If you've ever had to put a pet to sleep... - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-24-2005, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey mamas, I'm at a point where I'm seriously thinking of putting my dog down & I'm so confused.

She is husky/belgian sheepdog mix that I adopted 12+ years ago. She has been healthy but 2 years ago she was diagnosed as diabetic that we've been regulating with insulin. I also think she is now going blind & deaf & I don't know how well regulated she is with the insulin (we check her glucose in her urine). She's also getting 'lumpy' - I forget what these growths are called but I don't think that affects her health.

Just this morning she escaped out of the back yard again (I think when her glucose is out of whack she does crazy things like this, she's usually very content to stay nearby). We live 2 houses in from a very busy street & one of the neighbors chased her back to the house but said she almost got hit by a car that she didn't see or hear. This also happened about 2 weeks ago.

When do you know it's the right time? Other days she is great, but is it worth it for those days? Am I just getting frustrated taking care of her & is that swaying my decision? I'll probably take her in to the vet next week, but I want to be in a less confused place about this before I go in.

Thanks mamas!
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Old 06-24-2005, 12:51 PM
 
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awwwwwww ((((((((((((((((HUGS MAMA)))))))))))))

I feel your pain.... will write more later

Me & DH hug2.gif , adult DD lips.gif & 7 yo DS guitar.gif . 2 GSDs, 6 rescue kitties, 4 birds & a gerbil.
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Old 06-24-2005, 12:54 PM
 
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WE had to put our rat terrier to sleep when dd was 3 b/c not matter what we did he kept eat any garbage he could find and it was causing intestinal problems.

WE would put him in surgery to fix it and he'd be back eating garbage, no matter how high we put it lock it up.
ETC.....

She still talks about how much she misses him

I Miss Him Too!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-24-2005, 01:22 PM
 
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The last vet I tech'ed for (my favorite over many years with many different ones) always told people that it's time when there are more poor-quality or bad days than good days. When the animal's quality of life is diminishing quickly and there isn't much stabilizing the decline, kwim? It sounds like you've taken really good care of your dog and that you're trying to make the decision that is in her best interest. I'm sorry you are faced with this. It's hard no matter what the circumstances are. Many diabetic dogs do get to a point where their body starts shutting down and even those that were well-regulated for a long period of time get worse as the disease (and effects of old-age, other diseases, illnesses, etc) takes it's toll. If she were mine and becoming disoriented (not sure that's what's happening, but sounds probable, with her leaving the yard when she can't see/hear, etc.- most oriented dogs will be careful to stay within their safe zone when they are deaf/blind, because they know the area), I would put her down before she gets hit by a car. Euthanasia, as hard as it is on the family, is much more humane than an accidental death. I'm sure you will come to the right decision for all of you, just the fact that you're putting a lot of thought into it shows how much you love her. to you and your family.

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Old 06-24-2005, 01:27 PM
 
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we haven't put a dog to sleep, but have considered it...it's a hard decision. i hope you can figure out what's best for her.

mostly WAHM, sometimes WOHM to my : two boys.
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Old 06-24-2005, 01:28 PM
 
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My aunt works with animals. When we were agonizing over putting our dog down a few months ago, she told me, "It's better to take them a day too early than an hour too late." It was a horrible decision (one we've had to make twice now) but I know it was the right one. I'm just glad we were able to be with the dogs as they went under - I think it's the duty of the owner making the decision to be there at the end.
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Old 06-24-2005, 01:56 PM
 
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A Dog's Prayer



by Beth Norman Harris

Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of mine.

Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.

Speak to me often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.

When it is cold and wet, please take me inside, for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements. And I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth. Though you had no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land, for you are my god and I am your devoted worshipper.

Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life should your life be in danger.

And, beloved master, should the great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest -- and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.


This is my favorite doggy poem. You will know when the time is right, it is different for every dog and every owner. I firmly believe our dogs tell us when it's time to go, our job is to listen.
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Old 06-24-2005, 03:41 PM
 
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I knew for sure that, unlike a few people that I have known, I REFUSED to wait until my dog could not get up or it became an emergency. It doesn't make it any easier. My MIL had a German shep. with bad arthritis, and darn it she waited until one day the poor thing just could not get up and had to be picked up and put into a truck.
Not me. I lost my favorite 10 year old dog, he had bilateral hip and shoulder arthritis, licked himself raw on both shoulders, was on two different meds one hip was a lot worst then the rest and we had stairs....he spent a lot of time laying around. I took him for a walk one day, just me and him (our time) and was walking my normal pace and encouraging him before I realized that he was totally lagging behind me, for the first time ni his life. It hit me like a ton of bricks. His body was failing him, he was also a big breed and did have arthritis for a long time. He also had other medical problems on top of the arthritis...it was time.
It was hard it has been almost 3 years and tears still well up. But I wanted him to be able to walk .......not the other way.....
I really, really feel for you and your family..........
It was horrible too because over our 12 year marriage we had 3 dogs....this was the last, and so we came home to an empty house.....oh the guilt and quiet.

