July 19, 2010,
J.G. asks from Bellevue, NE on July 16, 2010
Advice on Putting down 10 Yr Old Black Lab
We have a 10 year old Black Lab mixed dog that I have had since she was 10 weeks old. She has survived a bad back injury and seems to now be suffering from hip or knee problems. She has difficutly walking up and down the stairs and I feel she is in pain. She also has very bad allergies and these are getting costly to treat. Among all other things she has began to pee on the carpet almost daily. She gets let out last thing at night and first thing in the morning...Is it wrong to put her down so she isn't suffering? I feel that we are doing a bad thing by cutting her life short...
S.G. answers from Rapid City on July 17, 2010
I have a 10 year old cockerspaniel who also was showing pain in the hip and knee areas and the vet gave me some pills that weren't expensive at all... although they needed to do a blood test for liver health. She took them every day for two weeks and is pretty much like a pup again to some degree. She bounces around wanting to play and is back to being able to jump up on the bed and ottoman. About the accidents at night, might get some big size baby diapers and put them on her at night.
S.B. answers from Minneapolis on July 16, 2010
The average life span of a well cared for Black Lab is 10-12 years, so you are not cutting her life "short." If she is in pain and spends most of her day uncomfortable between the allergies, pain, and uncontrolled bladder (if she was previously potty trained, she knows she shouldn't but can't help it) issues, I personally would do it. I know it's hard, but I can't stand to see an animal suffer . . .
R.L. answers from Cedar Rapids on July 17, 2010
It a hard decision and you just have to weigh the good and bad. If she starts peeing uncontrollable and ruining carpet. Dollars start to add up there too. They're are some good pain medicines out there for dogs that might make her comfortable and get around better or get some bloodwork done to see if she is having organ failure or how the body's functioning. If it's more than just pain then you'll have to see what its going to cost you to keep her comfortable and decide what's the best thing.
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W.T. answers from San Diego on July 16, 2010
I just had to put down my 30 year old horse after having him for 26 years. I always told myself that if he didn't have a decent quality of life, I would do for him what he couldn't do for himself. We had to do that this week.
You need to really ask yourself if it is for the animal or for you? Life will probably be a lot easier without your dog, but are you looking for an excuse to not let her out more or to save money on allergies?
If you honestly think her quality of life is poor and she is in regular pain, then you are doing her a favor. Ask your vet for their opinion...they certainly will have one. May not be able to give you a definitive answer, but will help you decide.
There's no right answer, but keeping an animal alive who is in pain just because it is a tough decision to make is inhumane. Make sure you or a loved one are there with her. If you've never witnessed an animal being euthanized, it is very peaceful. I always feel that I owe my animals to be there. I would hope someone I love is there for my last moments on this earth.
I wish you luck in your decision.
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J.B. answers from Atlanta on July 16, 2010
Well, is she really suffering? We have a 12 year old black lab, and labs are known for hip displasia. It can get bad enough so that they ARE suffering, but only you can make the call as to whether she's just walking funny when she goes up and down stairs (ours does and really doesn't even go up flights of stairs any more) or is she in pain from it? Is there a place she could be like a basement where she wasn't having to deal with stairs and it wasn't terrible if she had an accident? Ours stays in the basement, garage and outdoors. She's not in pain, but walks funny and will have the occasional accident because it takes her longer to get up and move. If an animal is suffering it is NEVER wrong to put them down, but if they're just inconveniencing you -well, you have to make that call with your vet.
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T.F. answers from Dallas on July 16, 2010
We've had to put 2 Cocker Spaniels down and it is one of the hardest and most emotional things we have done.
The first one was 13, had cancer and in the end, had no control of her bladder. She was very sick. We got "the look" from her one late afternoon and it was like she was asking us to help. We took her to the vet, and we all cried, because we've been with our vet since 1989 and this was 2000. It was painless, we held her and said our goodbyes. She was taken to a pet cemetary and cremated and the next week we got her remains back ina pretty cedar locked box with her name on it.
