What to Do About My Dog?

Updated on January 22, 2013
T.H. asks from Albany, LA
27 answers

I recently found out that my dog has diabetes and we have been giving her insulin shots twice a day and she has gained weight and seems to be feeling better. The problem is this: because of the diabetes, she is going blind. She keeps running into walls, furniture, bikes, etc. I think it would be more humane to put her to sleep and others don't agree with me. What would you do if it were your pet? Obviously, I don't want to do that but I think it is super sad to have to give her shots to keep her alive and then she can't see and is running into everything. Please be nice, this is hard enough already.

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for your kind words! Vegas is my sweet girlies name and she is a 71/2 year old Boston Terrier. She has always been super lazy and just lounge around but she enjoyed going outside running around chasing a basketball and sticks. When she started losing weight and urinating in the house we took her to the vet and found out about the diabetes. Yes, it was overwhelming but we have been chugging along and she improved vastly. She had pep in her step again. She was frisky and happy, you could just tell she felt better. Then all of a sudden she is running into everything and just laying around pouting. She is miserable. We have lived in our home for 4 years, nothing has changed and she is going to the bedroom when she needs to go out. With her breed according to the vet because their eyes bulge bumping into things is very dangerous for them because it causes scratches and all sorts of issues. I have not addressed this with the vet because she is a do all that you can no matter the cost kinda person. And if my funds were unlimited I would do that. However, I am a student/stay at home mom/caregiver for mother in law and I don't have an endless supply of money. I love my doggie but she is miserable. I will give her some time to adjust and speak to the vet and if things don't improve then hard decisions will have to be made. Most of your comments were very helpful Thank You for that. For the few not so nice, well my grandmother always said if you don't have anything nice to say then keep your mouth shut so I will follow her advice and shut up now.

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answers from Washington DC on


if it were my dog? I would have a long talk with my veterinarian. Can the insulin dose be changed? Will the blindness be permanent if we change the dose?

If the answer is no, then for me? the choice would be to put her down. As hard as it would be - it would be the kindest thing to do.

I'm really sorry!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I am glad to hear she is feeling better with the insulin... but I guess my question would be overall, how is she? Other than the sight problems, is she having other medical issues that would be causing her pain and discomfort? How long have the sight issues been happening? Do you think she can adjust to it?

If she is otherwise happy and is not in pain from the diabetes or related medical issues.... if her only 2 issues are needing a daily shot and running into stuff, I think I would try to work with her on the sight issues and give her more time.

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answers from Chicago on

Don't listen to those people who criticize you. They aren't living your life.

My ex is a vet, so I have access to the best vet care available. And yet, I have had issues like you are having with an aging pet, and not quite knowing what to do about it.

I had a 17-year-old cat who became diabetic. He also was going blind, as your doggie is. It is so hard to see them run into things and suffer like that. I had to decide what was best for my cat, and not for myself. To me, living in darkness and having someone poke you with sharp needles every day was the epitome of suffering. So I did what I thought was best and had him euthanized. I had some critics who thought I should continue. But those critics honestly would criticize just about anything anybody did so I didn't really give a lick what they had to say.

In the end, putting my dear kitty to sleep was the best thing. He wasn't suffering anymore, or living just because I would miss him if he were gone. If you think your dog is unhappy and suffering, you're probably right. The most humane thing to do in that case, would be to end that suffering. I'm so thankful we can do that for our pets.

Hugs to you. It's a tough decision.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am so sorry. I love my animals to pieces. I know this is hard for you on many levels.

When I put my cat to sleep my sister criticized me. That hurt, and caused self doubt, but..... The cat was 19 years old, deaf, blind and in perpetual constipation. She cried all night. I mean, really? I do not believe life no matter what. That is me. My sister doesn't really believe that either but she cannot make a decision to relieve a suffering animal. The responsibility is too harsh for her.

As others have said, this is your decision. Try to block out others that may criticize you. Go with your gut. If you think the time is right then it's okay to let your dog go. In fact, it might be the kinder thing to do.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

No advice, just I'm sorry about your doggy. It's such a yucky thing to go through.

Strength to you either way.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

How long has she been going blind? Is she running into things because she just hasn't had time to adjust to the loss of sight yet? If so, and if she seems to be enjoying her life otherwise, I would give her a little more time to adjust to the blindness and get her bearings.
Don't rearrange the furniture or leave things lying about out of place where she could trip over them.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

For me, the line in the sand is if the animal is in constant pain or their quality of life has deteriorated so much that they can no longer do the basics, such as eating, defecating on itself or unable to move. If it were my pet, I'd give it a little longer and see how she adjusts. Some pets are just fine, while others go downhill. It's a tough decision, but you know your pet best, so ultimately, it's your call. :(

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Madison on

I think there comes a time when you need to give your best 4-legged friend the best present you can: the right not to hurt anymore, the dignity to "go out" in style.

