Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."
Owners who are questioning when their dog should be put down will often hear veterinarians discuss "quality of life." But what does that really mean?
Quality of life is about basic standards of health, comfort, and happiness. When determining a dog's quality of life, many things are taken into consideration, including how much pain or discomfort the dog is experiencing. Together, owners and veterinarians can assess how the dog's quality of life can be increased with medicine, medical intervention, and tender, loving care.
When the dog's quality of life is poor, euthanasia is sometimes considered. Euthanasia comes from the Greek word meaning ''good death." A good death is something to aim for when a dog's life becomes too distressed. This humane and peaceful procedure is the best option in some scenarios.
While a veterinarian may offer opinions about when a dog should be euthanized, it ultimately falls to the owner to make this decision. Owners know their dogs best, so only they can gauge their pet's quality of life. Veterinarians and veterinarian staff may direct people towards options, but in the end, is the dog owner's decision, and it is one of the most difficult decisions a dog owner has to face.
The most common feelings affecting dog owners considering euthanasia are fear, insecurity, and guilt.
To help pet owners facing this difficult decision, many veterinarians have developed questionnaires to help owners rationally assess their dog's individual quality of life. These questions can help dog owners see the larger picture of their pet's situation to make decisions or at least open up a discussion with their vet to see if more can be done.
These are the questions to ask yourself and to discuss with the vet in order to determine your pet's overall quality of life.
Is your dog in obvious pain? Has he been benefiting from pain relievers? Does she have trouble breathing? Pain is one of the main considerations when assessing the quality of life of an animal. While there are many effective pain relievers, they may not be sufficient or the side effects may outweigh the benefits.
Eating is essential for life. Dogs that have lost their appetite need to receive nutrition. How well is your dog eating? Does he need to be force-fed? Can he eat on his own? There are some medications that may increase appetite such as steroids and some foods made for dogs that need extra nutrition (Hill's A/D, Nutrical). In severe cases, a stomach tube may be inserted.
A dog needs water more than food, so not only is adequate hydration crucial, but dehydration is also a sign that something is wrong. Is your dog drinking enough? If you pull up the skin on the dog's shoulders, does it spring back quickly or does it take time (or worse—remain lifted)? Fluids injected under the skin may help as a way to supplement water. Some dog owners may learn how to give fluids at home.
Is your dog's coat dull, smelly, or matted? Is your dog's mobility affected so much that he lies in his waste after elimination? Can he control his bladder and bowel functions? A lack of hygiene is often seen in sick and debilitated pets and can significantly affect their quality of life.
How happy is your dog? Does he still walk? Does she still enjoy time with you? Is he still interacting with your family? Look for signs of joy and pleasure. Dogs that appear depressed, lonely, anxious, or fearful may be in pain or may have started to give up on life.
In nature, dogs that have lost their mobility will die. Dogs rely on their legs a lot. Unlike humans, they cannot use a wheelchair or a cane, although a sling, harness, or cart may be helpful in some circumstances. Questions to ask are: ''How much can my dog get around? Is her mobility affected by seizures or other nervous system disorders? Can she get up to relieve herself? Dogs that have painful joints may be helped out with medications.
One of the things veterinarians look at when they assess a pet's level of health is how alert the animal is to its surroundings. Indeed, a dog that is withdrawn and lethargic is not feeling well. Signs of energy and alertness can be seen is a dog's response to noises, lifting up the head, ear movements, tail wags, etc.
Is your dog having more good days than bad? This is one of the most important considerations to keep in mind. Of course, a bad day is characterized by suffering: lethargy, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, or simply pain. Good days are when your dog responds to you, is alert and active, and demonstrates a general willingness to enjoy life. Marking on a calendar how your dog feels each day may be helpful to see the overall pattern.
This is just one example of a typical questionnaire. Below, you'll find other ways to assess your dog's quality of life.
If your dog can no longer get up, you'll need to assess the situation carefully. Is this a temporary or permanent condition? Are there any devices or medications that might help? Does the dog just need a little help getting up, and can you consistently provide that help? Finding answers for these questions with your vet will help you determine the full scope of the issue.
Slings, harnesses, or carts may be helpful in some circumstances, but an utter loss of mobility can be a huge obstacle, one that thoroughly affects a dog's quality of life. Still it is up to you, the pet owner, to determine how severe this problem is and how much it affects the dog's happiness in life.
Although incontinence is a common sign that a dog is ready to die, it might also be a symptom of a number of other issues. Talk to your vet.
At the end of life, complications can multiply and issues can grow. When deciding when it's time to say goodbye to a beloved dog, it might be helpful to take account of the things your pet still takes pleasure in doing. If your dog is blind and deaf but still enjoying food, company, and naps in the sun, then perhaps his quality of life has not yet declined past the point of no return.
It's so hard to know when to say goodbye to an old dog. Some age-induced complications are temporary, but some are permanent and will only get worse. It's up to you to respond if your dog is in chronic pain that can't be helped with medication or if they can no longer walk or eat by themselves. Use the questionnaire above to help you decide, and talk to your vet.
There are not many things in life as certain as death. Our beloved dog's time will come, as much as we want to postpone death and keep our loyal friend with us, eventually that dreaded time will come. With quality of life in mind, most owners can make the best decision for their dogs.
Question: Koda, our thirteen-year-old Bernese cross, has been struggling to stand and has pooped while lying down because he cannot get up. He can no longer enjoy walks unless it is only four or five houses down the street. He also splays about and needs to be lifted to stand. He is on high dose prednisone and tramadol for pain. He lost his brother three months ago. Some days he seems happy and will lick us and be interactive, but other days he sleeps all day and doesn't even lift his head when we come in. Is it time to put him down?
Answer: I think it would be important knowing what is causing these episodes of not being able to stand so to understand better what may be going on. Is it from arthritis? A cancer in the spleen causing weakness? A back injury? I think a consultation with the vet may be insightful so to know if there are any options to make him more comfortable. Some dogs may need a blanket under them to help them get up and walk. It sounds like he has still some almost good days mixed with some bad ones. A lot also depends on how much time you have during the day to help him. For example, a dog may have a low quality of life if the owners are out all day at work and nobody can help turn them and get up to potty causing bed sores and poor hygiene and risks for urine scalding.
Question: My 16 year old Shitzu/Maltese is deaf, can’t see very well due to cataracts and her right hip buckles under her. She has a very difficult time walking and needs help to stand while eating and drinking. She also has accidents in the house and will lay in it because she can’t stand up. Is it time to put her down?
Answer: Deciding whether to put a dog down is a personal decision and often depends on several factors. For instance, in a dog with mobility problems, it's important that the owner is always home so that the dog can be carried outside to potty or to go on a pee pad to avoid complications such as urine scald or infections. Eating and drinking may still be possible with the dog laying down in a sternal recumbency position but requires assistance from owners.If the dog is laying down in the same position for a long time, the dog will need to be turned every 2-4 hours to prevent sores and aching muscles. It's therefore important to factor in whether the dog can be given this level of care around the clock, but it's also important to watch the dog's demeanor. Is the dog still enjoying food? Being pet? Car rides? All these considerations are important and so is the help of a vet who can assess whether there is anything left to do to ameliorate quality of life.
Question: When will I know that it's time to put my seventeen-year-old dog down?
Answer: So sorry you are going through this. It's a very personal choice, and as a dog owner, you know your dog best. As a general rule of thumb, vets say it's generally the time when there are more bad days than good, and the dog doesn't show signs of enjoying the things he used to do (eating, being pet, going out in the yard to sniff, etc.) So basically, when the dog is no longer comfortable.
Question: Our dog has had general good health up until now, except for a few" fatty " lumps on his body. But over the last week, he has lost his appetite and his back legs seem a bit weaker. He also has heavy shallow breathing. He is twelve-years-old. Is it time to put him down?
Answer: This is difficult to answer because there may be several conditions that may cause the symptoms you are seeing, and they may be managed. I would suggest a quality of life evaluation with the help of your vet. Get some bloodwork done and see what your vet finds. The heavy, shallow breathing sounds concerning, but sometimes dogs may breathe this way from pain, and sometimes it can be due to heart abnormalities, problems with the lungs and many other conditions. Is he not eating completely or will he eat only people foods or treats? Many dogs stop to eat when they are starting to die as they no longer have needs for calories. I am keeping you in my thoughts.
Question: We think our 12-year-old schnauzer mix male is deaf. He's miserable and raw from allergies that are only eased temporarily. He's irritable and cranky. All he does anymore is lick and sleep. Is it time to put him down?
Answer: Allergies can be effectively controlled if given the appropriate treatment. I would suggest consulting with a veterinary dermatologist to get to the bottom of your dog's skin issues. There may be medications or underlying skin issues that your regular vet may have missed. I don't see deafness as a quality of life issue as many dogs are born deaf and do quite well all their lives. It takes a bit of adjustment at first, but most dogs do fairly well. Of course, if there are other issues at play (underlying cancer causing the sleeping and crankiness), then you may want to consider the quality of life with your vet.
Question: My girl Scout is fifteen-year-old Australian Shepherd. I was wondering what her quality of life she's having? She tends to stick to the left when she walks, can't do stairs, has problems getting up and down the stairs. She goes around in circles and bumps into everything. She can't walk on my laminate floors, she goes down on all fours and can't get up. She is eating puppy food and drinking water and still knows to let her out. Is she on her way out?
Answer: A vet visit may be in order here to have a better idea of what may be going on. The symptoms may be due to vestibular disease, and some of these dogs recover, while others keep getting dizziness and nausea and have a permanent head tilt. Trouble navigating floors can be helped with the use of to grips or placing rugs or keeping the dog on the carpet only. Some old dogs need assistance getting up from lying down on the floor and doing stairs, and there are special harnesses for this or placing a towel under them may help. So once again, her quality of life depends on what is afflicting her and whether she can respond to therapy. Your vet can help you out on this.
