard, but this seems so unfair and hard. Cancer itself is SO unfair. At least I take some comfort in knowing she has had the very best life, best care, a loving family, lots of walks and a yard to chase squirrels and play. My heart is heavy and I am so sorry for anyone facing this decision.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Sans,

    It sounds like you’ve already made the decision that saying good-bye to your beloved dog is the most difficult thing in the world to do, but the most humane and compassionate. You don’t want her to suffer anymore, and you can see that she doesn’t always enjoy her food. She’s not wagging her tail…and you don’t want her to suffer.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this, especially since your husband isn’t ready to say good-bye. It’s always difficult when some family members can’t bear to put a dog down.

    Putting a sick, tired, old dog to sleep is an act of love and compassion. It’s a human’s final way of taking care of their beloved dog, of loving her to the last breath. Prolonging a dog’s death can be a selfish thing – understandable, because we don’t want to grieve and suffer without our dogs…but keeping an old, tired dog alive isn’t always the best thing for the dog.

    Death is a natural ending to life. It’s painful and sad, yes…but it is part of a good life. There are good deaths and bad deaths, and it sounds to me like you want Millie to experience a good death.

    My prayer is that you and your husband are able to agree on a decision. May you and he come to a peaceful agreement about what Millie really needs, and how best you can show her how much you love her.

    In sympathy,

    • Sans

      Thank You Laurie for compassionate and thoughtful response. Last night when my husband returned from work, we had an impromptu family meeting, followed with more tears, but real conversation.
      I told him how much I really understood that he is not ready, and I don’t want him to feel like we pushed him into something that he is not comfortable with, however, this prolonging the outcome is only causing suffering. My daughter and I are also more anxious because while my husband has gone to work, and his daily routine has continued as usual, we are home for the summer, being educators with the summer off. We have been fortunate to spend so much time with her this summer, and making her the focus of all our love and attention.

      Unfortunately, that ends in two weeks and we worry about Millie’s inability to walk, jump and move along to places that give her comfort. We told him that we would rather see her go with a full belly of her favorite foods, and a heart full of pride, dignity and love..

      We have decided as a family to keep her as comfortable as possible with meds until next week, and if we see no glimmer, then we will do what is necessary to make her passage to the other side as comfortable as possible. I also am finding some peace and reminding myself and sharing that this beautiful creature has shared our lives for a long and happy time. She has survived elementary school, two teenagers, endless parties, celebrations, and passings,two college graduations, and a mom and dad who counts her as a daughter. I can’t ask for more..

  • Dianne haines

    I have a 14year old Yorke, she poos and pees everywhere, she has lost a lot of weight but eats and drinks well but you can count every bone in her body her little tail is permanently tucked under, she never wags it anymore she seems really miserable is it time to say goodbye and put her down?

    • Chris

      Sorry but this sounds as if your dog is suffering. The retracted tail suggests misery. My sick old dog seemed sad and held her tail between her legs for one day and I was prepared to put her down until she greeted me the next day with a wagging tail and renewed energy. In your case, I would be feeling for the dog too much to want to witness more pain and would arrange for her to be put down. Incontinence, emaciation and the withdrawn tail are signs she wants to go. All the best with this hard decision.

    • Ross

      I am sitting at home waiting to go to put our beloved black lab down. This is the 3rd dog we will have put down. The other two were lab cross, and we’re both 13 years old when they were put down.
      This lab, pure, is 13 years, 9 months now. I am having a very difficult time with this, again. She is deaf and is having a difficult time walking. Last night she just got up and walked into a corner of the living room and pooped. She used to be so good at asking to go out. She still does sometimes.
      She can’t go for walks of any great distance anymore and I know she would love to. We had her at the lake this last week and she went for a couple of swims, which was one of her favorite things to do.
      She is happy when she sees us, but I am not sure she is happy with anything else in her life, except for when she gets beggin’ strips or table scraps.
      Lately she just lays around and sleeps. She pants a lot which I assume is due to pain and discomfort.
      I wish there was an easy answer to what is the right thing to do. My wife believes this is the right thing to do, and there is a part of me that agrees. I am just hoping that we are making the right decision for our girl.
      I just needed to write this to get it off my chest. I read so many comments, and I know the pain every one of us is going through. Thank you all for sharing.

      • Sans

        This post made me feel like I had to write too..I am besides myself with angst and worry. I don’t want to put my beloved westie, Millie to sleep but I see no way out. She is 14 and has severe arthritis. It has been flaring for years but since April of this year has been horrible. The dr and I are giving her daily meds, such as tramadol, and glucosamine as well as bladder meds. She has frequent leakage, as well as accidents in her sleep. I considered diapers but know her well enough to see that she will be humiliated and tortured. Afterall, I raised a beautiful, independent, spitfire, and know that at 14.5 is not the right time to start sticking, prodding, etc.She sometimes has a good day, but not as many as we would like. Her usual walks are slow and tedious. Her tails is usually down, and sometimes getting her to eat (which also means taking the meds) is a battle. I want her to go peacefully with love in all our hearts, and not torture (which sometimes it feels like, at least to me). I also feel that I am jaded because my brother suffered miserably before his death, and begged for mercy, and I want to be able to give that to Millie so she can die with dignity. Are there any other signs to wait for or am I just being selfish? In the meantime our 23 year old daughter is ready to say good bye, I am ready to say good bye, but my husband keeps having faith and hope, and if he has his way, this can continue for a long time. Thanks in advance for any advice, encouragement ..Sans

  • Laurie Post author

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. How are you coping with the decision to put your beloved dog to sleep? It’s a huge adjustment, and even time doesn’t heal the grief and pain that this loss brings.

    I pray for peace, forgiveness, and freedom from any guilt and grief you may feel.

    In sympathy,

  • Marilynn

    My dog Millie was diagnosed with bone cancer last year. My vet recommended that her left leg be removed. Millie adjusted well with 3 legs for about 3 months, then the tumor started growing in her shoulder area. The tumor continued to grow and often would leak a pus looking fluid. My vet gave me some pain pills and pills for inflammation. Millie still gets around but she is weak. She will walk a few steps and then lay down. She still eats and drinks and still had her bodily functions. I noticed last week that another tumor is growing and although she is eating, she is loosing weight. She looks at me and wags her tail and comes to me when I have food for her. I look in her eyes and want to cry. She is a lab that was abandoned along with 2 siblings on my road when they were pups. Millie loved to run and play and hunt. Now she is unable to do so. I decided on Friday that it was time so I contacted my vet and he will be here Monday morning to euthanize her. Sometimes she just lays so still I think she has died but so far she opens her eyes and looks at me. I am second guessing my decision. I am so torn up but I no longer want her to suffer. Please pray for me.

  • Emm

    Thank you for this site. My Cocker Spaniel/Terrier mix will be 17 in July. I am heart broken at his increasing dementia. He is also experiencing weakness in his back legs.
    At this point, he is able to get up and down, but this is also diminishing. I don’t think that he is in pain – no panting – eats well. He doesn’t seem to recognize me and I am having a hard time keeping him groomed and trimmed. A muzzle helps but it really stresses him out. His ears and back end matt if not looked after but I feel so guilty wrestling with him to get it done. Do I leave it go because of his age? He has never gone to a groomer because of his anxiety issues. Going to the vet has always been a major issue for both of us. Right now his is peacefully sleeping on the carpet. His worst dementia pacing episodes are between 10 p.m. And 1a.m. My Dad also has dementia so putting my dog down seems like a betrayal to him.

  • Kelly

    My first baby & my best friend (Dudley) is my 15 year old Dachshund who I am thinking of putting to sleep. He has been blind and deaf for a few years and there is just no life left in him. he is just a shell of the dog he once was & oh how I miss the dog he was. He had an orange ball that he LOVED and he could find anywhere! He went everywhere with me, I cry as I type this because I just don’t know what to do! I need to take him to the vet for a check up because I have found a large lump in the crease where his back leg meet his tummy but he does not act like he is in pain & I am scared to find out what it is. He use to be such a fat dog and now he is just so skinny but he is still eating really good. He does not wag his tail anymore and does nothing but sleep, eat & goes to the bathroom all over my floor and in his kennel. He is wore out and I am wore out from cleaning up and caring after him plus I work long hours during the week. My husband is pressing me to do this but I just don’t think my emotions can handle it! This dog has been with me since I was 20 years old. He has been with me though divorces…moves…having kids everything! I grieve for the dog he once was & I want him back. I got another dachshund thinking it would help me because I missed the old Dudley so much but the new one (Ranger) does not really have anything to do with me because he is my husbands best friend 🙁 I am just lost on what to do.

    • Julie

      Kelly. What did you do? I’m in a similar situation. Almost blind and deaf. He is in no pain but suddenly is weak in the hind end. Stumbling and falling when he tries to walk. No pain. He has to wear a diaper

  • Laurie Post author

    Lend Me a Pup
    – Author Unknown

    I will lend to you for awhile
    a pup, God said,
    For you to love her while she lives
    and to mourn for her when she is gone.
    Maybe for twelve or fourteen years,
    or maybe for two or three
    But will you, till I call her back
    take care of her for me?

    She’ll bring her charms to gladden you
    and (should her stay be brief)
    you’ll always have her memories
    as solace for your grief.
    I cannot promise that she will stay,
    since all from earth return,
    But there are lessons taught below
    I want this pup to learn.

    I’ve looked the whole world over
    in search of teachers true
    And from the folk that crowd life’s land
    I have chosen you.
    Now will you give her all your love
    Nor think the labor vain
    Nor hate me when I come to take my pup back again.

    I fancied that I heard them say
    “Dear Lord Thy Will Be Done,”
    For all the joys this pup will bring,
    the risk of grief you’ll run.
    Will you shelter her with tenderness
    Will you love her while you may
    And for the happiness you’ll know forever grateful stay.

    But should I call her back
    much sooner than you’ve planned
    Please brave the bitter grief that comes
    and try to understand.
    If, by your love, you’ve managed
    my wishes to achieve,
    In memory of her that you’ve loved,
    cherish every moment with your faithful bundle,
    and know she loved you too.

  • Christine

    Thank you to everyone for sharing your stories. They have been helpful to read. My husband and I have been debating whether or not to let our dog go. It is a very difficult decision. She has had severe allergies since she was 7 months old. She is now 5. Without medication she loses hair, and chews herself raw. We’ve had her on a variety of medications, all of which made her more aggressive with strangers, which was the side effect we were fearing/dreading. We are very cautious in how we are handling her with others. We had allergy tests, and she is allergic to a wide variety of things. She has been on a shot for the past year. In addition to the shot, she has had to have double the initial anti-itch meds that were prescribed, we clean her with a foam and pads daily, and she gets bathed with a medicated wash weekly. According to our vet, this is our final option, and this routing would be what we would be following for the rest of her life. She is still itching, although it is less frequent, and her eyes are constantly goopy. She is tired more often than not, but she does have her playful moments. My husband has reached the point where he is confident that letting her go would be the right choice. I am having a hard time coming to a decision. I can’t tell if I’m being selfish in continuing to keep her here, or if it is logical to keep trying to find something that works.

    • Machell

      My dogs were itching and chewing all their fur off, and we knew that they weren’t flea-infested because they were all treated for fleas each month. My husband and I did some research and discovered that most dogs are allergic to corn, wheat, and other grains (rice seems to be okay). We changed their diets to corn and wheat-free food, and their itching and chewing cleared up in just a few weeks. If you haven’t already tried this, I would suggest you do so before having your precious dog put to sleep. Best wishes!

  • Tom

    I am hurting and torn inside as what to do , I have a tentative appointment for this Friday to put My little Girl Abby my basset hound down that I have had 13 yrs now She had developed a cancer tumer develop on her leg a 7 months ago that could not be removed from her right hind leg it has grown to where she does not get around much due to it being in larged and and drags her right foot which , i have kept wrapped up for her and changing the bandage daily along with carring her up to bed at night and helping her out side to go t the bathroom she has declined her in the past 3 weeks ,although still has her spirt to still begging for food in the kitchen to sleeping in the recliner with assistance , i see a spark in her and I just dont what direction to go , i am second guessing myself , My vet has been wonderful and stated she will let us know when its time also stating that dont wait to long , i feel my heart being ripped out ( i dont know what to think anymore …

  • Mike

    Our Dog was from a backyard breeder that did not look like he should be allowed to own pets, In a big sense, our dog was a rescue dog and we had him since he was only a few weeks- (they were shoving dry food at the litter after separating them from the mother too young), We had him 10 years and he has never missed out on anything in life, the hardest part is that he is still really healthy, after years of behavioural therapy, medication, training, (we’ve done it all), he is now hurting himself and not mentally stable anymore, there is no where left for us to go, he has been a really great friend and is a part of our family even now. Its just breaks my heart because there is nothing wrong with his body and I don’t know if taking away his life is the right thing to do, I am going ahead with it because he just seems unhappy and is now snapping at the other dog and cat where they used to be good playmates. I wish this was black and white, that’s what makes it the hardest.

    • Sue E.

      It’s like that with humans too it seems, it’s either the mind goes or the body, never both. I think you are doing the right thing. My Henry was fine mentally, but his body was shot. He had degenerative myelopathy and he was totally blind. I did as best I could but it was getting too hard for him to go outside to go to the bathroom. He didn’t want to go outside and if he did he would fall into the mess. He was a large rottweiler so it was no small feat getting him in and out. It broke my heart and I still feel guilty because his mind was sharp but he was losing his dignity so I guess I did the right thing, sometimes I’m not sure. I think if your dogs mind is going that it is probably time. Good luck.

  • jane

    I am also struggling with this decision baby’s name is Gabby she is an Australian cattle dog mixed with dalmation.she is my best friend of 12 years.Gabby has bad arthritis in her spine.she has a hard time getting up and she drags her back paw.she is on a steroid and gabbapetin(nuerotin) she doesn’t seem to be in pain she is eating and drinking and loves her treats..she is peeing in the house because of this arthritis sometimes she might even poo.but she always looks like she his ashamed..i don’t scold her either..its just breaking my heart on what to do.I am not ready to put her down.she still tries to play fetch too.friends tell me I should put her down.i just cant right now..

    • Machell

      Jane–my heart goes out to you. My 13-year-old dog, Luke, is also suffering from severe arthritis in his back hips. He is a German Shepard mix that I adopted from an animal rescue organization when he was just a tiny puppy, and has been my oldest and dearest friend since I brought him home. My vet has prescribed gabbapentin, steroids, Tramadol, and chews to lubricate his joints, and my husband had been diligent in administering them as prescribed. Luke has some decent days and some really bad days. Today was a bad one. He absolutely could not get up by himself, and it took my husband six tries to lift him and getting him to a standing position. But he still eats and drinks, but we are not sure if that’s because of the steroids, which make him very hungry and thirsty. We don’t want to keep Luke in pain, and are not sure if it’s time to euthanize him, or if he has a few months left. Like you, we are facing a very hard decision, and are not sure what to do.

      • Nikki

        This sounds exactly like my 17 year old Ridgeback/Boxer mix. What did you end up deciding to do? I wish she could just tell me what she wants.

  • Donna Ring-Jordan

    I am taking in my Dusty this morning and crying as I write this. Dusty was my mom’s dog, a beautiful shih tzu that we rescued for mom 10 years ago after she had lost her dachshund. Mom passed away in 2008 and Dusty became ours. She was a sweet, sometimes obnoxious dog who very much ruled the roost. She knew she was the princess of the home, and even though at 15 pounds she was much smaller, she was alpha dog over our 25 pound Boomer. She has been showing signs of difficulty eating so, since she is a small dog, we suspected that her teeth were bothering her. We regularly had them cleaned, but thought it may be time for another cleaning.
    We took her to the vet for the required blood testing prior to cleaning. The tests came back, red blood cell count very high, white blood cell count very low. PCV 34. The vet said that there could possibly be some infection and started her on a regimen of antibiotics, telling us to give them twice daily and bring her in for another test in a week.
    Well the week went by and I took her back in. Two day later, yesterday, the vet called with the results. No improvement, in fact, the PCV count had dropped to 29 in a week, an alarming amount. He told us that he could do a bone marrow test to see why it was dropping. I asked him if it could be still infection and he told me that most probably either the bone marrow was not making blood cells or there was a likelihood of her body eating those cells. We spoke about it and I asked his opinion if there would be a treatable problem. He told me that in his experience, he did not think that there would be, it was most probably a cancer. I asked if left untreated what would be the outcome and he said she would most probably deteriorate very quickly since the blood work had shown such a quick decrease.
    She had been our baby and our princess for so many years and has given us so much joy I cannot justify waiting and seeing what will happen. It is not fair to her to watch her not want to eat, and now drink, and she looks so sad. It is time to let her go see her first mom and be happy and well again. It tears at my heart, but I will soon be leaving the house and making the final trip to the vet. Dusty, I love you so very much and because of that, I have to do this. I hope you understand that is why, and when you see Grams give her a kiss for me.

  • Claire Banks

    My 13 year old lab has progressive nerve damage. He is mobile but scuffs his back legs, his sight is very poor, he is very cautious when sitting or standing as doesn’t have great control over his back legs. He often reaches as if he is going to be sick but never is. For the past couple of months he has started faecal messing in the house. He saw the vet a few months ago who advised he wasn’t ready to put down and I would no when he doesn’t get up to eat his food. My dilemma is that although he is still able to get around I wonder if he is happy or suffering now?? He also has days when he dribbles a lot (from the mouth). I think I know the answer but would like some support in decision making.

    • Sue E.

      I hope you find an answer. I just want to say that there are quality of life charts that can help you determine, you can google. I am telling you this because I made the decision to put my beloved foster dog Henry, a blind rottweiler with degenerative myelopathy down one week ago. I am heartbroken and didn’t know about these quality of life charts that had I known…according to the score I shouldn’t have put him down because he was still eating, drinking and seemed fairly happy even though he couldn’t get around more than a few steps without falling and couldn’t see anything. I thought it was time but knowing his good score after the fact has left me more riddled with guilt than I was before. Good luck.

  • Monica Moore

    I had to make the very difficult decision of whether I should put my beloved dog “Sebastian” to sleep or keep going through the motions of his diet and painkiller special needs. He had cancer in the mouth and the tumor was getting bigger and bigger…he was constantly trying to “paw it out,” obviously to no avail. To treat his cancer at 13.5 years old would have required 1/2 of his upper jaw removal to obtain “clear margins” from the cancer. No Way!!! I was able to keep him comfortable for (9) months since diagnosis….but it started to dawn on me how taxing it was for him and I to keep up with this “hospice” type regime. I decided to put him to eternal sleep because it was the best way he could keep his dignity and just gently go away. I’m sure I’m more devastated than he….since he surely must be at peace. It’s been nearly (3) months since his passing…and I’m still so deeply wounded. At this time, I can’t even imagine another dog…although my heart goes out to all of those in need. I hope, in time, my heart will take a turn and be able to move on to another adoption…and love for another dog. It’s such a tough thing to go through….so I’m allowing myself to just rejoice in the memories of my passed dog “Sebastian.” Although he had some quality of life left…it was short and I knew it….I didn’t want to take his cancer discomfort to the extreme. Hardest thing I’ve ever done in “54” years of my life!! I miss him but I hope to return to some normal routine soon. He will NEVER be forgotten and always cherised!

    • Kelly

      Hi I’m going through the same with my dog peppy westie cross. We’ve been together for 12 yrs and he’s my boy. He had a lump removed for his mouth 3 months ago now and it grew back straight away more aggressive this time. He’s on antibiotics and pain relief at the moment. Although he still eats/drinks and loves his short walks ‘as he has arthritis in his hips’ he is uncomfortable. Licking all the time and not settling, the lump is bleeding. I know it’s time but I’m struggling as I want too be with him when he’s pts but I don’t think I’ll be able to control my emotions and stay strong. He’s licked so many tears from my face over the years he always been there, he knew I was pregnat before I did, he’s my shadow. I’m really struggling with this xx

  • Jennifer

    My 13 year old Chocolate Lab, he is everything to us. Last June he was diagnosed with a tumor in his throat that was obstructing his esophagus. They can not take it out due to it being attached to blood vessels and other things. The tumor is now bigger than a soft ball. We puree his food and spoon feed him with his head up due to the tumor cutting off part of his esophagus. He throws up water and food (a lot of it), sometimes 10 to 15 times a week. He now has breathing fits where he will try and catch his breath. Those last for a good 30 seconds, but are not too often. The vet told us at the beginning of the diagnosis that we “would know” when it was time. Chase would be depressed and not acting normal. That is just not true. Chase is still in good spirits, he is happy. The vomiting is almost a daily struggle. Every time I think about “is it time or when” I cant stop crying, What if I do it too soon? Its killing me. I don’t know what to do. How bad does it need to be? If he is still happy, do I wait until he is miserable. I read all these posts and I can not get any clarity. My emotions are maybe clouding my judgement. I don’t know what to do.

  • Laurie Post author

    Guilty feelings are normal, even if we know deep in our hearts that putting a dog down is the best thing for them. It’s important to remember that life can get painful and difficult for animals who are ready to leave this world.

    Prolonging a dog’s life may seem like a loving, kind thing to do…but when a dog is elderly and/or sick, saying goodbye is the most compassionate act of love you could ever give him.

    That said, however…putting a dog down is still one of the most painful experiences a dog lover will ever go through.

  • Rob

    My 11-year-old dachshund had back surgery two years ago, and day before yesterday woke up from a nap with another back injury. He is on pain/anti-inflammatory meds, and though they help very little, I can see that he is in discomfort. He sleeps, but will wake up and just stare at me as if saying: “Do something.”

    I do not want him to go on like this for weeks, months in the “hope” that he will recover…but at what cost to his comfort? I am thinking I need to put him to sleep so he will not be suffering…even a little. He is my baby, but him not suffering is more important than any of the sadness I will feel and be overwhelmed with when I let him go. It is already ripping my heart out.

    I will decide in the next day or so what I am going to do. Thank you ALL for your comments.

  • Melanie

    We’ve had our sweet boy Tucker for six years now. He’s a golden retriever, a very big boy. He weighs 98 pounds and he smiles when we come home. He’s about ten years old, maybe eleven and we got him when he was four or five. He’s the sweetest dog I’ve ever had, but he’s just not doing well anymore. He has arthritis in his back hips. It’s to the point now where he can’t walk well. He falls on the hardwood floor whenever he tries his hardest to get up. It’s heartbreaking, and there’s nothing we can do to help him. He’s on medicine for it, but it doesn’t seem to be helping. We have an appointment to speak with the vet tomorrow afternoon to see what options there are available. My father and I have both really come to a decision that we think it’s time for us to put my sweet boy down. I hate it, I’ve been crying all day on and off. Those deep, gut wrenching sobs, and I can’t seem to stop. I don’t know how I’m going to manage in the vet’s office tomorrow. I’m not ready to put him down, but I know he’s hating not being able to move, and constantly falling when he tries to walk. It’s horrible, and it hurts, but articles and comments like this reassure me that I’m doing the right thing, even if it’s killing me to do it. To anyone reading this, I’m sorry if you’re struggling with the thought of losing your pet. I know how it feels and I hope we can all get through this stuff together. I just know I’m going to miss Tucker for a very long time.