My Miniature Schnoodle will turn 8 this year. While she is still very healthy, I am also aware that she is getting up there--she's now a geriatic patient. My husband and I have talked about this; about putting her to sleep rather than letting her suffer when the time comes. I love her dearly and I know it's going to be soooo hard to do, but I do believe there comes a time when you need to let your friend go with love and dignity.

My grandparents had a Heinz 57 mix--just a little thing--they called Ceaser. Ceaser was something like 17 or 19 years old when he finally died of old age. He was blind, deaf, he couldn't control his bladder, he could barely eat or drink, he didn't like loud noises, he didn't want anyone to touch or pet him. It was so sad to see him in obvious pain, lying in his basket all day long with a diminished quality of life because my grandparents just couldn't bring themselves to put him to sleep. I will always remember how relieved I felt when I finally heard that Ceaser had died in his sleep. It was a few years too late, in my opinion.

My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Stay strong.

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answers from Dallas on

If it has not been that long and it's a case of her not yet adjusting, and if her quality of life is good otherwise, you may not need to. I have heard that dogs rely on their sense of smell to navigate more than their sight. Ask your vet about the blindness, adjusting, etc., before you make a decision.

ADD: I just remembered a dog I met earlier this year at a frame shop. The dog was blind, but was walking around the shop with no problems. She had learned they layout. I think the key is more the diabetes than the blindness. If the diabetes is kept in check and her health is maintained in a comfortable level for her and for you and your family, then keep her with you. Quality of life is the key, and lack of pain. Adjustment to blindness is one thing, and you may even be able to find ways (google) to help her adjust. But pain is totally different - that would be the deciding factor for me.

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answers from Redding on

Talk to your vet about this.

I had a neighbor who had a blind cat. She was blind from birth. She was perfectly healthy otherwise, but she was getting ready to be euthanized because they didn't think anyone would want her.

My neighbor rescued her and the cat lived a very long and happy life. She didn't have sight, but her other senses were in full swing. She was very affectionate and had learned to navigate the house and all it's obstacles.

I had another friend whose cat was completely deaf from birth.
She kept her inside because she wouldn't have been able to hear any threats to her. She lived a happy and long life. She wasn't suffering in any way.

Consult your vet.

If you truly believe your cat is suffering, then you need to have the conversation. As long as you can keep her safe as she loses her sight, it might not be something you need to put her to sleep over.

Get a professional opinion.

Best wishes.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

unless shes really old and miserable and suffering, you need to give her a chance.. i have a 10 1/2 yr old yellow lab that just got home from the emergency vet a few days ago.. he had major surgery.. a tumor that was growing on his spleen burst and his abodmen filled up with blood.. the vet gave my father and i the option to do the surgery or put him down.. they also told us that he almost 100% likely had cancer so that either way hes close to the end.. there was no need to think about it, we did the surgery.. 2 days ago the vet called, the biopsy results camein and said he has agressive cancer and may have as little as 3-6months left to live, and you know what, even knowing that doesnt change my mind one bit that we did the right thing letting them do the surgery reguarless of how much it cost ($5,000, just so you know).. hes not just a dog hes family, period. .. i will say this though, we as a family are fully prepared and know that if hes truley suffeing we have to do the right thing and put him down... thank god every day he gets better and better.. its just extremely hard and heartbreaking living with the fact of knowing that its only a matter of time... seriously enjoy every minute of time you have with your dog
- its going to take her a while to adjust to her vision loss.. my cousins wife has a 15yr old dog thats blind and deaf but other wise perfectly healthy so she doesnt see why she should put her down.. and just so you know, after about a year of her dog becomming totally blind she has gotten used to it and stops running into things all the time

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answers from Las Vegas on

If your animal is suffering and there is no means of improving, sadly I say put her down.

We put our Boston down about 3 years ago. He was in such pain and blind as well. He learned to walk around things, but we had a 4 year old at the time and she moved stuff and he would crash right into everything, trip, stumble, and sometimes fall. He also screamed at night and there was an awful mess to wipe up in the morning. He lived his life and we were asking too much to keep him.

Now my Rottie is 14 years old. Her sight is going, although she can still see. Her hips are so bad that she gets about 9 inches off the floor and then falls over. She doesn't complain, but she doesn't do much of anything either. My husband and I are on the same page, it is just which day do we load her in the car and do it. It is so painful and I feel your pain, but you know best your pets quality of life, as I do mine.

As well, my 7 year old was so mad at me when I told her. We pulled in the drive way and she ran to the neighbor on the corner to tell on me. At this point, I think everyone else thinks I am cruel for keeping her. This dog was mine. I never wanted her and she loved me the most. I think we said our goodbyes a couple of months ago. She would come over and nudge my hand and we would just pet each other until one of us grew tired. She no longer does that and sleeps most of the time. It's time.