Question: My sixteen-year-old cocker is bright, eating, drinking and wagging his tail For the past few weeks, on and off, he is unable to stay upright as his back legs are failing him. He is taking Rimadyl, and was doing well on it, but it's not helping anymore. When do I decide to put him down, as he still seems so happy?
Answer: If he still seems happy and enjoying life that is a good thing! Usually, we used to advise to put dogs down when the bad days outnumbered the good ones. Of course, this is a personal choice, so owners who know their dog best should decide based on their personal experience with their pet and perception of how much they are still enjoying activities such as eating, being pet and interacting with their owners. You can consult with your vet to see if there are any options for better pain management. There are also mobility harnesses to help old dogs get around.
Question: My dog is blind and has become fearful, anxious, no longer plays, sleeps all the time. I have to feed her because she makes no effort. What should I do?
Answer: Consult with your vet. Do you know why your dog has gone blind in the first place? There could be something medically going on and this can be manageable. A vet visit can clarify several things and help you make the best decision based on the vet's findings.
Question: Our female German Shepherd (about 12-years-old) has hip dysplasia and arthritis. She currently is on daily doses of Deramaxx, gabapentin, and tramadol and every other week she gets an Adequan shot and cold laser therapy. When she goes outside, she takes a few steps before lying down. In recent weeks, she’s had some accidents in the house while sleeping. However, she can have that burst of energy and try to play with her two brothers. Are we getting close to making this tough decision?
Answer: I think this warrants an evaluation by the vet. Have a physical and some blood work done just to check if her lying down after taking a few steps is due to arthritis or something else. Heart problems can cause dogs to get tired easily and anemia could make suspicious of some internal bleeding such as some bleeding tumor that may cause weakness. If she just has arthritis and still has days where she wants to play, discuss with your vet whether there is anything else that can be done to improve quality of life (acupuncture, dosage adjustments of some meds, mobility harness etc).
Question: My eleven-year-old Multi-Pooh has an enlarged heart and a very bad cough. Is there anything to help him?
Answer: Yes, if your dog is in the final stages of heart failure, there are several things your vet may do to help your dog get more comfortable. Report to the vet the increased coughing, which is usually due to the enlarged heart putting pressure on the bronchi or accumulation of fluids in the lung. Your vet may tell you to make some adjustments to your dog's medications (increase frequency or quantity of diuretics or give a diuretic shot or add other meds to help remove fluids/help the heart work more effectively) and/or add other medications. Never make changes to your dog's meds without consulting with a vet. Of course, these are just palliative measures which may be taken just to make the dog more comfortable temporarily. Don't be afraid to discuss with your vet.
Question: My hound dog mix is 10 years old and she had her paw ripped up. When they did an X-ray it showed that her bone was broken into pieces all the way to her elbow. We can either put her down or amputate but we think she won’t be as free or as happy if we amputate her. What should we do with our dog's wounded foot?
Answer: If your dog is healthy otherwise and doesn't have arthritis in other legs, there should be no major reason not to amputate. There are many dogs who still lead happy lives albeit being on three legs. There is a website dedicated to tripod dogs "tripawds.com" where you can gather information. Discuss your concerns with your vet.
© 2010 Adrienne Farricelli
Barbara on August 26, 2020:
My dog is a 17-year-old terrier that has cataracts, incontinent, she can no longer hear, and her back leg with weak. All she does now is sleep and eat, she will walk but not far without heavy breathing; She can no longer climb stairs without breathing heavy or having a seizure. Is it time to consider putting her down?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 20, 2020:
Hi Mollie, so sorry to hear about your Lab with seizures. Sadly, onset of seizures in older dogs can be due to waste products coming from malfunctioning organs building up and affecting brain chemistry and brain tumors. Being that your dog is on phenobarbital I assume her organ health has been already checked with bloodwork. I would talk with the vet and see whether more testing may be needed and if a change in drugs may help. If there are brain tumors, prednisone may be something to consider. Some dogs with seizures of unknown origin may benefit from a combination of phenobarbital and potassium bromide and some vets recommend valium given rectally when a seizure is not stopping. Ask your vet whether you have any further options to control those seizures.
Mollie Taylor on June 03, 2020:
I have a 14 year old Labrador, she has been having seizures for about 3 months now everyday, she has been on Phenobarbital for 5 days her side effects are awful and she’s at the point where she can hardly get up and has to be prompted to go out to the toilet and then when she does she usually has a seizure. She is still having seizures despite being on meds. Her seizures have decreased but when she is having one she takes up to 5 minutes to come out of it she looks scared. I don’t want her to suffer and I don’t want to be selfish either for my own benefit. She’s had such a good life and I don’t want her to end it awfully where she doesn’t come out a seizure. I’m at a loose end and I really really do not no what to do
John on May 27, 2020:
My dog has diabetes, bushings disease, blind and deaf. I am also seeing signs of neuropathy and she continues to have uncontrolled urination and has not not had a solid bowel movement in months. She sleeps probably 19 hours a day. She is also losing her hair and has ear infections and eye infections and simply smells. I think it is time. She is almost 14 years old. I think it is cruel. She is also on 13 units of insulin twice a day.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 10, 2020:
This is always a difficult decision and there are many factors to consider. All in all, it may help to have the dog see the vet to determine whether there are any options to make this dog more comfortable. When these options are exhausted or no longer working, then we know that time is sadly running out.
stefmarks on February 26, 2020:
I am struggling with knowing when to put my 14 year old lab down. We are pretty sure she has a form of dementia and the vet feels the same way.
I have a pet sitter and she has told me that my dog just isn't herself. I got a text from her 2 weeks ago telling me she was wobbly when she was outside walking. Also, she doesn't meet her at the door everyday like she used to. She will find her lying in another room somewhere.
She's able to get up and down off her bed ok and she still lets us know when she needs to go outside to go the bathroom. So no accidents inside. Her eating has slowed down, she won't take treats from our hands anymore, she doesn't come running to the fridge when we open it like she used to. She lays on her bed and stares at the wall and she pants a lot. She seems confused at times, in the house and outside. Sometimes she forgets where I am and goes into a panic and starts looking for me. She will see my husband leave the room but when she hears him in the other room, she will start to growl and bark, like there's a stranger in the house. Then she gets right in front of me like she's protecting me. She also stumbles and trips more and more when she walks. She has a far off look in her eyes most days, but there are some days she prances around and I can see my girl is still in there. But those days are getting less and less.
I don't want her to suffer and I don't want to feel selfish, but how on earth am I supposed to know when the time is right to put her down? I had a 14 year old golden and he let me know when it was time. He couldn't get up and I just knew. But with my Lab, I have no idea. With the staring off and panting I feel she is in pain, but when I see the glimmer of her old self from time to time it breaks my heart to think of letter her go. And I certainly don't want her to suffer, but she just isn't herself.
What am I to do?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 10, 2020:
Margie, so sorry to hear your dog is suffering. This is ultimately a very personal choice that varies based on many individual factors such as the dog's personality, the owner's ability to help the dog move around, how advanced the condition is, whether all options have been exhausted, etc. Talking with your vet may be an option to gain an insight, but even then, the ultimate choice is yours. With one older dog I had, her hind leg weakness was helped with a harness that helped her get up, she was still happy and eating and that worked well also because she had a very laid back personality and not very active. I also had the help of my husband who is stronger than me in helping her move about. If my other more active dog would have been affected, he would have likely been depressed and withdrawn and we may have had to make a difficult choice after trying everything and weighing in all factors.
Margie Tlapa on February 02, 2020:
I am in need of guidance. My 12 1/2 yr old lab slipped down the stairs 11 days ago. As a result, his hind legs are very weak, at times collapsing, and 75% of the time he cannot get up on his own. He is on Tramadol, Amantadine, Galliprant, and Glucosamine. He was on all these medications prior to the incident for elbow dysplasia and pain mgmt. He is currently being treated with acupuncture, cold laser therapy, chiropractic adjustments, and an Assisi Loop. We’re going to introduce CBD oil next week. Aside from the issues with his mobility, he eats and drinks well, is alert, and otherwise his normal self.
My question is this, I need an unbiased opinion as to when enough is enough. I’m too close to it and need to understand if loss of mobility is considered a situation that would make an animal unhappy or warrant other measures?
Lucy Polinak on January 17, 2020:
My Jack Russell mix just had cancer surgery of the mouth, he won't take his meds as it hurts and we can't force them in his
Mouth...tried to bite us which aha never happened before. He runs from us won't let us touch him, is bleeding from the mouth from the surgery. Now he won't eat. Is drinking water regularly though. He cries 24-7 whack is not good for him or is! We have had no sleep for 4 or 5 days . Vet said that the cancer is embedded deep and it did not look good. Is it time? He is 13 years old
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 21, 2019:
Hi Mandy, so sorry your dog is going through this. Your best bet is seeing your vet and determining if there's an underlying cause for the back legs giving out (advanced arthritis, spinal injury etc.) and what can be done. Sometimes, acupuncture can help.
Mandy on November 20, 2019:
Hi I have a 14 year old staff . She walking so slow . Back legs going. Poo and pee over the home . And even pee on my bed . What to do help plz
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 16, 2019:
It is always difficult determining a dog's quality of life especially when there are good days mixed with some not-so-good ones. I suggest always consulting with a vet to determine if there are more options for pain control and to reduce accidents for dogs with poor bladder control due to sphincter weakening. There are medications for that. When vets say it's time to put a dog down, it's ultimately the owner's decision. No vet can force an owner to put a dog down. Dog owners know their dogs best and should decide based on their own personal experience with their dogs and when all options for improving the quality of life have been exhausted.
