Our when to put your dog down checklist will make your decision easier and put your beloved dog first, before your own emotions.
Knowing when to put your dog down is one of the most difficult tasks we face as dog owners.
Sometimes we may just know that it is time, but if not or even just to reassure ourselves there are things we can look for to help us with this decision.
We have compiled a checklist for you to help you make the decision about when to put your dog down.
Continue reading to review the when to put your dog down checklist.
What are the Main Areas to Assess While Considering When to Put your Dog Down?
When we talk about putting down our beloved companions, the main question we have to consider is: What is their quality of life? The following when to put your dog down checklist has been compiled to help you answer that question.
How do you determine your dog’s quality of life? We will work through the individual aspects of what to consider to determine just that and provide you with questions to ask yourself to determine if it is time to put down your dog.
As a brief overview, we will look at chronic pain and how to determine if your dog is in pain. We will look at how food/nutrition/hydration is important for your dog’s well being and how that affects their quality of life.
How your dog’s daily mood and behaviour is can tell you a lot about his quality of life. We will look at other aspects to consider when you think you may need to put your dog down as well.
Following please find the when to put your dog down checklist.
1. Chronic Pain
Pain is the number one reason that dog owners end up considering euthanasia. As much as we don’t want to say goodbye to our four-legged friends, we cannot allow them to suffer needlessly either.
Dogs are unable to verbalise to us that they are in pain so we have to look for physical cues very often to determine the pain level of our dogs.
- Does he hide?
- Is he panting a lot? Particularly when at rest?
- Is he shaking? Trembling?
- Is he tucking his tail?
- Is he licking the area that is affected?
- Is he reluctant to move when needed?
- Does he seem unable to get comfortable?
- Does he respond when touched in a specific area by barking, whining, biting or yelping?
Your dog’s pain may be able to be managed for a time with medication, but eventually the pain may become too much to be managed with medication any longer.
Just like humans, our animal companions require food and nutrition to survive. Your dog’s habits can change briefly if they contract an illness, but when it becomes the new normal for your dog, it may be a sign that he is nearing the end of his life.
- Is he vomiting a lot? Having frequent bouts of diarrhoea?
- Is he eating normally?
- Is he only eating minimal amounts when fed by hand?
- Is he losing weight?
- Is he drinking water normally?
Your dog can lose valuable nutrients through vomiting and diarrhoea which may cause him to lose weight. However, it is important to note that nausea can be caused by medications and illness and may be treatable.
- Is he incontinent?
- Does he just lie in his waste?
Your dog’s behaviour could be affected by his pain level, exhaustion due to lack of nutrients, or other ailments. But when he begins acting abnormally, you should take note.
- Is your dog engaged in the activity around him?
- Is he interacting with those around him?
- Does he still seem happy? Is his tail wagging?
- Does he seem to want to play?
- Does he seem to enjoy his life? Does he seem depressed?
- Is he sleeping a lot? More than normal for him?
5. Good vs. Bad days
In determining the quality of life for your dog, this is a question that when weighed with all of the other questions, is one of the most difficult and important that you must answer.
- Does he seem to have more good days or more bad days?
If his bad days seem to outnumber the good, you may have reached the point that you need to strongly consider euthanasia.
6. Your Feelings/Your Household’s Feelings
Yes, your feelings and those of the other members of your household matter. You may still have to put your feelings to the side, but it isn’t an easy decision and you should take it into account.
- Does he have a terminal illness that could cause sudden death?
- How does your family feel regarding the quality of life questions?
It is unfair that this is a criteria of when to put your dog down, but it is necessary to consider. Sometimes the medications, treatments and medical procedures become too expensive for dog owners.
- Can you reasonably afford the treatments? Medication? Procedures?
- What is your dog’s prognosis? Is it quite poor?
8. Vet’s Thoughts
It is a good idea to discuss with your vet if you have questions about euthanasia or believe the time may be near.
Your vet can help explain more about your dog’s medical status, how euthanasia works, and ease other concerns you may have.
Vets usually don’t come right out and say it is time to put your dog down—they leave that decision to the owners that love their dog and spend every day with him.
When To Put Your Dog Down Is Ultimately Your Decision
We, as owners, are the best equipped to answer quality of life questions, even when we don’t like the answers. You have to be honest with your answers to the questions posed by the when to put your dog down checklist.
When your canine companion is truly suffering, euthanasia can be a gift of mercy—as heartbreaking as it is for us. If you are wondering if your dog might be too sick to continue on, please carefully review our when to put your dog down checklist.