    • Nick

      I’m going through something very similar, I have a 13 year old springer spaniel named Mickey, I’ve had him since he was one when I was in college. He was with me before my wife and 3 kids, we’ve grown up together. He now has a degenerative disease where he has a lot of trouble walking on our hardwood floor where he falls constantly. But what makes this so hard is that he still wants to be right next to me….I don’t want him to suffer but I don’t want to put him down too early.

  • Kim Pearce

    I came here as well as 20 other sites to research this. My dog is a shepherd/chow mix. 11 1/2 years old. His hip and right leg is hurting him so much he cries all the time.He has been in pain a couple of weeks this time. He is given meds but it doesn’t seem to help anymore. He is so miserable. I am feeling so guilty of even thinking about putting him to sleep. Is it just me having a hard time dealing with his pain? Could he get better next week? I am so torn. Thank you for this site.

  • Stephanie

    Thank you so much for writing. I am crying as I read this. We have an almost 13 yo black lab/coon hound mix who has been a delight her entire life. For the last year or so she has been experiencing arthritis in her hind side. We are giving her medicine (I believe the max we can at this point) and while that helped for a while it no longer seems to alleviate the pain. She has trouble getting up, squatting, stairs etc. When she can’t get up away she panics (she has always been anxious). However for the most part once she is up she is our girl, tail wagging , trying to jump ( despite our protests to NOT jump!),happy to be with us and wanting to be pet. Her condition seems to have gotten worse over the last few weeks, often at night we hear her wandering and believe she just can’t get comfortable. We struggle to determine if its time to say goodbye, if the pain outweighs her joy.

  • orville

    As I am reading this article, I am crying my eyes out. I have a 13.6 year old lhasa apso. She was the last thing that my 2 and a half year old dying daughter asked for. My daughter died of leukemia when she was 2 years, 5 months, and 3 days. I have been raising her dog (named shushu). Shushu was the only company that I had through the grieving process with my daughter. I must admit that we had many domestic disputes… but through everything we have loved and cared for each other. Shushu has been battling with a urinary track infection since early December 2015. She started having all sorts of accidents inside the house. She received two different antibiotics, and the infection would go away, and later return. I took her to the vet, and they took an X-ray. It shows that she has arthritis in her spine. She is currently just started to take anti inflammatory medication. It’s only been 3 days. She hasn’t wanted to eat since Monday, and today is already Wednesday. Today, she ate ham (something that she has never eaten in her life). She doesn’t want any of her dry food, or any dog treats. She’s not even eating her favorite… begging strips. When I get her favorite squeaky ball, and I squeeze it… her head and ears go up, and when I through it… she chases, but once she gets to the ball… she no longer gets it with her mouth. She was doing everything normal about a week ago. I gave her clavamox and she was fine, but when I switched her to Enrofloxacin… she looked completely out. It seemed that the entire world had fallen on her body. She stopped eating, and began to move very slow. I just don’t know if it’s related to the Enrofloxacin. I read under the side effects that she would experience loss of appetite and Lethargy. Well… she got both. I love my dog. I know that the day will come, but honestly I don’t know how to be ready. Or if this will pass, and I could enjoy her a little longer? Today she ate ham, and a wet grain free chicken dog food (didn’t finish it, but she ate). Also, she hasn’t pooped since Sunday. She is peeing normal, but no poop.

  • Joe

    Thank you so much for this article. We had to put our 15 year old dachshund down last week due to various heath issues and it’s been extremely difficult dealing with the sadness and feeling of guilt. This article reinforced to me that we clearly made the best decision. The last thing I would have wanted is to have waited too long and for her to suffer. I was able to spend a good part of the afternoon talking to her alone that final day and letting her know how much she meant to me. I could see a different look in her eye that day before we went to the vet which also told me it was time. She was our first baby and will be forever missed. Rest in peace Bailey, I love you.

  • Carol

    I’m so sorry for your loss Michael, my thoughts are prayers are with you. I also share my deepest sympathy with all of you who have lost your precious companions and also for those of you who are trying to make that difficult decision when your dog is old or sick. Unless you have loved a dog, you just don’t realize how deeply it impacts us at the end Yes, Fred’s mouth and gums did deteriorate and he had terrible teeth. I had them cleaned by the vet and that is when he noticed a growth. It never was confirmed 100% that Fred had mouth cancer but due to the symptoms, it was pretty certain he did. One vet suggested having all of his teeth taken out and surgery done on his muzzle. I refused to do that to him. Losing my sweet Freddie was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. I spent almost every minute of every day with him, he would always be snuggled up on my pillow when I woke up in the morning. He was a kind and loving soul. I miss him every day. I have two other dogs and if I mention Fred’s name they look at me in a very puzzled way. When he died they kept looking for him everywhere, even though he died at home.

  • Michael

    We had to put my black labrador down on Monday. The pain is unreal he was my best friend. He was only 11 and a half. He had mouth cancer and generally deteriorated over a month and stopped eating and drinking for ten days. He was skin and bone in the end and feel terrible I didn’t do it sooner but I just couldn’t let him go and kept clinging on to miracles. He layed on me whilst they put the needle in and as it went through his system he raised his head and stared me in the eye as if to say thank you and that it’s okay. As hard as it is to sit when that happens I can’t imagine any other way because if I didn’t he would have been looking for me in his final moment. I miss him so much.

  • Carol

    I know this is long but please, please listen to me when I tell you that it is better to be one day too early having your pet put down, than one day too late. My sweet eleven year old golden boy Freddie was really sick, lethargic, not eating, not walking, nothing like his usual self. He had been deteriorating over time and we could see it was time to let him go. We took him to the vet thinking all along that we would be saying goodbye. The vet, however, insisted that he would be able to cure Freddie if he stayed at the clinic as long as it took for him to ‘recover” Not that it’s all about money, but it t was $400 per day, plus med, plus this that and the next thing. . I had seen this kind of behavior by some vets with my sisters two dogs, the vets charged them thousands and thousands of dollars and they both ended up dying within days anyway . I knew my sweet boy was nearing the end of his life and I couldn’t stand the thought of him in a cage in a strange place, I left him there for one night, hoping he would improve. I went in first thing the next morning and he seemed to be worse not better, so I told the vet I was taking him home because we wanted to have him with us. The vet was clearly angry at me and he insisted that I buy all kinds of medication that was very expensive, as well as special food I was to force feed him with a syringe. It was cruel to do those things to him, he didn’t want to live, he was tired and had had enough, I still feel bad about those last days that he suffered so and I made him more miserable by trying to cure him by shoving food and pills down his throat.
    I believe that the vet just seemed to want to maximize his profit and if I mentioned euthanasia, he was very negative about it, insisting he could cue him. The vet insisted that he was right. I didn’t agree with him, but felt I had to go on trying to help him, just in case. One night, a few short days later he was very, very sick and I had my son carry him into my bedroom. I placed a soft quilt on the floor and cuddled with him, thanking him for being my puppy. I hugged him, kissed his soft nose and told him he had been the best dog ever and whispering over and over how much I loved him. I finally had made the decision to have him put down the next day, because I knew he was dying and I wanted to end his suffering. Before I went to sleep that night I placed him next to my bed so he could be near me. It was about three in the morning that I woke up to a horrible sound. Freddie was dying before my eyes, jerking his head, his eyes practically popping out and his legs jerking like he was trying to run and as he struggled he made a horrible almost howling, screeching sound. I was crying hysterically as I tried to comfort him and not knowing what to do. it was the most horrible thing I have ever witnessed and it is hard to get the image out of my mind after over a year. I loved that sweet boy more than anything and when I think of him I still see that his horrific death in my mind. He had evacuated his bowels, a horrific smelling substance, not like regular feces. It was a mess. I told my twenty four year old son that Freddie had died and he went outside frantically trying to dig a hole for him, but we live on a mountain that is mainly rock. Finally I got him into the house and we cleaned Freddie up and placed him in a quilt. We put him into the car and took him to the vet’s office so we could have him cremated and have him put into an urn. We had just carried his body into the office and my son had to help the vet assistant wrap him in plastic and put him into a freezer. I was destroyed emotionally, my son and I both were. As we were walking out the vet was standing there and cruelly told me that if I would have left him at the office to be treated he would still be alive. I was livid! There was no way Freddie was coming back. He was an eleven year old Golden who had been diagnosed with mouth cancer and gradually was losing ground. I have another Golden, Brandy who is fourteen. She is getting sick now and is finding it hard to get up and is losing control of her bladder. It breaks my heart to have her put down, but I never want to see a dog die in front of my eyes again. I will never forget it and I cry so much still about the way he had to go. I loved him so much and feel like I failed him in the end when I allowed the vet kept trying hopeless “experiments” to keep him alive . My initial gut response was to put him down and because I was advised not too and I didn’t listen to my own gut feeling, we all had to suffer much more than was necessary. Please don”t end up in this situation, it will haunt you for a very long time.

    • Michael

      Thank you carol and sorry you had to go through all that, must of been soul destroying to say the least but thanks for the kind words. Yours had mouth cancer too then? My boy ended up with it taking over the inside of his mouth destroying his gum lining and teeth it was horrendous. Was yours similar?

    • Sue E.

      I am so sorry. I hope you don’t continue to beat yourself up, easy for me to say, because you trusted your vet. I can’t imagine what you had to experience but I think if you didn’t try to do what the vet said you would feel bad about that too. It’s so hard no matter how it ends. I think your story will help many others though. Also, that vet should be reported for his cruel comments to you.

    • Carol Williams

      Three weeks ago my sweet 14.5 year old Golden, Brandy, who for a few months had not been able to lift herself onto her feet without my assistance, fell down and couldn’t stand even with my help.

      What made it very difficult was that her body had failed but she was still seemed happy and affectionate.It was an extremely heartbreaking decision to make but she really had no quality of life left at all. My vet agreed that it was time to have her put down.

      She was excited to ride in the car which made me happy and broke my heart at the same time, knowing it would be her last ride.

      My son was there and we stayed with Brandy, cuddling and petting her until she was gone. It was a very peaceful and humane way for her to die. I miss her terribly but I did what was best for her and I know she is no longer in pain and is at peace.

    • Diane Fisher

      Thank you for sharing your story.
      Know that you have helped me.
      I’m on my 5th dog over my lifetime, it never is a easy decision. Some I have felt at peace and others I have questioned the timing. I also went through the horrible vet scenario.
      Thanks again for sharing and take care.


    We rescued a 6 year old Maltese 2 years ago from a puppy mill. She lived her first years in a cage and we have given her so much love. She is blind and no teeth and can’t do a lot of things other dogs do because of her caged life. She now is developing chronic staff infections, ear infections, chronic eye infections which I treat immediately. The vet just keeps putting her on rounds of steroids. I just feel like all of this is due to her very poor diet her first 6 years of life and her health is failing. We think we should put her down. She spins around when she is excited and hits her nose or face on the wall or door or chair and it just breaks my heart. After 2 years and now all the infections *(yes we have tried tons of different foods) finally on Hills science diet) and still the infections. I love her so much but just can’t stand all of her difficulties all the time. I am just so torn since she is still so young but has suffered so much.

  • Christine

    I just found out my 7 year old Bassett Hound mix has cancer. She is ok… for right now. My Vet was talking about Chemo…but do I really want to put her through that? And then there is the question if it even would be successful. I’m sitting here right now crying my eyes out, but I think I know what I have to do… it’s only fair to her, I don’t want her to suffer.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Patricia,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your struggle. It’s so difficult to know when to put a dog to sleep, especially because we love them so much! They’re part of our families, part of our selves.

    Making the decision to end a dog’s life is one of the most painful things we’ll ever do. But, we need to put our own heartache aside and take an objective look at our dog’s quality of life. If our dogs are in pain or not able to take care of their basic needs without help, then it may be time to talk to a veterinarian about the next step.

    Nobody can tell you if it’s time to put your dog to sleep. But, it might help you to talk through this decision with someone who is objective. You need help deciding what the best thing is to do for your dog…and it’s important to put your own pain aside to make the right decision.

    Have you called a veterinarian and talked about ways to help your dog?

  • Patricia kufal

    Please help urgently I need advice. My 15 yr old staffie cross doberman the past 2weeks has gotten bad. He can’t walk so iv to help him , but at times he does. His eye sight went but last day has gone totally. He just sleeps all day and whines when must help him out to pee. He just stands till I show him where I am.
    Him being blind is that a reason to put him down?
    I’m finding it really hard in myself to do it!

    Help please


  • Laurie Post author

    Thank you for being here, and for sharing how difficult it is to make this decision. I really appreciate your wisdom after you decide that putting your dog to sleep was the best choice because I know it helps others who are still trying to make this painful decision.

    It’s so important to remember that putting a dog down is a final act of love and compassion. It isn’t a punishment. It’s an act of grace and mercy, of kindness and protection. Our dogs get old. They get sick and weak — their bodies are frail and in pain, but their minds and spirits are so willing to keep going. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” is how Paul puts it in the Bible.

    Our dogs can’t make this decision, but we can. Our dogs can’t tell us they’re ready to leave this world….but if we take time to sit with them, listen to them, and hear what they’re saying, I believe we will make the right decision for them.

    Is your dog tired of this world? It’s time to let go.

  • Karen

    Our oldest in now 14+ and has bad arthritis – I struggle each day with trying to decide if now is the time. Just when I think his quality of life is too poor to continue, he rallies and tries to play with the 2 younger dogs and chews on one of the Nylabones. Yet he needs lots of meds to manage his pain, and even with them he struggles to move. The two younger dogs enjoy his company and try to play with him, as he is able. How do I decide/

  • Tracy

    We had to let our chihuahua Paco go on November 2nd. He was right in between 16&17. Readying these posts have helped me so much. For me the worst part was the guilt I felt after it was done and Reading that I’m not the only one has brought me some comfort. My baby boy was blind, deaf, and had arthritis. When ever we went to the vet his blood work was always good. There answer was always he’s just getting old. Some of my guilt came from my dog had no cancer or disease ( he had bad teeth so he had many cleanings and teeth pulled) that’s how we knew his blood work was good cause at his age they always checked. We woke up on Sunday and he couldn’t use his back legs I had to hold him up to go to the bathroom and he obviously couldn’t walk. That’s when I said enough is enough and made an appointment to let him go the next day. Spent all day with him then at 330 was his appointment. I was so sure going in. We did it. I held him in my arms. I couldn’t let him go on his own. Then the next day the guilt hit. Why didn’t I have the vet check him out one more time. Maybe there was a pill or something. Who am I to decide when his life is over?! But then I read posts like some of these and I cryed but comfort came over me. The vet doesn’t know my baby like I do. He was up all night, slept all day. He was confused, scared a shell of his former self. The last week I could no longer comfort him when he was scared and that’s heartbreaking. I was being selfish. I just hope nowthat I didn’t wait to long. I’ve been going through so many different feelings about this. Still struggling but it helps to ready others stories. I guess my advise is you know your dog, better than anyone else even our vets. They always want to help but they can’t make the decision for us. I have to find comfort in that my baby boy is no longer hurting or scared. I miss him so much.

  • Lou

    In Reply to Jodi – I’m so truly sorry for your loss. It’s so hard because we do the best we can in what is often a difficult situation. Most pet parents will say they either waited too long or didn’t act soon enough. I’m a big believer in the saying “better a day too soon than a day too late.” I too just sent my sweet and wonderful 19 year old cat to the Rainbow Bridge in October. It was really hard to make the decision as I was so afraid that he would be angry with me for letting him go. The hardest call I ever made was to make the appointment to have the vet come out the next day. I see now that I was projecting on to him my fear of not having him anymore. I am more than confident now that I did the right thing in releasing him from his discomfort and illness. He had a beautiful and peaceful death. I find great comfort in this, because I didn’t wait until he was in a horrible medical emergency which may have ended up being traumatic for us both, not to mention extremely painful or uncomfortable to him. Instead I have the memory of the last moments of his life as I held him and his soul peacefully left for his next adventure. He had a wonderful long life, and we were both blessed to have spend so much time together. I miss him everyday, but I know that there was no way he could continue. I know I will see him again. Good thoughts to you.

  • Jodie

    My gorgeous boy of 15 years of absolute love, pleasure and joy was set free last night. My heart is broken and a piece of me has gone with him. Like most people who have commented, I am also wracked with guilt and doubt over the decision. He was almost completely blind and deaf and over the past weeks had not been able to stand by himself from a lying position. He struggled to do so and would give up trying until he could muster the energy to try again. He spent most of his days and nights seemingly disoriented and confused….often staring at walls or stuck on corners or in furniture…..unable to negotiate or remember a way out and the rest of the time sleeping. It broke my heart to see my once vibrant and energetic boy a shell of his former self (of course I am not naive to the fact that age does weary all of us). He was still eating, drinking and toileting, although bending to eat from his bowl did cause obvious discomfort and shaking in his legs. He would flinch when touching him because he had no sensory awareness that you were there and grunted with discomfort when picked up….sometimes even reacting with a gentle nip….he had no teeth from years of fierce ball play, so it didnt harm us nor was it his intention to do so (this little guy had the most gentle nature and has never displayed any behaviour otherwise) . As I reflect, and break my heart with many tears, I cant imagine how scary his world must have become and the insecurity he must have felt….yet with every bump and crash into walls and furniture, he never outwardly displayed any physical pain, as if to protect us from his suffering….and befitting of his namesake…”Hercules” (oh, I should point out my tough, couragous and sensative gorgeous boy, was a Jack Russell X Maltese…and his name made more than a few people smile). My decision was very much guided by the vet, who on final assessment last night, advised that he had arthritic hips causing pain, but more significantly lower spine pain from years of chasing and throwing his balls, as well as eye pain. The Vet advised that we could manage the pain with palliative care, however that would not detract from the quality of life as a result of his world closing in to darkness and feeling confused and frequently stuck. I have not stopped beating myself up wondering if it was the right decision but the biggest regret and guilt I have is making the decision to set him free at that moment and not bringing him home for one last night with us to indulge in treats and all the love and cuddles we could possible indulge him with in that time. We were so overcome with grief and he was disoriented being in a strange envirnoment that I did not want to subject him to that for a second time by returning the next day….. He hadn’t even had dinner that night and it is traumatising me to no end. I am struggling to forgive myself for this. As I held him in my arms when they administered the drugs, he was trying to break free of my embrace and I found this really distressing, as though he knew what was coming and didnt want to go. Then within seconds he was peacefully at rest in my arms. After 20 or so more minutes of cuddles, kisses and stokes, I had to ask the nurse to take him from me because I couldnt voluntarily let him go. The most difficult thing I have ever experienced. My hope is that he understands that it was done with Love, Honour and Respect for him, so he did not suffer. I found some comfort in creating a slideshow trubute of photos of him, shared with family and friends, which evoked beautiful memories. I never imagined it would be this difficult. Struggled through work today shedding many tears. To everyone posting who has lost their beloved pet or is faced with the prospect, I send you love and hugs….there will always be a paw print of them left in our hearts. Until we meet again my beautiful boy “Hercules”….please Know that we will always love you xxx…

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    I am so sorry for your loss. Even just thinking about and planning to put your dog to sleep is a huge, sad burden.

    Just today, I read that animals often know when it’s their time to go. They feel their bodies winding down, they’re in pain, and they’re ready to sleep forever. It occurred to me that perhaps our holding on to their lives is actually doing them a disservice. We love them so much, it seems impossible to imagine life without them! But their old bodies and wise souls need to move on.

    I will keep you in my prayers.

    In sympathy,

  • Ryan

    I’m at the cusp of having to make the decision to put my dog down. I’ve had him for 15 years and frankly it’s the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make. He’s had hip problems for about 3 years, but last week he had what the vet thinks is a stroke. After a few days of prednisone, he could walk again…but it’s been a week and he can’t get up unassisted. Between work and sleep, if he goes down, he’s could be down for 6-9 hours with no way of getting back up. My decision now is do I wait to see if another week of prednisone works, or finally say ‘goodbye’. I hate the thought that he can’t up to move around when no one is around to help him up….

  • Debbie

    I have a 13/14 year old male Dalmatian. After our first Dal, passed away at 10, 2 months later we rescued Sebastian at 3/4 years old. We have had a decade with him and gave him a wonderful life. In 2009 he won Mr. October for a dog contest that we admitted him in a contest and he won and had his picture on America’s Top Dog Calendar 2009. He had to pick up his award in a limo, walk down the red carpet, was greeted by Paparazzi all here in South Florida. He is definitely my top dog. We took him on a plane to Bimini, Bahamas as we had a condo there and many other car rides of course. He has always been an aggressive food eater and as of now he is still waiting for food as always and does his best to stand and wait for table scraps when we are eating dinner. His back legs for the past few days are not working too well. He keeps falling down and we run to help him up. I have come home from work and in the middle of the night sometimes he defecates on himself. My husband and 12 year old son thinks he still has time because they see him still wanting to eat. Every morning before my husband goes to work he carries him outside so he can do his business. I spoke with my vet and this is the second time he told me it’s time. I know its time but when you see him walking and not falling over I question myself, “Would I be making the right choice?”. After my first dal passed (and I did not have to make the decision coz he died in ER from cardiac arrest) I started my own support group and helped so many people get through their grief and now I feel I can’t even help myself. This is so hard and my son really does not understand this. Any advice would be helpful.

  • Aleta

    We put our German Shepherd to sleep yesterday morning. We saw it coming and initially were in denial because he had a wonderful burst of energy the week before. He jazzed around the yard while we were raking leaves, picked up his sticks and left them in the way of the lawnmower so we would push them to the side. Yet … in the following week, he succumbed. Being so hard to watch, listing. It was the most difficult time period. In his eyes there was still the alert, tipping his head as he listened to the words – waiting to hear the right ones. His name was Maxipolo because he got around like Marcopolo and he is beautiful. He is. I kept asking earlier on, how can we put him to sleep, guilt llllllly. Yet, we watched the pain surface and the beauty of it all, he kept it from us, he did not show or even wish to want to burden us. It happened so fast. So yesterday morning (I am crying) we gave him a big piece of Coconut Cream Cake and took him to our old haunts – silence, beauty, no comparison this friendship, respect, dignity. He took something of me with him as he licked my face and in his eyes he knew. He gave us more. So now I see his face looking from the woods watching and protecting. He gave us more.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Dear Janet,

    I don’t know of any veterinarians in your area, but I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. May you find vet who can help with putting your dog to sleep in a kind, gentle, compassionate way. I pray for peace and strength for you, and that this experience goes smoothly.