Chris on October 31, 2019:
My dog is 10+ years old has an enlarged heart,has heart murmurs,possibly heart tumours(have not done ultra sound),has 4 stones blockage for urination(trouble peeing) and several more in the bladder,has coughing fits.Throws up food,and can not control bladder.The Vet is telling me to put him down.Thoughts?
samantha on October 25, 2019:
My dog is 14 years old and is going blind .... he is a min pin and has fatty masses on him as well as teeth problems he is going blind and urinates all over my house .... he still eats and drinks will play run in yard but can not see so good so barks at everything he has started walking into walls and falling down stairs i am not sure when to say that his quality of life is not so good anymore and put him down
Daniela Ramos on October 20, 2019:
My pet is a shih tzu, somewhere between 13 and 14 years old, quite a few months ago she started losing strength on her back legs, but it seemed to not be such a big problem as she could still run and jump and go up the stairs. A month ago, we has to take her to the vet because she was in pain and all swollen, they said it might have been an allergic reaction and gave her an injection, but they noticed that she had ovarian cysts and that we might want to consider removing them for her to live longer, although the operation itself would be a risk. We decided not to have the operation. The last three days, whenever we carried her she cried out, as well as when she was sleeping. Today I noticed that her front legs are now slipping to the sides when she's standing and even fell over twice, but quickly tried her best to stand up again. I don't know if this is just because of her age or if there is something we could do for her. We have really been avoiding the thought of putting her down, but are these signs that it might be time?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 27, 2019:
Scott, if you can afford to have your dog see the vet or even better a board-certified veterinary neurologist, you may have some options if the underlying cause can be found. Perhaps there are meds that can help if it's too painful to stand on that leg. If there is pain, there is some hope considering that lack of pain may suggest some neurological issue that may be difficult to treat. So this may be worthy of discussing with your vet also to help you make a decision based on his/her findings.
scott Kansol on August 26, 2019:
My 12 year old Maltese Max had basically drop foot on his left front leg. Just last night he couldn’t stand on his left back leg and whined when he tried. He cannot stand to use the potty. I’m going to see if I can help him and support him so he will be able to relieve himself. Any procedure is not an option due to his heart. He still will eat some food if I put it in front of him but he can’t stand. My thoughts are that I’m going to hv to put him down. Am I right in thinking this
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 02, 2019:
Leanne, if you are considering euthanasia, you can call a vet to perform euthanasia at home so to not create anxiety in your dog and not need to worry about carrying your dog in the car. If you are debating over it, Lap of Love offers hospice and end of life consultations in many cities nowadays. So sorry your dog is breathing fast and has collapsed.
Leanne on May 24, 2019:
My 15 year old dog has shallow breathing very fast, has collapsed and looks like shes had enough what do i do
Truered on May 16, 2019:
My Yorkie is 9 years old and she wasn't feeling well, very sluggish and not herself, I thought it was something she ate so we brought her to the vet and they said they have to run tests, so they did blood work and a xray of her stomach, they called me in and said she has a golf ball size tumer in her stomach by her spleen and liver and her anemic level was 30 and that she was bleeding internally, they told me in order to see it better we would have to have a ultrasound done, so they called in the specialist they did the ultrasound and said the tumor is inside of the left liver lobe and covering it and also there were some on her spleen, something called: hemangiosarcoma, they gave me 3 options, surgery which she may not make it through because they would have to cut half of her liver out and there are blood vessels, do nothing and see how she responds which will not be long before she goes into shock or dies, or put her to sleep. I know we all love our pets as they are our children and how do you make a decision like this, yes we do not want them to suffer, right now the vet said she isn't suffering or in any pain, at the moment I decided to take her home for a few days and see how she is and at the moment for today she is herself, so am I wrong to wait and have her with us for a little longer?
Rodneyanthonh on April 03, 2019:
Hello sir my dog is suffering with paralysis can my dog will cure
Dayglowed on March 24, 2019:
No one will ever tell you that its time as long as they can get a few more dollars. I have seen this over and over again. We look to our vets to help us with a tough decision but most won't do it.
Chivonne Elsenpeter on March 07, 2019:
My dog Scrappy is 16 years old. He's been such a great dog. We are putting his sister down tomorrow and are determining whether we should put him down as well. Sadie is in really bad shape so I know for sure it is her time, but Scrappy I am struggling with. He lost his site about a year ago and has been in diapers for about 4 months. He cannot find his way to the door anymore, but can still manage to find where his food and water is. He sleeps constantly and we have to watch when he does get up so we can take him outside. He just pees right on the side walk. He will walk to the grass to poo but will get lost if we don't bring him back. When I bring him in the house he does wag his tail and gets super excited, but then will look for his bed or our bed. This is all he does. I am super scared to make the decision because he is not in any pain, but I feel like he's just tired and may want to go. Can you please just let me know what you think. I know you cannot make this decision for me, but I would appreciate some feed back.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 04, 2019:
Debbie, only you can really make this decision. You know your dog best. Is she still having quality of life? or is she miserable most of the time? Does she have more bad day than good? Have you exhausted all venues to alleviate the coughing and manage the heart failure?
Debbie robbibs on February 03, 2019:
My 13 year old Yorkie is coughing a lot and gagging. We we're told it is congestive heart failure.she has cataracts can't hardly see or hear. Should I have her put down so she won't suffer.
Sally on October 17, 2018:
It is so sad to even think that the day will come that your favorite and loving friend and Pet will no longer be with you! I lost my brother to complications of Lou Gehrigs Disease, and after his burial, I came home and my 16 year old Maltese Nina, my Princess, has stopped eating, she is not going up to her water bowl, and she has been falling all over the wee wee pad. I started giving her water to keep her hydrated, and also made her some bone broth with Turmeric soup, along with organic goats milk for dogs. She is taking the water and the bone broth warm from the dropper, but will not eat, since I am letting her go at home, and I have taken a sabatical to mourn my brother, since I was also an advocate for him and worked very diligently to support him, Im just very sad! .
My Nina is a Great Girl, and I will continue to support her here at home, and keep her hydrated, and prepare a small bowl of her favorite food blended, just in case she miraculously gets up or takes it from my hand feeding. As long as she is not in pain or any discomfort, I will continue to keep her hydrated, and comfortable!
Im sorry for all us Doggy Mommys that have to go through this inevitable loss. These animals are our loving companions, and I am going to cry the day she goes! My only consolation is that, I do believe that your animal has a soul, and I do believe she will sit on my brothers lap and will give him company along with the other furry Angels!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 16, 2018:
If the issue is not taking the pills, you may have several options. Have you tried pill pockets? Sometimes compounding pharmacies can turn nasty pills into wondefully tasting treats. There are also liquid medications you can give, for example Metacam which requires a prescription by simply squirting into your dog's mouth of mixing with canned food. I would suggest having a mobile vet come to your home to assess your dog. Sometimes, trouble walking can be due to a slipped disc in the back or vestibular disease, both things that can be managed with rest and medications. Acupuncture has also sometimes proven helpful in some cases. Sometimes, dogs just need help getting up and once up they are mobile, if that's the case, you may need to place a rolled blanket under her to help her get up or use a harness like "help em' u" and help them move out to potty. Of course, these are just ideas. Only your vet can determine what can or cannot be done so follow a vet's directions.
Maria Ward on October 15, 2018:
My Stuffy is only 8years old and alreadu suffering a lot with arthritis and now is unable to move cant walk or get up she just lays there and urinates on the fllor where she lays. Both back legs and front left leg. what do i do??? She's had arthritis for a while now but she refuses to take her medications we have to force it but than she doesn't swollen it.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 19, 2018:
Katherine, if possible, I think it would be best to delay the move.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 18, 2018:
Rockyroo, so sorry for your situation. Fear of noises indeed can have quite an impact on a dog's wellbeingl. You are on the right track with calming aids, but your dog needs behavior modification. Here is my "hear that' method that may help:/dogs/Dog-Noise-Sensitivity-...
rockyroo08 on July 29, 2018:
I am worried sick about my beautiful 11 year old Jack Russell.
He has always been fearful of noises, but about 6 weeks ago we were walking down the road and an idiot on a big motor bike sped past us on 2 wheels showing off and it was so loud it terrified my little dog. Since that day I cannot get him to go for a walk, he will not go out of the house. Even in the house if he hears a bike in the distance he has full blown panic attacks, shaking violently, panting, eyes popping and there is nothing I can do to comfort him, he is not interested in treats etc, and it take hours for him to calm down. This is happening daily and I feel his quality of life has changed so much, he used to love his walks until this incident. Now he seems to have no interest in anything. It is like he is expecting loud noise all the time.
I have took him to the Vet's, she said physically he is a 100% in very good health, but it is his mental health and severe noise phobia.
I have tried every calming product going, thunder jacket, and nothing helps. Beside this, he is a loving affectionate little dog, he is my life. I am so very sad to see his life is no fun for him anymore. Dont know what to do now
Nicole on July 28, 2018:
My maltipoo is 16 yrs old. His right eye started getting gray ,then developing pus and eye is completely gone, i continue cleaning a black crust he gets on that eye every two days. Now his left eye is starting to get gray. His teeth are really bad, their falling off, you can see the tooth itself is okay but the root is like rotten. Ive found two molars on floor. His breath is bad. His breathing is heavy, he has a cough that comes and goes, sometimes i feel he is going to choke on one of his teeth. He wears a diaper , he has little accidents. I put a mens prostate pad for his pee accidents too. But he seems alert. He has started barking more wanting to be near me , next to me, touching me..my question is ,should i euthanize him? I love him SO MUCH,but my sister and son tell me its time to let go. What do you think?
Katherine16 on July 23, 2018:
I have a blind and deaf 17.5 year old dog. We are moving 10 hours away and have to stay in two different places over the next 6 weeks before we can move into our new house. Tigger has been diagnosed with doggie dementia and now, wears diapers because he is incontinent. He isn't in pain but, all he does is sleep and eat. We have to carry him in and out of the house and up and down stairs. Is it wrong of us to put him through this move when, he will not know where he is and I am sure, he will be even further confused. I am beside myself trying to make the right decision. I would appreciate any advice.
