to consider having my dog put down?

(47 Posts)
Solange71 Sat 08-Jun-13 20:33:28

He is elderly, not aged, but has a degenerative spinal condition which means he can now barely walk. It also means he is losing control of his bowels and bladder and can't tell when he needs to defecate or urinate. He has many accidents in the house and sometimes - increasingly - goes suddenly when he's being carried, or in the car, or wherever he happens to be.

Pet lovers on the internet suggest dog nappies, or taking him outside every couple of hours, but I don't think I can cope with these options. He goes to a carer when I'm at work, and she is understandably not too keen to continue with him in the circumstances. But as he is not apparently in significant pain, and still has an appetite, he's not really suffering that much so it would be more for my benefit than his, in a way, much as I love him. Am I justified in deciding his time has come?

HollyBerryBush Sat 08-Jun-13 20:34:57

I think you are brave. You do what you know to be right. flowers

And keep those flowers I'm never soppy or sentimental.

TheScreamingfrog Sat 08-Jun-13 20:37:47

This is a horrible place to be for you Op. sad
Ask yourself what his quality of life is? It's a trite phrase I guess but, for me, that would hold the answer.

If he can barely walk and can not control his bladder or bowls YANBU.
I know if my dog could not walk his quality of life would be so low I would let him go. You know your dog so the decision lies with you.
As for other people, I know lots of people that have let their pet suffer because they can not bare the thought of loosing their pet, which is completely selfish attitude.

NatashaBee Sat 08-Jun-13 20:38:58

I would consider the same thing as you, to be honest. I would be concerned about his quality of life if he can't walk. Someone on here once said 'better a day too early than a day too late' - I think that was good advice in that I wouldn't want to leave him to the point he was suffering.

LEMisdisappointed Sat 08-Jun-13 20:39:09

Oh you poor thing sad poor dog. You know, he will hate not being clean and messing himself all the time. His quality of life will be suffering and i can't help but think WTF when it comes to pet nappies, it will be a nightmare - all the mess getting stuck in his fur sad I think if he was my dog i would be thinking that it was time to let him go with dignity

So sorry xxx

Parker231 Sat 08-Jun-13 20:39:42

I've been there but the best thing you can do is ask what quality of life does the dog have ? From what you say it's is poor and not going to improve and it may be in the dog's bests interest to make the very difficult decision to have him put to sleep to avoid him suffering.

Yanbu. It's so distressing for them to be unable to be a dog. That's no quality of life sad

Elesbe Sat 08-Jun-13 20:42:16

Being a good pet owner means taking responsibility and making difficult decisions. Not having control over his bodily functions would cause distress. You know what you have to do. Be brave. flowers

Branleuse Sat 08-Jun-13 20:42:54

thats no life for a dog

AtYourCervix Sat 08-Jun-13 20:44:04

Such a horrible decision to make. But I agree it is the right one. And brave too.

I am waiting for the day I need to do the same for my old boy. Also has spinal condition and is wobbly.

I hope I'm brave like you when the time comes.

ShinyPenny Sat 08-Jun-13 20:45:29

You are justified. It sounds like it's time to let him go.

I am sorry, it's very hard. sad

DizzyZebra Sat 08-Jun-13 20:46:17

Yanbu. Pain or not I think its cruel to keep an animal alive when it can barely walk tbh. The dog won't know why it can't walk and will be distressed.

Nottalotta Sat 08-Jun-13 20:46:37

Better a year too early than a day too late. I had a 13yr old dog, female. She went ecerywhere with me, including work, til she was 10. I got a different job and she had to stay home. She hated being alone and would howl as i left her. At 13 her legs were not great - not terribky bad but not good. She would also wee on her bed most days, and wasn't happy about it ( behaved as though she had done something wrong even though i never told her off) I made the decisiin to have her put to sleep. Had i been able to work from home it wouldn't have entered my head. But she ws alone 8 - 6 every day. It broke my heart and still does. She was having a good day when the vet came (i got them to come to the house) She sat on my lap and had an in jection and went to sleep. I sobbed and am now nearly 4 yrs on but the guilt that i had felt every day as i left her, and as i cleaned her up while she looked miserable, left me. Its a difficult decision but he will not know anything of it esp if you have the vet come to you. It will be worse for you than him.

CabbageLeaves Sat 08-Jun-13 20:48:44

Let him go x

Your guilt over how difficult it is to manage is clouding your judgement about what is right for him. It's time to take this decision

lljkk Sat 08-Jun-13 20:52:27

If he's no prospect of getting better than yanbu. It's better to go when he's still got some quality of life left.

Must be very sad, though. I would struggle with it, too.

Solange71 Sat 08-Jun-13 20:57:47

Thank you for such kind replies. It is really helpful to have objective views on this as it's such a hard decision. It will make me feel better about it when the time comes.

