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Putting a dog down


DawnM
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This is a "how do you know when?" post.

My dog has slowly gone downhill.   Currently she can barely make it up the stairs and sometimes falls/tumbles down and has to start again.   If I put up a baby gate she cries and barks incessantly to come up.   If I try to carry her, she nips/bites, I think because it is painful for her.   She has bad arthritis that meds don't seem to be helping much.   Her back legs are difficult to use, and she poops all over the place now.   She will pee outside, but she can't hold in her poop.   We are scrubbing the floor daily.   She can't see or hear much at all.   And I think she has dementia.   She will wander in circles and then stare at the wall.

We have seen a gradual change because she is ours, but I had a party at my house on Saturday and everyone there seemed shocked at how far she has deteriorated.   They all commented that she seems like she is in pain, even to walk around, and they all agreed it was time to start thinking of putting her down.

But when we went to the Vet, they gave us meds, and didn't say anything about end of life.   And I was in the car so I couldn't go in and talk to the Vet directly.

She is in here with me right now and it took her a few minutes to lie down as she couldn't get her back legs to cooperate.

#thisissohard

 

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(((Hugs)))

For me, pain that isn’t easily manageable is the line.

We had to put our cat down during covid, and my biggest concern was dropping him off in the parking lot. We were fortunate to find a mobile vet who (for not much more money) came to our house, masked, with us masked, to do it here while dh, dd, and I loved on him. (The cat, not the vet.). And then they hand delivered his ashes to our home.

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What you describe sounds a lot like the final days of our previous dog. He also had some liver and kidney issues, but really it was the arthritis that so badly affected his quality of life, even on Rimadyl and tramadol (and those certainly weren't helping his liver and kidneys). He couldn't make it up/down the stairs to the bedroom---and he'd slept in our bedroom since he was a wee puppy--and it scared him when DH carried him.

I think you've reached that time. I'm sorry.

We arranged for at-home euthanasia for that dog. It was so much easier than having it done at a vet's office, and that was pre-Covid. I do know that most of the vets around me are allowing people to come in for euthanasias now, so that might not be so bad (no crowded waiting rooms to walk through, etc.).

#itishard

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If a dog has suffering I can't help, it's time. Your dog has pain, and distress, and dementia which is also a form of distress. Also, dog's don't like messing in the house, so that's probably upsetting to him as well as you.  I'm so sorry. My old brain damaged border collie is walking that line right now as well. He can walk fine, and runs full out when outside, but he can't get up if he is on tile or laminate - which are all our floors. We currently have stick on carpet tiles on his main walkways, and sticky grippy things I put on his feet when I can (he has to be asleep) and most days that's enough. But on his bad days, he falls easily. For him, it is less painful though as it is a neurological problem more than arthritis. He just doesn't quite know where his back feet are, and when you add in muscle weakness he struggles. 

We have an offer in on a house with two floors and I have no idea how that will work. DH says he will carry him, and I think Luke would allow that, but Luke again is not in pain in the same way. 

Hugs. I'm sorry. But I know my dogs would protect me from suffering if they could, so it is my job, no matter how hard, to do the same for them. 

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Our vet also did not bring up putting our very old and suffering cat down either.  In our case, I think he assumed we were in "treatment mode" since we kept bringing her in when really we wanted an honest option of whether it was "time" or not.  We finally just decided on our own and the vet said they were glad we "finally" decided to let her go.  I was pretty angry as I think she suffered for weeks past when she should have.  It sounds like you know it is time.

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13 minutes ago, skimomma said:

Our vet also did not bring up putting our very old and suffering cat down either.  In our case, I think he assumed we were in "treatment mode" since we kept bringing her in when really we wanted an honest option of whether it was "time" or not.  We finally just decided on our own and the vet said they were glad we "finally" decided to let her go.  I was pretty angry as I think she suffered for weeks past when she should have.  It sounds like you know it is time.

🥵

My friend told me last night that her dog was similar and when she would go in, the Vet would tell her, "Oh, I think this is manageable, here, have her take these pills."   And then when she finally said, "Dr. Vet, I really think it is time to let her go" the Vet responded with, "Oh, yes, I can see that it is time to let her go."   Like a 180 based on the owner's opinion.

GRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I agree that it is time and I would never say that lightly. Unmanageable pain and discomfort and loss of bowl control (which I'm sure is very upsetting for her, too) would be enough for me to make the decision.