Kaimana Berard on July 02, 2018:
My vet can’t figure out what’s wrong with my 12 year old pitbull. He has a swollen hip (right side) with thigh muscle atrophy. X-rays , bloodwork, and biopsy came back normal, antibiotics, steroids, other medications, and $3,000 vet bill didn’t answer any questions. He struggles to stand up and get into his “house”, can’t jump up onto his grassy area, and lays in the same spot all day. I can tell he is in pain when he is motivated to move by treats and loves, still eats and drinks but it’s slowly becoming less and less. The hard part is that he still wags his tail, smooshes his face into us, and comes to baby when she crinkles his treat bag. My heart is so heavy and sad with this decision. He was our first baby, helped me through my 3 years of trying to have a baby, and brought so much joy to our lives. I feel guilty even thinking about this knowing that he is asleep in his backyard. I keep doubting myself, that if I choose to put him to rest that I’m not trying hard enough while he’s still alive. Which is true, we can pay to have him on pain pills, have another surgery to maybe help with his bad leg, get that highly recommended but extremely expensive CAT scan or pay for the speciality needle that might destroy his muscles but help us figure out if it’s cancer. But will he still smoosh his face into us, will he still wag his tail. Do I let him rest while he still has his spirt or do I risk waiting/watching his spirt die trying to keep him alive.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 26, 2018:
Donna, I wish could provide you an answer but it's difficult because only you know your dog best. You may have to keep a log and jolt down the activities she loves along with the things she is still capable of doing (eating, being pet, spending time with you, sleeping comfortably, staying clean). When the bad days where she no longer enjoys such activites outnumber the good, that is often a sign that it may be time.
Donna Lamm on May 21, 2018:
We own a Springer Spaniel who is 15 years old. She is blind and deaf and can barely walk. She walks in circles which I believe I have read that could be dementia. She is skin and bones but eats very well. We keep her in a well ventilated building very close to our house. In the winter we keep a heat lamp and small heater on her and in the summer months we open all the windows, raise the big door which has a extra long doggie gate and leave the side open with another doggie gate and two fans blowing. She has been well taken care of. We can not leave her in the house because she poops and pees everywhere. We have given her a great life. She has been eating and drinking pretty good but now we are having to help her eat by rotating her feed bowl because she can not find the food. M husband is so attached to her and gets very emotional when we talk about what is best for her.....I love her too but I feel like she is miserable. She has never been a barker or vocal dog. What is your opinion as far as putting her down?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 19, 2018:
David, I am so sorry you are going through this. Thank you for the kind words. To answer your question, many people do put dogs to sleep due to old age and its negative repercussions on the body. I have seen many old dogs put to sleep at the vet clinic I worked for. Many dogs still looked OK externally but were literally deteriorating inside. While it is often said that old age is not a disease, it is inevitable for the organs, joints and mind to take a toll from all the wear and tear life has put on them for a very long time. At 17 and a half (that's very, very old for a dog), your dog most likely showed signs of declining at that appointment. I used to work for vets and must say that they rarely if ever made suggestions to put a dog down unless they had a very good reason to suggest that. Maybe the vet noticed something that you weren't told or you were too emotional at that time to understand what they were saying? Maybe when they were evaluating him his heart was very weak, his gums were white or his breathing was labored? These are signs of the inevitable and putting an old dogs through surgery or hospitalization is not really an option to a dog this old. Just thinking about some potential causes for the vet to suggest euthanasia. Your dog was given lots of love and you went through a lot together. Rest assured, you did nothing wrong. Please don't blame yourself. To reach such a mature age, you really cared very well for your dog and he was blessed to have you this many years.
david on March 19, 2018:
I am still not alright after losing my seventeen and a half year old beagle dog exactly a year ago in march 2017. He was put down by euthanasia by a vet that was not my routine vet. I had taken him in as his poo was red and I thought that it was that color because I had fed him a hot dog a day before. Plus also he had took off running a week prior to that day ( my fault too) and his feet while walking were really sore. He was panting like crazy as I felt like he was in such pain . I honestly looked at him that day as I thought it was the end. Once in the vets office they probed him over and said there's nothing else they could do. WHAT? as i think back as I SHOULD OF stopped them there and taken mike out the door with me. It was a rash decision on my part. As later I realized all I had to do was take him and leave and come back later . but I could not think. But i believed in what they said as they said all there's left do is put him down. I made such a huge mistake by not questioning them as I was a total wreck that day.
I am a super sensitive person and I cry all the time of how on that awful day I let go of my dog to be put to sleep. As all the stories I have read since that day of how people have gone thru great lengths and expensive financial means to save their dog. All I can think is the vet did not care and did not want to take their time to suggest medications or what I could have done for my dog MIke that day for he was not ( per say) "sick". It could of been something that they could of done and I am so guilty of not stopping them and I actually can't live with the facts I now am remembering. All I remember is that Mike did not look so great and I feel like I didn't do what I could of possibly done BECAUSE THE VET DID NOT GIVE ME THE TIME TO WORK IT OUT. Since then I have been so depressed and in my mind I have beat my self up tremendously. ITS LIKE i SAY TO THE SELF of my person... I blame me !.... I blame you.! ... Its all your fault ! AND... Its all being said inside the head of one person. Which is Myself ! I truly don"t know what to do.
I suppose my question to anyone out there is my dog was seventeen and a half. He usually was always a healthy and beautiful beagle with a great coat and not really any health issues that I knew of . He Did NOT have a terminal disease ( that I knew of ) For I never could afford a regular vet in his older years . The fact is that I never went on line to now see all the information and personal stories of dogs and their owners and also about euthanasia. When Mike was living I never could EVEN think about putting Mike down. It was always an unhappy subject. But I wished I had read up on all of the information as It truly would of helped before hand and at least I would of been in tune with the knowledge and have NOT have just gone with my "heart" thru life as with how it all ended.
So thanks again for reading this. But my question would be....
Ok my dog was pretty old. He was starting to have issues. I know that. His arthritis was getting to be a big issue. And I did not have the knowledge of all the things I actually could have done. BUT. I am financially pretty poor and Mike and I had been living in my car for some time. Luckily it had not always been like that but for myself to heal about this, Im trying to get some feed back but I have to write all this as to let others know the circumstances of what my situation is and was at the time of MIkeys passing. So please bare with me. I am almost done.
The question still remains for me as ... Does any one out there believe that if you know as a loving pet guardian, and you know you have given all the best to your pup throughout seventeen years and that's pretty old, Is it alright as a guardian to believe that my dog Mike had been allowed to pass because of .... Old Age???
AS it sure would be a little easier to me to know that or just to have someone say ....ITS OK.! as when living in the truck, he had his huge quilted comfortable bed back in the back seat which was his space and continuous water. Walks, walks and more walks we went on. He was the absolute love of my life. But as time went on I admit that it was very depressing to know I couldn't do any better as with our living arrangements. I alot of times would look in to MIkeys eyes and he knew how sad I was then too he became so depressed. I always felt so sorry for MIkey because we had to live like we were living. Most rooms apt to share here are NOT AT ALL dog friendly and it kept me from caring correctly for me and MIke and getting a place that I could afford. For after losing my own landscape business and my home a few years ago I never was able ( AND STILL CAN'T) afford an apt.
Any way the question still remains and it would sure help for me to know, is old age an ok reason to put down a much loved pet.???? Even though they are not terminally ill ?? For I suppose in the end of all this, maybe my spirit said " OK " MIkes had enough of having to live like this. Thats terrible for me as I cry still every day for him. I miss him so much at times its really too hard to bare.
And last , Thank you to every one for all your stories.! For they are real stories which are incredibly filled with passion and extreme love you have and had for your pets and animals. Also thank you to Ms Adrienne Janet Farricelli for your web site and advice to all . Please allow this to be posted even though its a different kind of story it is a VERY REAL story and I am trying to find my way with advice on my particular situation. And most of all I thank my much missed and beloved beagle dog Mikey for all your love. Might God give you and every one peace of mind and heart. I love you MIke. signed, Dad
Rita on March 13, 2018:
My yorkie can't hear or see very well she loss her parter of 15 yrs he had to be put asleep due to a stroke, she 15 now and all she does is sleep.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 31, 2017:
Keith, sounds like you are in a very difficult situation. You can look for help and see if there are any options to re-home her to trustful home. Is she an old dog?
Keith on December 16, 2017:
I am not currently worried about my dog's quality of life, I am worried about mine. She gets me to take her outside, then comes in and poops, or pees. It happens every day. I am taking care of my disabled wife, and the dog is stressing me to the limits. I am afraid I will hurt her. I do not want to put her down, are there any alternatives?
pineapple23 on February 13, 2017:
My 16 and a half yr old border collie was diagnosed with liver disease 3 years ago and was given 2 months to live. But diet and TLC brought her round. I fear we are losing the battle now though. Her liver numbers are on the up again as are her kidney numbers. She is wobbly and not eating well. In the past few months she has had two seizures,. The last one was terrible.
I keep thinking 'Now is the time' but then she will surprise me by wanting to play tug with a stick or run (albeit wobbly) after the dog next door. I am now in a no man's land of terrible indecision. It is easy to say 'Better a week too soon than a day too late'. If I had followed that mantra when we were given no hope 3 years ago, she would have missed out on 3 years of quality life.
This is the problem. We aren't to know if it is a week, a month, or a year too soon. Or in my case - 3 years. I don't for one minute she has 3 years ahead of her now. But she could have a month, 6 months or more.
At what point does the 'now better than later' decision kick in? Especially when they are still showing interest in life.
Such a difficult time....
Ridge on February 12, 2017:
So long to my Golden Daisy. She wants to stick around but the cancer just isn't letting her. 12 years old, had her for 10. Sweet dog. Sweet girl.