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Old 06-24-2005, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for the replies. It's hard because she does have really good days & I think, like a pp said, it'll be time when the bad days outnumber the good. So far it seems like she is having more good.

My mother had a dog that was in awful shape & she just kept her going. I don't want it to be like that, but I think she was blinded to how bad off the dog actually was.
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Old 06-24-2005, 05:33 PM
 
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Take in consideration if the dog is going to be a danger to herself or someone else.

My bil had a dog that was at my mil's house. He could not take the dog originally because of were he was living. She just kept him over the years, mutually agreed to. I moved in with my mil. With in a year the dogs health started to go down hill. It was blind, walking into closed doors. It couldn't hear. Very arthritic. Loosing urinary control. Shift in personality. Started snipping at people. My dh and I started seeing behaviors that scared us so we informed bil and mil we were going to put the dog down after Christmas. Well, sil and bil took the dog instead got very angry at us for evening considering it. Less than two months later they were taking their son to a plastic surgeon because it bit him. It was an accident. The dog couldn't see or hear him and got scared. My nephew “fell” over him. This was an accident waiting to happen. After the fact they admitted we were right.
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Old 06-24-2005, 06:01 PM
 
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We put our dog to sleep the day before our younger dd was born. In hindsight I wish we had done it a little earlier. I really waited until the very last moment, and for those last few days she laid on the floor in the hallway basically waiting to die. The whole week before we did, I kept thinking I how hard it would be to be laboring and birthing upstairs, while our dog was suffering downstairs. The relief of finally taking care of our beloved dog (who was instrumental in dh and I connecting, just to name one of the wonderful things she did just by being her) I think helped my labor start, although I wasn't overdue at all.

When I finally called the vet I was mindful that putting her to sleep was the most humane thing to do. She could barely walk, she was barely eating (although she happily ate the treat flavored pain meds and doggie treats my SIL gave her), her breathing was labored. All those things told me she was ready. She'd been having continuous bad days for about 2 weeks.

SHe was the first and only pet I'd ever had to euthanize. I get a lump in my throat just looking at pictures of Rottwielers. The other day, a woman brought her therapy dog in to the herb shop I was in. He was a big lump of a rottie. I pet him and talked to him, and he was so sweet, but I noticed that my older dd didn't really go near him. She pet him, said hello, and went back to what she was looking at. Later she said she didn't want to pet the dog because she missed Kaya.

It's a tough thing to do, and you'll get no real thanks for it, but it's a humane, kind thing to do for a faithful friend.
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Old 06-24-2005, 07:05 PM
 
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When I was 18, we had to put down our 17 yo golden retriever. He had really bad arthritis and hip problems for many years. We kept him as comfy as possible for as long as we could. Some days, he wasn't able to stand up. But, we loved ( and still do love) him so much. When it seemed that he was in too much pain and the bad days far outnumbered the good ones, we made the gut-wrenching decision to euthanize him. I was there with him. I was so sad, but he looked at me and seemed ok.

It's a hard decision to make. And, I think that when someone really loves their pet (as most people do), they'll know when the time comes. It's something that a lot of people don't understand, but I think it can be the best thing sometimes. So sorry, you're faced with this.
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Old 06-24-2005, 07:36 PM
 
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I feel for you, and know in the end you will do the best for your loved one.

I was never a dog person until my girl (shep/collie rescue baby) came along. She was the most AWESOME dog. We had to put her to sleep very suddenly last dec. at the age of 13. She aged soooo quickly in the span of about 6 mos, became incontenent, noticably hard of hearing, and then suffered a stroke which happened either immediately before or after falling dwon the stairs (she had become very arthritic and fell down the stairs more than once). We joked that she was our "Doggie Doula" as she was one of the most empathetic animals I have ever met and my Dp swears that she was providing additional labor back support when we were o the way to the hosp & she had a contraction. Willow literaly leaned her whole body into my Dp's back as she was in a deep squat. Willow also taught one of my Nephew's to walk by allowing him to pull to standing position by grabbing her fur and then walking slowly step by step with him (I have it on tape).

I know that when we had to put her down there was NO hope. I also know that with the other problems she proably had only another few months before we would have had to make the descision even without the stroke. It is a sign of love and respect not to make them suffer. I know that it is SOOO hard when they sometimes have "puppy" days where they are pain free, but when the majority is pain, it's time.
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Old 06-24-2005, 08:43 PM
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Oh mama I am so sorry.

I think you just know. My family dog Gidget, our ShitZu, had to be put down just over 2 years ago. She was so amazing, and we adored her beyond words. Even my dad, the rough and gruff Trucker fell instantly in love with her the day we found her (a family member no longer *liked* her and chose their cats over her so they literally dropped her off at my grandmother's and everyone passed off on having her until it came to us-we felt the need to keep her) and she was his baby.

Anyhow, I had already married and had my first, whom she was close and protective of........but she started having seizures a couple months prior to her being put down.........she just got progressively worse and our vet said that the money we were putting into fixing her up was not doing that but prolonging her lacking quality of life..........