    In sympathy,

  • janet

    I have a 7 yrs lab/Sheppard mix and he was a rescue, I have had him most of his life. He is my best friend and my buddy but latley he has developed some type of allergies, now I have given him everything the vet has given me and gave baths and put on pain meds cause his belley is so red raw and he creeps on my rug all day every day, also he is on trefexis so fleas are not a issue. He has always been a freak meaning every little noise would make him fear, now I believe he us high anxiety and at this point nothing is working for him. I ow he is in pain he is constantly panting non stop and pacing and drowling and licking it never ends. I have even given him new med for allergies called Apaqual and still nothing g no relief. I believe he is in pain and I am thinking about putting him down he can’t suffer anymore, vet is only wanting to try different things and really it’s about the money with the vet, I can’t be spending hundreds of dollars only to watch him still do what he does regardless of medication or baths, so please help me in mobile alabama find a vet that would help me put my dog out of his misery.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Thank you for sharing your experience with putting your dog to sleep. There’s no easy way through this…our dogs are so special and precious, and no advice I can give will make the decision easier.

    I wrote another article on putting a dog to sleep, called How to Find Peace of Mind After Putting a Dog Down:

    I hope it helps you move forward, and maybe even open your heart to love another dog again one day.


  • Ray

    Hi I have a 12 year old staff, she been wetting my bed for two years, she has a bad skin condition. But I took her to the vets and asked about her quality of life and he said she looks good she got a slow growing cancer, but she’s different in the house, always chewing her paws and her private parts

  • Sofia

    I had to put two of my dogs down on 10/08/15 and it was the hardest thing I think I’ve ever had to do in my life. One of my dogs we’ve had for 17 years and saying goodbye was unbearable. She was blind and going deaf. She would go to the bathroom on herself and it was hard to see her suffering but what was worse was putting her down! She gave me 17 years of her life and all I did was kill her by putting her down!! The second one was 12 years old and he had arthritis really bad and was also going on to the bathroom on himself. I was right in front of both of them as they were going to sleep and saw the life leave their eyes! I crawled into a ball just bawling in the middle of the room. I am suffering from night mares now and can’t sleep very much! The guilt that I am feeling is unbearable and I can’t find peace of mind. Does anyone have any advice? I don’t know how much more I can handle!

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your experience. There are no easy answers, are there? Putting a dog to sleep is a difficult decision, and nobody can tell you when it’s time. You need to make that call for yourself, and for your dog.

    Here’s one thing that came to my mind as I was reading your comments: you’re not “killing” your dog, and you’re not betraying your dog by putting him to sleep. Death can be a release, a way for our old and sick animals to rest in peace. Death isn’t a punishment or a betrayal…it’s a natural part of life.

    When life is painful because of health issues that can’t be resolved – or if it’s too much to ask our dogs to undergo the treatments to stay alive beyond their natural lives – then surrender to death is the kindest thing we can offer.

    Sometimes putting a dog down is the most compassionate, loving thing we can do for our dogs. Sometimes we need to protect them – and others – from the pain and suffering of old age and health issues that can’t be resolved.

    I wish you all the best as you make this decision. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

    In sympathy,

  • peter

    we just put our kelpie moose down,he was 12 yrs and had a brain tumour,as tears are streaming down my face i know it was the right thing to do as he wasnt eating,couldnt hardly walk anymore,didnt want to or couldnt interact with us anymore,spent most of the time lying outside under trees or at the bottom of the garden by the fence.
    His breathing was that good and i guess we left it afew days to long as on sunday when we were going to do this,he all of a sudden turned into a different dog,came for a walk,went for a swim,fetch sticks etc,our last good day with him,but what really killed me today wasnt the fact that he was going to sleep,we dont think he really knew what was going on or where he was as the night before he was bumping into things, and didnt seem to know where he was etc, but when the vet went ahead after afew seconds before he went into unconsciousness he howled afew times which came as a total shock,am really struggling as to why that happened and possible reason ?
    I feel everyones pain and this is the hardest,most painful day of my life so far,but have awesome memories which can never be taken away.

  • twyla bowman

    I have 3 dogs two of the dogs I am considering euthanizing but I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do the one dog is the daddy dog he is 11 years old in people years he has a problem with urinating and pooping in the house sometimes he does it every day and then he might go several days or a week without doing it he’s slower and is walking he needs help also when getting into the car and I hear him moaning a little from time to time. the second dog is his daughter she is 9 years old she has hypothyroidism and is on medication, my bishop thinks that I need to euthanize Both dogs for a few reasons, the medical conditions of the oldest dog and the lifetime medical condition of the second, the cost of lifetime care, and the aggression that puts my Mom at risk. The symptions she has with medication arewatery eyes, she’s a little more lazy, but then sometimes wamts to play and loves walks but gets winded very fast, I don’t know if she is having any kind of pain. this dog all her life will have nothing to do with anyone else. She is only interested in me. She will attack anyone getting close to her.She is fully protective of me. She sleeps wirh me. My Mother now 84 has lived with me for 7 years. This dog still is not friendly to my Mom. There is concern about the potential of my Mom getting attacked. This dog is also aggressive toward other dogs. She can not be near my otherv two dogs. SHE WILL ATTACK THEM. HOW DO YOU TAKE A DOG YOU LOVE SO MUCH, A DOG WHO HAS LOVED YOU, A DOG YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO CATE FOR AND PROTECT THEN TAKE THEM TO BE KILLED? Please help! I WANT TO DO THE RIGHT THING WHATEVER THAT IS. also how does one find a vet that is willing to uthanise a dog for these systems if ir is recommended from posts here in response to my post. How do I cope with killing my dog? Thank you.

  • Claire Dolfe

    I euthanized my 15 year old Dachshund last Monday. As well as missing him and mourning his loss, i feel a deep regret that i acted too soon. Now he’s gone i can’t do a thing about it except live with that decision for the rest of my life. Henry and i went through so much together. I had him when i was single and went through the pain of losing my Mum. I am now married with a son and Henry was there through it all. About four years ago Henry had an operation for thyroid cancer, they were unable to remove all the cancer and i was told he would probably live for six months. He developed diabetes a short while later and as a result got cataracts. Recently His bag legs had become weak and he would fall over. Our vet wanted to take some blood results to see what was happening inside his little body. The results came back that he was enemic, his glucose reading was not good and his liver was failing. A couple of days after receiving these results he soiled his bed and was unable to move away from it, he couldn’t stand up and he was wimpering. When i took him to the vets she suggested it was time to say goodbye. Henry was put to sleep later that day and i stayed with him as he breathed his last breath. Obviously when your vet advises you it may be time, they can only advise but ultimately it is you that can only say yes. Writing this now makes me realise probably just how poorly Henry was but because the end came so quickly i feel like i should have taken him back home just to be sure now was the right time. He was still eating well, yes he slept alot but he was 15! I can’t be sure he was suffering i just feel like i let him down at the end of fifteen years together.

  • Tammy

    Dear friends and doggie lovers! If you have to really think this through, then know in your heart of hearts, it is time time to let your’e bestest of the best friends go and be @ peace! We love them no matter what! And they love us more, no matter what! That’s why they are the the last to show they are suffering! Believe me when I say this, they will always, always love us more! Believe me when I say this, they want to be there for us! Always!! We have to show them and care, that it is okay to go to a better place and have peace and no more suffering!!! It is hard! But we owe them a dignified, peace on earth life!! God Bless Them!!!

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Dear Nicola,

    Have you talked to the veterinarian about putting your dog down? That may be the best way to find the guidance you need. The vet may want to meet your dog in person before giving you advice on what to do. A veterinarian may also have ideas for different ways to deal with separation anxiety and other health issues that change a dog’s behavior.

    I wish you all the best as you make this decision. It’s painful and difficult, but I believe you will do what’s best for your dog. Consult with a veterinarian you trust, and know that sometimes the most difficult decisions are the ones that are the most right.

    In sympathy,

  • Nicola

    Our dog isn’t unwell in the physical sense of the word, but she has a crippling seperation anxiety. We enrolled her at a day school for dogs, she started off ok, but a year on she has become very stressed and is hurling herself at walls and fences. We work full time and do not have family or friends to help us. She’s obviously very unhappy whenever she isn’t with us. We rehomed her 2 years ago and are unsure how she would cope going back to kennels to be rehomed, plus she would still have anxiety issues and she is 11. We think we have to do the unthinkable, I need advice, we are both in pieces. I would love people to contact me directly with help. thanks

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your experience with putting your dog to sleep. I know your thoughts are helpful to others.

    Jamie, have you taken your dog to the vet? That’s the best way to learn what step to take next and if you should think about putting your dog to sleep. You don’t want Mack to be in pain…and I know you don’t want to say good-bye earlier than you should! The best thing to do is to talk this through with a veterinarian who you trust, who can help you decide what steps to take.

    I wish you all the best as you move forward.

    Blessings and sympathies,

  • Jamie

    Mack is my 7 year old chocolate Lab. He is my “child”. He still eats, drinks and goes potty fine. Recently, though, he will get down in his back end and can’t get back up. Going for walks of any length are extremely painful for him. I know he has hip dysplasia but have no way of knowing if there’s any hope of him getting any better or if he will continue to lie around all day and deteriorate. Any advice is welcomed and appreciated. Thank you.

  • Rita

    I recently had to put my Min Pin “Cooper” down after his health started to go down hill. His balance was off, was having seizures. After labs, his liver enzymes were high and was put on liver medication….he was never the same. About 2 weeks prior, and after stopping the medication, he appeared to be getting back to his normal, happy, playful self. Then he fell out of bed and couldn’t walk or stand and was favoring his one side….vets think he was suffering from a brain tumor and had had a stroke. It was the hardest day of my life, but I didn’t want him to suffer and his quality of life would never be the same. The “Cooper” I knew and loved was gone. I made the decision to put him down the same day. I miss him dearly, but I will always have the memories we shared together. I have since found a pup that was born July 3rd and will get to bring him home in another 8 weeks. He is from the same breeder we got “Cooper” from and I am so excited. His name will be Leonardo Cooper (Leo) for short.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    I don’t think there are any clear-cut, simple answers to this difficult decision. Knowing when to put a dog down is so individual, and so dependent on the dog, the owner, the veterinarian….there simply isn’t one right way to know if you should say good-bye to your dog, or keep moving forward.

    If I had to make this decision right now, I’d sit with my dog for at least 15 minutes. Pick a quiet spot, and settle down with your dog. Look into your dog’s eyes, stroke her back, rub behind her ears. Feel her legs, rub her tummy. Give yourself time to be quiet and sense what your dog wants.

    Sometimes our dogs are ready to go, but we can’t let them because of the pain and grief. I don’t know if you should put your dog down, but I believe it’s important to separate the pain of our loss from what’s best for our dog.

    Only you can make this decision…but it may be slightly easier if you take time with your dog. Wisdom is there, but it’ll only be found in silence and stillness.

    In sympathy,

  • Maureen

    I have a 17ish year old small terrier mix that I rescued from the pound about 7 years ago. He is the sweetest boy and has survived two mast cell tumor cancer surgeries an attack by another dog and many other medical scares. About two weeks ago he started to limp and show distress in his back legs. One of his front lets seems weak as well. He is still eating, drinking and go potty like a champ, but is obviously not feeling well. He is laying about more, and his spunk has been reduced. I’ve given him some metacam for the pain and inflammation, but it is very expensive and also is not supposed to be a long term answer. I’m just not sure if it’s time. I should make an appointment to see the vet, but she will spend 5 minutes with him. How does she know? How do you know? When should I make the call?

  • Ella

    I have an 16 1/2 old dog, he is a chihuahua. today alone he has vomited 8 times and tonight we went to wake him up to go to the toilet, he didn’t wake up for a few minutes until my dad picked him up and took him to the toilet. He’s not eating very much and I don’t think I’ve seen him drink all day, he cries all the time and sleeps most of the day. Is it time?

  • donna

    I have a 14 year old lab who no longer can move I believe she had stroke she eats and drinks but never gets up the problem is the pitbull she was raised with I M afraid will die right after her due to the closeness please help me make the right decision

  • natasha

    i have a poodle that is 16 years old. she struggles with her hind legs going up and down. she will sometimes just moan and groan during the day. she cant see very well as she bumps into things. she wee and poos in the house as she sometimes does not know where she is. other than walking up and down she sleeps. the only thing is she still has a appetite., everyone tells me its time. im struggling to make the decision. ?

    • Tim

      based on what you said it’s time. It was a terrible day for me when I lost my lab Bailey. Her arthritis was really bad. She couldn’t walk very well.

      Put the dog’s interest first. I know that is really hard.

  • Amy Smith

    Yesterday I put my 7 pound long coat Chihuahua down. I could not have written this yesterday because tears would have gotten in the way. When I adopted her as a rescue dog she was snappy. Over the six plus years I had her she became a mellow sweet dog who rarely barked and never snapped. First her joints gave out, then her heart and breathing. She was on multiply medications. When she no longer wanted to eat I knew it was time – that does not make it any easier! She was constantly breathing hard and very sluggish. Her old playful self had disappeared. Today I am cleaning out all the dog stuff I have – carrier, crate, car seat, harnesses, leashes, combs, bowls, buggy. You name it I spent a fortune on her. It was all go to the local Humane Society to be sold and the profits to help other dogs. I am 76 and live alone so this is a devastating loss but I am thankful for the good little companion that traveled with me all over the US and to Alaska. I loved her dearly and helping her make a peaceful pain free exit was the least I could do for her. Oh, oh, tears again. I am sure that it will take awhile to adjust to her not being here.

      • Amy Smith

        Thank you, Tim. I have read Rainbow Ridge and it is a lovely sentiment. However, I do not believe in an afterlife. I will reflect on the wonderful times I had with my lovely little dog and be comforted in that.

    • Amy

      Amy, I still have tears quite frequently, and mine has been gone for 7 months. You did the right thing. I’m so sorry for your loss.

      • Amy Smith

        It’s almost a week later. I saw a Chahuahua at the Human Society and burst into tears. All of her stuff is gone. I keep looking for her and being careful not to step on her. I know I did the right thing and received a nice not from the vet who cared for her over the years. It is getting easier. I encourage those who are in doubt to do what is best for the dog and not for you. I could have kept her alive for a few more weeks but they would not have been happy weeks for her.

        • Amy

          I cried today even…it just “hits” me at least once a week how much I loved her, how much she meant to me, and how much I deeply miss her. Life is just not the same without her. I totally agree with what you said, 100%.

  • Dawn

    I’ve been struggling the last few days on putting my 12 year old pit bull ” Sirius ” to sleep. I can’t describe in words what joy he has brought to my life. He has taught me about humanity and love. In many ways …. He saved me. The thought of losing him breaks my heart.
    He has had arthritis mostly in the back legs for some time now. In the last two weeks or so it seems his front foot ( mostly by the elbow ) is bowing out. He walks, but he is slow and limping. Sometimes he falls the last step of the stairs to go outside. I help him into the bed and out of the bed. He has a large tumor on his back . Had a biopsy done and was told it was cancerous. He has been on carprophen for some time and that doesn’t seem to give him any relief anymore. He eats. Boy does he like to eat…. But other than that, he sleeps all day . I don’t want him to be in pain. even throughout it all he’s always happy and smiling. I think he has the heart of a 2 year old…. But his body is failing him. Need advice. ASAP. Thank you
    What we love so deeply , becomes a part of us.

    • Amy

      Hmmm, this is tough. I wonder if you have access to alternative therapies, such as accupuncture, water therapy, or cold laser therapy? My dog showed quite an improvement with cold laser therpay on her lower spine, which helped her hind end. Also, she did really really well on a small but consistent dose of Deramaxx. If he seems haply and still eats and is not crying in pain, and not having accidents in the house, I wonder if it might not quite be “time” yet. What does your vet say?

    • Tim

      you need to put him asleep. I just went through this in September for 13.5 year old dog I found the day after 9/11. My dog had horrible arthritis. We were giving cortisone shots every month. It was so hard but I know now it was the best I could do. If you cannot solve their problems, you have only 1 option. I buried her in a pet cemetery. I can go there now.

  • Crystal

    I have a 11 year old boxer Pitt mix and she is my baby. I have been considering putting her to sleep. For the last year if we are gone longer than a couple hours she usually messes. She is very stiff when she walks up stairs. We have her only limited to our deck stairs but no way around that. She also whimpers from time to time for no reason. My husband says it’s not time hire do you know when it’s right? I don’t want her in pain and I know she’s humiliated when she messes. She Bennett head accidents unless she was sick.

      • Amy

        Does she seem happy most of the time or depressed? Does she sleep most of the time or is she restless? Does she still enjoy eating, going for walks, playing, getting petted, and treats?

        • Crystal

          With her temperament I think she will always be happy. She has and is always wanting to please. She tries to play with my yorkie but can’t she just ends up standing there stiff and out of breath. She sleeps most of the day and night. There has been a few nights here recently that she whimpers keeping me up. I am a very light sleeper.

          • Amy

            Well, it doesn’t sound like she is deeply depressed, but she may be in pain a times. I knew my dog was just not herself when it snowed and she didn’t care at all. She loved loved loved snow, but this time, couldn’t care less. Also, she auit drinking water, started pooping in the house, and just looked depressed most of the time. Her face just said “Mom, I’m so tired, in pain. And I can’t do anything fun anymore”. It was so hard to tell for absolute sure, and I went back and forth for a month, then second guesses my decision. I did consult a vet and a pet psychologist, both told me they did feel it was “time”.

            I hope you get clear signs one way or the other and find peace with your decision.

          • Crystal

            Good I am not ready to say goodbye yet. But in my heart I know this is the beginning and it will be downhill but very grateful for any amount of time we have with her. She is my husband’s and my first fur baby. Thank you for the feedback and sorry for your fur baby.

    • sue knights

      We have a 12 year old german shepherd his nerves endings are going in his back legs he drags one to the point he has no claws left the vet gave us medication for his arthritis but this last week he has been toileting in the house he doesnt realise it is coming out when do we make the decision to have him put to sleep, he was so upset over the weekend because he realised what he had done i have come home twice to it this week and the other days he has managed to get out just in time

      • Amy

        Aww, I am so sorry. It does sound like the time is nearing. It is so hard, but just keep in mind that you must do what is best for your beloved dog. If your dog is not enjoying life most of the time, it might be time to say goodbye. I wish you peace with whatever your decision is.

  • Kathleen

    Our beloved Casey is almost 16 1/2. We know the time is close but would love some objective feedback. She has difficulty going up and down the stairs, poops in the house almost daily and has very weak hind legs. She pants and limps when walking while taking 4 tramadols daily. On the other hand she still gets excited to go for a short walk, eats, drinks and enjoys pets and our company. Is it time due to the constant limping and panting despite being on pain relievers, anti inflammatories and monthly adaquin injections?

    • Amy

      Hi Kathleen,

      I am sorry that your sweet Casey is nearing the end of her long life, it is so hard. I would say you are correct, the time is close, but not sure how close. Based on what happened in my dog’s case, I would say we euthanized my dog about 30 days after she got to the point yours is.
      What does your vet say?

  • NetScanr

    I just put my sweet Sugar to sleep on 5/31. I woke up at 3am to her panting in a slightly distressed way. She lived 18 months after a splenectomy and chemo for Hemangiosarcoma. She had a good 18 months, but in the last week she was more anemic than she had been and I assumed internal bleeding had started again. She ate her dinner (woofed it down), and even barked around 11:30 when Bear barked at something. Then there was the sudden change. I took her to the emergency vet and with her history there was little chance anything could be done to give her more happy time. I didn’t want Sugar to suffer any longer than the few hours she already had, so when the vet was ready I told her she could begin. I read a LOT about the process and how important it is for YOU to be strong for your friend in their final moments of life. You don’t want YOUR emotions upsetting your pet during their final moments with you. You can lose it after they are gone. During the vet’s prep, I hugged Sugar, pet her and told her how much I loved her. I asked for kisses and she gave me some really good ones! In my mind, she was telling me she was OK with my decision, and she knew it was time too. I knelt down next to the table so I could be eye to eye with her. She rested her chin on my hand as I stroked her head and told her how sweet of a girl she had always been. We gazed into each others eyes as the vet slowly gave her propofol. She slowly closed her eyes part way, but I could tell when she went unconscious. After a short wait, the vet slowly administered Beuthanasia. After a minute of monitoring, my sweet Sugar’s heart stopped and she was truly gone. Reading up on it, Beuthanasia is a combination drug with 2 chemicals that work differently, but together. The first causes almost instantaneous, painless brain-death. There’s no way your friend will feel anything after brain-death. The 2nd chemical stops the heart. Right now I’m in tears, not over putting my sweet girl to sleep, but over the continuous loss of her sweet presence, never more than 5-6 feet away when I was home. Being one of God’s creatures that I believe he put on this earth and gave me the opportunity to enjoy our lives together for 10 years, I truly believe God will reunite us one day. I only hope my own death will be as peaceful.

  • Beverly

    My 14 year old Westie is having – every now and then pooping accidents in his kennel during the day while I am at work. He is always wanting to eat grass and he has had a very sensitive stomach for years. He now only eats prescription dog food. He can hear anymore and I think his site is limited. He sleeps most of the time but stills gets around fine. My husband thinks it is time to put him to sleep mainly due to the accidental pooping. I would feel terrible to do this at this point. I need some feedback.

    • Amy

      Hi Beverly,

      It is such a tough call. Your dog’s eyes may be cloudy, but it doesn’t always mean they are blind. Does your dog seem happy? Does she still enjoy eating? Enjoy walks? Enjoy your company? If she still seems to enjoy life, I would see if you can treat the accidents. Does it seem like she has accidents because it is diarrhea? Or is it lack of control due to a spinal issue?
      I would seek the advice of your vet and see if they can offer anything to help with the incontinence.

  • Kevin

    Day 4 now since my girl is gone. First day I didn’t wake up crying. I guess that’s progress. Seems unreal that’s she gone. When I get up from the couch I step wide so I don’t step on her, course she’s not there. I go out and hold the door open for her to follow, but she’s not there. I try to keep busy, but that only helps so much because she was always busy with me whatever I did. I feel like a zombie walking thru life, but nothing feels real.

      • Kevin

        Jamie, I am so so sorry, I know the pain your in. There’s no words that will make you feel better. Just let it out when it comes (and with me it comes in waves) and I hope you have someone to cry with. I personally think we will see them again in whatever happens after this life. Anything that loves has a soul and I sometimes think animals have the purest souls of all. I really believe we’ll see them on the other side.

  • Jamie

    I think it’s time.. But it’s so hard.. Angel my 14 year old rat terrier had ha kidney disease for aling time.. This past year she has gone completely blind, she does not eat her dog food but will eat hberger meat, eggs, broccoli, bread, and stuff like that..she smells terrible, her mouth is gray. She sleeps a lot, fell down the stairs this morning, is limp but yet will come outside bark at the neighbors dogs, lay in the sun. She also growls and is very irritated.. After writing this I think I know what I need to do 🙁 so sad..

    • Melissa

      Hi Jamie. My rat terrier woke up with an abscess on her jaw. It was terrible and bloody. I took her to the vet and they decided to do surgery the next day to drain it. When I got there they said they would need to run some blood tests to determine if she was healthy enough to undergo surgery. Sadly, she was not. Her kidneys were not functioning well so they kept her for 24 hours to see if her kidneys improved. Sadly, again, they did not. She couldn’t eat, could barely walk. It was time. It seemed SO sudden to have to make this decision but I know it was the right thing to do. In hindsight I realized she had been losing weight over the last year or so (we took her in from my sister in law a few years ago). The vet also said she looked way older than she was which meant her kidneys had been having issues for quite a while. It took her getting to that point for me to see it. So sad. I hope you enjoy the time you have with your little girl. You will know when it is time.