Sandra on February 06, 2017:
I'm stuck. My nearly 14 yr old chihuahua Nemo has Cushings disease. His poor body is in bad shape. If you google cushings he has every symptom. His only excitement is eating. About the only reason for him to get up and move. He's urinating in the house and unable to get off the deck to do his other. He doesn't want to be held. I can hear him breathe. I think it's time. He's been my wonderful confidante. I've tried to give him a good doggy life and think he would agree. I wish it could be done for me when it's time. I read a lot of these articles and feel their pain.
Waya on January 28, 2017:
After reading this, I am afraid I made the wrong decision and the guilt is overwhelming me. Having a hard time with it. Makes me absolutely hate myself, and there is nothing to ease the gut-wrenching sorrow. Love your furry babies while you have them. Each day with them should be cherished.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 04, 2017:
Sounds more like old dog vestibular disease, please see your vet so he can give you ideas on how this can be treated and prognosis. Usually, it's time when there are more bad days than good, but it's ultimately a personal choice. Owners know their dog best and can tell if their dogs are still enjoying life.
Joan Simpson on January 01, 2017:
I wrote about my 15 yr old poodle who has been blind and deaf for the last two years and functioned pretty well. Just before Christmas I think he had a stroke. Legs are weak and his head leans to the right. Daily he has had a seizure and loses his urine at that time. Not eating much but drinks water a couple times a day. I plan on taking him to the vet tomorrow. I feel that it is time to put him to sleep. He was always so full of life even though he is blind and deaf. Am I doing the right thing?
heythere26 on December 04, 2016:
This is about my cat but it could apply to a dog as well. I was heartened to see that after reading your article Kasey felt confident in her decision that the time had not come for her dog.
Unfortunately I had the opposite pressure to euthanize my cat even though he was still eating, pain was controlled and he was mobil.
Hopefully IF I encounter the same situation with a vet intent on premature euthanasia I won't end up giving the vet permission to do something I will soon regret.REGRET EUTHANASIA
Because of Dr. Kevin’s defense of a vet in this clinic to refuse to euthanize a pet that appeared healthy I arrived at the clinic with confidence that given the current state of I’m Here Max I would leave with some helpful herbs.
My treating vet and I were in agreement that I'm Here Max would have his usual quality of life with the administration of pain medication due to an inoperable cancer which had spread to his jaw.
He was never a playful cat during his estimated thirteen years, nor much of a lap cat .He liked to warm himself by the heater and meowed only in the morning when he wanted his wet food. He used the cat litter without urging and his weight had stabilized when medication for hyperthyroidism was started. In short, other than being in the house most of the time rather than being mostly outside and sleeping more due to the pain medication his life was much the same as before cancer of the jaw progressed.
I didn't find it a problem to wipe the occasional drool but he started to bleed on the left side of his gum line two days before the appointment I had made with the holistic vet to obtain herbal medication to slow the cancer in his jaw.
As I recall when I asked if anything could be done about his bleeding from his jaw by removing the three teeth which had become loose, the vet told me that the cat would lose his teeth on his own so she wouldn't remove them but had good results with jaw removal.
I had stated from the beginning that I didn't want jaw removal, radiation or chemo so I'm not sure why the subject was brought up because she did state that this wasn't an option at this point.
I had not brought I’m Here Max on a 45 mile trip to discuss Euthanasia. The vet I saw brought up the subject and seemed intent on having me agree that this was the only humane thing to do.
Much as I would miss him and that he required no more care than a well cat I bought into the guilt trip that I was being selfish to keep him alive when he had a terminal cancer.
That day I was initially relieved that I'm Here Max would be safe from any future suffering due to my "selfish desire" to keep him alive for an estimated 1 month or so.
It was less than two hours later that I realized that I had made a decision that was neither good for my cat, I'm Here Max, or for me.
I had pain medication on hand and an 24 hour Emergency Clinic within a half hour drive with an indoor cat who NEVER meows so I felt confident he would let me know, if I missed other signs that the time had come. In addition I had him under the care of a vet who supported hospice as a good option for I'm Here Max and me.
While others may not have the same support I had, I also had to contend with other opinions that "You're being selfish to keep your cat alive in pain" and "You can't tell when your cat is in pain".
I believe that I’m Here Max would be still alive, albeit for not much longer, if I hadn’t made that trip for herbal advice and hadn’t allowed myself to be hooked into a guilt trip that I would cause suffering to my cat if I didn’t comply with what the vet had suggested as the moral thing to do.
How would I have liked this appointment to go?
Well as I had stated that surgery, chemo and radiation was out and that I wanted a holistic vet to confer with my vet on alternative treatment in the care of my cat with terminal cancer. I would have liked the vet to support my efforts to keep my cat as long as possible until it was obvious to ME and the treating vet that the time had come.
I would have liked her to note that I’m Here Max had gained weight, was eating on his own although less at a time and more often, walked from the living room to the litter box in the hall, and was paid attention to and to .
My cat wanted nothing more after being examined than to get in his carrier and be safe. Unfortunately I fell for the guilt trip and agreed with the vet, initially greatly relieved to believe I had done the right thing.
Two hours or so later I was greatly saddened as I realized that “putting my cat to sleep” was the wrong decision for me. It was the wrong decision for I’m Here
If the pet is not in pain don't let this guilt trip influence your decision to end his life sooner than it needs to be
While sick cats find hiding places healthy cats do too.
Cats aren't silent in pain. They want YOU to do something,
Euthanasia can NEVER be undone.
I would hope that when someone appears at this clinic with a cat that is currently eating, mobile, using the cat litter even if the cat has a terminal illness, that the vet will focus on what the client is here for so that there will be no regrets of ending a pet’s life sooner than it needs to be.
This would apply to a dog as well who has a terminal illness.
Along with your article I hope relating my experience will give a pet owner who finds themselves in my position to gather up their pet for however more time is left with a reasonable quality of life and bring that pet home
Kasey on July 15, 2016:
I love your articles. You obviously love animals and they are one of your passions. I do too. I will note that this article my lead people to hang on to their pets longer than they should. Is your dog lying in his body waste? Is he so dehydrated that you may need to inject fluid under the skin? Do you need to force feed your animal so that they get nutrition and eat? I have an old dog myself. He is about fourteen. He has swollen gums on each side athisvery back bottom teeth. I'm sure thats painful and I have to have them removed. Its very costly. Until then I've been giving him antibiotic occasionally to keep infection out and pain down. My dog also has arthritis. But after reading this article I definitely know that it's not time for him. One man commented on here that he couldn't love without his dog. That was sad for him and the dog. If your dog seems more unhappy and Not energetic then more than likely it's time.
Joan on July 03, 2016:
Thank you so much for all comments. I am facing the big decision now. My Yorkie has cancer and still eating and renting but sleeping a lot. He has lost a lot of weight and the vet said it was a fast cancer that spreads quickly,
Thank you all
Dog lover on May 08, 2016:
For Paisley, check out these home remedies for dogs with liver problems:
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 08, 2016:
Poor Paisley, it's so sad when our dogs age and start getting sick! Sending you positive thoughts and strenght.
william on May 06, 2016:
My little girl Paisley, shes a shih tzu and has been with me for 10 years. We do everything together and now we found out her liver is failing and I'm going to loose her. I can' get up in the morning with out seeing her or even want to. It's more pain than I've ever known, im 66 and all I can do is cry each day. Love is a four legged word. Please say a prayer for Paisley and to give me the streintgh to do the right thing when the time is on us, bless you all Love William and Paisley
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 28, 2016:
This is the toughest decision most of us dog owners must make at one time or another. I am glad to hear this article at least helped you out.
Mickey & Crash on February 28, 2016:
My loyal companion 10 yr old Great Pyrenees has been diagnosed with multiple tumors on neck hip and abdomen. Surgery would only be exploritive; considering his age. I also was given euthenasia as a peaceful alternative. I have bawled and begged others for advice. Ultimately I googled my concerns and found this page. Can't say thank you enough. I felt selfish for wanting to prolong his time with me. He has had more good days than bad. He has been barking and wagging his tail more than not, so I am going to hold on a little longer. I pray we will reunite past the rainbow bridge. He is my best friend and has shown me more love than any human. Thank you again.
Kerri on September 21, 2015:
My beloved Princess is 11 now. She has been the best ever! We got her at 4 weeks, and have had many great and joyous years. She's had some arthritis issues with her back end but mostly healthy. About a month ago she started acting funny, slowing down and in the last couple weeks has stopped eating and now isn't drinking either. She has lost so much weight is weak and has raspy labored breathing. Never before has she pottied in the house and the last week when I get up for work she has gone on the floor. She is sad and I know she has "the look" in her eyes as if she's saying "I'm tired mom." I am SICK over losing her and not sure how we are going to cope without her or how I will try to detach from our other dogs for fear of going through this again. I've cried for the last 2 days. I made the call this morning, kept the kids home (they want to be there with her for her final moments). We go at 3:15 and the time is going so quick. My husband wants to prolong the end but she is suffering. I will always wonder in the back of my head if I should've waited it out. She's not vocalizing any pain but she's slow to get up and that's if we can get her to get up at all. I am so sorry for everyone who has experienced this and hope that I can eventually get passed the guilt and the empty sick feeling in my heart. I LOVE YOU MY PRINCESS AND ALWAYS WILL
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 26, 2015:
What a wonderful age your beloved Pookie has reached! Cherish all those wonderful memories. So sorry you must go through this. Sounds like you enjoyed a wonderful time together.
patti on August 26, 2015:
my pookie is 16.5 yrs old he was diagnosed with canine dementia hes blind,can't stand to eliminate falls over in stool and lays in it, bloody stools,so difficult to come this decision never had a dog i have 2 bicheons and pookie is my boy! He will be going to rainbow heaven tommorrow he has left paw prints on my heart forever!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 20, 2015:
My heart goes out to you during this difficult time. I too believe that once our pets separate from their ailed, old physical bodies, they can finally live pain free and watch us from the above.
