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Bridget 02-25-2014 05:22 PM

Euthanizing too soon or too late?
I have two senior dogs now and I often wonder how I will know when it's time and if I will know. My timing has never been good. I had my old cat put down in November and it was so hard because she was still eating. Seems like the not eating is the classic sign, but her quality of life had gotten really poor, even though she still ate. I hear a lot about folks waiting too long. However, I often think people do it too soon, while the pet still has a chance for a good quality of life. I hear about pets being put down at the first sign of serious illness. Or because of problems that are just the normal aging process and not yet causing the dog too much trouble. Sometimes I think it's because we are so scared and want to get the hurt over with. So, I'm wondering, especially from the veterinary people out there, do you see more of too late or too soon? Or do most owners just "know?"

JakodaCD OA 02-25-2014 05:32 PM

I've had to put down a few dogs/couple of cats as seniors. I just 'knew', don't know how I knew but I knew.

My latest one was a month ago, my 13 yr old aussie, healthy as a horse, stopped eating, diagnosis, mass/enlarged heart. I got him eating, his breathing was getting worse and worse, he stopped eating, I knew I had to let him go:( It kills me that he walked right into that clinic with his butt wiggling and a smile on his face, as sick as he was:(

Now I have my 5yr old gsd, in great shape, and my 14 yr old aussie:( I thought I was going to have to do it again a couple weeks ago, (urinary issue), she's fine now, she is still active, eating like a pig, tho obviously has arthritis and some doggie alzheimers. This is the first time since 1991 I've had only two dogs:(

I always have questioned whether I was putting any of my animals down to soon, what if I gave them one more day or a week? As time passes, I know I did it when I should have done it, tho I'd give anything for that extra day or week:(

Bridget 02-25-2014 05:56 PM

I am so sorry about your aussie's passing. Perhaps I too will know instinctively when it's time.

SuperG 02-25-2014 05:59 PM


Originally Posted by JakodaCD OA (Post 5088346)
I always have questioned whether I was putting any of my animals down to soon, what if I gave them one more day or a week? As time passes, I know I did it when I should have done it, tho I'd give anything for that extra day or week:(

I think many of us can relate to this exact intense feeling. 3 times I have dealt with the hardest of "goodbyes" and of the three I felt I erred on the side of waiting too long twice as I am a short term pessimist but a long term optimist ( if that makes any sense). The latest farewell had me feeling I might have acted too early. However, at the end of the saddened me all the same. You do what you must..not what you want...and you do it with 100% conviction...yes, seeking guidance from the professionals at the vet clinic and others in the know is certainly a part of the decision process but ultimately you, the steward of your loyal companion will make the proper one can or should make it for comes with the privilege/responsibility of having a dog. Yes, what I would have given for an extra day or week...ohhhhh...anything and everything....but one thing I would never give is one more day of me not wanting to say goodbye at the cost of one more day of my companion's misery and suffering. If you have been the proper provider throughout all your dog's life, I have no doubt you will provide properly at the end.


Galathiel 02-25-2014 06:03 PM

I have a 14 year old dog myself. He has cataracts and seems to be going deaf. However, he's still housebroken, a big plus. He also sleeps most of the time now. What I've done is mentally made a checklist of the things he does enjoy: attention from his people, eating, playing (briefly) with his babies. When he no longer enjoys those, coupled with health decline, then I will know it's time to visit that decision.

nktigger99 02-25-2014 07:14 PM

The times I have had to make that choice I just my heart I knew it was time. That did not make it easy....I would have given anything for just a few more moments

Choosing to say good bye is the most unselfish act you can are choosing to free your precious pet from a body of pain and are choosing to let go when with every fiber of your being you want to hold on for dear life.

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Sp00ks 02-25-2014 07:24 PM

Bridget, from what you just said, you know the proper time.

In my opinion, it is ALL about the quality of life. My first started loosing bodily functions. She had some pain and we didn't want her to suffer the indignity. She was a very proud dog and we made the decision.

The last developed a neurological disorder, we suspect a brain tumor. Within two weeks we made the decision. That was so darn hard. It's still weighs on us and has been close to a year now.

The fact that you know "quality of life" tells me you will know when the time has come. Nobody here can really tell you. You know your dogs. I'm confident that you will know.

Shaina 02-25-2014 07:30 PM

As a veterinary assistant, I tend to see them too late. It's always when the dog is clearly suffering, whether it be a trauma or a chronic issue that the owner has been managing. I will say, the most peaceful euthanasia's have been ones that the owners came BEFORE the pet got to that point, and the whole family was able to say goodbye and have happy final days. At our clinic, we feel it is better to be a week too early than a minute too late. Nobody wants to remember their pet in a miserable state.

Sp00ks 02-25-2014 07:49 PM

Thank you Shaina, that actually make me feel better about our last decision.

Betty 02-25-2014 07:52 PM

I have never said I did it a day or a week too early but there is a time or two I felt that I did it to late.................

We lost my Kingster last year at 13. He was my sweet baby boy and he was like our comeback kid. More then once when I was getting ready to do it he would snap back.

This time I got down on the floor with him and had his head in my lap. I asked him if it was time, he looked at me and I know in my heart he told me it was.

It broke my heart but I released him the next day.

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