When Should You Put A Dog Down?


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Dogs are the type of pet that becomes a lifelong friend that goes right along with you through countless milestones. They become part of the family in a way that some people simply cannot understand, but when their life is nearing the end, when should you put them down? 

You should consider putting a dog down when they are hurt, their hunger has decreased, they are less apt to hydrate, their hygiene has declined, their happiness has plummeted, their mobility has become restrictive, or they have more bad days than they do good. 

As much as any dog owner loves their beloved pet, there comes a time when their own time begins to run out and owners must think about the most comfortable ways for them to get to their end. As hard as this decision may be, many times, dog owners find putting their pet down to be the most proactive and humane way of helping their pet to the other side. To find out when you should put a dog down, continue reading below. 


Factors To Consider Before Putting Your Dog Down 

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A person’s dog is usually the soul that helps them get through hard days, celebrate the good ones, and go along with them for all of those in-between moments. These pets become a part of the family that people simply cannot imagine living without, but due to certain circumstances or age, there comes a time when their beloved pets’ days become rather numbered. When this happens, what will tell you that your dog needs to be put down? 

Is Your Dog Hurt? 

One of the most obvious and most critical factors when it comes to taking the step to put your dog down or not is if they are seriously hurt. This doesn’t mean that they have a nasty cut or a punctured paw that can be taken care of by the vet, but means they have sustained an injury that is beyond repair, even by the most weathered of vets. If your dog has an injury that simply cannot be mended, does this mean that you should put them down? 

When considering when to put your dog down, if they are hurt severely enough that the injury cannot be mended by a vet, it may be time to put them down. To avoid making your beloved pet suffer more than it has to, euthanization will allow them the most humane method of passing. 

Has Your Dog’s Hunger Decreased? 

When your dog was only a puppy, it is likely that you watched them, more times than you can count, absolutely ravish their food bowl. They were able to lick it clean in their puppy years, and even young and mid-adult years, but as your dog begins to get older, do you notice that their appetite has decreased? Appetite may ebb and flow, but if you have a very old dog, a significant decrease in appetite can be a sign that they are nearing their end. 

If you have an older dog and its appetite has decreased significantly, it may be a sign that your dog is ready to be put down. With fewer calories being burned and organ function slowing, the decrease in appetite is your dog’s way of saying the near its end, therefore, helping you to consider putting them down. 

Has Your Dog Stopped Drinking? 

Along with eating, another sign that your dog is at the end of its life is a decrease in water intake. For most dogs, after a romp in the yard or a good long walk, they are more than happy to lap up the water in their bowl. However, if your dog is up in years and suddenly begins to be rather indifferent about water, it may mean that their days are numbered. If your dog is suddenly decreasing water intake or refusing to drink, should you put it down? 

If your dog has drastically decreased its water intake or is suddenly refusing to drink, this may be a sign that its time on Earth is coming to an end. If your dog is older or if they are suddenly experiencing health problems, be sure to take them to a vet to see if this decrease in water intake warrants them to be put down. 

Has Your Dog’s Hygiene Decline 

When it comes to playing, dogs may be some of the most inclined animals to get dirty and not care a bit about it. This is what makes it so wonderful – that they are happy to have a good time, no matter what it means for their overall appearance. Beyond this, healthy dogs are able to take care of their bathroom duties without it being a real mess or anything to worry about for most owners, but if you notice that your dog’s hygiene has decreased, what does it mean? 

If your dog is suddenly defecating or urinating on itself without being able to make it to an appropriate location, this could be a sign that your dog needs to be put down. The lack of bowel control is a relatively common sign that your dog’s organs are beginning to fail which may lead to euthanization. 

Has Your Dog’s Overall Happiness Plummeted?

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When your dog was a young pup, it was full of life, would explode with joy at even the mention of a walk, and was always excited to see you when you walked through the door after a long day. As time goes on and older dogs enter into the last years and months of their life, their apparent happiness becomes less obvious. This can be discouraging to owners when they don’t understand the cause, but can this mean that is it time to put them down? 

If your dog’s overall happiness has turned into a disposition of tiredness and is indifferent about daily activities that used to excite them, it may mean that your dog is nearing the end of its life. If misery is more common than happiness, it may be time to put your dog down. 

Is Your Dog’s Mobility Extremely Limited? 

Dogs are happy to run, jump, play, fetch, and everything in between with your owners in their early and young adult years. However, when they are severely injured or have reached the point in life where age is affecting their movement, their overall mobility may decrease drastically. Although your dog may still be able to get slowly up the stairs, this may not mean that they are not in pain, therefore calling to question if they should be put down or not. 

If your dog’s mobility has become extremely limited, this may mean that they are in enough pain or discomfort that putting them down may be the most humane step. Before proceeding, be sure to check that their problem is not something that can be resolved by a veterinarian. 

Are There More Bad Days Than Good? 

For the most part, dogs are reliable when it comes to their mood, their demeanor, and their wants and needs. Because of this, it means that you have a pet that is very constant, giving them the ability to usually have many more good days than they do bad. This is one of the biggest reasons people love dogs – their predictability – but when those good days begin to turn bad more often than not, does this mean your dog is nearing the end of its life? 

If your dog is experiencing more bad days than good when it comes to their demeanor, their physical abilities, their eating habits, and their physical comfort, this may mean that your dog needs to be put down. This can be a way to relieve them of discomfort without forcing them to approach death at a potentially slower natural end. 

What To Do Before Putting Your Dog Down

© Prevention

The factors listed above are what you need to consider first if you are thinking about putting your dog down, as they give a solid guideline to assessing your pets state while also allowing you to decipher if this is a warranted approach or if you need to go another route to help your dog improve its current state. Although this is a great guideline, there is one more essential factor to consider before putting your dog down: consult your veterinarian. 

Before deciding to put your dog down, you should always consult the advice of your veterinarian first. Although you may think that your dog is nearing its end, a vet may be able to diagnose and treat your dog’s condition which not only ends up in more comfort for your dog, but a longer life. 

If you notice that your dog is experiencing one or multiple symptoms listed above, it certainly could mean that your pet is on its way towards its end and should be put down. However, some of these considerations are things that may be isolated to another issue that can be treated in a number of ways that do not require your pet to be euthanized. Therefore, always be sure to consult the expertise of your vet before putting your beloved dog down.

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