I am so, so sorry. I know how hard it is. FWIW, the last time I had to do it, my vet at the time didn't encourage me in my decision at all but I actually feel like I waited too long. I think they often just want to do everything possible but that is not always best for the animal.

Huge hugs to you. 

Edited by MercyA
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I think people often expect too much of vets. IME most will either carefully walk a neutral line or, if they are sure it's time (really bad blood work, specific terminal diagnosis, etc.), will give you a straight up answer if you ask them directly. But asking directly is the key. But unfortunately as we all know there aren't crystal balls for this decision. Frequently it does come down to day to day quality of life, and they aren't the ones living with the pet 24/7. Almost all dogs and cats will "mask" when in a vet's office, which is very stressful for them. So the vet often isn't seeing what we're seeing at home.

Edited by Pawz4me
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I'm sorry, but it's time. 

My experience in the last several years is that vets no longer say it's time because so many owners want them to perform miracles and keep their pets alive and freak out at the suggestion of putting the pet down. 

One vet who was more of a friend told me this himself when I was talking about quality of life vs longevity and he said he hated when people pushed him to do everything possible and that it was a thing that he had been seeing for years now and hearing from other vets the same thing.  Fast forward a few years and we've had to put down a couple of animals with two different vets and both vets offered treatment but the moment we shook our heads and said no and that it was time to say goodbye, they both seemed to relax. It was as if they knew it was time but were prepared to do whatever the treatment was.  I could swear that I saw one's shoulders drop a bit like "thank goodness".

So, it seems that unless we, the owner, brings it up, the vets won't. That troubles me because we pet owners look to our vets to be the voice of our pets and want to know when it's time, so I feel like their silence is actually harming animals by not only prolonging their illnesses, but putting them through treatments that cause them stress & pain.

I'm sorry, Dawn. It is so hard.

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This spring our 20 year old cat seemed near the end of his life and the vet didn’t bring up euthanasia until we did. So like three visits in. I felt like they were waiting for us to be ready when they should have been more focused on the cat being ready. Perhaps your vet is the same. My sister had the same experience with her dog this year- we all felt it was time but until she brought it up to the vet it wasn’t discussed much.

‘We opted for at home euthanasia and it was a perfect choice for us. 

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Sending gentle hugs. I know how difficult this is for you.

 

If it helps...we have decided that when our silver muzzle (14.5 years) has trouble controlling his bowel movements and daily floor clean up and sanitizing become the norm as opposed to sporadic, that's when we'll take him in. Or if he becomes aggressive and we begin to wonder about safety concerns (nowhere near this yet as he remains gentle and calm).

This is where we are now. It might change

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I hope you don't mind me jumping on this thread as I am struggling about our oldest dog too.  We lost one earlier in the year as it was very obvious it was her time but this one is just not clear cut.  I don't think it is time yet.  He isn't in obvious pain but he is a big guy and has very poor use of his back legs due to spine issues.  He was losing control of his bowels about once every three months, now it is weekly.   Again, the biggest thing to me is he doesn't seem to be in constant pain, just every once in a while.   But he struggles so much getting around as his back legs just don't work.  I hate it for him.  He is such a sweet guy but due to his size we aren't able to carry him.  He is still so happy so to me as long as he isn't in pain, I don't feel it is time.   Agree?

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10 minutes ago, zimom said:

I hope you don't mind me jumping on this thread as I am struggling about our oldest dog too.  We lost one earlier in the year as it was very obvious it was her time but this one is just not clear cut.  I don't think it is time yet.  He isn't in obvious pain but he is a big guy and has very poor use of his back legs due to spine issues.  He was losing control of his bowels about once every three months, now it is weekly.   Again, the biggest thing to me is he doesn't seem to be in constant pain, just every once in a while.   But he struggles so much getting around as his back legs just don't work.  I hate it for him.  He is such a sweet guy but due to his size we aren't able to carry him.  He is still so happy so to me as long as he isn't in pain, I don't feel it is time.   Agree?

I just finished watching this:

 

https://www.lapoflove.com/how-will-i-know-it-is-time?gclid=Cj0KCQjwqKuKBhCxARIsACf4XuE5WMVRPGOFWGWpSj15JlptiO4CGvfy1Qz8M_dYc_PPvvQ53oScQsIaAmFEEALw_wcB

 

I found it very helpful.