  • Stephanie

    Hello, I’m trying to get some advice from people on making this hard decision about my dog-she is a aussie shepherd/border collie mix, by far the smartest dog I’ve ever owned, her name is Sydneyand she is almost 15 years old. During this last year she has really gone down hill, losing lots of weight, walking in circles and staring off into space, falling alot, panting a lot, and trouble with stairs and I feel like in her awake times she cannot get comfortable-paces and seems confused. She still eats good sometimes and then other times ignores her food without some additional prodding, yet has only had accidents in the house a couple of times-but granted that she never used too…I think that’s what makes this so hard as I’m seeing a lot of issues people talk about but not all of them so I keep second guessing myself about if its really time yet I know that even though we all love her so much, I dont feel she has a happy life anymore, she doesn’t even want to interact much where she used to be so loving-you have to prompt it and even then she doesn’t usually respond much! Any advice would be great, the vet mostly doesn’t seem to want to give a opinion about it but I feel that’s because she doesn’t show obvious signs of sickness and such, just old age.

    • Kevin

      We just put down or 14 1/2 border collie yesterday. She had also been having trouble the last year or so with getting around, playing ball and Frisbee turned into her standing there and me throwing it to her. I carried her up and down stairs into our bedroom everything and down every morning. About 3 weeks ago started having trouble breathing, which turned out to be cancer. Our plans to put her down peacefully at home tomorrow (our vet would do that) turned into a panic call yesterday because she was struggling to breath. We also kept struggling to determine what her quality of life was and when it was “time”. To me bottom line is 1) Is she suffering? and 2) Is she enjoying anything in her life? Attention, petting, playing, anything. If not, I would lean toward a peace full end, rather than a hurried, painful one after something happens. You sound like me and you’ll regret and second guess any decision you make no matter what it is. My companion, my joy in life, my black & white shadow is gone and its killing me. I hope you have someone to lean on and cry to, cause your going to need it. I am so so sorry, but if its not time, its getting close. Don’t even know you, but sending love your way.

    • Amy

      Stephanie, it is a very tough call. No one wants to put their dog down one day too early, but like Kevin said, one day too late is also not desirable either. All I could do was pray for guidance and signs, and I did receive it. I am so sorry for your struggle, all of us can relate.

    • Alex

      We just put Tiger, our red healer German short haired pointer cross down. She was 13 and a half. It was a very hard decision. She was suffering more and more during hot summers with labored breathing, arthritis, had trouble with stairs and her legs would sometimes just give way. She started drinking and urinating a lot. We agreed would wouldn’t make her suffer another hot summer in Renmark and last night she developed a tooth abscess which was the catalyst for today’s decision. Overall she was probably happy but in some pain with her body beginning to fail. A hard but humane decision.

  • Anna

    My dog is 14 years old, October last year she started to lose a lot of weight very quickly. She lost about 8kg in a matter of weeks and the vet said she had a week to live
    Since then she has stayed between 17-18 kg buy in the last mth or so she has been drinking and eating loads!! So much that she will drink out of the toilet if the is Left open even dirty buckets of water that I have cleaned the floor with.
    She pees in the house daily and has gone on her bed without noticing a few times.
    All tests have come back normal the only other thing the vet said is that they could open her up to see if she has cancer but she’s had 5 cancerous lumps removed already and I don’t want to put her though that again
    Really don’t know what to do! Is It time to say goodbye

    • Kevin

      Certain medications, like Lasix, will make a dog drink a lot and often have accidents. If she’s got a decent quality of life and not suffering or in pain, I would enjoy the time you have, but keep a close eye on her

  • Sherri

    I’m struggling with the decision on our 15 yr old mixed terrier. A mutt we adopted from the pound as a puppy. He’s been terrific, an athletic active dog until recently. This past 6 months we began noticing a difference and very recently he has began walking in tight circles. His vet diagnosed Dementia and found Cushings disease after blood test. She did not recommend the treatment due to his age and what it would do to his quality of life. We were asked to watch him and see how quickly he worsens. Unfortunately his mind is not keeping up with his athletic body. In the past 2 weeks he’s taken a couple of bad falls, missing steps, misjudging distance. He tumbles hard, gets up, shakes it off and resumes. He’s had a couple of accidents in the house and sleeps a lot. My big concern his he’ll eventually break bones, etc. I simply wonder if he is happy…

    • Kevin

      If he’s in otherwise reasonably good health, I’d just tone down his activities. Block off stairs, keeps runs in yard etc. The last year of my loyal Nicky I carried her up and down the stairs every evening and every morning after she took a fall. Everyones relationship with their pet is different, but all I can say since just losing mine is enjoy every minute you can. They won’t be around forever.

  • Kevin

    Waiting for a call from our vet to set up an at home euthanasia. Our border collie Nicky has gotten so afraid of going to vet office, I don’t her to be scared when we do this. She has cancer in at least two organs and keeps accumulating fluid in her chest. Has been drained 3 times. She also has arthritis real bad in rear leg and hips and now that she’s off rymadyl because we started predolosone in hopes of beating back the cancer for a while. She’s still bright and alert, though stopped eating yesterday. I hope we’re doing the right thing, it’s killing me. I don’t know how I’m going to hold her as she dies, but I have to. I owe her that and so much more. She’s been my shadow, my joy and I have to be there now. God give me strength

    • Amy

      I am so glad you have a vet that will come to your home, that will be much better. We had our dog put to sleep in our Jeep because that was her happy place. We couldn’t hold her per se because of her size and weight, but we were in the car with her and touching her. It is the hardest thing ever. I would just say that you need to know it goes very fast. I wish I had understood that before. There is no “slowly going to sleep and drifting off”. Once they are given the sedative, they go right to sleep and then the second drug is given right away. It’s fast and there is no saying goodbye after that. But, I will say, we made a pact that we would do our best not to “let on” that this was a sad event, we did not want her to sense our angst or sadness…we did not want her to feel sadness or fear in her last moments. We drove her body to the crematorium, which was a 40 minute drive. That was very comforting to me. To be the one that took her there, it was good. I am crying right now typing this, and it has been over 6 months. The sadness never leaves.
      I wish you the best. God Bless.

      • Kevin

        Thank you Amy. We made the “appointment” (what a thing to call it) for Friday at 7 PM. Between now and then going to spend as much time with her as I can. She has good and bad times. Mornings are the worst. They will take her body and I asked for an individual cremation. I’m so sorry you still cry and I know I will too for a long long time.

        • Amy

          I thought of one more thing. Cocoa got to eat all of her favorite things on her last day. Whipped cream from the can, grilled steak, peanut butter crackers, and even stopped for a soft serve ice cream cone on the way to the vet. She was so happy that day, she didn’t want to take h usual nap for fear of missing anither “treat”! What a day that was. Enjoy your remaining days with your sweet girl. Take care.

          • Kevin

            We are trying anything to get her to eat. Seems she’ll eat something new for a couple meals, then stop. Went from Gravy canned dog food (she always had kibble before this), then chicken, hamburger & wawa meat balls. She wouldn’t eat the meatballs this morning. I slept on the floor with last night. She had a bad night, not breathing too well, more like panting. Got better this morning. Now feeling guilty we (I really) said Friday. Selfish of me wanting a few more days. But she didn’t have this problem then. I can only pray it will stabilize until Friday evening. If it get bad and we have to take her in, it would only make sense to do it then, but I wanted to avoid the Vets office. She so scared of it now.

          • Amy

            The same thing happened to mine. We made the appointment for a few days out, as we wanted to spend one last weekend with her. Then, in the middle of the night, she was in distress, panting and very uncomfortable. I was beside myself because I thought “Oh no, I waited too long, now she will die tramatically” However, she did get past that. I hope yours does the same thing. Mine never stopped eating, but she did stop drinking. I had to put water on her food to get her fluids.

          • Kevin

            We didn’t make it to Friday. Had a very bad night Monday, couldn’t sleep cause she had to keep breathing. Seemed to get better early morning morning but when I came home for lunch, was bad again. She was in pain, struggling and we couldn’t allow that to go on. We scooped her up and took her to her place of fear and and had to do it. I curse myself for being selfish and trying to spend every waking moment. It was heart breaking as her Adrenalin kicked in from fear and I started doubting if we should go through with it. But we did, one of many regrets I’ll have for the rest of my life.My soulmate is gone and I struggle with every minute not break down. I want to sleep for week, but when I wake, she’ll still be gone. I take it minute by minute, hour by hour, time grags on

          • Kevin

            We didn’t make it to Friday. Had a very bad night Monday, couldn’t sleep cause she had to keep breathing. Seemed to get better early morning morning but when I came home for lunch, was bad again. She was in pain, struggling and we couldn’t allow that to go on. We scooped her up and took her to her place of fear and and had to do it. I curse myself for being selfish and trying to spend every waking moment. It was heart breaking as her Adrenalin kicked in from fear and I started doubting if we should go through with it. But we did, one of many regrets I’ll have for the rest of my life.My soulmate is gone and I struggle with every minute not break down. I want to sleep for week, but when I wake, she’ll still be gone. I take it minute by minute, hour by hour, time drags on.

          • Amy

            Oh Kevin,

            I am so very sorry for your loss and the way that it ended up happening too, I know you had envisioned it going much differently for your sweet girl. Heartbreaking!

            Listen, please try and think of it in a different way. With my sweet girl, she seemed so good the day we did it, I had so many doubts about wether it was maybe too early. In a way, I wanted her to be more acutely ill so that there was NO doubt it was time.

            You see, because we love them so much, we do not want to let them go one day too early or one day too late. We wish we could find that exact day where it is no doubt the right day. But we can’t.

            So, in my case, I know I could most likely have waited another day or maybe even a week….which makes me sad. In your case, you could have done it a day or even a week sooner, which makes you sad too.

            The main thing we need to understand is that we have done our very best to do it the beat way we can, and many times we humans will not get it exactly right.

            But what we have gotten right, is we taken away our beloved dog’s physical pain, and allowed them to end the suffering in the most humane way we could do. As a result, their pain is transferred onto us in the form of emotional pain.

            Your little black and white shadow is free an not in any pain or distress. You were the best care taker she coild have wished for, so don’t be upset, you gave her a great life, and she knew that.

            Let yourself grieve…..cry cry cry it out. I still cry often for my baby girl, but not so much because of her death, more because I miss her in my life.

  • Sieglinde

    Our English Bull Terrier is 13 years old and we considered her a part of our family. She has been for several months now, shaking in her hind quarters when I take her outside. She also eats grass like she is a cow and started urinating/pooping in the house . She drinks more than she eats and as she has gotten older doesn’t eat like she did when she was younger. She will start panting while laying on the couch and sleeps 90% of the day & all night. She balks a lot while walking and on occasion after waking instead of walking to go outside or to water bowl, it’s like she is senile and walks up to a wall and stands there until I lead her away. She has moles fatty cysts/tumors – one the size of my palm, and the vet tested them last month costing us $800 and they were benign. Spankie also has dry eye now and I have to clean her eyes many times during the day to remove the green mucus. My husband has become disabled, and is unable to help me with our beloved pet. She will softly whine sometimes too. Are these signs that she is nearing the end of her life? I don’t want her to be in pain and suffer.

    • Amy


      I think the time may be near. It sounds like your dog might be in pain much of the time. I would consult your vet and then make a decision. I am sorry, it is so hard.

  • Cherrie

    My dog Jonah is scheduled to go in on Wednesday to be evaluated. I’m 99 percent sure it’s time but I don’t want to admit it. He is almost 15 has fatty tumors, warts, he sleeps 90 percent of the time now. He is shakey when he walks, he cannot go up and down stairs, or get in the car with out help anymore. The has a cyst that has emerged on his left thigh and is growing at alarming rates. He coughs up white foam about every other day now. He pants just walking to his water bowl and must lie down to eat because he cannot stand that long. He drinks a great deal of water. I love him though, I have PTSD due to domestic violence and Jonah has been through hell and back with me. He has been my therapy dog, my protector, my confidante, and my anchor. I am scared to go through life without him but he has been such a good dog I don’t want him to suffer. I just wish someone can tell me if I’m doing the right thing. I’m a single parent and cannot pay for chemo and radiation and at his age I’m not sure if he would survive surgery. Please, I feel like my heart is breaking. He is such a piece of me.

    • Kevin

      I’m so sorry Cherrie. I am in a similar position. A people say that they’ll tell tell somehow, but it doesn’t really seem to happen that way.
      I keep telling myself you must do whats right for her. I don’t know what I’ll do without her, but have to push that aside. Do whats right for him.
      Sometimes, if you have a good vet (and most are), ask what would they do if it was their pet. You can usually get a helpful answer.
      Whatever you decide, know that there are a lot more people than you think going through this hell. Try to do whats right for him and try to find peace in that you did the right thing.
      Hang in there, this too will pass.

    • Brett

      Cherrie im sorry to hear your situation….I am the Brett from a few comments below…I know what your feeling….I got my dog not long after I divorced and he went through tough times with me as well…to come home and always see him excited to see me helped me move on from a difficult time….It makes it all that bit tougher.
      Your dog is coughing up white foam…that a sign of mycoplasma disease…your dogs immune system is probably trying its best to fight the tumors he has and this is what happens to them…by the sounds of it…its time for him to go….you are doing the right thing for him….be strong and just think of the time when he lets go and has no more pain to deal with.

  • Lisa

    I just lost my mini-dachshund, Bruno. He was almost 11 yrs old. He’d been sickly his whole live with heart and lung issues. He would get better and worse on a daily basis. One day, he was worse and I took him to the vet, like usual. The vet took one look at him and told me there wasn’t much they could do anymore, he had just reached the limits of his strength. He died peacefully in his sleep. I am heartbroken, but I know he isn’t suffering anymore. It was time for him to go. My other dog is a 13 yr old Chihuahua (Pablo) who seems to be ok for now, but I know it’s coming. It will never be easier, but it’s what we sign up for when we fall in love with our fur babies. <3

  • Brett

    Just got my 13 year old black lab put down yesterday…he started coughing and tablets wouldn’t help..he was covered in lumps and started limping all of a sudden…he had good days and bad days but I could see what was going to happen…the cough was like he was drowning in his own fluid…he would cough up white foam and in the mornings and at night were worse…I am a lot more upset than I thought I would be but it was very peaceful and me and my girlfriend spoiled him the night before and fed him treats all night and let him sleep inside.
    I have been struggling all day but I just know I did the right thing….I live alone and am a shiftworker…to go to work knowing he wasn’t well was killing me…..for the last month or so I used to open the back door with dread wondering if he survived the day or night when I was at work.In the end as sad as I am I know I did the right thing for both of us…rest in peace Buster.
    You were best mate in the world and this experience has made me decide no more dogs for me…you become to attached and I know I will never get another character like him.

  • Ruthann Burke

    my family is being torn apart. OUr Choc Lab is 14 years old and has tumors all over his body and his back legs don’t work so well, they just tremble like crazy. He has Cataracts in both eyes and most times he gets to the bottom of the steps and can’t figure out how to make it up the stairs (almost like he doesn’t remember). Well now, I put him out in the back yard regularly for about 15min. at a time and when he barks to come in. he walks right in and craps across the floor as he walks, he don’t even bend down to go to the bathroom. He never in all of his life ever had accidents in the house. I am having a hard time with him going poo all over my house. I feel it is time to put him to rest, but my husband says that he isn’t that bad yet. I don’t know what to do or think. He still eats, but his whole body shakes all the time. What do you all think? I could use some advice.

    • Amy

      Hi RuthAnn,

      Boy, this sounds so much like my chocolate lab! At 14 she was having the same issues. Very weak hind end, fatty tumors all over her body, and she started going poop in the house and would drop it like a cow almost, as if she didn’t even knkw it was happening until it was too late. I can so relate!!
      I will tell you that her eyes, although they appeared to be very cloudy, the vet did say she was not blind, not even close, it’s just a commin condition that makes it appear that she cannot see out lf them.
      As for the fatty tumors, that is to be exlected with age.
      Now, thw weak hind legs and the pooping in the house, that is really the issue I think. We had some success with cold laser therapy on her spine, but you must find a vet that does it, and it’s not cheap. Also, water therapy amd accupuncture can help, but again, these are expensive specialists, so not alot of folks are in a position to be able to do this type of thing.
      I think your dog is most likely in pain in her hind end…back and hind legs. Does he ever cry out in pain? The shaking and weakness are troubling.
      Have you sought advice from a vet?
      I am so sorry you are going through this, it is very upsetting and stressful.

  • Kim

    My husband and I are leaving in 30 minutes to put our sweet old boy Rusty to rest. He is a black lab Chesapeake bay mix. This is soooo hard I have been crying all day he is the best dog ,loyal loving and just turned 16 years old.He has been declinining for awhile now and just started barking at night because he no longer can get up the stairs. I know it is time but this is so hard he is like one of my children and he will be missed so very much. I just hope I see my ole boy in heaven some day and he is running and having a grand ole time.Well it’s time to go lay him to rest. Kim

  • TIna

    We are laying our sweet molly to rest on Friday and its tearing our family up. She is a 10 year old boxer and the last year she has declined slowly. She is not able to walk very well because of her back legs. Dr. say because of her age surgery is not a good thing. We have to carry her up and down the stairs and hold her up while she goes to the bathroom because she falls when she tries to stand on her own.
    But when the door bell rings she is eager to defend our home and wrestle with her brother Tyson another boxer when she is having a good day. So this is what makes it very hard to make that decision to lay her to rest. In the morning she would eat when my husband would go to work at 5am now she passes on her food until early afternoon and we have to put cheese in her bowl to even sniff it but then she eats. She is always panting which we were told this is a sign of pain for a dog. So please please tell me we are doing the right thing.

    • Tim

      Without a doubt, you are doing the right thing. Your poor baby is suffering. You’ve had her evaluated. There’s nothing you can do to alleviate her pain. You have held onto her for as long as you can and have given her a rich, full, happy life. Unfortunately, she’s sick and not going to get better. Releasing her will be your final act of love for her. It’s the right thing to do. I wish I could tell you that doing the right thing is going to make it easy at all. The right thing for her is going to hurt you badly. That’s why it’s an act of selfless love. I’m so sorry. God bless you and comfort you. Having just gone through this myself a week and a half ago, I am so sad for you. It’s terrible, and the fact that it’s the right thing to do doesn’t change that.

  • Sarah

    Hi everyone,
    I am too feeling huge regret for putting my beautiful Molly to sleep 3 weeks ago after a sudden decline. She had been relatively well but off her food for some time which I put down to her anxiety and I had just moved house, and then went rapidly downhill over a 24 hour period. She wasn’t clotting properly and was anemic so emergency vets gave her medication and blood transfusions but her levels still didn’t improve much. They then found bleeding into abdo from an enlarged abnormal spleen. Our only option was emergency surgery to remove the spleen but the vet stressed how she wasn’t likely to survive an anaesthetic and she was still bleeding a lot. So I don’t even have a diagnosis but they think a splenic tumor. I said I wanted to do everything and so the surgery but they wanted to do a chest X-ray before surgery and it showed abnormal lungs and fluid in her chest. It just seemed everything was against her and every test we did came back bad. She was only 8 1/2 and my everything, my baby. I can’t believe I somehow made the choice to not do surgery. I feel I robbed her of her only chance and ended her life way too soon. It was all such a blur and I regretted the choice instantly and ever since. I don’t know how to live with myself. Especially looking at the situation now not even knowing if it was cancer or not. They just emphasised how her clinical condition wasn’t good for surgery.
    Thanks everyone.

    • Amy

      Oh Sarah, I am so sorry for,your loss and for your angst. I know this feeling so well, many of us do!
      Let me give you some perspective as someone who put their dog down and felt the same guilt and regret…reading your story, to me, it seems like you 100% did the right thing for your sweet Molly.
      It seems to me that Molly was very ill. First not eating, that is actually a big sign. Then, you called the emergency vets and went to extreme measures to help your pup, really, that was alot that you did to help her.
      You wanted to do the surgery, but it was not the best thing to do after they found out about her lungs. There is a huge possibility that Molly would not have survived surgery, meaning she very well may have passed away during surgery, where you would not have been able to be with her. Major surgery is majorly tramatic, especially for an animal that doesn’t know what is going on or why. Scary!
      You did everything you could for Molly. Then you allowed her to pass away with peace and dignity.
      You are a good dog Mom, and you did right by Molly, I can tell.
      Again, I am sorry for your pain, but you took Molly’s pain away and took it upon you. That is serious love, and Molly is free now.
      Take care of yourself and cry and grieve all you need to. This loss is like losing a child, so don’t feel guilty for feeling a deep loss for Molly.
      May peace be with you at this sad time.

    • Amy


      I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet Molly, and for your angst about it.

      I put my dog down 6 months ago, and she wasn’t even in as bad a shape as your Molly. From my perspective, you absolutely did the right things.

      You did everything you could do, and when it was obvious that you could do no more, you mase the right and compassionate decision to let Molly to in peace.

      If you had been allowd to put her through surgery, which I doubt the vet would have ended up doning, she very well might have died during the procedure. That would have meant all that trauma for Molly for nothing, not to mention you would not have been able to be with her as she passed.

      You did the right thing for her!

      I am so sorry for your pain, but it will get better, I promise. You were a very good Momma to Molly, and that includes making this decision.

      Take care,

  • Janetta

    Well it has officially been a week today since we put our beautiful Princess Puppy to sleep!:((. I miss her everyday and it sucks not to be able to pet her or even give her a treat anymore! I know we did the right thing, and the only thing that gives me a little bit of comfort knowing she is not in pain and suffering anymore! For now I feel that my heart is broken, and I know one day it will heal, but for now I’m grieving the loss of my baby!!:((

  • Sue

    This afternoon we had to put our 14 year old dachshund down. Rusty was her name. She and my 16 year old daughter were best friends. It truly breaks my heart but I know it was the right thing to do. Rusty couldn’t use her back legs and stops walking for the past 2 days. many Many tears tonight but we all know she crossed the rainbow bridge.

    • Amy

      So sorry for your profound loss, may you find peace in knowing your sweet Rusty is no longer suffering. Take care of yourselves.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    My prayers for everyone who is struggling with the grief and loss that comes with putting a dog to sleep. It is absolutely heartbreaking, and it’s not fair. Dogs are so loyal and loving, and I wish we could have them in our lives forever.

    May you heal from the grief, and know that your beloved dog will always be part of you. Your dog is in your heart and soul, and you will be reunited one day. Oh, the things your dog will be so excited to show you when you meet again! Remember how excited your dog was when you got home – whether you were gone all day or for 5 minutes? Well, triple that – and that’s how joyful and excited your dog will be when you meet again.

    With great love comes great suffering.

    in sympathy,

  • Christina

    Thank you for the article above. My husband and I have decides that we must put our American Bulldog down tomorrow. He suffers from a brain tumor and we have talked to our kids but I’m so worried about telling our 10 year old. She will be so heartbroken.
    Please keep us on your thoughts.

