Financially Stuck with Keeping Our Dog or to Put It Down.

Updated on February 05, 2013
J.Y. asks from Corona, NY
18 answers

My family usually don't have any money problem but lately, my 6 year old cocker spaniel has been getting these mass tumors. She has a cherry eye which seemed to have popped and is badly infected and a breast tumor on her stomach the size of a pear. We'be brought her to the vet for two days consecutivly and still haven't recieved any surgery and the bills already over $300. We had an estimate for her tumors which would be $7000 more. We've heard of care credit but this payment is way over our budget. My dad has to constantly go to the dentist because he's losing his teeth and that alone cost a lot of money and were going through a $100,000 debt for a failed business. Would putting the dog down be the best solution?

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answers from Tampa on

Hands down, I would put this dog down. The prognosis does not seem to be good. You could easily end up paying the 7K and still end up with a dead dog in the end.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I love dogs so much but would put one down in a case like this. I used to volunteer at the humane society and they had us watch a video on euthenasia. It's over in a split second. I would prefer my dog die happy than be put in a shelter wondering where we are and why he/she's there... And we're financially fine but I would say that if I'm going to spend $7k to help a living being, it should be a child versus a dog. And again, I really really love dogs. I just don't think it's cruel to put them down if it's the most practical and fair thing for the dog. Sorry you're dealing with this.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Phoenix on

Do not EVER put your family in debt over a pet. JMO. If you cannot do the surgery, see if you can find a rescue place that may take her. Otherwise, yes, I would say its time to put her down. Tough situation. Good luck.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We've had Cocker Spaniels for years. We've had to put 2 down due to cancer but they were both 13 and 15 yrs old when we did it.

We currently have 2 Cockers, 1 is 13 and 1 is 8. We know the 13 yr old has tumors and the vet suggested not to remove them. We keep a close eye on him and when/if he ever shows pain and hardship for living and breathing, we will be forced to make the decision to put him down. However, as tumor filled as he is, he will still chase squirrels all day if we let him.... so we know it is not time just yet.

Before I just let my dog be put down due to money and his health issues, I would at least look for a Cocker Spaniel rescue group to see if someone would take him. Someone somewhere might be able to take him in, love him and give him a few more good years.

It is a very difficult decision.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

if you don't have the money, what else can you do?
people will judge you harshly. i'm sorry about that, but it will happen.
try not to let it break your heart. but that question is bound to elicit a wide range of emotion-based answers, some of which will be passionately 'would you let your child die over money? do ANYTHING to save your dog!'
don't let yourself be guilt-tripped.
going into massive debt for a dog who has such overwhelming health issues is not a good idea. love her and let her go.
i'm so sorry.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

There are times when the health of the pet and the financial resources must simply be weighed. We spent...too much...trying to save a cat a few years ago. Had I do-over, I would not have taken him to the ER to suffer longer that last time. I would have let him go. But it was DH's cat and DH and the kids wanted to keep trying. But we were having some "we can't do this again" financial talks, much as we loved him.

So, honestly, if you cannot afford $7K, the most humane thing is to keep her comfortable til you no longer can and let her go. If there is a rescue that will take her, that is an option, but many cannot afford the $7K, either. I'm sorry you are having to face this decision.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to mamapedia!

If you cannot afford to take care of your dog, you need to surrender her to a shelter who can help her or put her down.

If it was my dog - even without money problems? I would put the dog down. Tumors will come back. Spending $7K on my dog to only have him or her go back to the same situation - in pain and infected and losing his/her teeth? Put the animal down. Show compassion and love.

As hard as it is, I would put my dog down. And I love him. He is my baby. However, I would HATE to have him in pain and infected and losing teeth...that would not work for me.

Good luck. I know this won't be an easy decision to make.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Sorry to hear about your dog. That's a hard thing to process, because we see our pets as our furry children.

I had a dog several years ago with tumor issues. Purebred dogs often are prone to tumors and cancer issues in general, unfortunately. We have a friend who is a veterinary surgeon, and her advice to us was that she could certainly remove the tumors, HOWEVER that it was likely that the tumors would recur. If the dog is prone to cancer, the dog is prone to cancer. Because we had vet insurance and got the "friends and family" rate from our friend the surgeon, we went ahead with the surgery. The poor dog came out of it looking like Frankenstein. She had so many scars. But the surgeon was able to get a clear margin around each tumor, meaning she removed all of the tumors, and they had not spread. Great! Well, a few months later, new tumors began to grow. This time, some of them were in our dog's brain. As sad as it was, we decided it was the most humane option to put her down rather than put her through another painful surgery and recovery, knowing that in the future, we would face this same issue.

So, long story short, I would ask your vet for his/her best guess as to what the future holds for your dog IF you get the surgery. $7000 is a lot of money to spend, if in 6 months your dog needs another surgery due to the tumors having recurred. Add that to the other debts you are facing, and (just my opinion) I don't know that I'd even consider the surgery for the dog if the vet couldn't 95% guarantee a positive long-term outcome.

I'm sorry you're having to make this decision. It's hard. :(

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

I think it would be the most humane-even if you were financially sound-hope things turn around for you, I am sorry you are going through all this.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

For me, the cost of $7000 alone would be the deciding factor to euphanize, and it was. My dog developed a mass on his front leg, between the bones in 2009. My dog was 12y but looked like a 2y puppy. We were told it would cost $200 to biopsy it. By the time we got the money together (a few months), the mass had doubled in size. The vet told us that it would now cost $500 for him to biopsy it. Another 2 months went by for us to get that money together. By then the vet said that the mass was too large and he couldn't help us. Gee thanks.