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I copied the below from a vet site - this is the same advice that my vet friends give when clients are struggling with the decision of when to euthanize.

 The Rule of “Five Good Things”: Pick the top five things that your pet loves to do. Write them down. When he or she can no longer do three or more of them, quality of life has been impacted to a level where many veterinarians would recommend euthanasia.

Good Days vs. Bad: When pets have “good days and bad days,” it can be difficult to see how their condition is progressing over time. Actually tracking the days when your pet is feeling good as well as the days when he or she is not feeling well can be helpful. A check mark for good days and an X for bad days on your calendar can help you determine when a loved one is having more bad days than good.

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19 minutes ago, Selkie said:

I copied the below from a vet site - this is the same advice that my vet friends give when clients are struggling with the decision of when to euthanize.

 The Rule of “Five Good Things”: Pick the top five things that your pet loves to do. Write them down. When he or she can no longer do three or more of them, quality of life has been impacted to a level where many veterinarians would recommend euthanasia.

Good Days vs. Bad: When pets have “good days and bad days,” it can be difficult to see how their condition is progressing over time. Actually tracking the days when your pet is feeling good as well as the days when he or she is not feeling well can be helpful. A check mark for good days and an X for bad days on your calendar can help you determine when a loved one is having more bad days than good.

I think that is the same site I linked.   She says the same thing.

What got me was when she that if you can't identify bad days, ask a friend or family member to mark it for you.   It hit me because that is what my friends did for me is to tell me it was time.

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So tonight......she fell down the outside concrete stairs and literally couldn't stand back up for over 10 min.   I stood with her and tried to help without hurting her but she didn't want me trying to pick her up.  My husband finally came down to help.   

I guess I have been in denial for a while.

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I am so sorry  Dawn. I remember I decided it was time and that morning I woke up to her cries……she was on her bed and the water bowl had been placed very near her…..and she couldnt even get to it.  She had tried….her head was off the bed but she could not get to her water.  I held the bowl under her mouth and then I carried her outside where I had to hold up her back end so she could pee….I knew it was time.  

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20 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I am so sorry  Dawn. I remember I decided it was time and that morning I woke up to her cries……she was on her bed and the water bowl had been placed very near her…..and she couldnt even get to it.  She had tried….her head was off the bed but she could not get to her water.  I held the bowl under her mouth and then I carried her outside where I had to hold up her back end so she could pee….I knew it was time.  

I will make some calls tomorrow.   I am hoping someone can do it on the weekend.

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Y'all......last night was the first night EVER that she didn't come up the stairs to sleep in our room.   She just couldn't make it.   She looks miserable.

I will make some calls today.

I looked at the cost of a home visit euthanizing and youza!   It would be almost $400.   Taking her in is like $80.   

My boys say they can't do it, they can't be there, so I will just go with my husband or by myself.   

Edited by DawnM
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4 hours ago, DawnM said:

Y'all......last night was the first night EVER that she didn't come up the stairs to sleep in our room.   She just couldn't make it.   She looks miserable.

I will make some calls today.

I looked at the cost of a home visit euthanizing and youza!   It would be almost $400.   Taking her in is like $80.   

My boys say they can't do it, they can't be there, so I will just go with my husband or by myself.   

If you can get a farm vet, they might be a bit cheaper. Here the basic home call is like 150 in addition to whatever equipment/supplies are needed.

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3 minutes ago, DawnM said:

My friend was so helpful and said he can do it for a nickel (bullet).   🙄

I need new friends.

Here on the farm we've had to do both forms of euthanasia. For a beloved pet, just go to the vet. Your friend was being insensitive.

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8 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

Here on the farm we've had to do both forms of euthanasia. For a beloved pet, just go to the vet. Your friend was being insensitive.

Same. My dad (farmer) didn’t understand why people were so “sensitive” until it came time for their terrier. All of a sudden he gained insight but conveniently forgets that newfound sensitivity often. 
 

We our down our terrier not that long ago and it was time. It was less difficult than I dreaded. (((Hugs))) vet offices are very sensitive to the need. 

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I guess this is your first time. I wanted to stay. Some people don’t or can’t. Of course, there’s no right or wrong. Ds and I stayed together for his dog and I went alone for my little chihuahua. Yes, they do sedate them first and they just go to sleep in your arms peacefully. Then the vet gives the final part. They are so compassionate. This is hard. Really hard. But it’s a thing you can do. Just gather your strength and realize this is all for the comfort of your beloved pet. It’s your final gift. 