In 2005, we had to put our other Cocker down at 14 yr old. He was our most expensive Cocker. He chewed things, recovered from major surgery at 2, etc. This time, it was near midnight and he was coughing and we knew. We went to the emergency animal clinic and waited outside until it was our turn to go in. We were very emotional this time as well. We'd never met this vet, and when he started the injection, he had tears and said this was the hardest part of being a vet. We also have the ashes from this dog in a pretty cedar box with his name.
The crematory sent both boxes back with sympathy cards, a silk rose and stories about the rainbow bridge.
Both our dogs were in pain, very sick, and getting old. Like I said, these decisions were very hard emotionally on us. Those dogs were treated like royalty, our children and a huge part of our lives.
We currently have a 10 yr old Cocker, 5 yr old Cocker and 4 yr old toy poodle. I dread this decision again someday.
My heart goes out to you.....
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L.M. answers from Minneapolis on July 18, 2010
Did you know that there are chiropractors for dogs, cats, and horses? Contact Hal Brown at ###-###-#### or ____@____.com upstairs neighbor has brought him on to treat her aged cat, whose had spinal issues that have affected her ability to poo regularly. She's now a renewed kitty! Unless your dog is actively failing/near death, I'd try some alternatives, vet visits, dietary changes to facilitate her aging problems before putting her down. If you're questioning whether it's time, and you feel you'd be cutting her life short, maybe your gut is telling you something. Blessings to you all and your lovely dog!
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C.L. answers from Minneapolis on July 17, 2010
I just lost a 17 year old Jack Russell terrier 6 weeks ago so I know how hard this decision is. Just reading all of these posts brings tears to my eyes. I think your vet is probably in the best position to help you determine if your dog is truly in pain and suffering or just achy and a little uncomfortable. I agree with one of the other posters who said you can often tell if a dog has lost their "spark." My dog was a feisty one, and he had that spirit until his final morning. In keeping our dog comfortable during his final months, I was surprised to learn how much medical technology has made it possible to keep our pets happy in their golden years. There is a new injectable arthritis medication (Adequan?) that made/is making a huge difference in both of my dogs. It isn't very expensive if you buy the bottle and either give the injections yourself or bring the bottle and dog in to the clinic for the shot. Predinisone is cheap and can do wonders for allergies. My remaining dog has allergies. They don't like to use pred long term in younger dogs because of its side effects, but in an older dog with health problems it probably doesn't matter. It would help the arthritis too. I don't know what to tell you about peeing on the carpet other than the possibility of pee pads, but that is also something to discuss with your vet. I'm not trying to talk you out of having her euthanized since that can often be the most humane and logical thing to do, but if you and your dog aren't ready for that there may be options out there. It's a decision best made by you and your vet. My dog experienced some sort of heart failure on his final day. Although I did have to bring him in to be "put to sleep," it was a very clear-cut situation. I find comfort in the fact that the decision was essentially made for me. I realize not everyone can be so fortunate to have things end that way. It's the worst part about having pets. Best wishes to you and your dog.
K.B. answers from Kansas City on July 16, 2010
I think as a pet owner, we owe it to our pets to let them go when it's time. That decision is never easy and a very hard one to come to.
I personally would make a visit with your vet and see what's going on. The potty accidents could be just an infection or it could be from her being in pain and not feeling the need to go.
If she has to use the stairs to go outside, and those stairs are causing her a lot of pain, that's not fair to make her keep doing that.
I have a Great Dane and I made a promise to myself that I would never let him suffer. He's already showing signs of hip problems and a few times he wasn't able to get up fast enough in the morning and had an accident. I knew that I will have to let him go when it got to the point of him hurting to that bad. Luckly he's responding well to glucosamine supplements. There's no way outside to potty unless he takes the stairs, once I see that becomes to painful for him, I will have to make the very tough choice to let him go.
I wish you the best.
K.R. answers from Milwaukee on July 17, 2010
They have vets that come to your house now & will put your dog down in their surroundings while you are holding him or he's laying in his favorite spot. My sister did this with her dog & it was the most humane way that I could ever think of. It costs more than taking them to the vet, but is well worth it in the end. Hope this helps you.