When do you "know" that it is time to put a loved pet to sleep?
We all have different emotional attachements to the pets we keep. For me, my cats are like my children. I find myself faced with make this decision and usally, its about quality of THEIR life and not about my feelings. What I would like to see in your answers are the things you look at when a pet must be put down, Experience at the vet's office in terms of pushing services that do not really improve quality of life, etc. Costs, and other considerations that you may have. I value input, so no judgements from me.
I look at the way my pet is experiencing life. For example, the last dog I had to "put down" I waited until she was no longer interested in eating, even home-cooked food. She would stand in the back yard and her legs would shake - she had become so weak. She was not able to run and did not seem to be enjoying life. She was on medication that was not really helping her and she was aging. Her age was about the average expectation for a German Shepherd, so I decided to ease her suffering and let her go.
For me this is a tough one. I do not believe in endng the life of any living creature. To me it is like playing God and deciding for him when something or someone should die. Otherwise they are taken by the hands of humans and not by thier creator who gave them life. However, I recently had to face this delima myself when my husband decided it was time for our cat to be put down while we stood in a vets office hearing the news that she was going to die of liver and kidney failure. I was an emotional basket case and I had to leave the room and go back out to our car while they put her down. If I had stayed in that room they more than likely would have put me down along with her. I know she was going to die. She was suffering and she was not going get better. The financial cost to explore through blood work and tests were about the same as they charged us to put her to sleep, We could have paid for them to do the tests, which yes, they did push for us to do that, but then we would have to pay about the same amount to put her to sleep. Then you pay for the disposal of the body or cremation of it which is more. It's a "Win WIn " situation for the vets office and a "Loose Loose" for pet owners.
it is never easy to make this call. i once rescued a manx kitten. i only had him 3 days before i took him to the vet because he seemed to have trouble and pain defecating. i was told the kitten had spina bifida, and his chances of survivng were like 99% against him. in those 3 days that i had him, i fell head over heels deeply in love with this little baby. now i was being told i should put him to sleep. i had it done, but i felt that maybe i should not have. i went home and researched the subject. it helped me cope with my decision to learn the vet was right. the decision to end a pets life should be based on its quality of life. if the pet refuses food and water, this is usually a good indicator...so long as you have ruled out a simple illness that it will overcome. i have to admit to feeling somewhat selfish though. one of the things that makes such a decision easier is that i am a coward...i dread watching my pets die. i hold off on making such a decision as long as i can, but i would rather put them out of their misery then to watch the last moments of their life. it is never a pretty scene.
I rely on the vet; when he tells me that I'm not doing the animal any favours keeping it alive, I know it is time.
This is a tough one, but for me, once I see that my pet is suffering and there is no way to help him, it's time to let him go. I've had to do this a few times and it is extremely upsetting, but in the end, I knew it was an act of love.
Having done this on a couple of occasions, for me could only be done when their quality of life was that of which I would not want any animal or human to endure.
I had an Akita that was to the point of defecating/urinating on himself because he was in to much pain even with meds to get up. Another was when as a result of age he became blind and again in to much pain to be moved around.
Both dogs I had raised since they were pups and almost 14 when they passed. It was devastating and I cried like a baby for days but then realized it was just the selfish part of me wanting to keep them here. This is definitely an important factor to consider when making such a decision.
My pets are like my kids so the only way money is considered is if it is to large amount for me to afford.
Again, for me it's all about THEM
It is time to put your companion, your precious pet, to sleep when he or she is in so much obvious pain that prolonging life is for YOU and not for your pet. I have experienced this twice; Once when I was 4 years old and again about 15 years ago.
Both times, these precious creatures
let us know it was time to go. They stopped eating and drinking; the kitty stopped grooming herself; the pup would lie around and barely move when we approached. WHen the pup was healthy anytime a family member approached, he was up jumping around wagging his tail.
And, both of them were in pain...when they tried to sleep little moaning sounds could be heard.
It was a painful time for us..but a release from pain for our sweet pets.
You can see it in their eyes when they are done if you look.
This happened to my hubby and me, just last Thanksgiving week. This might be the 3rd time that I have spoken of it.
Murphy was the best dog that we had had in over 20 years. I feed him from a dropper as a pup. We were his only family for 6-7 years. He was smart, obedient, easily taught, protective yet very gentile with the kids. He actually understood the command..........you are on duty.
That dog loved us. When either of us pulled into the driveway, he was standing in our parking spaces ready to greet us..........until, one terrible day.