  • Adrianna Mahoney

    Im at a torn here, my dog that is 13 has cervical (neck) disk disease which is a disk pressing on her spinal cord causing a lot of pain. We found this out about a couple months ago and she was good while she was on the medicine, but i do not feel right keeping her on a bunch of medicine bc of the other things that could wrong with that aspect. Lately, she doesnt get up much and when she moves she yelps also when we move her she yelps (not all the time but very common) . I dont want her to be in pain all the time but i also dont wanna loose my baby.

  • Kevin

    I’m so heart sick. We noticed our 14 1/2 yr border collie having labored breathing last week. Didn’t seen too bad bad at the time and vet set up a cardiology apt for tomorrow. It got worse and she spent weekend in a emergency clinic. Drained fluid from her lungs, sent out samples, did a scan, some organs are questionable for cancer. The breathing still maybe a heart issue, possibly treated with drugs. she’s laying at my feet now, we played short rounds of ball out back earlier. my boss let me work from home. we are probably going to make decision after cardiologist. my wife is stronger than me, I’m a basket case. I have to be there to hold her when its time, gotta find the strength somehow. I feel so lost

    • Tim

      I’m so sorry. It sounds like you were in the same situation as we were. Our 10.5 year old Chessie was having increasing shortness of breath. This was not something that was going away. Something major was going on with his heart or lungs. The doctor prescribed prednisone to help him breath and to help diagnose the problem. Unfortunately, it made matters worse. He started to react badly to the drug and his panting just got worse. I am heartbroken to say that we made the decision to put him down over the weekend. For the past decade, he was my constant companion. I am overwhelmed with grief. I miss him so much. And I feel guilt and fear that we put him down too soon.

      • Amy

        You did the right thing. You tried meds, and they made things worse. Not being able to breathe is terribly scary and uncomfortable. I know the grief, and it IS overwhelming, but you did do the right thing. I hope you find peace in your decision.

        • Tim

          Thank you. Your words are so encouraging. I will try to find peace, but my heart is more than broken. It’s shattered. I love my buddy and miss him so much.

          • Amy

            Yep, I know the feeling so well. I still (after 6 months) have a “70 pound chocolate lab shaped hole in my heart”. You are not alone. Prayer helped me immensely. Allow yourself to grieve. It WILL get better, I promise. Take good care of yourself, your dog would not want you to feel too bad for too long. (((Hugs)))

          • Stephanie

            It’s been 2 weeks and 1 day since I put my beloved Mandy to sleep. It still hurts so bad. Not a day goes by without tears. I hope it gets better soon.

          • Amy


            I understand. For me it was very very raw for a solid month. I cried so much that I broke blood vessels in my eyes.
            It is so hard. You are not alone, we all felt this way.
            It DOES get better, I promise.
            I still cry for my dog after 6 months, but the despair isn’t as deep now.
            Hang in there. You will slowly be able to come to terms with it. Until then, take care of yourself, be good to yourself, just as your beloved dog would want you to.

      • Kevin

        I hear you my friend and although it doesn’t mean much, I understand the pain. Seems us men are not supposed to feel this way, but I’ve found there are many. We are trying Prednisolone and Lasix, but so far (about 3 days), not a lot of improvement. I keep focusing on whats best for her, but it’s such a judgement call and changes constantly. Tuesday we did get 50 feet for a walk before she looked at me and then back at the house. An hour later I’m taking wheel barrels full of dirt from front yard to back and she follows me each time.

        • Tim

          Ken, I’ve encountered that as well. Maybe some of it is sensitivity on my part, but there seems to be a lot of subtle shaming if you are a man and you are devastated emotionally by the loss of a beloved pet. I don’t get it. In my family, I am the dog person. My wife is more emotionally stoic, and while she likes our dogs and considers them part of the family, she admits that she gets no feelings of doggie love by hanging with them. (Full disclosure – she cried as much as any of us when we put Walker to sleep last weekend.) But that prejudice against men seems to be there. However, I can report that in experience, it DOES NOT exist among dog lovers of either gender. My family might not understand me, but other dog lovers do!!!!

          How are things going with your border collie? Although the prednisone did not work for my dog, I’m hopeful it will give yours some relief. My vet told me it can take up to a week to have an effect. We started seeing the effects at around 5 days.

          I am doing ok. I miss my buddy like crazy. Yesterday, I was alone at my Mom’s house, and I just called out his name like I would when he was outside and I wanted him to come in. I just wanted to call him again, even though I knew he was no longer here. But I do want to put something out there that has brought me some measure of comfort. Until last Saturday, I owned two dogs. My remaining dog has made a huge difference. One of the worst times for me is when I walk my surviving dog. I should have two doggies!!!!! Not ONE!!!! It hurts. But we are helping each other. I’m not alone. After enough time has past and I feel like I can emotionally handle it, I’m going to adopt another dog. When the dog that I own now leaves me, I want a companion to help me through the loss. I know that if you are grieving a dog right now, it may be too late for you to act on this advice. But consider it for the future. I’m telling you that Molly has made and continues to make a huge difference in my ability to process this loss.

  • Janetta

    I’m so lost right now!:(. We just found out this past week that our 13 year old Norwegian Elkhound has lymphoma and cancer of the liver and spleen! She is also deaf and has a bit of hip trouble. She has had loss of appetite but now I put real bacon pieces and chicken broth in her dog food and she is finally eating again! We have spoken to the vet about options for her treatment, and none of them of course guarantee if it will help her or make her sick, so we are worried about the possibility of her having to suffer and have decided we couldn’t do that to her! We are going to be putting her to sleep in the next week or so!:((. This is devasting for our daughters and us right now! In the last few days my beautiful sweet dog Misha has been giving me glimpses of being her old self, but then she tires and needs to sleep, and her showing me glimpses feels like a little bit of hope, or maybe she is reminding me of the puppy she was and can no longer be! This is so hard because she is my first baby, and I got her at 6 weeks old! I’m so lost just thinking of the idea of her not being in the house or around us. Some days she looks at me like mom I’m tired and I don’t want to fight anymore, and other days it’s like what are you crying for I’m fine, which makes me feel torn about putting her to sleep! I love my Misha and I just want to do right by her, and I hope and pray this is the right decision!

    • Amy

      Hi Janetta,

      I can see why you are torn, I would be too! I pray that God gives you a sign, so that you can be at peace withyour decision.

      You are a very good Mom to your Misha!

      Peace be with you,

      • Janetta

        We have made the decision to put our beautiful girl to sleep on Friday afternoon! Since I posted last I have seen my girl in pain and have seen her struggle to get up and go outside! I know longer see the healthy happy dog she used to be, and enjoying her life! She deserves more than to suffer and get worse everyday! I’m pretty sure she knows she is sick just by the look in her eyes! I have come to acceptance of taking the pain away from her, by putting her to sleep! I will miss her so much, and our family will not be the same without her! She has been loyal and loving and protective of our family and she will always have a special place in my heart, we will never ever forget you Beautiful Girl! Love you Misha

        • Crystal

          I usually don’t post comments places but after reading about Misha, I felt the need to do so. I am in the exact same situation with my 10 1/2 old English Mastiff, Liberty. The similarities are uncanny really. We too have made her appointment for Friday afternoon. I have been having a hard time coming to terms with her failing health and wondering if we were making the right decision. After reading your story, I know that we are. I don’t want to be selfish with her & I don’t want to see her getting worse and being in pain! We’ve been talking about it for a little while now, we actually had an appointment scheduled for her last Thursday but we just weren’t ready to let go. We took her in and she was put on temporary pain medication. She seems to be doing better but in my heart I know its only temporary and it’s time. I just wanted to say Thank You for your story and opening up my eyes and seeing what is truly best for my Liberty! Give your Misha some love for me and hugs to you and your family!

          The 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 or 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. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him 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…. ”

          -Author unknown…

  • Jim

    Its a sad day. Today has come and we took her down. It was so sad to let her go but I’m glad we did it. She had lost another 2 pounds this last month. We just donated all her stuff to the local spca. We’ll miss her. Rest in peace Shadow. Love you.

  • Cindi

    She was completely fine–except for the arthritis. Never pooped or peed in the house since she was trained by age 12 weeks. I got her at 8 weeks. She was eating, drinking–so when I read all the info on “when it’s time” She didn’t fit any of them, except crying out in pain when lying down. I put her down too early–because her crying in pain was killing ME. I will never forgive myself–and haven’t stopped crying for weeks. I have to go into the bathroom at work to cry.

    Honestly, I want to kill myself. I cannot believe I took her life. –the memory of her whining after being sedated, then getting the Beuthanasia needle is too much to bear.

    • Amy


      Oh do I know how you are feeling. I spent about an hour this morning sobbing for my dog I put down 6 months ago. It still hurts so much and I have lots of guilt. But my dog still ate, still loved treats, still loved to go for car rides, etc. but her pain & discomfort grew by the week. Her pain meds also stopped working, and she could not sleep through the night. I too saw my precious baby gorl look back at me when the vet took her arm to insert the needle. Just typing this makes me cry. You are not alone. You did the right thing. You are grieving. You will grieve for as long as it takes. It’s OK to take their pain upon yourself. See, your dog is no longer in pain, but now you are. If given the choice, would you switch it back? Would you let your dog feel the almost non-stop arthritis pain so that your emotional pain could be lifted? I bet not. You loved your dog so very much. You did the right thing. You will be together again one day, and you will know for sure it was right.

      • Cindi

        Thank you Amy–yes, I would gladly take her pain. Her pain meds did work, but the combo of Carprofen, Tramadol 50mg 2 T three times a day, Gabapentin 300mg at night, Melatonin, and Glucosamine made her start drooling quite a bit. That is nausea. And still, she would cry when trying to lie down. Siberian Huskies ‘howl” and woo-woo to talk. This was a loud moan.
        My problem is, she only cried out when lying down..and yes, she would get up and pace. Many nights I would lie on the floor with her, in her bed, and hold a heating pad to her hips. I work 10 hour days, so I was getting about 3-4 hours of sleep at night. BUT–other than that, she was fine. Still alert and seemed happy. Never an accident in the house her whole life.
        I wasn’t getting more than 3-4 hours sleep for 2 months. I was giving her 10 pills a day with peanut butter. I had 3 days off in late April, and knew I would need a couple days to mourn. I feel I did this FOR ME. Arranging and scheduling her death.
        They say–at the time your dog’s soul leaves it’s body, it ‘speaks” to you. She was quietly whining after enough sedative for a 200lb. dog, per the vet. She weighted 76 lbs. –She continued to whine, softly and so pitifully. I heard her speak to me when she passed. She said “Mommy, don’t do this! I will stop crying when I lay down if it bothers you. Please, don’t do this” And then she was gone. She had no other symptoms. I should have left her alone, and let her just be an old dog. I thank you for your reply–but I couldn’t even see my mother on Mother’s Day, or see my son. I feel like any enjoyment from life right now, is a betrayal to her. I am so sick of reading all this stuff online about how the signs are–not eating, not enjoying treats, soiling themselves, unable to go outside to use the bathroom, etc– because none of these applied, so I feel a monster. I miss her so bad, that I have cried and prayed for God to take 10 years off my life and give them to her–to bring her back. If I could just see her one more time. No one understands–everyone has children, husband, wife, other pets etc. And I have had other dogs, when I had my family. But it was just me and her. I want to try to plant some flowers tomorrow, and paint my bathroom, and I feel so guilty for even thinking about ‘moving on” without her, I can’t do it.

        • Amy

          Hi Cindi,

          Well, I also thought my dog was telling me the same thing. She looked back at me and I swear her eyes were saying “why are you betraying me?”. I had that terrible guilt for a couple of weeks, crying so much that I broke blood vessels in my eyes. It was torture. So much so that I cried put to my dog and God to forgive. As soon as I did that, a “message” came to me. That look wasn’t “why are you killing me”, it suddenly became clear that that look was “you aren’t leaving me here at the vet, are you?”. Cocoa hated being boarded, even at a friend’s house, she never wanted us to leave her. We didn’t leave her there, we took her body ourselves and drove her 45 mins away to the crematorium. Once I knew she was just afraid to be left, I felt so much better.
          I do not have any kids either, and Cocoa was my first and only dog. I had recently moved to a town I never wanted to be, and she was my comfort. She made it bearable.
          Your feeling like you “scheduled” her death for your own conveneicne is exactly how I felt. In a way, we did the same thing…doing it right before the holidays so that we could travel, because she could no longer travel well.
          If your dog whined while laying down, that is significant, because older dogs do a lot of lying around. If they can’t get relief from lying down, that is a serious quality of life issue, imo. Also, dogs are good at being stoic, and your dog very well may have been in pain at other times as well, but lying down, the signs came out more.
          You are in the throws of serious grief. Be good to yourself, your dog would never want you to feel so bad.
          I am not trying to lecture you, but I just want you to know that you are not alone, and your feelings are normal, and most of all, it will get better!

  • Cindi

    I don’t want to go into the whole story, because if you have commented on this site, then you already know the pain. I put my Siberian Husky down 3 weeks ago at age 14.

    After my divorce of 21 years–she was all I had. I see the posts about–My husband and I had to, my kids and I, my other dogs..etc..But it was just her and I for the last 9 years of her 14 years.
    We had a spiritual connection, that was different from my other dogs in the past, because it was just her and me.

    She got arthritis so bad in her hips, she was crying whenever she would try to lay down. We did the NSAIDS, Tramadol, Glucosamine, and even Melatonin to help her sleep at night. She had a terrible time laying down. Crying out often, and getting back up–then having to lay down again.

    She had no problems getting up. She walked slowly near the end–BUT–She ate, she loved to swim, she loved the dog park, she loved her treats, she greeted me at the door–Spiritually she still loved life, very much. For the first time I have ever known, when putting her to sleep (vet came to my house) She whined. I have put 5 dogs to sleep in my life, and the vet did a very good job—but right before she passed, she whined–several long whines–like “mommy, don’t do this! I am not ready!” –that’s what popped in my head.

    I feel I put her down too early, and I am so sick and sad about it–my heart is maimed with guilt.

  • Katie

    I had my beagle Misty for 12 years (we got her from the shelter and they guessed she was 2-3 when we got her)… Misty started acting strange about 2 weeks ago…not eating, drinking a lot of water, needing to go out every 2 hours and having accidents in the house which she NEVER did. I changed her food about a week before that and thought maybe it was just from the food change. Well this last Thursday I took her into the vet. He x-rays looked fine and they said they would have the blood results the following day as they sent them off to a lab. I got the call Friday that said she was extremely diabetic as her sugar levels were 680 (normal is up to 150). The vet said she was going into diabetic shock and also had the start of pancreatic cancer. The vet said she would need to keep her through the weekend and maybe longer as she was trying to flush her system with an IV. I called her later Friday afternoon and she said she was throwing up a lot and we talked further. She said with a diet change, insulin shots twice a day and weekly vet visits she could hang around for maybe 4-6 months. I was faced with the choice do I keep her around or do I let her go find peace.. it was VERY difficult but I called the vet Friday evening and told her with her age and how sick she was I thought it was best to let her have peace. I went up to the vet to be with her when she passed. The vet carried her into the room by me and she looked terrible… I knew I made the right choice. Her tail wagged a lot when she saw me so I knew she appreciated me being there. I hugged and kissed her and talked to her when they administered it. The vet let me stay as long as I needed when it was done and talked with me for awhile also. I made the choice to get her cremated and get her paw print and some fur. I have a 9 year old that has been with her her whole life and it’s been very hard on all of us. Our furry family members really leave an impression on us. It’s so strange not having her around..seems too quiet. She will be very missed and it will be hard for awhile but I know I made the right choice. I would have loved to have another 4-6 months with her but it’s not worth the suffering and pain she would have went through. There comes a point where you need to think are you doing it to avoid the pain of losing them, or is it what’s best for them?

  • Stephanie

    Is it time? I’m crying my eyes out right now. Last month I came home from work and found my 16+ year old dog limping. I took her to the vet and he suspected a torn ligament in her knee. I have no idea how it happened since I wasn’t home when she got hurt. He ordered 2 weeks of bedrest. I took her to my parent’s house for recovery since they are both retired and can dote on her and care for her full time. Instead of getting better she got worse. She can’t stand up from a seated position, she can’t walk, she can only stand for a few seconds. My parents took her to the vet in their hometown and were told she was just too old. Unfortunately the only pain medicine she will take is metacam which is hard on her kidneys. I called my vet and described the symptoms – he didn’t sound very positive and said she may have a spinal or neurological problem. My parents brought her back today and I have an appointment with her vet on Monday for an exam. This is so hard for me because she’s still eating and pooping fine (with assistance since she can’t squat or stand by herself). The worst thing is I’m having trouble picking her up without biting. She’s not in pain when laying but I think picking her up hurts her. She never would’ve bitten me in the past. I’m so scared to move her. To make matters worse I have a small child at home to watch out for. I think on Monday I may have her be put to sleep unless the vet can give me some miracle cure. This is killing me – I’ve had her for over 15 years and I feel like she’s my first born. Am I doing the right thing?

    • Rachel

      Monday has come, so I hope you made the best decision possible. It does sound like it’s time for her to be at peace. 16+ years is such a long, wonderful life. I have an 11 year old Boston who I think it’s time for me to say good-bye as well. That’s how I stumbled upon this page. How do we ever know for sure we are making the right decision right? I plan to pray a lot about it and hopefully will come to the right answer. Prayers for you as well.

      • Stephanie

        We did put our precious girl to sleep on Monday. It was the right thing to do. She got even worse as the weekend went on. The vet said that most likely it was a tumor or blood clot causing the loss of use of her legs – nothing fixable at her age. I spent all weekend at her bedside. The morning we took her to the vet I gave her an extra helping of food and we shared peanut butter together. I snipped off a lock of hair.
        I chose not to be there for the procedure but my husband stayed and held her the whole time. I stayed until after they sedated her – I wish I hadn’t done that. Her tongue was hanging out and eyes glazed over. I wish I had left before that,

        I’m still crying my eyes out. Today is much better than earlier this week. I know I will be sad for a long time. I have her a great life and I know that putting her to sleep was the best thing considering her condition. But I miss her so much! I am so sad I won’t see her again in this lifetime.
        I hope the best for you and hope you make the best decision for your beloved dog.

  • Patricia Wagner

    Dear Amy, Karen, Janice , and all of you who have experienced the loss of you closest and best friends, my hear grieves for you and I pray for your healing.
    Ever day for the nearly 70 years I have been on this earth I have shared it with a dog. The happiness they have bright to me is beyond words, and the grief at their passings worse than a knife in the heart. I only know too well how you feel and the depth of your sadness.
    To those stupid enough to think the Gates of Heaven are not open to animals convince me they really don’t know God or true pure love.
    My theory, and I have shared it repeatedly is get another dog as quick as possible. You won’t betray your best friends love, but will instead glorify him or her by
    Giving a home and loving another member of the species. May it be a dog sitting in a pounds, or puppy mill, you have the ability to give out happiness and a loving home. And you well know what the returns are in love, loyalty, and a forever bond.

  • Richard beals

    My Beagle , Honey D. Beals , is losing the ability to get around , her back legs , as well as a large tumor is restricting her movement.the vet will not remove the tumor as she is 13 years old….she can barely get up the ramps ,to the couch ,bed , or the steps to get in the car. is it my decision or the vets , as far as who makes the decision. Thank you

    • Marci

      Hi Richard,

      Sorry about the situation with your dog. You make the decision, not the vet. The vet can advise and tell you they can’t treat your dog anymore because there is nothing else they can do, but ultimately you have to decide. It is so hard. Sending you good thoughts for guidance and strength. Take care.

  • Jim

    Our black lab is turning 16 this month. She’s been progressively getting worse – losing a lot of weight and making messes. We’ve been to the vet and he thinks she has dementia, is deaf and is having problems seeing. Medications have helped with some of the issues with her not being able to control her own functions, but it only lasts for a few weeks, then it starts again. The vet doesn’t think she’s necessarily in pain, but her walking isn’t that great as he figures she has arthritis. I’ve been having a terrible time coming to grips with the decision that I think I need to make. She still seems happy being with us and enjoys it when our children be with her and pet her. But I’m afraid that I am just prolonging a situation that will get worse. Aside from the companionship, I don’t think she enjoys any of the things she used to. I’ve been reading all sorts of articles lately and most indicate that the quality of life is so important to consider. Do I let her continue for another month or two? My heard wants to keep her around longer, but I’m wondering if I am being selfish. Its killing me, but the point made in this article about being one day too late is really resonating with me now and is making me question trying for more time.

    • Jana

      Jim, Your story is very similar to mine. I have a 14 1/2 year old female Boarder Collie mix. Like your pup, she has lost weight and is making messes everyday while I am gone at work. The Vet thinks that she has heart problems and Sundowners. She does not sleep well, pants and paces during the night. She is on pain meds for a torn ligament in her knee, and wears a calming collar. Neither of which seem to help her anymore. Please give an update on your situation. I am really struggling with this decision to put her down. She is still eating, and drinking, but is very anxious if I am not around. I want to do what is best for her, but I know at her age the medical help is limited. The article talks about being one day too late – I do agree with that statement. However, I also don’t want to do it a day, week, or month too early. My biggest fear is that I am putting her down for selfish reasons. Yes, she is difficult to take care of. Cleaning messes, and not getting sleep myself because of her restlessness. But, is that enough reason to put her down. In the end, her comfort and quality of life is what matters. Jim, I know it has only been a couple days since you posted your comment. Have you come to any decisions? I would like to hear if your thoughts, or if you are still torn.

      • Debbie Henderson

        I would tell you that the quality of life is diminishing quickly. Pets who do not normally mess up a house, know that they are doing so and that it is wrong. The look of guilt on their face when they can’t help it tears at the heart. I have made the decision to put down (today) our beautiful Basset Hound Lucy who is 13 or 14. We adopted her 12 years ago from a rescue. She is not eating and can’t get herself up from a laying position. Once we help her up she can take a few steps. She has had walking issues before and usually in 4 days she was back to her old self. Tomorrow will be a week and there is no improvement and she has not eaten (except some chicken I feed her a couple of days–and after lots of coaching to get her to eat). So it’s time. She sleeps a lot and seldom wakes up even with load noises and she pants a lot when awake (which could be congestive heart failure). My head knows it’s time but my heart is breaking. We have two younger basset mixes from the rescue too–so that will help some but Lucy will be sorely missed by my family.

        • Jim

          Hi Jana – it is so tough… I have to admit… I delayed it out a little longer but it is coming time. I’m glad she got a little more time, but its clear that she’s just existing. We’re going to book an appt with the vet for this coming Saturday morning. 🙁 I know its going to hit our family like a ton of bricks. But its the right thing to do.

          Debbie – so sorry to hear about Lucy. I hope that you will be ok.