I agree with Nottalotta hopefully you can get the vet to come to you. I think it is makes it easier for them to pass in their environment. When I had to let my girl go I arranged for a lunchtime visit. We spent the morning together just hanging out and she had all her favourite human food. She went peacefully with me holding her and looking into her eyes. It was my final act of love.
sad have some wine

iago Sat 08-Jun-13 21:37:14

Let him go. Horrible decision for you, but best for the dog.

SplitHeadGirl Sat 08-Jun-13 21:37:55

The vet came to my house when it was time for my Retriever to go. Like your dog he couldn't really walk - his back legs just gave out and even though he wasn't in so much pain that he couldn't eat, it just felt that the time had come to say goodbye. He seemed to know it was time too.

It was no life for him, and it started to feel I as hanging on to him for ME, which was so unfair on him.

I think you will know when the time comes.

Audio158 Sat 08-Jun-13 21:43:37

So, so sorry for the situation you are in.

Everyone here sympathises but agrees that you need to make that awful decision.

Google Rudyard Kipling's ' The Power of the Dog'.

thegreylady Sat 08-Jun-13 21:54:10

It is time-you know that I have done it with my beloved 18 year old Cairn who was in exactly that condition.I still cry 12 years later but I know it was the right thing to do.
Love to you

CabbageLeaves Sat 08-Jun-13 21:59:06

Oh Audio

That made me howl

pigletmania Sat 08-Jun-13 22:04:05

Oh have tower heels that is so sad but so lovely too, that she was in her own environment when she passed

specialsubject Sat 08-Jun-13 22:16:15

a dog that can't walk?
Put him down, it is cruel to keep him alive.

the only sadness is that people do not have the same option when their time comes.

mrslaughan Sat 08-Jun-13 22:23:18

No you are not being unreasonable. What a terrible situation to be in.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sat 08-Jun-13 22:27:35

So sorry to hear this. I'm dreading that day, but I hope I would be as sensible and caring as you obviously are to just be strong enough to let him go.

So sorry. Would it help to tell us a bit about him?

multitask Sat 08-Jun-13 22:29:15

my vet told me, better a week too early than a day too late. thanks thanks

crumblepie Sat 08-Jun-13 22:30:08

if he cant walk or control his bladder and bowels then sad as it is i think you know deep down what you have to do , you say hes not in pain but do you know for sure , if i was in the same situation i would let him go , but i would have the vet come to his home so its less stressfull , wish you and your old boy all the best .

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 08-Jun-13 22:36:16

When I become immobile and doubly incontinent I would like to be able to tell my carers I wish to move to a better place. YANBU - hugs x

Eastpoint Sat 08-Jun-13 22:38:58

Our old boy was in a similar state when he was 15 1/2. He went on tramadol for a while then one day fell over while we were out & didn't try to get up. The next day we went to the vet and he was PTS. We walked there as he liked going to the vet and it was about £180 cheaper than having him PTS at home. I had the last appointment of the session and could stay with him as long as I wanted. I still think about him daily, nearly 3 years later.

I agree too.

I would do it in a heartbeat as my dog would be so upset if he messed himself. His face goes all guilty when he thinks he's been 'bad'.

He peed at home once when I couldn't get back at lunchtime from work and I felt terrible at his poor guilty face.

{{{{hugs}}}} for you and your doggy.

AliceinSlumberland Sat 08-Jun-13 22:52:07

I made this decision about a month ago, so hard but was the right thing to do. Had to think that it was only going to get worse, and how bad would it have to get for me to make the decision.

I also think if someone had swapped my dog at a younger age to the dog she became when I had her pts I would have decided more easily - but because it was gradual you become accustomed to it. Much like the frog in the cooking pot scenario. If someone presented this to you and asked your opinion you know what your advice would be, having the responsibility just makes it so hard.

We had them come to the house and she happily went to sleep on the sofa. All she wanted to do was sleep at that point and we gave her what she wanted.

Solange71 Sat 08-Jun-13 22:55:58

That's very true, Alice. My dog just wants to sleep all day too. He's not getting any enjoyment from life. It's sad hearing all your stories. This is the only dog I've had and he's been a great joy and comfort to me, bless him.

YANBU, definitely better a week too early than a day too late

It's so hard, they become part of the family, don't they?

We've got a 13 year old golden retriever who I love to bits, but I fear the time for us to make that decision is drawing near, so know how you feel sad

LimeFlower Sat 08-Jun-13 23:11:23

Difficult decision to make,sorry to hear that,hugs to you.

Exactly the same situation here except the dog belongs to DH,he's so attached to the dog that pts is not mentioned.There's nothing wrong with the dog mentally,it's just his body that's failing.

If you decide to pts please don't feel guilty,it's for the best.

apostropheuse Sat 08-Jun-13 23:16:18

Oh my goodness of course YANBU. It's definitely the kindest thing to do for your dog.