Marilyn on August 20, 2015:
I too wanted to thank you for the article on euthanasia. We had to put lu lu down. She was thirteen diabetic needing two injections a day she hated it. She then became blind and really never adjusted to it. We have cried until our eyes burn. I am sure that there is a heaven for special dogs and finally she can see.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 23, 2014:
I think it's just never a good time for us, we want our dogs to live long and never leave us. It's sad their lives are so short. I can't recall a time I was ever satisfied of the time frame of the passing of my pets. I always wanted more. Please, another week, please another day, please more hours. It's the biggest downside of owning pets, but we must also cherish all and joy they filled our lives for many years and for this we will be eternally grateful.
Ardeth on April 23, 2014:
My Sheltie is nearly 16. He has been the best dog we have ever had. He cannot see or hear anymore but he is still eating and sometimes runs around like a puppy. It's not time yet, but I fear it will come sooner than I want it to.
The article was very good.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 06, 2013:
Suzanne, it's never easy. I am sorry Dukey is going through this.
Suzanne on May 05, 2013:
Doing searches to help confirm my decision for my almost 15 year old Golden Retriever Dukey. He can't get up, he can't walk. I raise his back end to help him walk and relieve himself.. its becoming too hard. Since he can't get up and walk around the house, he just lies in one spot all day, nearly 24 hours.. but with not a lot of cash to spend ... hoping I can find a vet who can facilitate. Thank you for this article and for the dozens of comments.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 27, 2013:
Putting down a dog is never easy. Please don't feel guilty. If it makes you feel better, please keep in mind that vocalizations are normal and respiratory gasps may take place a minute or two after the loss of consciousness. This is not evidence of pain in the dog or consciousness, it's only a physiological response occurring when the brain is deprived of circulation.
katiee on April 27, 2013:
I have been crying the whole time I've read all the comments its been hard reading due to i cant see with all the tears welling up in my eyes.It has been 6 month since i put my best and loyal pug tubby down . he was 11 and a half . He had terrible allergies that caused his body to rash into scabs on his belly and neck . he had to eat special food and was on alot of expencive meds.he began to have tumor growths on his legs. when he was three months old he was very lethargic . I took him to a drs appointment i was told by two different vet hospital drs that tubby would have a very short life 3 weeks to 3 months was his life span. i was told i could take him to WSU and the doctors there may be able to help him . he had a shunt his body was basically poisioning itself. I was told no guarantees to save his life and if he only had one shunt he would fine but if they found more no promises . the surgery was done and only one shunt . his quality of life was extended . I was so happy i cried even after the surgery when everything was good. during the time i put my tubby down i went threw a divorce of 24 years i had to sell my dream home and my dog was not going to adjust to a move his eyes were going bad and he always had free rain in the house and yard .his last month he would always feel his way around . and slept a bit more . he still had a spark of life in him but as my life was going i just knew he would not be able to adjust in hotels after the house sold . i decided to give him piece and put him down .I have regrets of putting him down when i did he let out the saddest sigh ever like awww no . It haunts me! My daughter was with me and says it also bothers her she said she watched his face and the memories of it are awful . we are both christian and continue to pray however whenever we speak of him we both cry. i feel like i should be over some of the grieving process but i am not . I feel so guilty and i miss him so much . i was a stay home mom for the most part of 24 years and tubby followed me every where and i mean ever where .
LuMon on July 10, 2012:
I lost my best friend to lung cancer. She was 14 and 9 mos. I had all tests done to confirm the cancer before she rested peacefully. She will forever be in my heart and i feel like all my memories of her are good ones. Please you know your dog. If they are not feeling well act quickly. Cancer acts quickly once there is symptoms. Don't let your animal suffer. i had to go to another vet hospital to get her quicker tests. i was not willing to let her wait. She was not eating an couldve starved to death had I waited for these doctors. Within one week of her first cough and knowing she had this horrible illness I gave her peace and i will see my best friend again one day!!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 30, 2012:
What a wonderful dog and what a wonderful life you have given this boy!
Esther on April 30, 2012:
Today is the hardest day of My Life :'( My 15 1/2 year old Border Collie. The Man of my life! best friend!! soul mate for years. been through all My & (Children's)up and down! of life. I got My Little man, Cheeko at 3 month old. what a great joy He brought My Children. Now for the past three years he has been dealing with bad hips, hard to go up and down stairs, can not walk far, has water around his heart & lungs, has heart mumer,can not hear,he was peeing blood in his urine, had infection. his narrowing in his throuth is shrinking :( through all this his been such great dog in the three years of all this, then year 6 month's ago he got lump on his gums! more awful news cancer of his gums, now has spread to the roof of his mouth, hard to eat treat all has to be soft, bleeding pain now sleeps all day, the coughing breathing is getting so hard :( I see Cheeko suffering, but He does not want to show it seems to go on his own to deal with the coughing gaging vomit. This is breaking My Heart and my Soul Mate, Cheeko's Pappa, Best Buddy!Is also finding this hard! to see Cheeko gaging hacking struggling Is so very hard for Us.So today is the day after a very hard weekend, whatching Our Cheeko going through all this and on so much med's his on is not helping him any more. He take pills for his heart, pills for cough, pills for the water around his lungs and heart, pills for pain & for the cancer infection for bad breath and bleeding!! :( My poor little Cheeko the Man :( I think,& talking with My Partner,love of My life now, & My Three Wounderful Children it is time to let Our Little Man Cheeko can Rest In Peace :( still in all Our Heart, be in our home forever! Never forgotten, always been so loved, by His Family, Nonnoies, Friends! We Love You CHEEKO The Man XO
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 25, 2012:
I do believe there is a heaven for dogs! My hub on dog euthanasia has a beautiful poem and video of rainbow bridge, you can see it here:
ali on January 24, 2012:
I just had to put my 11 years old Cocker spaniel to sleep. She was suffering from a liver disease. She was under all kind of antibiotics for two weeks. Her liver was torn apart form the disease and antibiotics. I don't even know how to start tomorrow. I always started my day with greeting her and taking her out for a walk.
Everywhere I go is a memory. God help me through these nights.
Is there a heaven for dogs? I certainly hope so.
You know, She and her memories were part of my life on this earth. Now that she is gone, part of my life is gone.What happened to that now missing part of my life?
Carolyn on January 03, 2012:
Today is one of the saddest days of my life. Chelsea, my shepard mix can't stand any more. Her back legs won't hold her up and there is sadness in her eyes. Arthritis and 15 years have taken a toll on her. She's a fiesty one with mind of her own. All she really wanted was love and understanding. I'm not degrading her 1st 3 owners, but maybe a kinder hand would have made her a different dog. When she growled at me I would put my arms around her neck and my head next to hers and hug her and told her how much I loved her. I became her "Mom" when my mom needed back surgery in 2006. Mom adopted her in 8/2003 and my mom didn't want her to go back to the shelter (Chelsea had spent too many days and nights there)so she became my second "girl". She became Holly's best friend. Holly is my shepard mix. Holly was younger (only about 15 mons) bigger and had a lot more energy than Chelsea. Chelsea got a concussion because Holly tried to play too roughly. But Holly always looked out for Chelsea. If Chelsea wandered too far in the yard, Holly would be right nest to her. At the vet's, Holly would check Chelsea after the vet was done to make sure that she was OK. This is my tribute to my "Cupcake". She will meet my other "loves" at the rainbow bridge. Spike and Kazooty and K.C., Scruffy and Pumpkin(Chelsea was never fond of cats, but I know they will all get along in heaven)will romp and play together and exchange stories of their lives with me. Chelsea I love you and will miss your dog dance to distract Holly so you could steal her treat. The last 5 1/2 years of my life have been better because of you. Chase those deer and lay in the sun. I love you.
sam on December 29, 2011:
Hi . Im sitting here with my boy. Ben who is a 17 yr old staffy . What an amazing boy he has been , my best friend allways there to wag his tail when I come home from work . Unfortunatly old age is taking its toll on him . After reading all the posts on here last night I made the decision to take him to the vets today . Ive cried for several days at the thought of letting him go . But I love him so much I cant afford to be selfish , he is struggling to walk and off his food he even looks sad , doesn't want to go for walks anymore and I dnt want him loose his dignity , and certainly dont want to watch him fade away before my eyes , its been a tough decision and man tears have been shed , my daughter who is an only child would tell people she had a brother called ben lol , but forget to mention he was a dog which brought many smiles to people , what a character he has been , the most amazing boy . I love him dearly and will have many more tearsto shed . But thank you for the comfort I received when reading im not alone . Thinking of all who have to make this decision . Just think of you're little friend and you will make the right decision , sam x
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 06, 2011:
So sorry your Sheba is going through all this. I know it is overwhelming, and having worked for a vet, I have seen the toughest looking guys break down because it hurts, and our dogs bring out all our emotions because they accept as for who we are and we have no fear showing our true emotions to them.
If you are considering putting her to sleep, consider that some vets may also come to your home for the procedure. Many vets recommend bringing the other dog so he/she can accept death and sniff it, rather than carrying on looking for their faithful companion around the house. Ask your vet on their policies about bringing other pets. It is tough, one of the toughest decisions most dog owners make but unfortunately, one that eventually all dog owners will have to make at one point or another.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 30, 2011:
Rebecca, I am so sorry, I really cannot give you advice on this. It is ultimately something you will have to decide. All I can say is that many owners claim their dogs gave them ''signs'' that they were ready to go.