  • Jeff

    hi all, I just wanted to share my recent experience. We have had our chocolate lab since he was a puppy. He was 13 so I’m sure he had a long and happy life. He had his yearly vet visit in March and he was doing good, only thing that was maybe hindering him was arthritis in his hips, but still ran around fine. Fast forward to April 23, he began throwing up, a little at first and still eating and drinking then it got progressively worse, he also stopped eating completely, not even table scraps which he loved!! I had to get him in to see what’s wrong. The vet did blood work and his red blood cells were low and he was dehydrated. He had lost 10 lbs since March. An x-Ray was taken of his midsection and he had a large tumor on or next to his spleen. I was devastated. I knew before the vet even told me what the options were. You can put him through a major surgery which he may or may not make it through and pay a large amount of money or euthanize. I still question if what I did was right. This has been so hard. We decided to euthanize based on the fact he may or may not make it, and we didn’t want him to starve or suffer anymore even though I wanted to do anything to keep him around. I took him home Friday so everyone could say goodbye and monday we put him to sleep. I really hope I did the right thing. It breaks my heart he isn’t here anymore.

    • Amy


      Sounds very similar to my choco lab’s issues…we put her down 5 months ago in order to end her suffering.

      You did the right thing. It’s so hard, but you did it for him. You essentially transferred your dog’s suffering from him to yourself. That is an act of love.

      Peace be with you.

      • Karen

        Jeff comment needs commended! It even made me feel better about putting my dog down March 9th. I never thought of it as ending our beloved pets pain and putting it on ourselves! It did make me feel better reading that. I do hope all of you reading this who have been in a similar situation are getting through your loss. God knows what are dogs meant to us and will help us through. Thanks again Jeff!

        • Jeff

          Thank you both Amy and Karen, it really helps to share this with others who have been through it, it is soooo hard. I cant help but feel guilty I didn’t do enough or we didn’t catch it sooner and reading other stories on here really helps. It is also reassuring to hear we did the right thing, I don’t want to feel guilty that we didn’t spend the money and put him through the pain and recovery of a surgery at his age and if he didn’t make it I would not have been able to say good bye or take him to the lake one last time.

          • Amy

            Hi Jeff,

            You are in good company right now. Just know that yes, it IS sooooo hard. I kept saying “I have a 70 pound hole in my heart”. My Cocoa occupied that spot for almost 15 years, so life without her was so different, and not as fun or meaningful it seemed.

            I cried ALOT during the first month after she passed. Right around the one month mark, the intense pain lifted. Now, I still cry for her every so often, but I feel like I am not crying about her death so much as that I just miss her.

            Anyway, right now, just let yourself feel all the emotions…every emotion you are feeling (guilt, second guessing, regret, anger, etc) is normal. But it does get easier.

            Once you are ready, please adopt a rescue dog, that will really really help you more than anything!

            Take care,

    • Marci

      Hi Jeff,

      I’m sorry for your loss. Making that decision is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and it never gets easier. Since you love your dog so much I’m sure you didn’t make it lightly and did what you knew deep down to be the best thing for your dog. I am going through pretty much exactly the same thing right now with my dog Gracie. She’s a very large dog, part Australian Shepherd and part mystery very large dog. Anyway, our beloved border collie/lab lost his battle with cancer about 6 weeks ago and we thought our dog was depressed. The vet tried to perk her up with some anti depressants but they were no help. Then she stopped eating. After a couple of days of no eating, we took her to the vet and her red blood cells were so low the vets couldn’t believe she was alive. We were told out best option was a blood transfusion which would buy her about a week and give them some time to find out what is causing her problem – cancer, auto immune anemia, etc. An x-ray showed an enlarged spleen as well, but no visible tumor. Her blood work was way too bad for the vet to attempt surgery, she would almost certainly die. We were sent home with her test results and told to visit the specialist for a transfusion. However, after speaking to two different facilities we were told the cost for a dog blood transfusion would probably be upwards of $5000.00. After some research on the internet I read about some food sick animals would almost always eat called critical care, I think made by Hills. Went to the vet and got a can of than and she started eating again, more than she ever has. At her next blood test a couple of days later her blood was even worse, she had lost even more weight and there was more guilt about the transfusion. (I love my animals, but to spend that much money with very little hope for a good result with two college aged kids and retirement 10 – 15 years away, isn’t the right choice for us.) The vet said she has two days left, max. This was a week ago last Thursday. Then she seemed to get better, went on walks, greeted people at the door. We felt hope, but this morning she can’t stand up without a lot of help and she is not eating. She doesn’t seem to be in pain, just fading away. Like others have said here, you took on the pain so he didn’t have to. You sound like a good and kind person and the sadness will get better with time. (Trust me, in the past year I lost my father to cancer, my sweet cat to FIPr, my oldest dog to cancer and am now facing putting down another sweet dog.) Remember, “it is better to have loved and lost than never to love at all.” Anyway, sending good thoughts to all of you and I hope I make it through this one more time myself.

  • Cheri

    I have read the stories on this site and it has helped me in making the hardest decision and that is to let my girl go, she is part Rhodesian Ridgeback and mutt, she can’t see or hear anymore, eats very little except her treats. I took her to the beach this last weekend to let her run and smell the ocean, she did pretty good, got high centered on a log, but she had a good time, but I know it’s time. She been the best girl ever and always had the unconditional love non-dog lovers will never know. Thank you for your stories.

    • Amy


      I am so glad you took your girl to the beach for one last romp. We also tried to give our lab the best day ever, right before we let her go.

      It is the hardest thing I have ever been through.

      I hope you find some peace with your decision.

  • Fran

    My dog is 15 years old. The past few months have been kind of hard. He has a tumor (benign) on his neck, arthritis, trouble hearing, and recently has had trouble breathing through his nose. He doesn’t walk that great, he has to be carried up and down the stairs and is stumbling most of the time. He is drinking water but eating little. I know he is suffering, he’s not the happy dog running around the house like he used to be. But I feel so guilty putting him down. It’s not only my decision, how do I even bring it up to my family?

  • Caroline

    Hi , I have a jack Russell , max. He has been the most wonderful friend and I love him dearly. He has a twisted spine , vet says he was most likely born with it. He finds it hard to walk and he cannot raise his head much from the floor he falls a lot and his front paws fold making it impossible for him to walk at times. Max is 14 years old and my heart breaks for him everyday. He goes out three times a day on short walks then I put him in his doggy cart I have two more jack Russells so I need to take them out for walks and couldn’t bare to leave max behind. I no I have to make a decision sooner rather than later but I’m finding it so hard . I’ve read all the other story’s and my heart goes out to all of you .

  • Kris

    I’m crying reading these comments. Such a hard life experience, I am facing this with my 15 year old Lhasa, He has eye auto-immune disease and doesn’t see well, arthritis in his hips and back legs, a tumor in his right ear so he doesn’t hear well at all, allergies and “doggie dementia “. He gets very confused and afraid if I am not with him! BUT it’s still such a hard decision!!

    • Amy

      What you have written described my 15 yo lab exactly, with the ear tumor and everything! We made the decision to let her go last November, and it was the hardest thing ever. I still, 5 months later, miss her so much and cry so much for her. It will be very difficult and very sad, that is just the truth. I am so sorry. You are not alone, we are all in the same boat here. All you can do is love on your sweet baby as much as possible unitl that time come.

    • Jennifer

      Thanks to all who have shared your experiences with your beloved pets. I feel like I’m being selfish by keeping my 9 year old chocolate lab alive. He has diabetis, constant ear infections, skin disease (the medicine that would treat his skin counteracts with the insulin so he constantly bites himself until he bleeds.) I’m having a hard time letting go because when I come home, he still greets me at the door, wagging his tail. That is the only enjoyment in his life. As I type this, I’m realizing what I need to do, but I’ve never been through this with a pet and I’m scared for him and me.

      • Amy


        I am so sorry you are going through this. My dog was also a chocolate lab. She also had the diabetes and skin issues. She was always hungry, she drank so much water she would puke, had stinky gunky ears, and her hair fell off in patches.
        We did put her on a grain free, low carb diet, and went from feeding twice a day to feeding less food but spreading it out over 4 meals to keep her blood sugar more stable. We bathed her in special medicated shampoo to help her skin. We got drops for her ears and just cleaned them more often. We found a holistic vet who treated her with cold laser therapy and acupuncture. All is made a huge impact on her health and happiness and gave us another solid 2 years with her. She died last fall at almost 15.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear DJ,

    My heart goes out to you and your little pug Stewie. I love him too, and I’ve never even met him! I love the name, and I love pugs….and our earth will cry out when Stewie is gone.

    It’s difficult to discern when a dog is in pain, because they are so stoic. They hide it so well! My dog Georgie had a huge scratch on her eye (from killing a squirrel, but that’s a whole different story), and she didn’t seem to be in pain at all. She ate, chased stuff, slept, growled at strangers at the door. The only way I knew something was wrong was that one eye was closed, like a permanent wink. The veterinarian told me that eye scratches are incredibly painful, and she immediately gave Georgie painkillers. I felt terrible – I didn’t take her to the vet for 3 days, because I kept thinking her eye would heal on its own.

    If my dogs became ill, I wouldn’t want to do extensive tests or treatments either. I love my dogs so much, but I don’t want to put them through anything painful. I believe that death is far more painful for us survivors than it is for dogs or people. I really believe death is “resting in peace” and being enfolded in a constant embrace with God. The thought of not having my dogs with me is heart wrenching, but worse is the thought that they’re suffering.

    I wish you all the best as you make this decision. May you take Stewie to the vet, and trust yourself to be honest with the vet about your wishes for Stewie’s life. I pray that the vet you go to is like-minded, and supportive of your decision. May you right now be filled with faith, confidence, and strength to do what you believe is best for Stew. You know your dog best, DJ. Stewie is your dog, and he loves you with all his mind, heart, and soul. May you put his welfare before your broken heart, and take care of him all the way to the end of his life. He will love you all the more for it.

    It is such a sacrifice to even think of putting a dog to sleep…but all sacrifices are a heavy blend of extreme love and extreme pain.

    Let us know what you decide, and how you’re doing.


  • DJ

    Probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to consider is what to do about my best friend. I have a little pug named Stewie and for the past 6 months I’ve been treating his diabetes with two shots per day. Recently, due to the onset of blindness, that was almost instantaneous, he has begun to run into things and fall out of bed at night when trying to get a drink of water. He has the trademark bulging pug eyes, so because he can’t see he doesn’t know to close them around bushes and objects in the house, so recently somewhere in the house he has poked his eye or scratched it. He can still open it but he’s very scared of me getting too close to it. Anyway, the insulin stopped his constant urination and massive drinking for awhile, but it’s started again, he has accidents all the time and he’s afraid to go up or down the stairs without my guide. The hardest part about this decision, is that he doesn’t seem to be in pain. He’s eating well, drinking well, taking his green bean and carrot treats. The only thing that leads me to believe he may be uncomfortable physically is that he’s not as excited and jumpy, just sleepy and dumpy. I love my dog so much, he’s been with me through some tough moments and I saved him from a terrible situation. He was my rock after I quit drinking, smoking and ended my marriage. He’s been my copilot in my new life, next to me every day, and the thought of him not being with me is making it nearly impossible for me to type this. It just seems it can only get worse for him and that’s just as hard a thought to bear. I’m afraid to go to the vet and tell them that I think it may be time, I don’t want them to think I’m an awful person. I don’t have the cash to do all the testing and treatments to determine other problems and frankly, I don’t want Stew to endure that. I’m just not sure what to do. He’s laying right next to me in his usual spot, snoring away against my leg, and I’m considering putting him down I feel horrible. He’s a beautiful boy and the best friend I’ve ever had, but I don’t know what to do.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    This poem, written from the perspective of a dog who is saying good-bye to his family, made me cry. I think it’s really important to let yourself grieve your loss when you put your dog to sleep. Don’t avoid the pain and tears — pass through them, so your heart heals and you can love again. For life is love….and life is loss.

    Time To Go

    The time has come I think you know
    the Lord is calling so I must go
    I love you so much; I wish it wasn’t so
    I wish I could stay; I don’t want to go

    You’re the best family a dog ever had
    so kind and gentle, never mean or mad
    I’ll never forget the day that we met
    I was so lucky to become your pet

    You opened your door and showed me your heart
    I’ll never forget you; we’ll never part
    You loved me and cared for me over the years
    you taught me everything and took away my fears

    The Lord is calling now I must go
    but before I go I want you to know
    I know it hurts to lose a friend
    but I’ll be with you even at the end.

    Written by John Quealy

  • Debbie

    My Jack russel is 18 years old, blind and deaf. He seems to be healthy. We are considering putting him down. He is confused, bumps into walls and we only foud out yesterday after the neighbours came complaining that he doesn’t stop barking the whole day. I think he feels unsecure even when we are at home i have to spend he whole time to keep him quiet. Unfortunately there is no one during the day to look after him although he is with my 2 other jack russels, he still keeps on barking. He doesn’t play anymore or do anything other than eating his meal to show that he still enjoys one can pick him up except for me, he hurts when you pick him up, I am not sure where exactly, but I know just how to pick him up. am i making the right decision? I feel so guilty!!

    • Amy

      Hi Debbie,

      18 is very old even for a small breed. However, you say your baby is still i. Good health and likes to eat. So, what I would do is ask the vet about getting him on an NSAID and pain medication as well as an Rx for cognitive disorder (dementia). It might be worth a try to medicate him to make him more comfortable and less anxious.

    • Janice

      I lost my 15 year old Jack Russell two days ago, my heart is broken, feel like it won’t heal. It was the hardest thing to do, but I loved him so much, I didn’t want him to suffer anymore, he was very sick . It is a most difficult decision to make. Talk to your vet and see what they think. Buddy took Prozac for a while. they have other meds that they can use to help calm Jack Russells . I would try different things first,, but it is your call. Make a list of positive and negative things about your dog and go from there. Please talk to your vet, they may have some solutions to the problems. I will pray for you and your dog.

      • Janice

        Today was a difficult day for me, I went and pick up Buddy’s ashes and urn. It is cooper with paw prints all over it. I put it on the bookcase, top shelf, in the middle with a picture of him next to it. My Buddy has been gone 11 days, I hurt and am very sad, my best friend is Heaven, I love you Buddy

  • Karen

    I adopted my dog from the SPCA. Named him Rugger.(Rug-ger) he’s been my best friend for 13 short years. I had to take him to the vet yesterday because his back legs are going out on him. He falls up steps and that’s not like him at all. When the vet checked him she said his hips felt fine. His back may be a little sore. But nothing terrible. They did an X-ray and saw nothing. They did a full blood panel that came back fine. I spent 300.00 and they have no answers for me. Today I had to carry the dog outside to go potty. He only went one time. He refused to eat anything this evening for the first time. When we took him back out and tried putting a leash around his neck and bottom half so he could walk he just flops over. Lays on his side. I know he won’t ever walk again. He’s getting worse now since he won’t eat. I feel like if I choose to put him to sleep I’m sinning against though shall not kill. I have prayed to either make him better or take him in his sleep. That way I don’t have to make such a hard decision. I know soon he will not be her with our family…especially me any longer. My next question is this…..Would it be horrible if I were to get him stuffed? Then I will be able to see him everyday for the rest of my life. My mom says I’m wrong. Having him skinned as she put it. I’m so confused. I’m so sad. I’m so angry I’m not rush and can’t get the answers as to what this is that’s going on in him. If anyone ever tells me money isn’t everything again….I will SCREAM!!!!! If I had more money I could keep figuring out what the issue is. Possibly fix it and he will be with us longer. So I have all these decisions if he doesn’t just pass on on his own soon. He can’t get up. He just lays there. We roll him over every few hours. We carry him out to go potty even though he hasnt gone but early this morning. I keep trying to get him to eat things like chicken, cheese, ham, canned dog food etc. I read an article that says animals don’t have souls? That confused me. I thought everything breathing thing had a soul. I’m convinced he does and am struggling with the decision to put him down. This has given me no time to prepare. Get answers. I can’t stop thinking. Or crying. I want him to just get up already. Ugh! I love him so much. He’s my dog. My life. He’s been through a lot with me and no matter what he is always there. He forgives me and used to cry and lay by get door when I had to leave. Please help me figure this out. Or just let me know your praying my precious Rugger boy just goes peacefully in s sleep so I don’t have to think about this decision. Thank you to everyone.

      • Karen

        Thank you. It happened today. Been crying non stop. It hurts. He was my baby. 13 years just wasn’t long enough. I did a paw print and cut some hair from his tail. Have his name tag and other tags on his collar. But crying right now because I want to lay with him and he isn’t her to do that with now.

        • Amy

          So sorry. I know the pain. It cuts so deep. Just cry as much as you need to. I had to put mine down 5 months ago and still I cry for her often. I call out for her and talk to her. Seems pitiful, but I miss her so much. Just know that you gave your baby a wonderful life and you will meet again at the rainbow bridge.

        • Tammy

          Taking my pretty girl Scout to be put down was the hardest, most painful experience; strangely, it was worse than my father’s death because Scout’s death was MY decision. The night before, I laid down on the floor next to her, and I believe she assured me then that she was ready. She lived her 14 years to the fullest and had given us her very best. After she passed, our vet said, “now I know how much you loved her.” I am most grateful for those words. The sadness and, worst of all, the emptiness takes time to overcome. Today I share my ice cream with my sweet boy Pete, so different from Scout, but I know she approves and I believe I will see her again.

    • Janice

      I am so sorry about your dog. God gave us our animals because he knew we needed them. I know it hurts, My Buddy was my life, he saved my life and I his, was going to be put down the next day, I knew then this is the dog God wanted me to have. He brought joy and pleasure to me, my best friend. I am trying to figure out how to go on without him, he was my baby, my everything. I had hoped Buddy would go in his sleep, but he didn’t. I think he was holding on for me, but I knew it was his time. He helped me through my depression and mental illness. I got him at the animal shelter here in town.
      It is your decision, he is you baby. It may be time to let him go. be at peace and I believe there is a Heaven for our animals. There is a poem about Rainbow Bridge, the place where you meet up with your animals when we pass away. You will see him again one day. Buddy was good to me and saw me through a lot too. He knew when I needed extra loving. The process of having them put to sleep was very peaceful I held Buddy as the vet gave him the shots. He gave one to make him feel no pain, and then the medicine that made him go to doggy Heaven. I will pray for Rugger and you, Bless you and Rugger.

      • Karen

        Thank you. Your so kind. My Rugger is missed and I am so sad at times. I knew he would never be able to walk again. He had lost he use of his hind legs then it went to the front legs. It was a very hard decision to make and I kept him around like that longer then other people would have. I kept thinking he wasn’t ready. I know I wasn’t. I also felt like God wouldn’t forgive me if I made the decision to end his life. It’s not my decision. Well, it ended up being my decision in the end. I kept praying asking God to heal him or take him. For some reason God wanted me to learn something from this situation. Though, I haven’t figured it out as of yet. I do also believe we will see our beloved pets again when we make it to Heaven. I have never heard of the rainbow bridge though. I will have to try and google that. To find that story. Again, thank you for your comment. And I wish you peace in your healing process with your beloved Buddy. God bless you in this sad time.

        • Janice

          Bought several books about pets and other animals on what happens when our best friends pass away from this earth. I am reading now, I will see you in Heaven, has a picture of a dog on it. I know I will see Buddy again, God brought us together. The hurt and pain are still there. My kitty know something is different, she goes into the others room and meows, I think she is looking for Buddy. I keep thinking this is all a nightmare and I will wake up and Buddy will be at my side. Then I realize that it is real and Buddy died.. My heart breaks all over again, I don’t know if I can allow myself to get another dog and going through this again. I will get, the time is right, a dog from the animal shelter. I will save a life.

          • Karen

            I’m so sorry for you. As I know what your feeling. I put a pair of black boots down in front of our couch the other night. I sat down and started browsing through channels on TV. Then from the corner of my eye I saw the black from my boots and actually thought it was my Rugger! I started to say Rug what are you….and then I realized they were just my boots sitting there. I was sad. B I do have to say I was more upset and cried a ton more for my dog when he was sick. I was and am still upset I couldn’t keep paying for more testing to find out what caused him to not have the use of his legs. I used to lay with him and cry and say GET UP PLEASE! JUST GET UP to him over and over again. I would sob. He would then start to sound as though he was crying. It was very hard. I did make a paw print with clay and saved his collar and tags. My daughter made a cross from sticks and put it in our flower garden with his collar around it. I saw his collar today and took it to bring inside. I do t want it to fade. I’m going to hang it on a hook in our office area and put the paw print on a little stand if I can find one on the desk. I also cut some hair from his tail and kept that. Were you able to do anything like that with Buddy? I’m sure you have lots if pictures of him and him and you….
            Maybe if you haven’t already you can put some in a frame and hang it in a spot where you can define as a little spot to remember him? If you saved his collar you could also hand it on a hook near the pictures. That may help.
            We have two other dogs. They are labs. Yellow and black. My husband saw our black lab, Hemi today from the side and said how much he looked like Rugger for a second. But Rugger was only 53 lbs. Hemi is like 80-85. One day we will get another dog. But like you, I am not ready for that right now. I hope you had a good weekend and when thinking of Buddy you are able to smile at the silly things he did or just remember the joy he is having in Heaven right now with my Rugger! God bless you.

          • Janice

            I cut some hair from Buddy, Have his collar, will put them by his urn when I get his ashes. Yes, I have the final pictures of Buddy and me. my sisters took at the vet office. I was holding him and one where I was kissing him good bye. It’s been four days, I keep looking for Buddy, then something reminds me of the fact that he is gone, but I have joy knowing I will see my Buddy again one day, I hold on to that, helps me. I will keep you in my prayers.

          • Karen

            My Rugger was 4 days ago too! I did not have him cream aged. I wanted to get him stuffed. To be able to look at him every day for the rest of my life. But then, I felt like my heart may never be able to heal if I had to see him not alive everyday for the rest of my life. I couldn’t afford to get him cream acted after all the money I spent at the vets when he first lost the use of his hind legs. I brought him home and my husband burried him. I have been trying to find a nice marker to put with the cross in the garden. I also have pictures with Rugger that my daughter took at the vets. One of me laying on the floor with him on a dog bed kissing him. Another just holding his head in my hands. Such a sad time for the both of us. Seems we have more in common then we may realize. Well, Janice it is very nice to meet you. We can help each other heal and find peace in knowing our dogs are looking down on us and are probable the best of friends now! Maybe they somehow brought us together! God is an awesome God and does have our backs. We will mend. Just thank The Lord for the time you did have with Buddy. For The Lord knows what we need and that our dogs needed us! Sleep well.

    • Pat

      My dog was very sick over the weekend and had to be rushed to the urgent care where he stayed for two night, costing 2100.00 dlls…. wow! He is 13 and I see the inevitable coming soon. M

    • Pat

      My dog was very sick over the weekend and had to be rushed to the urgent care where he stayed for two night, costing 2100.00 dlls…. wow! He is 13 and I see IT coming soon. He seems to be doing ok but the vet suggested additional test for Cushing Desease, I have read some articles and it describes him to the T. All i know that my heart will break in million pieces but I will do for him what I want for myself when the time comes. I will be in pain because he is gone but he will not suffer, not if i can help it. I love him way, way too much. He brought so much joy to my life, so much unconditional love and will miss him like crazy, but I do believe that God will reunite us one day.