You have absolutely no reason to feel guilty.

devilinside Sat 08-Jun-13 23:55:40

we just had our 17 year old cat PTS for the same reason (not the walking, but becoming increasingly 'doubly' incontinent) A tough decision but I have a son with SEN plus DD - the cat had had a number of accidents in her room

muffinino82 Sun 09-Jun-13 00:00:13

I'm sorry to hear about your dog, they really are so special.

I think that you are better PTS a week early than a day too late, no matter how much it hurts you. It's important that we always put their needs first and, if the dignity of life has gone, then it's time. I know how heart-breaking it is and admire your bravery. From what you've said it sounds as if PTS is the best option. Try to remember that it is for the best but I know how hard it is sad

So sorry for the decision you have to make. I lost my beloved cat just three weeks ago and know how hard it is to let go but you know that your poor dog has no quality of life left. YANBU at all to want him to go to sleep peacefully and stop suffering.


Alisvolatpropiis Sun 09-Jun-13 00:05:10


I have a dog. I grew up with dogs. I love them. I find the idea of dog nappies/putting wheels on dogs who have lost their back legs disgusting.

My Nan had her cat put down recently. He had feline AIDs. He wasn't displaying any significant negative symptoms at the time bar slow healing wounds (he was a very active ten year old tom). But she was told that she would have to keep him indoors indefinitely after the diagnosis unless she had all his teeth removed (!) and it would be a slow and painful decline. Based on the active outdoor animal he was she chose to have him put down than torture him by keeping him locked inside/having his teeth removed. I think she made the right decision.

Your dog is a much loved animal, not a person. I think you would be doing the right thing and doing it out of love.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 09-Jun-13 00:07:11

It is an horrible decision to have to make Op and you have my every sympathy flowers

JeeanieYuss Sun 09-Jun-13 01:55:23

Some of the stories on this thread have just reduced me to tears.. sad

I'm off downstairs to give my dog a massive cuddle, it's actually his 1st birthday today, I can't imagine not having him anymore and going through that pain.

Good luck with whatever you decide OP x

Mimishimi Sun 09-Jun-13 04:22:28

YANBU, however, be prepared for the look of devastation on your dog's face when they realise they are dying (about a minute or two after the injection and then they are dead within 30 seconds after that). I didn't expect that. We've had it done for two dogs. The first one had been hit by cars nine times ( he used to dig his way out and chase them). The ninth time his leg was too shattered from past accidents to repair and like your dog, he had also become incontinent. He was miserable lying around doing nothing. The second one developed a huge benign tumour on his side. My mum did look into having cut out but the vets said there was too much risk of it bursting and leaking into him (?) during surgery and he would die anyway. By the end the weight of it was such that he could not walk at all and was equally miserable. Our other dogs all died natural deaths related to old age.

MrsMook Sun 09-Jun-13 04:41:16

We had a Pyranean (think St Bernard size) who had a gentle decline at the end of his long life. DM always said that she would keep as long as he enjoyed being alive. They managed for a long time with her helping pull him up when the arthritis got bad in his back legs, but one day his front legs floundered. That evening she saw the look in his eyes, so the vet came to visit the next day.
He was a very clean dog, and tried so hard to keep it in and not end up in his own mess. He was still clean when the vet came.

You know when it's time. Most of DMs cats and dogs have had some help when they've reached the end of long lives. Animals know when it's time to fade away.

loveschocolate Sun 09-Jun-13 06:00:37

The quality of life is the key thing and can be very poor, even if the animal is not in pain. It's such a heartbreaking decision to have to make - in some ways it's easier if there is a sudden decline or serious illness. As with people suffering can be mental with or without physical illness or pain. WMy friend had her dog put down recently as he had become senile and incontinent - even though she knew it was the right thing she was still devastated (and she's a vet herself but still struggled with the decision). You know your dog better than anyone. May be worth talking it through with your vet. Nappies are not a good idea - it's impossible to keep the area clean and it can become very sore and infected.

lotsofdogshere Sun 09-Jun-13 06:57:45

So good to see that the responses to your post have been supportive and kind. I made the pts decision about a much loved 15 year old dog not too long ago. Like your dog, he had degenerative spinal problems, and in the 6 months before he died, had been on antibiotics for kidney problems, anti inflammatories for pain etc. He developed something called vestibulitis, just awful, head tipped to one side, unable to walk without falling over, banging into things and no interest in either food or water. I'd been getting fluids (including food) into him using a bit plastic syringe into his mouth but the night before his last visit to the vet, he looked at me and again let the food/water trickle out of his mouth. We shared something I do believe, and I cuddled and stroked him and said, ok we know, you've had enough and are ready to go. The vet was truly wonderful, spent almost an hour with us and the old dog died very quickly, and peacefully. So sad, we still miss him, but like others have said, I found myself hoping someone would love me enough to help me on my way when the time comes. Someone said to me, when I was struggling with the decision, it is the last loving thing you can do for him. Best wishes

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