He did not get up to greet my hubby ( the first of us home)........in fact, he could not get up. My hubby immediately took him to the vet, where he would remain for several days.
Maybe its tick fever, maybe it is a toxin.............the vet could not pull him through.
Murphy did not even respond to my hubby's voice one afternoon. He did to mine, but there was no life in his eyes........
People familiar with kidney failure or renal disease will understand the reference to creatine., an enzyme filtered through the kidneys. According to his age and weight the Doctor said Murphy's level should be a 2, anything over a 5, and he wonders if the dog will pull through. Two different lab tests showed the creatine level in our dog to be 13. His kidneys, had stopped working completely. We still do not know why. The only clue, was the morning ( of the afternoon that my hubby found him ill) as I went to work, I noticed that the neighbors younger dogs had come to play, and Murphy growled at them, sending them away.
I did not know he was sick...........I just thought he's getting older and he's not in the mood to play.
There was no need to let his dog linger on, even with painkillers. He would never 'feel good' again.
I still find myself in the dog food aisle, browsing for chew toys......and less often, but sometimes, my hubby goes to the front door to call our dog inside for the night.
Costs? Yes, we told each other, " let's not let this get out of hand".......but, we authorized every test, every medication......every idea for days........we spent more on the dog, than we have spent on ourselves in the last 3 years.
It is the only time that I have had to make such a choice........and I am in no hurry to do it again.
We both want another dog, but that one will be hard to follow!
This is a personal decision for the most part, but... when their lives are not enjoyable, they are in pain and they cant' eat or sleep well. It is our responsibility to our animals to make that decision for them. To give them that last final act of unconditional love to help them to the other side. We owe them this for all the years of unconditional love they gave to us. It is our final sacrifice for them to take them and hold them as they leave this world to go to the other side.
If an animal is old and sick, it is just a matter of time. It could cost thousands of dollars in vet care but the ultimate outcome is the same for a little while longer with them. My cat had to have surgery to remove several teeth. She had to see a specialist because of her age. It was $1900. I never got to bring her home and I still had to pay the bill. Her ashes were delivered to me the following week.
I got another pet a few weeks after she died. A cat that had lived its entire 10 month life in a shelter. He was with me 6 weeks before I had to make the decision for him. He had an incurable disease that is a slow and painful death for cats. When I knew he was at the place where he was suffering, I took him to the vet and held him until he left. Even though he was only with me for six weeks, I know he knew that I loved him. I know it was the best 6 weeks of his short life. And I knew that I could not let him suffer in the pain that he was in.
Ultimately it is a YOUR decision, not the vet. But at some point, it seems cruel to allow them to linger in pain. I just wish someone would be able to make that decision for me one day.
I had a dog when I was younger, and he was seriously the best dog I've ever had. He was a golden retriever and when we went to look at all the puppies the family was selling, I would pick up one puppy and be almost decided on it, and he would start barking. Every single time. So we got him, and he was the sweetest most playful dog I'd ever seen. But, he was an outside dog and we didn't have a fence, and he wandered out in the road one day and got ran over. But, it was only his leg, so we took him to the vet and got him all fixed up, and he was fine. Still just as happy as always and just as playful. Then, about five years later, he started limping a little. I guess the bone in his leg hadn't formed back just right or he had arthritis, because he was getting kind of old. He got to the point where he would just lay there on the porch, looking all sad. My dad suggested that we have him put to sleep because he was in pain. So I agreed. When I went outside to tell him goodbye before my dad took him to the vet the final time, he would barely stand up for me to pet him and love on him. I cried for days. This was almost 5 years ago, and I still have the clothes I was wearing that day wrapped up in a plastic bag with his name on it. My dad even cried, and I've only seen my dad cry like 2 other times in my whole life. We all loved that dog so much. And we hated to see him go. I still wish I had went with my dad to have him put to sleep, but I couldn't bring myself to go. I still regret it, because I think he would have liked to see my face one more time.
I once read something that a veterinary assistant wrote that said that when they ask you if you want to stay in the room or leave, to stay, because they look for you when you go.
when he does not have the push to love life no more and when they look like they no more energy
I think this is a terrific question - but I can't answer it.
I've never done something like that....and I've not had the "opportunity."
One of my dogfriends had got to where he was moving very slowly, and he just didn't seem to be much enjoying himself at all - but he would still do the daily routine things he did...and just died.
Mostly - out here in the sticks, a lot of dogs will just wonder off to die...I think the coyotes make the dogs think they are Spartan warriors.
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