Rebecca on November 30, 2011:
Also he still eats although his become fussy and he still smells things but thats about all he can do he hasn't wagged his tail in about a year :-(
Rebecca on November 30, 2011:
I have a 18 year old male staffy (cross)i love him soo much im 22 and ive known him since I was 6 ive grown up with him but he is blind and deaf he needs help everytime to get up he crys and he wonders around like his stressed he has got a tumour but its not cancerious should I put him down? I love him and its going to be soo sad amd I wanted to get through one last christmas with him or am I just being selfish should I put him down? I just feeel really bad about doing it
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 23, 2011:
When dogs lose their vision and hearing, they sort of become apprehensive and very clingy. I do not know how long it may take to adjust to this new situation but I would imagine it may take some time. I will refer you to a website that offers tips for blind/deaf dogs:
Alicia on November 23, 2011:
Our beautiful 13 year old shih tzu Rocky , has become totally blind and we believed also kind of deaf, and is constantly barking. He had some kidney disease that was property treated.
We are doing everything recommended to try to ease his blindness. His appetite is very good and he wiggle his tail when he hears our voice but will not follow any order. We use several commands but shih tzu are rather cuter than intelligent and most of the time it takes forever for them to learn a command.
After reading your beautiful words I know this are not goo days for him . He needs somebody to be with him 24/7 to reassure him, which we are trying to do. How long does it usually takes for a dog to know his way around his home? In the meanwhile, for the last week, he is constantly laying down, will walk only if forced, and is constantly barking and I don't know what to do , how much time should I give him to adapt to his knew situation?, thanks for your advice
Cricket - Born July 10th 2001Nov on November 15, 2011:
Our cricket was 10 years and 4 months when he died. He had a Tumor which burst opened. We took him to the Vet they suggested to take it our but no guarantees as it could come back. Cricket also had a tumor on his hip plus several mini ones. We were dressing his wound on the opened tumor every day plus giving him the antibiotics which was prescribed by our Vet. Our little baby was breathing heavy on firday night and slowly he was leaving us but made sure he did say good bye to every one of us. He was such a nice Angel which could not be replaced but the blodd did not stop . did start bleeding where the Vet has
Rodolfo on November 09, 2011:
I had to put down my Rhodesian Ridgeback who had a brain tumour.I knew his time had come because he was so lethargic and didn't even want to go on his beloved walks anymore.i cried.what a beautiful breed of dog in appeearance and personality.
Patty on November 03, 2011:
Our 20 year old pappion seems ready to be at the end of her life. The articles have been very helpful. Now we have to make the decision that will be so painful. Little Angel is a rescue dog we got when she was 8 years old. She was terribly abused and looked like a drowned rat. Her companion, Ginger was 6 mo. old, when we got Angel,but we had to put Ginger down in Feb of this year at the age of 12. Angel has never been the same. We will give her all the love and attention right up to her last day.
Danielle on October 15, 2011:
Alexdry - thank you for this and your other articles on euthanasia. I have been through this once before with our beloved black Labrador "Snowy" who lasted til a ripe old age of 17. I have been haunted with the feeling that perhaps we 'called it' a little too soon. While she was not really moving from her bed, she still had a 'spark'. Now, though, my 15 year old big Bichon Frise "Lucky" has his spine giving in. He is on steroid anti-inflam and I am praying he will respond over the next week. If not, I know the decision is coming thick and very fast. Your advice: "they will tell you when they are ready" is so helpful. I think I know the look. I will wait for him to tell me. To all pet owners on the forum agonising over this moment - bless you all for caring. Your pets have had a charmed and loved life. Remember that, rather than their last moments.
janice on October 04, 2011:
I have just finished reading all the comments about people having to put their beloved dogs done.iI to have a wonderful little dog name Brucie.He is a dandy dinmont terrier.He's 14 yrs. old and has cancer of the lung,bladder stones,diabetes and has lost his eye sight.the vet calls him a miracle dog.he is not eating well and is depressed.Reading all of the little stories about every one else and their little guys and girls has made me realize that the time is getting very close.I to have prayed and ask father God to take my little guy so i don't have to make that decision,but i know that i will know when the time is right after reading all the other comments.And I know how hard that decision will be.thanks to all of you.
Cindy on September 21, 2011:
I had to make the most heart breaking appointment today and I'm in tears as I type this. Our 13 yr old pug, Winston, will be put down on Friday at 4;30 P.M. He has been in failing health and is diabetic, he has numerous tumors & no bladder or bowel control. His hearing and eyesight are gone and his joints have knots on them from arthritis that makes it difficult for him to walk. I know that to prolong his life & the misery he is in is selfish. After reading all the grief that others are feeling and after actually listing all the things Winston has to deal with, I have come to a peaceful conclusion that what I must do is right. Thank you for making the information in your article available. Thank you for giving people the opportunity to write about their grief and being able to share it with others.
Re on September 11, 2011:
My husband and I put our 81/2 year old blue nose Mystique to sleep yesterday.I'm having a hard time with guilt.She had a rare pancreas cancer,had surgery but it didn't work.We had her in predison and it help but also made it hard.We feed and gave her sugar shots to help with her glucose every two hours.Kept her comfy.
It's hard cause she would look at us with so much love.She would wag her tail(not as much as before)but she would just lay around all day.She would eat and drink.But she'd have trouble walking and started falling every time she went potty.Her breathing was short and she sounded congested.I just need someone to say I did the right thing..my heart is broken.She just looked at us when she left this world so sad.I love you Mystique and I'm so sorry baby.I just didn't want you to suffer.Was it the right time?My vet said it was the best thing we could do...but I'm doubting myself.:(
Donna on August 25, 2011:
Hayley our Golden Retriever has been with us for 13.5 years and was diagnosed with cancer 4 months ago. She has been a beautiful and loyal friend to us, our other dogs, cats, kids and grandkids. Tomorrow we will let her go. We know she will be a doggie angel waiting for us on the Rainbow Bridge. We only hope that we are worthy. Going to miss you sweetie!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 09, 2011:
It is extremely difficult to come to terms with a dog getting close to the end. Try to cherish the most you can these days, and when he is gone, be fond of his memories. Remember dogs live in the moment, so try to live your days with him to the fullest. Best wishes.
Rebecca on August 08, 2011:
My dog, Ferdi is a lovely golden cocker spaniel who was bought for me when I was a five year old by my parents. He's been my best friend ever since. I'm 19 now, and he's 14. He's not really himself anymore, he doesn't respond to his name being called or any noise for that matter. I don't think he can see that well. He doesn't do much other than sleep. He still get's very excited about going on walks though, and when he notices me coming back through the front door when i've been away at university for a while he runs at me as if he was 2 again - with such excitement that he pushes me to the ground and licks me madly. He has got a little aggressive and bit me for the first time in his life last week (but then followed me about for the rest of the day guiltily). What hurts so much is that I am scared to even give him a hug now, because he's been very grumpy. Sometimes he seems bright & happy, and other times he seems very depressed & just stares at the floor or sleeps. He still drinks, and he still eats. I can tell my parents are considering putting him down but I know that its not time to say goodbye yet, he still has life to live and he still has days where anyone could mistake him for a puppy. But I know the time is getting closer. I think I know him better than anyone in my family. The thing is, even the thought of him not being here makes me break-down. I know it's stupid but I think somewhere in me I just thought he's always be here. I can't remember a time without him, and I don't want to be in a time without him. It really will be like I'm losing a family member, my best friend. It's like this quote:
"A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine. A dog judges others not by their color or creed or class but by who they are inside. A dog doesn't care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his."
I have been through quite a lot in the last couple of years, I've lost people close to me. But nothing will prepare me for losing Ferdi.
Laura on August 04, 2011:
Thank you so much for the sensitive, insightful article; it helped me regain my rationality at a time when my heart seems to be dictating everything. After months of putting it off, I'm putting my puppy boy to sleep tomorrow. He's 12 with hip dysplasia and seizures. I still remember the day I found him whimpering on my doorstep, abandoned. We clicked right away, and I was the only person he ever really trusted. I still can't believe I'm doing this, but to prolong his suffering is wholly selfish of me. All the thoughtful comments are reassuring me that I'm doing the right thing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 17, 2011:
We always recommended to have somebody accompany for euthanasia appointments, any way you can have a friend come with you? I am sure your dog will not be angry with you, she will leave this world peacefully and finally leave the pain behind. She had a long life with you, cherish her memories, sending a virtual hug.
joanne harding on July 16, 2011:
I too have had to make this very difficult decision. I just hope it's the right one at this time. My 12 yr old beagle was dx w/kidney failure this week. Her blood results are all very high. She won't eat and seems depressed. She sleeps more and is incontinent, I can live w/ that but not sure I can w/out her. I will be taking her to the vet this morning-by myself and don't know if I can go thru w/it. Just had to do the same w/my cat 6 months ago. She had a tumor in her neck that spread into her mouth and eventually effected her eye-there was no other choice-was very sudden. I am struggling w/the fact that I will not see my beagle's big brown eyes and switching tail as I arrive home from work everyday. I hope she will not be angry w/me as I hope I am making the right decision for her. I dread the look I will get from her as she enters her eternal sleep.