Do what is best for yours.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Diabetic dogs often develop cataracts secondary to the diabetes - I am assuming that is why she is going blind (as blindness can be caused by many things). Cataract surgery might be an option if there is a veterinary opthomologist in your area (how close are you to the vet school at LSU?), your dog is a candidate, and you are willing to pursue it. If not, it just depends on how well she adjusts to being a blind dog and what her quality of life is. My parents had a dog that was diabetic and developed cataracts. They attempted surgery but she developed complications and ended up blind anyway. She did ok - she still knew inside vs. outside, she was kept on a leash outside so she didn't wander off, and she was familiar enough with the layout of the house that she didn't usually bump into stuff (my parents made sure they didn't move any furniture around and that she didn't have access to the stairs. But she was also a older, small-breed dog that spend most of her time sleeping on the couch. If you had a dog that was really active and really depended on their sight to enjoy their life and do the things they loved, like running chasing balls and fetching sticks and such, and/or started developing anxiety issues from not being able to see, I could see where their quality of life is not what it should be, and then euthanasia could be considered. It all just depends on how well they adapt - many dogs can, but not all. I think it also makes a difference if they lost their sight gradually and have time to adjust, vs. losing it suddenly all at once.

I know it's a really difficult decision, but if you feel in your heart that this isn't a good life for her, having her put to sleep would be the kindest thing you could do. I always try to give people options as far as their pets' treatments and health care, and then decide what they feel they can handle, and what is in the best interest of the pet. That's going to be different for everyone because of their pet as an individual and what they feel up to managing. I have euthanized diabetic pets when they have been diagnosed because the owners were very truthful and honest that they were not going to be committed enough to manage their pets' condition - the shots, the medications, the follow-ups and recheck visits, monitoring, etc. I have euthanized cats that are diagnosed with problems that would require them to get a pill given to them every day, when they were cats that were impossible to give a pill to. It's always the owner's decision, with their consent, not mine, because they know what they can handle and what they cannot. And I would rather put an animal down with a chronic disease, if that disease cannot or will not be controlled, than have that animal suffer through the complications that will happen from not having it properly managed.

Good luck with whatever you decide, I am sorry you are going through this. And whatever you do, don't let anyone guilt you into feeling bad about whichever decision you make. You need to do what you feel is best for your pet, and for your family.

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answers from Houston on

We had our previous pug go blind within days and then be diagnosed as diabetic shortly afterwards. He was about five years old at the time and he lasted two years. It was rough at first, watching him adjust and digesting the news. At first we were scared, overwhelmed and upset. But we educated ourselves about diabetes and blindness. With time we all learned and carried on. There are books out there which have helpful tips on helping your dog. We scent marked exterior doorways (front door was lavendar, the back was vanilla). We put a windchime by the backdoor so he could navigate outside. We taught him commands (stop to avoid hitting things and step to navigate curbs and stairs). That kind of thing and it bought us a good happy year and a half. Definitely try not to move furniture as it throws the dog off until readjusted. We live with a pool and he went swimming many times until he figured out the different textures on the ground. Heck we took him backpacking even. Doggles were a good investment for protecting his eyes outside by the way. The shots were no big deal in our opinion. Everyone told us to put him down but we waited until he was truly sick not just an inconvenience. Only you can make the decision but give it plenty of thought. Once adjusted, life moves on. PM me if you have questions. Good luck whatever you decide.

Oh, one more thought. He did startle easily and could be defensive/snappish. Definitely don't sneak up on a blind dog. We learned to talk as we neared him and petted him.

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answers from Kalamazoo on

Personally, I would put her down. Her condition is one that is only going to get worse, not better. You dont have to put her down right away, but just start preparing your family thats its going to happen sooner rather than later.

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answers from Boca Raton on

I think you are in the best position to figure out what is best for your dog and your family. Don't beat yourself up. Whatever you decide do it with love for this precious animal entrusted to your care.

I dread getting to that point because I'm really not sure what I'll do. None of us know until we've walked that path. My heart goes out to you.

Ann C. - you're the first mom I've seen on here with a mini-schnoodle! Yay! My girl is one years old and I love her so very much. It's hard to even think about the end without tears coming to my eyes.

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answers from El Paso on

Dogs can actually have a very high quality of life without being able to see. My aunt had a dog that was completely blind (don't remember why) and they had a special ball that they could throw and it would make noise to help continue to direct the dog to the location of the toy. Made fetch doable.