My sister and mom called me up and asked that I be with them (dad was on road and was beyond upset) as they needed my strength (yay right........I cried just not as hard as they did so as to be the one to stay sane)...........it was a beautiful yet sad moment.......we 3 held and touched her, talked to her, and amazingly she looked us each in th eye one last time...........then it was done.

It is hard, but you'll just know when you're dear pet has endured enough. We never thought we would...........but we did.
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Old 06-24-2005, 10:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess what I'm afraid of is that I'm not doing it because it's the best thing for her but doing it because it's easier for me, less responsibility, less demanding of my time & attention, less frustration dealing with her diabetes, etc.

I think it's more letting the idea of putting her down sit with me for a little while & being attuned to what her days are like & know I'll make a good decision.
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Old 06-25-2005, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bu's mama
I guess what I'm afraid of is that I'm not doing it because it's the best thing for her but doing it because it's easier for me, less responsibility, less demanding of my time & attention, less frustration dealing with her diabetes, etc.

I think it's more letting the idea of putting her down sit with me for a little while & being attuned to what her days are like & know I'll make a good decision.

I totally believe you'll make the right decision. Just your posting your feelings as you have tells me you are compassionate and concerned and thinking ahead and right there you'll know what is the right move to make and when.

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Old 06-25-2005, 02:07 AM
 
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If you decide to do it, make sure that the vet makes your dog sleep first with gas before injecting the euthanasia serum. That way he/she is actually asleep before dying. The other way, the animal is awake when dying, which IMO is very cruel.

Some vets do it one way, some vets do it another. Make sure to ask.

Early intervention specialist and parent consultant since 2002.
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Old 06-25-2005, 05:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PikkuMyy
If you decide to do it, make sure that the vet makes your dog sleep first with gas before injecting the euthanasia serum. That way he/she is actually asleep before dying. The other way, the animal is awake when dying, which IMO is very cruel.

Some vets do it one way, some vets do it another. Make sure to ask.
Whoa--this is news to me: a gas? I have had to euthanize a few ill cats. The vet always injected a sedative/paralytic first, and then waited for it to take effect while I held my animal in my arms. They seemed totally sedated/anesthetized/nonresponsive after about 5-10 mintuesOnly then did they inject the lethal meds. But they never used a gas. I hope that the injectible paralytic is the same as what you refer to as a gas00I would hate to think of my companions suffering. Can you provide more info about this gas?

And OP, it is so difficult to make this choice. I am sorry you are in this situation. It sounds like you will not let your companion suffer unduly.
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Old 06-25-2005, 09:30 AM
 
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On the gas--honestly, I've worked for a whole lot of clinics and I've never seen gas used prior to a euthanasia. Frankly, very few dogs tolerate having an gas mask placed on. Anesthesia gas really, really smells bad and dogs and cats have a far more acute sense of smell than humans, it also causes instant dry mouth and can sting the eyes. I would absolutely not want to use gas on my pet who was about to die. Most often a sedation is given via the vein, this way the dog is completely relaxed in mere seconds rather than the minutes it takes with gas. Most dogs and cats really, really fight being gassed down--this is why gassing down is only done with animals going in for surgery if they are so very ill that they may not survive a longer acting sedative--obviously recovering from sedation is not the issue in an animal being put to sleep. There are campains all over North America pushing for shelters and pounds to NOT gas animals down and to instead use sedation--now I admit, these shelters are often using the gas to put the animal down slowly--but the initial 10 minutes is the same, either way.
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Old 06-25-2005, 10:56 AM
 
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naking- in all my years of being a vet tech, i've never seen gas anesthesia used to preclude euthanasia, for the same reasons shannon mentioned. isoflurane is the most common gas anes. and is used for short surgical procedures (dental work, minor suturing if local isn't enough) because it's very short acting and safer than injectable anesthesia for lots of animals, but it's a b*tch to administer- 99% of animals freak out while being gassed down. euthanasia solution is an overdose of narcotic sedative- it actually anesthesizes the animal before it stops their heart, so they ARE asleep when they die. much more humane than wildly fighting gas, IMO. one thing you may want to consider- have the vet inject the euthanasia solution into the abdomen first. this causes a much slower reaction (they still go to sleep first, but it's more gradual), and most vets will follow the abdominal injection with an intravenous one to stop the heart once the animal is asleep. this works best with smaller animals, but is possible with larger ones, too. honestly, i think it gives the owner more peace than the animal, as the regular iv injection is very peaceful, too, but some people really do better when the whole procedure doesn't happen too quickly.

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Old 06-25-2005, 11:14 AM
 
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We had had to put a bunny to sleep and 3 dogs (not including one when I was a kid) none were ever gassed. The dogs were injected and we held them; they passed quietly and peacefully I even though "they are gone?"
This is going back a few years but my vet at the time said what she used was really good for euthaizing, though they were taking it off the market as it was a "danger to animals". If I remember correctly she said she liked it because the animals went peacefully, no convulsing or anything..something to that effect.

It was quick and painless, I don't think my animals would have stood for a mask and I am not sure I could either.

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