  • Nosilac

    I just had to make the decision to have my beloved 12.5 year old black labrador put to sleep this morning. Libby was rejected as a Guide Dog for the Blind (too friendly apparently!) and came to us in December 2003 at the age of 14 months. She has given us many wonderful years and has been a great friend to my youngest son (now 17) who as Asperger’s Syndrome.

    She had a major elbow operation for diseased cartilage in 2008 and bounced back. In June 2012 we thought we’d lost her with what turned out to be inflammatory brain disease. She confounded our vets but getting back to full health within 5 months. Her zest for life and enthusiasm never wavered.

    She was a great character and you never quite knew what she would get up to next, but was the most gentle, loving dog we could have hoped for. In the last year she has been struggling with arthritic hips, on top of the the arthritis in her elbow which was inevitable after her elbow operation. Two weeks ago she picked up a dreadful gastric virus and this led to the discovery that she had advanced kidney disease, and could no longer take the anti-inflammatory medication for her arthritis. She was obviously in a lot of pain, and the kidney disease led to her drinking excessively and hence losing control of her bladder and this was making her very distressed.

    After discussion with our vet, who’s been treating Libby with acupuncture for the last year and knows her well, I made the decision to let her go this morning. She’s came into my life 9 months after I lost my mum and 9 months later I lost my Dad. In that time I had my youngest son diagnosed with ASD, and in the last 18 months she’s been my constant companion since my husband left us. I know I can’t have another dog just now, I now work much more than I did when she was younger and my youngest is about about to head off to uni. She’s been the best dog ever, My heart is broken, but reading this page has made me surer of my decision and it’s a comfort to know I’m not alone.

    • Tom

      Hi Nosilac,
      I am very moved by your letter. I live with my son, Chris, who has a very old dog “Haley.” Haley is arthritic and mostly sleeps on the couch all day. She has trouble making it up steps and can still walk ok. She enjoys a walk. Chris has high functioning autism and was initially diagnosed with ASD. I’m wondering how your son is doing ?

  • Nikki

    I am having a hard time trying to decide whether or not it is time to put my dog to sleep. She is a Shih-poo mix, approximately 10 years old. I read they can live 12- 15 yrs though. I don’t have to money for her to see a vet right now. She has lived with us for about four years after her previous family was unable to care for her any more.. She came with fleas and dental problems. In the past couple months she has just changed. She is going #1 and #2 all over the house which isn’t usual, is no longer greeting us at the door. She is normally very friendly and greets us and jumps on us and sleeps with the kids. Now I never know where she is, she is usually hiding under the bed and when the kids try to pet her she bites them. Even when I try to pet her, and I am her favorite! Like I said, I cant afford to take her to the vet so I am not sure if there is anything medically wrong but cleaning up pee and poo all day I s starting to get exhausting and also worrying about her biting the kids. She is still eating, but not as much. Any advice?

    • Amy


      I am sorry about your dog, that is a tough situation to be in!

      I would say your dog is either in pain or suffering from a cognitive disorder.

      Does she seem like she is feeling pain in her legs, teeth, or spine?

      Does he “get lost” in familiar places? Such as trying to go outside at the wrong door or cannot find her way out of the kitchen?

    • Amy

      I womder if you could take her into the vet and just get an opinion and not spend too much. What if the fix is something simple?

    • Janice

      I had to take my 15 year old Jack Russell to vet again. He stopped eating and drinking fluids. He had kidney problems, liver problems, and arthritis in back legs. Vet does not feel like he is suffering at this time. I read when they don’t eat, they may be in pain, the vet felt his tummy and nothing seemed enlarged. He had an enlarged heart at well .Buddy saved my life and I saved his, He was to be put down the next day, I couldn’t let that happen. I was looking for a lap dog, but brought Buddy home instead. I named him Buddy. It wiil be 9 years on August 12 that I have had him. I saw my psychiatrist today and talked all about Buddy, he say to get another dog now, I want to give my full attention to Buddy. I suffer from suicidal depression, when I got Buddy I was in bad shape, he brought he out of it at that time. Don’t know what I will do when he is gone forever. He is keeping close to me. Which he always did anyways, but it is different this time. It’s likes he wants to be close by when he dies. I am hoping he will die peacefully in his sleep and I won’t have to have the vet put him to sleep I will have him cremated so he can always be beside me. I had my 18 year old cat put to sleep 3 years ago. It was a hard decision, but she couldn’t stand up anymore, I knew the time had come. Jack Russells can live a long time, I gave him 9 extra years. He is the best dog, always good at the vet.
      My worker was with me today and took us to the vet, she has had to put down 5 animals in the last several year, She knows the drill. I love you Buddy, mama won’t let you suffer. When I see the sign I will take you to Dr. Jon and then you will go to RainbowBridge where I will meet up with you when it comes for me to go. For those of you who don’t know RainBow Bridge, it is the place where you see you departed animals again. You are reunited with them. God loves dogs,, he made them, I bet even Jesus had a dog when growing up. DOG spelled backwards is GOD. That is a God thing for sure. I am praying for all those of you out there that is going through this now. Remember Rainbow Bridge, bless you and you animals.

  • Mel

    I had my 13 year old Lakeland terrier put to sleep yesterday hes kidneys were failuing and he fought on for 6 wks but made the hardest decision to end he’s s pain. Our vet said she didn’t think he would make it over the Easter wk end my heart broke right there All I can say is I’m in pain now my heart really hurts its a pain I can’t even discribe I feel lost i just miss him I miss he’s snoring he’s click clack of he’s nails on the floor. the jangling of he’s collar when he walked about and being able to hoover without him trying to kill it will take sometime to get use too… It’s true what they say a house ain’t a home without a dog I have cats that I love dearly but they don’t fill this house like he did…

    • Amy

      Hi Mel,

      You are not alone. It hurts so deeply when they are gone. It is the hardest thing. I’m so sorry for your loss. Mine went to heaven right before Thanksgiving. It will be very hard for weeks. It took me a solid month before I could make it through an entire day without crying.
      Again, I am sorry!

      • Mel

        Thank you Amy for your kind words some ppl are like its a dog and you will get over it all I can say is they must of never loved or been loved by a treasured pet the wave of emotions you feel and go though is crazy Iv cried so much in these last few days my face is literally sore and now I just feel guilty but it’s nice to talk about him and remember he’s funny ways Iv only just today managed to clean the garden up of hes little poos as made as that sounds it was like removing the very last of him from this house feels like a betrayal mental I know… But I love him so much and he will always be in my heart

        • Amy

          Some people do not understand that dogs are almost closer. To our hearts than our kids because they do not “grow up and leave home”. They always stay very dependent on us and only grow old…which means they go back to being even more delendent on us humans. We care for them from start to finish, and our relationship with them is intimate–we feed them, help them potty, and cuddle with them in bed. Everyone I have talked to a out the loss of my beloved dog felt the same way a out their dog. It is a universal hurt when we lose them. Cry all you need to, just let it out. And know that you are not alone when you feel sad or guilty. But also know that you will see your baby again one day, and it will be wonderful.

    • Janice

      I know how you feel Mel, It is the worst hurt loosing your best friend. My Buddy(he is named Buddy, I named him that) Is close to dying, vet said he did not think Buddy was suffering, he had heart, liver and kidney problems, the blood work showed all that. X-ray of heart showed it enlarged . Vet thought the heart problem would make him die, but Buddy hanged on. I know it will be in a day or two. My poor Buddy went deaf and could not let me know when someone was coming. He was my watchdog also. I know it hurts, and hurts bad. You gave her 13 years. She knew you loved and you loved her.I . I still cry for my cats that I have lost years ago. Remember her with great love, all the fun and wonderful times with her. Remember Rainbow Bridge, I will try and get the poem to it and put it on here. It is ok to cry and cry all you want. You just lost someone most important to you. You are in my prayers, I bet you she is making lots of friends in Heaven.
      God Bless you and her.

      • Mel

        Thank you for your kind words it helps reading that other ppl are going though the same pain and understand how much our fur babies meant to us I’m sorry for your loss

        • Mel

          So I find myself here again from posting last wk the day after I had him put to sleep. Iv cried,,haven’t slept and barely been able to function but had to coz I have 2 young kids so putting on a brave face as they say! But today is a wk he’s been gone and I just had a little cry everyone around me just carrys On my kids have bounced back IT seems my partner doesn’t mention him I just fill down and sad not all the time but not being able to see if he’s okay I guess is why ? god it’s the worse pain I miss him

          • Amy

            I can relate to what you are saying. My dog was my husband’s baby, he had her before we even met. He was so claoe to her and I alwqys said he would be a total mess when she passed. Well he “got over it” so much faster and easier than I did. It has been 5 months since she left us, and I still cry for her so often. You are not alone!

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Misa,

    I think Amy gave you some really good advice. It does sound like your little dog is in pain, especially since he’s limping and not eating.

    May you find courage and strength to do what’s best for your chihuahua. Loving our dogs until the very end is a huge sacrifice and it causes us so much pain…but we need to accept responsibility and let them go when they are suffering. I pray that you find the courage you need to take care of your dog by taking him to the veterinarian. Maybe he only needs medications, maybe he needs something else. Whatever your dog needs, I pray that you are able to give it to him quickly so he doesn’t suffer any more. I pray for wisdom, guidance, and healing for you. Amen.

    Let us know what the vet says about your dog.


  • Misa

    Hello everyone I am here for some advise. I have a 15yr old male chihuahua he has a torn ligament in his back leg so if he walks a lot he begins to hop. Lately he has been having a lot of accidents in the house and his appetite to his food is slim to none. I have tried different foods and nothing seems to help. I can tell he is losing weight. When I get him up in the morning from my bed to let him out he cries when I lift him but then is fine to walk and climb steps. he is very very attached to me as I am to him. I am not sure weather or not it is time to put him down. Please help

    • Amy


      Waht does your vet say about this development?

      It sounds like your dog is in pain. Is you dog on pain meds or anti-inflammatories?


    • Sylvie

      Hi Misa,

      Have you been to the vet to fix his leg? What does he/she say? It is a really hard decision which I have had to make 3 times in the last 2 years.

      Good luck and know that loving your dog is also loving it enough to let it go to a place where he will be pain free.

  • patricia stoner

    we lost our dog angel to a immune disorder she was a shepherd collie mix she was so smart & sweet.she had a hard beginning in life. she was left alone in a trailer with no air or heat.she neaver saw a vet and had puppies by herself. when I got her we took her to the vet and had her spaded our vet loved her and when she got sick we all did everything to save her. I am so angry she died and did not make it. when other dog have I pray god will help me to accecpt this we had her for 4 yrs.

    • Amy

      I am so sorry!! It is so hard to lose a dog! It is so unfair isn’t it? You are going through the natural phases of grief. Anger is a normal emotion when we lose a dear loved one.

      Take comfort in knowing that your dog is no longer suffering.

      Please take extra good care of yourself during this time. Cry when you need to.

      When the time is right, rescue another dog that needs your love. That is the best thing you can do to honor the memory of your sweet baby.

      I am so sorry you are hurting, but I do know the feeling too well.

      It will get better with time, I promise!

  • Alex

    Hi everyone

    Really feel supported in reading all your comments, although my situation is slightly different. I just euthanised my beautiful staffy cross ally two weeks ago today. She was eight years old. She attacked and nearly killed a neighbours dog (unprovoked) before turning on another of my dogs who just happened to be nearby. It was like a switch just flipped in her head, no behaviour like that ever before! I had to make the horrible decision based on the safety of my other dogs and my 18 month old son. Rehoming was not an option as a very anxious dog who would not have coped with a prolonged stay in a kennel environment – and all of the rescues local to me are at saturation point. I felt like it was the only decision that was safe for us and fair to her. But it hurts so much. I got her ashes back just yesterday. I’m a vet nurse myself and never in a million years thought id be making that decision. She came all the way here from Australia with me and was the silliest, sweetest dog I know. RIP little girl xx

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Molly,

    Thank you for being here. I understand how difficult it is to actually go to the veterinarian, even if the signs it’s time to put a dog to sleep are clear. It’s heart-breaking, and many dog owners never fully recover from their dog’s death. It’s painful.

    But, part of loving our dogs is letting them go. We need to let them rest in peace – and we need to put our grief and pain aside, so we can love our dogs the way they need to be loved, all the way to the end. My heart breaks for all of us who have to make the decision to put a dog to sleep.

    Gently tell your mum that it is time. She knows it’s time — she just doesn’t want to be the one to do it. You need to be strong, and you need to take care of both your mum and your dog right now. Call the veterinarian, make an appointment, and know that you are doing the most loving thing you could ever do for your beloved Jack Russell.

    Let us know how it goes. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    In sympathy,

  • Molly

    I have a 15 year old Jack Russell (16 in May). For about the past year she has had problems with her hip and when she first got them we took her to the vet who gave her shots for it, but it just seemed to make it worse. She can still walk but she does so quite stiffly. She is very skinny, but she still eats and drinks. Some days she is full of life, but other days she spends the whole time sleeping. I’ve suggested to mum we take her to the vet and she agrees but just hasn’t done it yet. We aren’t in a financial position for any treatment so I think she is procrastinating taking her as it’ll probably be bad news. She sometimes wets herself and poops without realising. You kinda get used to get skint appearance, but my aunt called around today and started tearing up when she saw her and saying it was cruel, which made me realise just how thin she is (she nearly looks like those pics of starved dogs you see on the internet), even though she still eats. If it were up to me I would have taken her to the vet awhile ago, but my mum loves her too much to say goodbye. Not sure if I should say something to mum or exactly what I should do.

  • Laurie

    Dear Marci,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for being here, and for sharing the last moments of your dog’s life with us. It sounds like it was bittersweet, a mixture of a meaningful good-bye and deep pain, and your beloved dog spent his life being loved by you. He loves you deeply, and he knows how much you love him.

    Know that he is resting in peace and comfort, and he isn’t struggling with pain or confusion. He knows that you took care of him until the last breath, and that it was a huge sacrifice to let him go. He knows you did everything you could to prolong his life, and that it was for his own comfort that you decided to say good-bye. He devoted his life to you, and he knows that you were fully devoted to him. May you remember him with peace and joy, serenity and the knowledge that his spirit will always be with you.

    In sympathy,

    • Marci


      Thank you for your kind and comforting words. Your message really did help me feel better about losing my sweet dog. Thanks again and take care,


  • Beth

    Hi – we have a 2 1/2 beagle/lab. He is a good dog most of the time but we have been having a rough couple of months. We got kicked out of dog training school for being aggresive. Not he isstaring to growl at me. He not in any pain. Then we noticed he has been drinking a lot also. Called the vet and she came and seen him. Since he getting very aggressive she suggest to put him down. We have tried everything. He is not also starting to chase cars and neighbors kids. They not run by our house cause they are scared. I don’t know what else to do.

    • Sylvie

      Hi Beth,
      I am so sorry about the problems you are experiencing with your dog. I do not agree about putting your dog to sleep because of his aggression. There are behaviourists who specializes in aggression. You can contact a non-kill shelter who will rehabilitate him if you give him up instead of putting him down.
      Best of luck!

  • Cheril

    I stumbled onto this page and I guess after reading everything I now must make that decision as tears roll down my face….
    I have a 17 yr old yorkie named Harley. He had such a rough start in life I never imagined getting to this stage, his mother died at birth so another mom nursed him, then his soft spot wasn’t closing and she thought she would have to put him down before I even had him, but we did he only weighed 1 pound and was so tiny & full of energy. Then my husband had him outside and turned his back for a second just as a Huskey got him by his butt took him out in the parking lot and shook him 3 times my husband luckily kicked that dog and he dropped him. We rushed him to the ER vet and found out his hip & pelvis was broken. I took him to a surgeon to find out he was too small to do anything, so I took him home and kept him in a clothes basket for a few days. He wouldn’t eat just yelp when he moved, I even took him to work with me. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and called the vet about putting him down, well we believe he heard me because one of my co workers had some cake and put it on get finger which he licked right up, it was uphill from there on.
    He went everywhere with me, my mom was in Ok and we went there a lot, of course she spoiled him so he adored her. She passed 3 yrs ago…he use to have to be by my side all the time, on the sofa, in bed everywhere I was he was. Then 2 yrs ago I had to have all of his teeth pulled because they were awful…I don’t think he has ever been the same since. He stopped sleeping with me, and here lately sleeps all the time in his bed.
    I have wrestled for weeks on this, now he has a sore of some kind on his face that when he scratches it he yelps like crazy, I pick him up and his little heart is just racing….I know I am a terrible Mom now that I write it down, but that decision is do awful to make that I just wanted him to go in his sleep….sometimes when he looks at me(probably can’t see me though) I think he’s telling me it’s time….sometimes he eats but most of the time not, he drinks water, & he pees a lot….my heart is truly aching over this I never wanted to have to make it again, I had to put my cat of 12 yrs down 10 yrs ago, I swore. he would have to suffer before I did that, I know that is truly unfair to the smallest little guy that has the biggest part of my heart.
    So I thank you all here for reading this and expressing your pain in helping me do the right thing for him. I know he will find my Mom and they can love on each other until I get there…I’m not to sure about the hole that’s going to be left but life will go on….I will sing”You are my Sunshine” with him in my arms until his heart no longer beats…good bye to my Harley……

    • Marci

      I’m so sorry you are going through this. It sounds like you and Harley were lucky to have found each other. I hope you both find peace soon. Take care.

    • Sylvie

      Hi Marcie,
      I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Harley. Just know that you did the best you could for him and he is in a better place.
      Take care

    • Amy

      I borrowed this from someome else, but it fits so well, and did give me some peace…
      The hardest decision, yet the easiest decision is to let the one you love, go peacefully in your arms. They spend their whole lives devoted to you and showing their profound love to you. You transfer their suffering onto yourself when you let them go and that is a final gift to them. Our heart is broken, but they are at peace. A dog doesn’t leave a last will and testament, but if they did, I believe that they would ask us, when the time was right of course, to open our hearts and home to another dog that needs love. To let a lonely, sad dog enjoy the warmth, love and caring that you can provide. No, your fur-baby will never be replaced, but what an amazing tribute to them when you can, in their memory, love another.

  • Kirsten

    I have a white German shepherd, he will be 2 years old in april. His whole life hes been the most unhappy yet happy dog ever. His first year he had major growing pains in his legs and kept losing his fur and crying a lot so we took him to the vet only to find out hes allergic to grass, weeds, dust mites and green mites. Since hes been off his medicine to clear up his allergic reactions and ear medicine he was constipated and now has the runs. Hes been miserable for a month now and it breaks my heart. I feel like theres more we can do but we cant afford all the stuff they want us to do to help with the allergies. What would you all suggest doing? I feel like hes to young to be out down but at the same time hes not happy right now. He still acts like a playful happy puppy until hes in pain.

    • Sylvie Taher

      Hi Kristen,
      I would try feeding him raw meat with vegetables or a holistic dog food. Sometimes all of these allergies are sometime due to all the junk in kibbles.
      If you feel you cannot take care of him anymore there are associations/shelters that have a no kill policy where you could give him up instead of putting him down. But that could be just as hard.
      If you adopted your dog from a breeder, you can ask them for help too.
      I have a 17 month old long-haired GSD and I could not imagine having to put her down if she was sick or give her away.
      My thoughts are with you and I hope you find peace soon with whatever decision you make.

    • Marci

      I’m sorry your dog is having so many problems. Isn’t there an inexpensive medicine that can help with his stomach issues? I don’t know what the vets want to do that you can’t afford, but there are many groups that will help with vet care. But if you are like us, we aren’t poor but really can’t afford $5000 – $10000 for cancer treatment for our dog – even if we had wanted him to go through chemo. However, I don’t know your situation so I will suggest you search for some of these groups. The humane society had a large list as a place to start.
      Again, I’m so sorry. I had a sheltie with bad skin allergies and it was a miserable and expensive experience. He had a series of cortisone shots which the vet warned would shorten his life, which it did – but we didn’t have to put him to sleep and he had a good quality of life for most of his 12 years. I hope things work out for you and your dog.

  • Marci

    Hi, I have a 12 year old lab/border collie mix. He is a sweet dog and the “protector” of our family. He is currently experiencing cancer on his front leg. We had the tumor removed twice in the past year and after the last surgery, in mid-December, it grew back within a month with a vengeance. His leg is currently bandaged, but when the bandage is changed is it clear that the tumor is growing like crazy and oozing blood and other fluid. It is also prone to infection. He is not as perky as he once was as he doesn’t wander around as much as he used to, but he still goes to the door to greet people, he still goes outside every time I go and tells me if he needs to go out. His appetite is great and he is drinking plenty of water. He barks at the mail and UPS deliveries. He occasionally even still plays – runs in the new snow or writhes around on his back and barks at the other dogs over toys. We wags his tail often and still begs for dog treats and occasionally tries to get our dinner off the stove. We will still go for a short walk. Are these moments of happiness worth the hours he lies on the floor or dog be and stares at me with a sad look? Just when I think I know he is suffering or unhappy he rallies. He is on some medicines – pain killers, antibiotics, prednisone, etc. We all love this dog like crazy and there is some dispute within the family about whether it is time or not. Any input from you who know what it is like would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Amy

      Hi Marci,

      To me, it doesn’t seem like time quite yet, but of course I cannot know like you can. But I think your dog does sound like it is still enjoying life enough now that it might not be time just yet.
      What does your vet say?

      • Marci

        The vet has pretty much given up on him and made me feel like the next time I felt he needed medical attention I should just have him put down. This makes me feel like I can’t ask questions about his pain level or get any other help with him.

        • Sylvie Taher

          Hi Marci,
          I agree with Amy, I don’t think it is his time yet, as for your vet, get another one, or tell him you are not ready to put your dog to sleep and you want his help…that’s what you pay him for!!
          Good luck, my thoughts are with you !

          • Marci

            Thank you both for your kind words and advice. I would love to give the vet a piece of my mind, but I have several other pets and need to have the clinic available until I can find someone new. Which I think I need to do. Thanks again.

          • Marci

            Well, much has happened in the two days since I first posted. My dog, Cooper, took a dramatic downhill turn with trouble breathing and even more trouble walking. When we changed his bandage that night we could see his leg bone – the cancer had eaten away almost all of the muscle and tissue and left horrible dead tissue with an even worse smell. This cancer advanced so fast it was shocking. We spoke to another vet who said there was really nothing else to be done and if his leg looked as we described he was probably in severe pain. We decided we could not make him suffer, so we cooked him a steak and gave him some of all his favorite things to eat. Family and friends spent time with him, and I spent a lot of time with him. He got lots of hugs and kisses. Yesterday was a warm and sunny day for a change and he wandered around our yard until he had to lie down. We took him to the shelter where we got him 12 years ago – since he associates the vet’s office with stress and pain – and he wandered around the grounds with all the interesting smells and enjoyed the sunshine and had a last dog treat. He was enjoying himself and seemed happy, and then we had him put to sleep. I thought I would feel more relieved since I was so worried that he was suffering, but I was just incredibly sad. Many tears have been shed since then, but I still believe we did the right thing. He was too good to us for us to be anything but kind to him. I will miss him for the rest of my life. R.I.P. Cooper and thanks to all of you.

