Decide When to Put Your Dog to Sleep - Putting a Dog Down
It is one of the hardest decisions that pet owners can make- when is the right time to put your dog (or other pet) to sleep. Because our dogs become part of the family, when they start to age and show signs of age, it can be very hard to decide when it is time to let them go.
If you have an elderly dog, you are probably taking all precautions already to caring for your older dog, but if you need a little help, you can check out Caring for an Elderly and Aging Dog for more tips for caring for an elderly dog.
It is a very hard decision to make, especially since out dogs become part of the family. We play with them, exercise them, train them, feed them, and in many cases sleep with them. Face it, we spend A LOT of time with our dogs, so when the time comes when you notice that you older dog just doesn’t have the same spunk as he used to, it may be time to start thinking about the one subject that no dog owner wants to touch until the last minute…
Thinking about putting your dog to sleep
If you think about your dog’s wants and wellbeing, ask yourself what does he want?
The answer is actually pretty simple. Your dog wants fun, love, attention, and good health… That means no pain or suffering… Which is pretty much what we want ourselves.
When your dog's quality of life suffers, then you should start thinking about what you're going to do.
There is no set time or limit or one-for-all decision that everyone can make as to when to put the dog to sleep. It is by individual situation and opinion as to when that time is. So, I cannot tell you that today is the day that you put your 13 year old dog to sleep just because he’s 13 because what if he still runs around and barks at strangers and begs to be pet and loved on? Now, that doesn’t sound like a dog that is ready to be put down.
But, we all know when it is time. It is just something that we do not want to have to face when it is that time.
How is it done?
Euthanasia is a very simple and pain free process. You can opt to have your dog put to sleep at the vet, or in many cases, the vet will be willing to come to your home to do it in your dog’s surroundings.
Most vet’s give the dog a shot of barbiturate, or another sedative, to relax the dog and put him unconscious, and then the vet or vet tech will give the dog another shot to actually put the dog to sleep and to stop his heart.
Not all dogs react the same. You will find that dogs with poor circulation may take a little long for the drugs to take into effect, and with some dogs, it may take a little longer for the muscle twitches to stop. In these cases, do not be alarmed or upset thinking that you have made the wrong choice. You dog is not fighting to stay alive, he is already fully unconscious.
Dealing with the grief of putting your dog to sleep
When dealing with the grief of losing a pet, there are many different means of coping. A few tips can include the following:
- If you know that your older dog is going to need to be put to sleep in the near future, go ahead and get another puppy. This will help you with the emotional pain when your older dog is gone.
- Go ahead and make plans, as to when you will put your dog to sleep (if you know that he is getting worse), where you will put your dog to sleep (the vet or at home), and what you will do with his body (leave at the vet, bury, cremation, etc). This will help with the coping process, having everything pre-planned
- Have someone go with you when you take the dog to the vet, or have someone with you when the vet comes to your home, so that you have someone that you can be with during and after the process.
- And, when the vet or vet tech is preparing your dog, just be with him. Hold him, stroke him, talk to him. This will help you and it will calm him.
If you want more tips, you can check out this hub about Dealing With The Loss of A Pet
Putting Your Dog Down
Many people want to let God take over and decide when is the right time to let the dog pass on, but if you think about it, we have already pretended to be God by preventing all sorts of “natural” diseases and illnesses with regular shots, pills, and other medications. So is it fair to let out beloved pets live in possible pain and agony while we wait for God to take over?
I am not saying that everyone should go out and put their dog to sleep at the first sign of old age, but I believe that there is a point in every dog’s life that if he is suffering, it’s time to let him go.
You don’t want to keep the dog alive and in pain for your own benefit and selfishness. You want to think of what lifestyle your dog is currently having. If he is not happy, sick, and suffering, I’m sorry to be blunt, but it’s time…
If it helps, consider at-home euthanasia.
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