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Our vet also let us go inside and be with our cat when we had to put him to sleep. If your vet is set up for that, maybe call a few other places to see how they handle it. I am so sorry!  I honestly wouldn't wish the death of a pet on my worst enemy. The grief is long and hard but you will never have to worry if you did the right thing if you do it a little sooner rather than a little later. I agree with other pps. Pain is the line.

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17 minutes ago, DawnM said:

If you have put a dog down, did you stay with the dog?   How was it?   Did they put the dog to sleep first?

Please stay with the dog if you possibly can. You don't want your dog's last moments to be spent frantically looking for you. I stayed with my dog, and he just gazed into my eyes with love. It's hard, but try to do it for your dog-friend.

 

ETA: I'm so sorry you are going through this. It's so hard to say goodbye to such a loyal and loving friend. We are nearing the end with our older dog, too, and will go through this soon.

Edited by Tiberia
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2 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

I guess this is your first time. I wanted to stay. Some people don’t or can’t. Of course, there’s no right or wrong. Ds and I stayed together for his dog and I went alone for my little chihuahua. Yes, they do sedate them first and they just go to sleep in your arms peacefully. Then the vet gives the final part. They are so compassionate. This is hard. Really hard. But it’s a thing you can do. Just gather your strength and realize this is all for the comfort of your beloved pet. It’s your final gift. 

Yes, this. Sedation first, then euthanasia. I've never had a vet be less than compassionate, professional, and skilled at handling those last moments.

I can't imagine leaving my dog at that point. It's hard, yes, but at that point it's the last, best, only thing you can do for him. And-- you'll get to see that it isn't that hard for your dog. It's not as hard as being in pain, or being unable to go upstairs with you at night. The last bit is worse for you than for him, but you can do it for him.

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I plan to stay.   We did put down one other dog and I couldn't do it, and DH said he would and then he dropped the dog off and said, "I just couldn't do it" I cried and cried and was sick about our poor dog being put down with no one there with him.   I won't do that to this dog.

Are they letting people in right now for euthanizing?   I know our Vet isn't letting anyone in for appointments.....I hope they will let me in.

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44 minutes ago, DawnM said:

I know our Vet isn't letting anyone in for appointments.....I hope they will let me in.

When our vet wasn't allowing anyone in for appts, they were letting them in for times like this. We specifically asked because we thought we were going to need that info.

It's hard. When we put down our dogs, we cried and cried. I don't usually cry right away at human deaths, but it was different with our dogs.

Fwiw, it sounds like it's time. I'm sorry.

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1 hour ago, DawnM said:

If you have put a dog down, did you stay with the dog?   How was it?   Did they put the dog to sleep first?

I put my little one down in july.  They gave him something that they’d give him for surgery so that he was out of it.  Then they gave him the euthanasia shot.   I held him the whole time (chihuahua).  My vet has a special room set up with a couch and blankets.   It was very peaceful, quiet.  I was by myself because dh couldn’t stand to be there.  But I’m glad it was like that because I was my chihuahua’s ‘person’, ykwim?  It was a special moment for us, albeit incredibly sad.   My vet cried with me and hugged me for a long time.  Then she held and snuggled him.  He was feisty and would bite her if he could, and she said she always wanted to love on him but he wouldn’t let her, so it was special even for her.    We buried him in a spot that I look at when I’m on my deck.  I wanted him there to be near him.   She did offer cremation though.  

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3 minutes ago, WildflowerMom said:

I put my little one down in july.  They gave him something that they’d give him for surgery so that he was out of it.  Then they gave him the euthanasia shot.   I held him the whole time (chihuahua).  My vet has a special room set up with a couch and blankets.   It was very peaceful, quiet.  I was by myself because dh couldn’t stand to be there.  But I’m glad it was like that because I was my chihuahua’s ‘person’, ykwim?  It was a special moment for us, albeit incredibly sad.   My vet cried with me and hugged me for a long time.  Then she held and snuggled him.  He was feisty and would bite her if he could, and she said she always wanted to love on him but he wouldn’t let her, so it was special even for her.    We buried him in a spot that I look at when I’m on my deck.  I wanted him there to be near him.   She did offer cremation though.  

Our dog who died at home is buried in our former backyard.   Hope the new owners don't dig her up accidentally.   

The dog before that we had cremated and I think we will do that with this one too.

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