          • Amy


            I am so so sorry. I cried when I read your post. I am still crying. My chocolate lab was in a similar same situation 3 months ago. On her last day, we grilled here a steak, took her for one last walk, and then took her for an ice cream cone on the way to the vet. It is the hardest thing I have ever experienced, and I still cry for her almost every day.

            There is nothing I can say to make it feel better. All you can do is know that you will see your baby again one day.

            Today would have been my Cocoa’s 15th birthday. I miss her so deeply. I know your pain. I am so sorry.

  • Robin

    After reading all the comments it tears me apart how helpless people really are when it comes to the health of your pets. I have never lost anybody close to me but I feel very soon I will, my douge De bordeaux has just been diagnosed with severe heart dicease and it breaks my heart to see my dog who was once so strong, full of life bubbly now so fragile and depressed. The hardest bit is the memorys and wishing you had made more time with them when they were jolly and well.
    I can’t even begin to imagine the day that I have to put him to sleep because I feel at 4 years of age I did not expect him to go so soon, he became more than just a pet he feels like he’s my son as silly as it may sound, I raised him, trained him, showed him life , went through the bad times aswell as the good and to picture him not there breaks my heart, maybe a tattoo of him will comfort me in a small way , I still do not know how I will cope when he’s gone because somewhere along the line when I went to see this small puppy who blessed me with 4 years of his life became my everything

  • Will

    Reading some of the comments on here has been really heart breaking. I have a five year old female jack russell. She has had a really bad life, burnt on her head which scarred badly, bladder stones which needed an operation. Then she has had a further two operations a spay and also something was wrong with her intestines. Unfortunately, after all of this, she now has Lymphoma. It has truly been one of the most heart breaking experiences of my life. It took them 6 weeks to diagnose and then to hear the words almost crippled me on the spot. She has been on a Steroid drug now for nearly a week and has a little more energy than before but she is not herself. I keep reading up on how to make the decision to have her put to sleep but i don’t know how to do it i just cannot imagine doing that to her. I know its an act of love etc but i feel like i am betraying her. I don’t know what i am going to do because i love this animal so very much i cannot stand to see her suffer.

    • Sylvie

      Hi Will,

      Keeko, my American Eskimo was burned badly on her back with what the vet believes to be bacon grease prior to my adopting her 5 years ago. So on top of having problems with her back legs, being blind and death, and chronic gingivitis, she still goes on happy to eat and see us.

      I know what you are going through, and when it is time you will know.

      Good luck

  • Laurie

    Dear Laurie,

    I encourage you to listen to your veterinarians advice about your sweet little Bruiser. When our dogs are our world – which your Yorkie is to you – we tend to let our unwillingness to say good-bye overshadow our perspective. We let our dogs live in pain instead of making the ultimate sacrifice, the final act of love and care.

    Are you keeping Bruiser alive for his sake, or yours?

    My prayers are with you as you make this decision. It’s terribly sad – heartbreaking – but it is an important way to take care of your dog. You will be crushed with grief, but you will know that you didn’t let your poor little dog suffer longer than he had to. You will mourn your terrible loss, and your heart will eventually heal. You will know that Bruiser is resting in peace, and getting all the treats he loves in his doggy heaven.

    In sympathy,

  • Sylvie Taher

    Hi ladies,

    Thank you so much for all of your kind words. I have been questioning myself a lot about putting my beautiful Keeko to sleep and I have decided to wait a little while longer. She has not soiled herself in a few days and she is moving around well enough.

    I had to put my other rescue Chow mix who was 15 in November 2013 and I did not have so much doubt as I do with her. I just knew it was her time.

    I had to put my 12 year Himalayan cat to sleep a few months ago after he had had a stroke. In his case the decision was made for me. He had lost feeling in his hind legs and one of his front legs. I still see him take his last breath and the thought of doing this to Keeko is just too much.

    Thank you again!

  • Christina

    Hi all,
    I myself am reading these stories and comments to find comfort for myself in the past few days. Last night I had to put my baby girl to sleep. She was a 16 yr old golden retriever, and up until 2 days ago she was a relitively happy/healthy girl. Until we woke up to her one morning unable to walk with her back legs. She digressed quickly through the day. Although she was alert..she was also partially blind, Un able to control bowel movements, and immobile. It all happened so fast. She was still understanding to what was going on but i could see her pain… It took a lot to admit it was time, but it I took comfort in believing there was more for her beyond this pain in her life, and she could pass on and be free. I was lucky to have such a helpful vet, and vet techs. They were comforting, supportive, and informative. I was able to lay next to my girl, tell her I love her, and watch her fall asleep peacefully. It has been one of the hardest experiences of my life, but it was gratifying in the sense that now my girl is at peace. She was my first and only pet, I got her when I was 10 years old( I’m now 26) and I feel like I lost a sibling, but my advice is to be there, say you love them, and remember every minute. enjoy every minute of every hug or kiss; because I havent forgotten them. I remember the first kiss I gave and the last. Every one in between is just as special too. I don’t write this to be sad, or make you sad. It was just my experience.
    What ever you have going on with your pets, the best advice I got was, ‘ you know when you know’ if the thought of ‘it’s time’ passes through.. then it’s a true possibkility because there had to be something causing you to think that. Go with you’re instincts, and if your baby isn’t really smiling.. Not just cause they are looking at you…but smiling all the time.. Then it’s time. And know it will all be alright. Remember them, love them forever, and it will be okay.

  • Laurie

    I have a yorkie named Bruiser, he’s my world. About 6 years ago he had hip surgery on his left side, addition to knee surgery a year or so later. A few months ago, we came home and Bruiser couldn’t put his right rear leg down. I took him to the Vet they did blood work, x-ray etc.. to be told he would not be a candidate for surgery that his also in heart failure. I asked her what should I do he cant put weight on his leg. The vet stated if it was her she’d put him down. I left with Bruiser confused because he still seems happy, as the months have gone on, he just will urinate anyplace ( this is not him) I carry him up the stairs most always, he will on occasion but its rare come up, going down seems ok most the time. I struggle because he still gets excited for his treat. how can I tell if he’s in pain, according to the vet she said he his . It’s such a hard thing trying to make a decision like this. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

  • Laurie

    Dear Sylvie,

    My prayers are with you as you decide if it’s time to put your dog to sleep. It’s a huge and hard decision, especially when your spouse or kids don’t agree. My friend put her dog to sleep, and her husband and adult children did not think it was time. But my friend knew it was time because she was with their dog all day long, and she could see how difficult life was for him. Her family is still unhappy with her decision….but she had to do what she felt was right.

    May your husband see how difficult this is for you and your dog. May he support your decision — and most importantly, may he learn how to process his grief so he can do what’s best for your dog. It’s possible that his pain and grief is what’s holding him back from letting her go.

    May you say good-bye to your dog with peace, and may you know that euthanasia is often the final act of love we give our dogs. It’s a huge sacrifice for us, but blessed resting in peace for them.

    In sympathy,

  • Sylvie Taher

    Hi, I have an American Eskimo that I rescued 5 years ago. She was supposed to be 5 but my vet thought she was closer to 7. She has aged a lot since the last year and she is no longer able to get up from the ground by herself. She has no responses in her back legs. We are not sure why. She is now blind and deaf and has been soiling herself almost daily. We get up in the morning and she is lying in her pee.She can no longer go for walks as she limps and looks in pain. She cannot see where she is going and I need to put my hand in front of her for her to smell me to know where to go. She sometimes looks like she is lost in the house.

    I made an appointment to put her to sleep on Thursday, March 5th, but my husband does not agree as he says she still eats and is happy to see us when we get home.

    What do you think?

    • Amy

      Hi Sylvie,

      What you are describing sound just like what I experienced with my labrador, however, she was nearly 15 when she showed these symptoms. She was also very happy to eat and to see us, so that is also the reason why I had a very hard time deciding to put her down.

      My dog’s condition was brought on 2 years prior from a spinal injury, after which she was paritally paralyzed for 3 days. We rehabed her back with cold laser therapy, strong anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxants. She bounced back strong for a good year before we she declined again, and when she did, it was severe. She was just like your dog, went deaf, couldn’t get up without assistance, and started to poo and pee in her bed almost daily.

      My question is, what does your vet say?

    • laura


      Just read your situation and my friend was in the same situation not long ago her dog had the same problems as your dog is experiencing and her husband didn’t want to put him down.
      They came to a decision to go a head with it in the end.
      In your situation (and would have said the same to my friend) I would agree you are doing the right thing…. beacuase she is just like a human and plays a huge part of your family. But would you leave your family laying in wee and poo until your come home. Your lovely dog may look happy but is she inside? Does she seem in pain? She can’t see, bless her. If you think she is in pain or suffering, don’t let her my lovely, let her go in peace and comfort before it gets much worse and hurts you even more. (Hope this helps a little)
      Same as the lady above what does your vet say?
      Take care. Laura.

  • Laurie

    Dear Laura,

    That’s so terrible and sad, that your poor puppy got sick so young in her life. And to see her in pain like that, I can’t even imagine how horrible it was. I’m so sorry that you had to experience this – and with your first pet.

    My prayers are with you, as you deal with the grief and shock. I hope you will be able to adopt another pet one day — because your experience was very unusual! Most of the time, we bring our dogs home and get to love them for years and years.

    May you find comfort and peace as you adjust to life without your little dog.

    In sympathy,

    • laura

      Thank you for your kind reply.
      I have felt a bit better over the weekend. Feeling better about the decision made but I can’t help feeling we could have done more and could the vets have done more to really define the illness. Everything seemed to move so quick in a space of 12hours yet definment and answers were so slow and still not underlined. By thinking too much of the situation I guess is torturing myself. I can’t help but feel guilty.

  • Laura

    We had our west highland terrier for just over 6weeks and was 4months old. In two days she changed hugely.
    First day, heavy drooling, tongue out, walking slow, we thought maybe she is having a sad day. Next day in the am very lively, come lunch time shes dropped again drooling, slow walking tongue out. Took to vets who gave an injection to stop drooling said see how we get on, 3hrs later it started all oveer again, took her back, done blood tests, all clear, normal temp.etc….they then look into it more abd was 99% sure she had a form of meninjitous, injected her with steriod and said see how she goes, got home around 7pm, all ok. 10-2am her whole tongue was our server drooling, couldnt breath and ger face had sunk back, crying it was herrendous! We took to emergency vets, who said she agreed with last vet and said she now cant move herneck, it just stayed down. They said they could do further tests which would cost around 1800. But spending this meant we would get that answer but no treatment could help her. At this point the destress she was in we could not bring her home to think about it!! We made the decision there. We then sadly let her go but at the end i said uts all, love yoy, kisses, her little nose just lifted as i went to kiss her. I cant help to think could we have done more. Dud i do the wrong thing. I feel extremely sad and sick. This was out first ever pet. 🙁


    • Linda

      I understand exactly what you are saying, I am sitting here reading all these and its so sad. We love our pets so much, we want them to be with us forever. We want to do whatever it takes to achieve that. I have an appt. to put my 9 yr old rotweiller down due to lymphoma cancer. He isnt’ suffering yet but not eating, and other symptoms. I question am I doing the right thing? Is there anything else I could do to get just one more day with my beloved friend. I am doing this because he is my beloved friend and I don’t want him to suffer. I cry constantly, I question myself constantly will I have the strength to follow through with my decision on Friday. I am having doctor come to my home where he can be with familiar things and his other two pals, Harley and nana (Dogs) they all grew up together. Not quite sure they realize what is happening other than their mommy is crying a lot. So everyone who is reading this please say a prayer for my and my DOJA who will be loved and missed till the end of time. I know how everyone feels that is on this site, god bless you all.

      • Amy


        My heart hurts for you. I know the pain. I know the doubt. I know the guilt. I am so sorry.

        I too was faced with this very gut wrenching decision 3 months ago…my 15 yr old lab.

        I cried so much too leading up to it. I cried for weeks afterward. It got better after a month, but to this day I still cry for her.

        It is so hard. Dogs are one of the most amazing gifts God gave hard to say goodbye to them, it’s just not fair.

        I’m so sorry. Tears!

  • Tracie

    My dog Rosie was diagnosed with a slow growing cancer on February 2. She was doing good for the first 3 weeks with the pain medicine they put her on and then this past weekend she went down hill. She was having labored breathing on Sunday. Took her in Monday they said it was time to let her go. They said take her home spoil,love her, and spend the Monday with her and bring her in Tuesday at 4:30 to put her down. I know it’s time cause she gives me that stare in my eyes. Hope you know what I’m talking about. I have to do this for her so she does not suffer anymore. I made her a big ribeye steak dinner last night and today she ate it all last night,but did not eat it all today. She makes a gurgling sound when she eats or drinks not sure what that may be. They say maybe the cancer got in her lungs. She is an afghan hound, and she is 14 years old almost 15.

    • Amy


      So sorry about Rosie. I had a lab the same age, 14 (almost 15) that we put down in Nkvember right before Thanksgiving. Hardest thing EVER. I still cry for her…was laying in bed last night and just started crying because I miss her so much and am sad that we had to put her down.

      How did Tuesday go? How are you feeling today?


  • Laurie

    Dear Claire,

    Thank you for sharing here. It sounds like poor Leo isn’t happy. He’s uncomfortable, likely in pain, and not enjoying his life anymore. I believe that putting your dog to sleep is a final act of love, compassion, and mercy for him.

    Saying good-bye to Leo will be a huge sacrifice and loss for you, but I believe it is the only way to show your love. He is suffering, and he needs to rest in peace.

    That’s just my opinion, though — your veterinarian may have other suggestions, after seeing Leo in person! I wish you all the best when you take your beloved dog to the vet.


  • linda

    my Alsatian x collie dog is 15 in april and has really bad arthritis in back legs, hes going blind and deaf and has horners syndrome has lost his bark. hes also going bit senile and has strange episodes where he will stand under table staring at nothing. he struggles to get up most days now and doesn’t like going out.he goes into garden for a wee but poos in house all the time.i love him to bits and cant let go am I being selfish? is it time to?

    • Amy

      Oh gosh, this sounds so much like my lab who would have been 15 next month. We did put her down because she just seemed like she was not happy anymore, along with all the things you stated about your dog. It was such a hard decision. We put her down the week of Thanksgiving, and some days I regret it, some days I feel it was the right thing. Such a difficult decision!! I feel for you. It has been over 2 months, but I cried so much today for her. I wish you peace with whatever you decide to do…either way, it will be sad.

    • M

      Please don’t let your sweet dog suffer another day. I want to be gentle in my reply but you have to ask yourself what the poor baby’s quality of life is. I’m sure you give all the love required but it is definitely time.

    • Claire

      Hi I am kinda in the same situation as you. I have a collie cross who is about 14 years old. Leo has always been a very happy dog, but in Dec he started having seizures. My vet said that the most likely cause is a brain tumor. Since dec he has gone downhill quite quickly. He also has arthritis and standing up is now very difficult for him. He is so depressed looking he makes me cry. He has started having seizures much more frequently . He pees and poos in the house every night. He growls at us when we try to encourage him to go outside and just wants to lie in his bed most of the time. When he does stand up he paces in circles and very rarely wags his tail when we interact with him. Today he stood and stared at a wall for a while and got stuck trying to move past a table I had moved from his usual spot. I had to move the table as he was just trying to walk right through it. I have an appointment tomorrow with the vet and am seriously considering putting him to sleep. I have hardly slept for a week because I am so stressed out about it. I can see he still has a bit of life in him and thats why I am wondering if its too early? but then I think, Leo is NOT going to get better. He is going to get WORSE. I can’t bare the thought of him getting worse. I don’t want to watch him suffer or be in constant pain. Please someone help me know if I am making the right decision in getting him put to sleep.

      Thanks in advance x

      • Mercedes

        Oh Claire I’m so sorry…. I know how much it hurts to watch your poor pet just go downhill. I had a 10 year old Boston Terrier that presented seizures last February that were controlled with bromides for about 9 – 10 months… then they came back with a vengeance in October and our vet confirmed brain tumor. It was so hard to make the decision to let her go… but on November 14th I held her, and loved her, and helped he go. It still makes me teary eyed typing it. I love her. I miss her. But I have no doubt that what I did was right by her. With the brain tumor, it won’t get better. Like you, I ended up on this page hoping for an answer tona question that deep down…. I already knew. Big hugs and warm energy being sent your way….

  • Savannah

    Hello All, I’ve been searching and searching on the net and I ended up here. Wondering what true dog owners and lovers would do? We have an 11 year old Doxie. His name is Louie and he has been battling Cushing for the past 4 years. 2 years ago we put him on medication but it seems no matter the dose or changes he is not getting better. He has a large list of symptoms… insatiable hunger to the point where he gets into things that could hurt him. Tears into cabinets at the hinges cause he thinks there may be food there. We started using a baby gate to keep him out of the kitchen and from hurting himself and I came home to a bloody destroyed fence and a dog with a broken tail. insatiable thirst, it is probably what kills me the most, I can’t imagine feeling, being, or dealing with being this thirsty. I find him in the bathtub in the middle of the night though he is too old to really even get in there. He is almost completely bald and is licking the remaining fur off all his paws. Other than food and drink he doesn’t do much, he can act spunky but for the most part just sleeps. He has in the last year started acting as though he has separation anxiety and barking all day long. He has also been having accidents in the house, not all the time but I know for an 11 year old trained dog this is not normal. He has always been a chill and an awesome dog but these past few years he isn’t the same dog at all. I recently found out that I was pregnant and it saddens me to think we may have to put him down. Sometimes I find him sleeping in random parts of the house sleeping by himself which is totally out of character of him. My husband and I have spent over $3500 this year alone and we are running out of savings. When we see the vet they always want more tests and more or different medication. Any advice (not in medical) but in passion is needed. I always thought we would have him so much longer than 11 years but I know this is not my same Louie we have had and the thought that he can’t be comfortable or may hurt himself when we are at work just has been so stressed. Pet owners, help…

    • Michelle

      Savannah I sympathize with you! I recently went through the same type of circumstance…..making the decision. After what I dealt with for my sweet 14 year old cocker spaniel Rylie, and what she went through, it truly comes down to making the decision based on your pet only. At 14 Rylie had arthritis which Pred kept under control. She ate, drank, went outside…..the normal things you think would keep you from putting a dog down. Unfortunately, she had a tumor in her ear canal and developed a chronic ear infection that became worse over time. It turned into pseudomonas and it’s resistant to most meds. After expensive injections, it cleared then came back. It was now resistant to that. We came to a wall, either do surgery which would remove her canal or just continue cleaning and try to keep her comfortable. She never showed pain and the vet said she was the best patient he’s ever had. A couple months ago it changed. So thinking of how horrible it must feel with all the bad stuff that goes along with this and she had started losing hair most likely from the infection going into her system, I knew she needed peace. She had a great Christmas and ate Prime Rib and more Prime Rib!!! It was her special day for love. On Dec 29th she crossed over to Rainbow Bridge. It is the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but it has to be yours and vets won’t tell you directly it’s time. I’m still grieving, I cry only because I miss her sassy butt barking every morning because I’m not getting her breakfast quick enough! I know it was the right choice, but that came the morning of. She was a snow bunny and would lay in it and eat it only coming in with the hope of more food then back out! It hadn’t really snowed and I had wished for 1 more snow for her…..that last sight of seeing her happy with frozen snowballs on her fur and face! It just melted my heart watching her and that morning it began to snow! Just enough to please her, I know it was a sign that she was ready. Savannah all I can do is tell you my experience and I hope it helps in your journey, a difficult journey. I know it’s peaceful and I held her every moment so she left here knowing the love she felt since we took home our little 8 week old runt of the litter with the adorable white stripe on her head! You will know in your heart what your furry baby needs! I’m here if you need someone!

    • Susan

      Savannah, I’m so sorry. I truly understand! Please read about what I wrote in below comments. Sounds to me that another vet’s opinion may be needed. If your dog is having that many problems over such a long time and things aren’t better, and then the vet wants to do more treatments?? Doesn’t sound right. As much as we love our pets and don’t want to be without them, there comes a time when we must do what’s best for them AND us. You certainly don’t need this stress while being pregnant. What I did was try to put myself in their place. Would I want to live that way? It’s ok to put them down when their quality of life has diminished so badly. It’s also ok to feel badly, sadly, and to mourn. Don’t feel guilty. When you have those thoughts just replace them with a fond memory. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make, but it was the right one. I will pray for you. Try to now concentrate on the new baby and yourself!

    • Amy

      Oh my goodness Savannah, I am so sorry that your poor Louie is suffering and that you are faced with this heartache. I will be honest with you…if it were my dog I would most likely help Louie out of his misery. You have tried what you can, and he is not getting better–I am afraid he will only get worse. Poor Louie is trapped in a sick body, and life is not fun for him anymore. In fact life is probably pretty much miserable for him most days.

      I think if Louie were able to talk to you, he would say please let me go in peace.

      I am so sorry!

    • Sig

      Savannah, So sad. If this were happening to a friend of yours, you were outside looking in, what would you say? How would you feel? When you are in the thick of it,(and could be you are extra emotional being pregnant,) and its your first, second or even third time around, with having to put a good dog down, its so very hard to be rational. I’m having do do it any day now with my 16 year young cattle dog /german shepherd who has never left my side. But for a killer tumor in her mouth, she is , was, perfectly healthy which makes me feel like a killer. I’m talking to a pet psychic tomorrow to see my dog’s side of things and hopefully release some of my overwhelmng fear. My higher enlightened self knows better about Life and Death, but I need assistance right now .Listen, what I really think, is that because you’re giving birth in the future, its best to take the steps you need to, and to try to heal from the grief, so as not to have your baby pick up on your raw sorrow.Try to resolve, be resolute, and most of all be kind to yourself . If you get another pet, I would not return to that vet. so sorry. Blessings.

  • mimi

    Thanks for all the stories. My 14 year old Pom is in the hospital he has a diagnosis of Addison Disease and I don’t won’t to put him through all the test and medications and reading others stories will help me to make the decision that I know I must do once I pick him up on tomorrow. He had not been eating or drinking so I had to take him in and this is what I found out that is wrong with him. I did research and he is not his self and I don’t won’t meds for the remaining of his life and he can’t truly be the dog I know. I just needed to hear other people stories because he is my baby and he has been with me and my husband for almost 15 years. He will be 15 this year he looks so sad and depressed. It hurts me to talk about it.

    • Susan

      MIMI, I’m so sorry. It’s so hard to see our pets change, suffer, or just not be themselves. I’m the one with the two dachshunds that I put down two weeks ago. It was the hardest thing I ever did. Now that two weeks have passed I don’t miss them any less, but I feel I did what was best for them. My only advise is to consult your vet. You will know what to do and when. Listen to your heart. I couldn’t talk about it either without crying. It’s better now, but I still cry, I miss them so. Just remember there is another puppy/dog out there that can steal your heart when you are ready. We can never replace the ones we had but can learn to love a new pet.