Your dog will (in time) learn not to rely on her sight. She will stop running into things. When that happens, just make sure you change as little as possible. Don't move furniture if you can avoid it, don't add new furniture, etc. It will be okay. As long as the rest of her quality of life is still good, give it a little time.

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answers from San Francisco on

How old is your dog? How is her health otherwise? Having a handycap vs having a condition that makes life not worth living are TWO different situations.

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answers from Dallas on

Have you discusssed this with your vet for his input and advice? If not, definitely do so. If your heart is telling you that you've done all you can and that her quality of life is being too negatively impacted, then it might be time to let her go. It's a very difficult decision, and it's also a very personal decision. No one can really tell you when it is the right time, but your vet can help you work through the decision and offer his input into prognosis, your dog's pain level and perspective on whether this is being fair to your pet. Whatever you decide, it's no one else's place to judge your very difficult decision.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Animals adapt. Many dogs can learn to live with 3 legs instead of 4, some can even learn to live with 2 legs instead of 4. Many dogs learn to live with blindness.

Growing up we had a barn cat that was blind. A barn cat. She was able to survive living in the barn for many years, without being squashed by a cow or run over by a tractor. She was able to hunt her own food (At least I assume she was able to do that. We don't feed the barn cats during the summer months and only give them the slightest bit of food during the winter months because we want them to catch as many mice as possible).

I think that your dog will be perfectly fine after she has learned to live like this.

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answers from Washington DC on

Putting a beloved pet to sleep is very hard. I had to do it once and although it was hard I knew it was the right thing to do. She was old, couldn't walk anymore and was in pain.

My feelings on it are like this: I don't care how old the animal is. I don't care how raggedy the animal looks. If he/she is happy and pain free leave them be. Now once they start to lose QUALITY of life, you have to do something to ease their pain.

You know your dog. You can see and tell if she is happy. If she has that same vigor and "bounce" about her. If you feel that she is truly suffering it's time to put her down. If you feel that is is best for her, then it is. I can tell by the fact that you are treating her diabetes and question what is best for her that you love her and only want whats best for her. Go with your instincts.

My only question would be what does the vet say? Is the blindness permanent? Is it due to the dosage? Would changing the dosage help? Okay that's 4 questions, but if the vet doesn't see any chance for recovery it may be time.

Good Luck.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Your call.
You do t mention her age, and that might factor I to my decision.
I'll tell you this--we have neighbors with a blind dog and she's fine--has adjusted very well.
But you have to be very aware of leaving things in places she doesn't expect them to be.
Good luck--hard decision.

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answers from Washington DC on

My mom's dog is mostly blind for other reasons. She tries to keep the floor clear and keep furniture consistent, as you would for anybody with vision loss. If the dog is otherwise in good health, I would ask the family to please be mindful of the dog and pick up toys and keep bikes out of her way. You may find that she walks better on a harness than a traditional leash, and I would use a very well known path and not go for a hike or anything with her where she wouldn't be able to know the terrain.

I wouldn't put her to sleep for the blindness alone. I would think about her overall health and well being and if she is overall not in good health and suffering, then let her go. It is not an easy choice to determine an end for a pet. I feel they always "let you know" when they have had enough.



answers from Chicago on

If she feels better as you mentioned, I would give her time to adjust to her new disability. Dogs have acute senses of smell and hearing that help them adjust to the loss of another sense. She may learn the patterns of the rooms in your home with time. Blind or deaf dogs can still have good quality of life if they are not in pain in other ways.


answers from Hartford on

Just because she's going blind, you want to euthanize her? I'm sorry, but I don't believe that's the kinder thing to do. If the insulin shots are helping her feel better, gain weight, and live, then that's humane. She can learn to live with diabetes as a disability. She can also learn to live very happily with impaired vision.

My god... would you euthanize a human being because they're diabetic and going blind? Just because there's a learning curve for the caregiver and the diabetic?



answers from Minneapolis on

I'm a dog lover and owner. I'm sorry about your dog. How old is she? I think it depends on more information than you've given us and I would consult with your vet. I actually had a blind dog for many years. She did very well as long as she was kept in her home environment. Blind dogs generally adjust well. I couldn't kennel her; I had to have someone come in to the home when we traveled, but other than that she did surprisingly well.



answers from Austin on

I do understand your concern.... how long has this been going on where here vision is affected? Have you spoken to the vet about the vision loss?

We have a cat that had to have an eye removed about 7 years ago... he has done very well, and still is an indoor/outdoor cat, and even hunting and catching things outside. While he still has one eye, his vision is less than it could be... I realize this is different, but your dog may be able to adjust to her limited vision with some help.

This link may give you some suggestions on how to help your dog adjust to her limitations.


There are a number of things you can do to help your dog adjust to her limited vision.... put her on a leash in the house, and carefully walk her around the house, so she can start to sense the limitations in the house.

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