We went to an animal hospital that worked with surgeons. The consultaion was $150 for him to just look at my dog. The surgeon told us that it would cost $1000 to biopsy. Based on our description that it was most likely cancer. Given the location of the mass, his recommendation was amputation at a cost of $4000 - 5000. Then there would be chemo for $2000+, and some rehab and in the end, he could not say that he would be able to get it all, that the dog would handle surgery well, or the chemo well.

I didn't have that kind of money. He was my best friend, and the best dog ever. I couldn't put my pet through all of that on a 'maybe'. I couldn't keep not doing anything becuase I didn't have the money to do something. I decided to let him go. I then called my original vet and made the appt. We stopped by Wendy's drive-thru on the way home where he ate a double cheeseburger and fries (we tried to only ever feed him dog food). He was in heaven! ... and then he was in heaven. ;(

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lynchburg on

That really is tough...I was almost in the same situation before. My dog had mouth cancer, and the tumors kept coming back to where they were almost blocking his airway and he couldn't eat. He acted so happy like nothing was wrong, but the cancer became really aggressive, tumor growing back in one week! My parents couldn't afford it (this is when I was still living at home), and I couldn't off my part-time job, so the vet actually took him in as her own! She did all the surgeries and didn't charge us a thing! As long as she kept him, I could come visit him, but eventually the surgeries didn't help anymore and we had to put him down...saddest day of my life. BUT, if she hadn't taken him in for those last few months, I would've had to put him down sooner b/c we didn't have the money for the bills. So, to answer your question, if the dog is suffering anyway and no one else can take her, then it is humane to put her down.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

SO sorry, J.. Please put the dog down. The people in your family come first, and the pain your dog would have to endure is just not right to put the dog through.

I cannot for the life of me even contemplate spending $7000 on ANY pet. And I loved, loved, loved my dog, J.. I have to tell you that my vet would never have wanted me to pay that for my dog that had cancer. Your vet shouldn't want you to either...


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I personally wouldnt put the dog down unless it is in pain. Maybe see if a rescue is willing to take him in and get him the help he needs?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

I'm assuming your treating the eye since that just popped and is badly infected. What type of tumors are they and what is the prognosis? It sounds like she may have been developing these tumors for a while. Is she spayed? Is she actually suffering and in discomfort now?

If the tumors are not debilitating her now and you can get by with continuing to treat the eye, I would do that. When/if her quality of life tanks that's when I would euthanize her. Other than the present eye infection, I don't see that she is miserable yet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Please look into Cocker Spaniel rescue groups. They may be able to take him in and get him fixed up and ready for his next family. At least give him that chance. We do it in the rescues I'm involved with all the time. Please give him another chance, he's too young to be put down for those issues.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Talk to your vet and see what he thinks the dogs quality of life is and what the odds are she would even make it through the surgery and be honest about the money issues. Then with all the "facts" about the dog make the decision. There are too many unanswered questions for the dog to make a good decision without answers.

when my "baby boy" (a lab mix) was about 8 years old he started having "issues". They were like seizers without fitting into the seizer description. We found out that it could be a few large things and without major tests we would not be able to know. We never had the tests because surgery was not an option for him because the vet didn't think he would make it through it and if he did he wouldn't aver be able to have a good life again. He lasted 2 more years and when he had a really bad one and could no longer walk and was in pain we knew it was time to let him go.It was heart wrenching and aweful but it was the right thing for him.

All that said see what is suggested as the right thing for the dog before any decision is made. If you have a good vet that you trust you will get good advice from the vet.



answers from Dallas on

What does the vet say about her prognosis? Are these mast cell tumors (i.e. - cancer)? Is surgery going to merely extend her life a few months or actually allow her to go into a remission? Just because a treatment is available does not mean it's the best possible choice for the dog's quality of life...large tumors, multiple surgeries, etc is pretty rough. I adored my dog and would have spent that and more IF there had been a cure and the chance of a good quality of life and would not have been a severe hardship for the family. However, when you are merely extending an inevitable process and watching your dog decline, I think it is often more humane to allow your dog to go with dignity. I'd ask the vet for more guidance, but do not put your family into a precarious position over this. If the dog is cureable, you could ask about signing her over for care vs putting her down. From your description, though, it sounds like this is more likely surgery that would be delayng an inevitable situation.



answers from Amarillo on

If you can't find a rescue center to take your dog it would be better to put him/her down.

We all want to keep our family members as long as possible but what kind of life are they experiencing? They can't tell us how they feel only with the sad eyes or the lack of energy.

My daughter had a daschund that fell and hurt its back. She went to the vet and he told her the surgery at the time would be $2500 BUT there was no guarantee that the dog would walk properly. She came to me with eyes full of tears and explained the situation and we together took the dog to the vet and paid our respects to her. I held the dog as the vet administered the meds and she was gone in less than a minute. That being said the dog is still in our hearts and memories.

It is not easy to let go but you have to. You do not have the resources to keep the dog. This would be one less stress on your shoulders.

I wish you strength to do the right thing.

The other S.

PS I have the remains of the daschund and another dog in my sewing room on a shelf. We have pictures and a flower in their memory. I know that they are safe and happy and looking down on us from heaven.

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