YadiG on March 14, 2011:
I'm also struggling with letting my 11yr old Cocker Spaniel go as he has Thyroid and although he's eating and still active - i don't want to put him through an intense and expensive surgery if he may not survive it. I feel sooo hurt, but at the same time is it wrong that i feel i should put him down? I'm sooo confused! I've been cleaning after him since December when this i found out about his condition. I've been in out of the vet with him getting that area drained and getting antibiotics. I can't take it anymore as he continues to bleed from that area and 1) i feel horrible and 2) its a $4k surgery, i can't afford and has no guarantee that he will survive it or Thyroid will go away for good. :(
meredith crosby on February 28, 2011:
Thank you for this article, my nine year old pitbull StellaBlue and I are faced with this horrible situation. She was diagnosed with lung cancer on Saturday after almost not making it through the night Thursday because she could not breathe. She will not play with my other dog, will not let me take her on a walk, just goes to the bathroom and comes back inside to lay down. She is eating and drinking but not dog food- she has always loved people food. Your article helped me to understand she is on her way to needing to be put down. I think every dogs quality of life is different, mine loves to play, she cannot anymore- It is just so hard to make the right decision, I hope and pray she goes in her sleep but in the back of my mind I know I am going to have to make the decision for her because she will fight for me forever- still do not know what is right but I am getting closer to knowing what is best and right for stella
Brad on February 03, 2011:
Thankyou so much for this article. I had to put my dog Mitch down tonite. He has been such a loyal friend for the last 14 years. Unfortunately in the last few years he has gone deaf and started having seizures, where he would lose control of his legs and become severely disoriented. They would normally only last 2-3 minutes. The vet checked him over and apart from that he was in great condition. Last week he had a ten minute seizure and it took him a while to come right. The vet did warn us that most likely the seizures would become more frequent and longer. Tonite he had one that lasted nearly 30 minutes and during the seizure he also vomitted, urinated and deficated on himself. My wife and I discussed it and as much as I hated having to make the decision, I hated the thought even more of my best friend having one of these terrible seizures when we weren't around to help him. The vet was wonderful. I was a blubbering mess as I held him, thanked him for being such a wonderful friend and said goodbye as the vet administered the injection. He went to sleep peacefully in my arms. I will miss him and love him the rest of my days and I hope he is somewhere running around madly like he used to with his wonderful smile.
Thankyou again for this article. It gave me some assurance that as hard as it was to do it, it was the right thing to do.
sara on January 18, 2011:
After reading this article, my husband and I decided that it's finally time to put down our dear, sweet whippet, Alpha. He's been in renal failure for more than a year. He was doing pretty well until a few months ago when he began a steady decline. After reading this, I realized he can't much of anything that he once enjoyed. He can't dig in the garbage when we're out, he can't take walks, he can't jump on the couch...he can't even snuggle up with us as he doesn't have the strength or energy to move very much. I wake up in the night to check on him and turn him so that he doesn't get uncomfortable lying on one side for two long. I could barely speak when we called the vet, but we finally made an appointment for the day after tomorrow. I'm just sitting with him and petting him, and hope he knows how much we love him.
Jessica on January 09, 2011:
I don't know what to do. My 14 year old Border Collie was supposed to be healthy. She was at the vet a couple of months ago, blood and xray's came back perfectly healthy. She's gotten a little slower in old age, which is normal.
But this week we've been sleeping in the living room so she doesn't have to go upstairs because she's almost fallen down them a couple of times. As the week has gone by she's been getting worse. First her front legs were weak and then she wouldn't eat when she's always had a huge appetite and now she can't stand up by herself and her back legs are very weak. She always looks exhausted.
What I'm having trouble dealing with is that she's still alert, her eyes are clear and she's still drinking a lot of water. How am I supposed to take her to be put to sleep when she's looking at me like why did you bring me here? Her quality of life isn't good, she can't do anything she loved. She can't even stand up by herself and she can barely walk but her in her eyes she's still there.
paula15 on December 02, 2010:
had my wonderful dog Maisie put to sleep today.she was only 8,a german shepherd.i know i made the right decision but i miss her so much it hurts.she died in my arms and just before the injection went in she turned her head and licked my face,i hope she was saying thank you or i love you.i will miss you forever Maisie xxx
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 01, 2010:
Sorry, this is something only you can ultimately decide, to make a rational decision read my article above in its entirety and follow the link to the scale for getting an idea of her quality of life.
paula15 on December 01, 2010:
my 9yr old german shepherd has heart disease,cancer and a mammary tumour.the tumour can be removed but she suffers with her heart and weve got to the point where we cannot afford the drugs any more(£100) a month.i don't want to put her under anymore stress as she doesn't like the vets or strangers,so we haven't had the tumour removed.she is still eating,wants affection and sometime plays but has alot of trouble with her breathing,the tumour is now huge would it be kinder to put her to sleep
Although it might seem highly subjective to think we can determine the quality of life for our companions this term is used quite often by veterinarians and studies were made to assess the happiness of a pet. Let us find out what the criteria are for this and learn more about how to measure the quality life for your pet.
The thing we consider when wondering if a pet is happy is whether or not he has enough food but there are some pets in which the ability to eat is hindered (or the appetite), so we should instead ask ourselves “can the pet consume enough food?”
Mobility, and the lack of it, is much more problematic for a pet than it is for a human being. If a pet can’t move due to age or lose the ability to jump this is one degree of the problem, but if all the actions are impaired then you should be certain that you aren’t looking at a happy pet.
Relationships are really important especially when it comes to canines since they are really social animals and if they have no company, either human or animal, then they will lack one of the most significant elements of a life, namely interaction. They might be healthy enough to play but if there is no one to play with what is the point?
Healthy and happy animals usually like to play with the persons they care about and their disposition for this activity should be indicative of their overall mood and disposition. When their attitude changes there might be some physical problem that makes them feel uncomfortable, so make sure you are paying attention to their behavior.
Discomfort is something that animals usually try to hide as a defense mechanism so it might be difficult to notice that something is wrong. A change in posture or expression will give the pain away as well as their tendency to stay in their safe place more than is normal.
They do this because they want to be less exposed to other animals when they feel vulnerable. See if they act as they usually did when you touch them and check on their breathing as well as all the things mentioned above.
These are the most important elements that define a pet’s quality of life and it is used by veterinarians to determine the outcome of elderly, sick of injured pets which might have to go through serious struggles to get better.
To help determine the quality of life for your pet, VIP Vet Visit created a Quality of Life Calculator for dogs and cats that is very easy to use and simple to understand. The quiz below will ask you 6 questions that cover the main areas of your pet’s daily life, including: mobility, eating, drinking, interaction, elimination and interest. There will be 3 choices to choose from for each question. Each choice is assigned a point value. The calculator will add up all of the point values based on your answer to each question in order to determine your pet’s overall quality of life score.
This quiz is an objective test to help provide you with additional insight on your pet’s overall condition, more clarity on what you should do and greater reassurance for your decision during a time that is often very difficult and confusing.
Your pet’s quality of life is being managed appropriately.
Your pet’s diseases are completely under control. You are doing a wonderful job keeping them comfortable with the best quality of life possible. Continue to monitor your pet for changes in comfort and speak with your veterinarian about your specific concerns for their overall Quality of Life now and for the future.
Your pet’s quality of life could use some help.
Your pet could benefit from additional medication or therapies. Changes in environment and enrichment could make a large impact on their Quality of Life. Speak to your veterinarian about your concerns and areas of your pet’s life that could use some improvement. Your veterinarian will help you make any necessary changes to your pet’s medical therapies, environment, and enrichment.
Your pet’s quality of life is poor.
Your pet is suffering. Additional therapies will improve their quality of life slightly and for a short period of time. Now is the time to begin the process of saying goodbye to your furry family member. It is better to be a day too early than a second too late. We here at VIP Vet Visit believe that their last day with us should be one of their best days.
Once you have read through the results from the Quality of Life Calculator and taken some time to digest the information, it’s time to plan your next step. Time may be critically important during these stages, so do not delay in getting the necessary help from your Veterinarian or setting up an appointment with them for further guidance.
Our hope is that you can move forward now with a better understanding of your pet’s health, so you can make the necessary preparations and maintain confidence within any of your decisions. If you still have questions or uncertainties, you can schedule a Quality of Life consultation (phone call or video call) with Dr. Karie Anne Johnson – the creator of this Quality of Life Calculator. Consultations are typically 30 minutes with time slots almost every day.
Sassafras Lowrey is an award-winning author and Certified Trick Dog Instructor. Sassafras’ books have been honored by organizations ranging from the American Library Association to the Lambda Literary Foundation.
The death of a dog is devastating to any owner. When you’re involved in dog sports and that dog is also your teammate, the loss can be even more profound. This autumn my beloved Champion Trick Dog Charlotte died after a very intense but short battle with thyroid cancer. Charlotte wasn’t an easy dog but, as many trainers will attest, it’s the challenging dogs that we learn from the most.
The final challenge was deciding when the right time was to end her pain. Assessing quality of life and making end of life decisions is difficult for all dog owners. But for those whose pets are also teammates, there is an extra layer of loss and grief. For some dogs, quality of life deteriorates quickly, while it occurs more slowly for others. Owner/handlers needs to be thoughtful, aware, and communicative with their veterinary care team about their dog’s quality of life.
Quality of life isn’t measured by just one ‘thing’ – it takes into account all of the parts of your pet’s mental and physical wellbeing. This means it can be difficult to measure.
Your vet can help you measure your pet’s quality of life. But your vet only sees your pet during an appointment, and they know you are best-placed to understand how they are getting on day to day.
If their quality of life is getting worse, this doesn’t always mean that it’s time to say goodbye. It’s always best to visit the vet if you notice a change in your pet, even if they already have a diagnosis of a serious illness. There may be other medications or management techniques to help your pet. If other options are not right for your pet, then your vet can give you guidance on when it might be time to say goodbye. The vet will only recommend this as a last resort, if they feel it would prevent your pet from further suffering.
You can use the pointers below to regularly check on your pet’s quality of life. It’s good to do this regularly as it can help you spot when things are starting to change
If the answers to many of these questions is yes, it’s a sign your pet is struggling. You can use these questions as a guide to see if their quality of life is changing. You may feel like you’re able to help them through the changes for a while longer or perhaps that it’s time to start thinking about euthanasia.
You also need to consider what is important from your individual pet’s point of view. If, at their best, they love to chase their ball then it will have greater impact on their wellbeing if they can’t do this anymore. Other pets may be fairly happy as long as they’re comfortable and not in pain, even though they can’t race around as well as before. As well as considering the questions above, make a list of your pet’s favourite activities. Think about whether your pet is able to do those activities as normal, less than normal but still acceptably, or not at all. It can help to keep a diary or a log to track changes over weeks, or even months.
However, there will always be grey areas and sometimes the answers to the questions can change. These questions aren’t designed to be exhaustive or give an easy answer - each pet is different. Their quality of life measurements are individual to their own circumstances.