When Do You Know It's "That Time" to Say Goodbye to Your Pet?

Updated on October 31, 2008
K.G. asks from Fort Lauderdale, FL
14 answers

I need advice moms!!!!!

My "original" love; Beau, is going to be 15 years old in February. For the past 2 years he's been on 5 different pills ( IE: seizure, skin, bladder, aspirin,thyroid)but for the past 6 months I have only kept him on his seizure and aspirin pills everyday... (It's costing about 160.00 per month for his meds and we figured being that he's getting so old the meds weren't working that well anymore anyway) I figured all these pills is not going to save my dog...For a period of time I was even giving him steroid shots for strength but it didn't help. I love my dog sooooooo much and it's HEARTBREAKING to see him get old...He is a pitbull, that's right ladies a pitbull but I trust him with anyone........... He's TOTALLY fine around my son (actually doesn't even pay attention to my son because he's so old)... His hips are really bad and falls A LOT........

I have him in a doggie diaper but lately he pees right through his diaper. I bought 3 diapers over the course of 6 months ( you wash them and put an "actual" baby diaper in the lining everyday) but for sanity reasons, I feel like my house isn't "pet" clean... I clean like crazy ( VERY clean person) but I still feel like once and awhile pee leaks through his diaper. I'm constantly mopping my floors, thank gosh we have all tile downstairs ( and my son crawls on the floor and that grosses me out)... He leaked through his 3rd diaper in the past 3 days and it got onto my area rug (at the drycleaners now)....

I can tell my neighbors all think it's "that time" but I just don't know..... You hear that "you'll know" when the time is here but my other neighbor just put down her 13 year old lab and she said " you never know, it doesn't just jump out at you"... My dog still eats everytime I put his breakfast/dinner out, but literally lays in his bed 95% of the day...

Since having my son, I think he's taken the turn for the worse and that makes me feel so guilty...I just don't have 100% of my time to give him like I used to... When he started getting seizures I quit my job so I could stay with him to watch him, that's how involved I was in his life.. I know he's lived an AMAZING life but I just don't know if it's me being selfish or if it's "that time".... He still knows me, he still eats, he's just A LOT slower... His balance is not great and when we go for walks ( not an actual walk just to the side of my house) he'll loose his balance a lot and fall over, making it VERY hard for me to pick him up if I'm holding my son... He doesn't cry in pain EVER, but my neighbor says they don't need to actually be "crying" to be in pain.....

What are your suggestions???????

My vet thinks that I should have put him down 6 months ago when I started putting him in diapers but I thought that was VERY shallow to put him to sleep because of a pee leakage (that's when I got him diapers)....

If your advice to me is to send him to heaven, what is your advice on going to the vet and being there with him? That will be the "hardest" day of my life to date... I don't want him to think I wasn't there at the end but it's going to give me a nervous break down...

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So What Happened?

With a lot of thought, A LOT of tears we decided to send Beau to heaven yesterday (10/18/07).. Hardest thing I've EVER IN MY LIFE had to do....
We gave him the best 2 days. I bought him Mcdonald's fries, burgers, and chicken fingers.. That night I made him pasta with turkey.. Yesterday morning we made him a filet, red potatoes eggs with a corona.....
He LOVED LOVED LOVED swimming when his legs were better, but we took him for one last swim. We videotaped the last 2 days and took lots of pictures.....
I went in the room with him when they sent him to heaven (my husband and 2 best friends were there as well, while my mom stayed and watched our son).. I kissed, hugged and told him I loved him until the end.. It was the HARDEST THING TO WATCH....... I hysterically cried the whole time but I WOULD NEVER CHANGE IT for the world... Going in with your pet for the "final" goodbye is a "must" in my opinion now.... I read that there hearing goes last as there dosing off, so I put my mouth up to his ear and said I love u, I'm sorry until he passed.....
I'm an emotional MESS right now but I know time will eventually heal me somewhat........
Thank you to everyone that helped me with my decision...
I miss my "original" first boy and always will.. My heart hurts but I know he's no longer sad.....
RIP my best furry four legged friend

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answers from Miami on

I know it is hard to hear, but YES it is time to put him down. I have had 3 dogs in my life, all Shit Tzus.. and the 2 that died did not live past 13. They usually don't just die one day, they need to be put down. It is hard cause I know they are like one of the kids in the family- not just the family pet- but that is what needs to be done. And, yes, you should be there when they do it. It will be so hard to do, but life sometimes sucks.
He will be in a better place and won't have so many problems anymore.
Good Luck!

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answers from Miami on

Dear Kristy,

I know what you are going thru.I had to let go of my first love gizzi yesterday.I can't tell you how i feel.I am heartbroken and can't stop crying.
But i know it was the right desicion.He did have tumors which they could not remove because of his age.He did pee everywhere becaus he could not hold it anymore...I am super clean too and we endet up putting him into the garage.His tumors ruptured and startet bleeding from time to time..It was really not nice.But we did everything we could.The last half year we went in and out of the doctor.He got pills,creams...But nothing really worked.I knew it will comebut i still tried to put it away...Yesterday was the hardest day in my life.The dog told me what he expect to happen in the next weeks..Gizzi was suffering.He did never cry but you could see that he was not in good shape.The doc had a 2 hour talk with me.I did not let go of gizzi.He was kissing me,wagging his tail.It broke my heart.After very long 2 hours i finally said Good bey.I will never forget his look at me.I did not have the strengh to stay with him during his last minute.I just couldn't.I kissed him Good bey and had to walk away.I loved him so much and i don't know how to go back to a normal life.where ever i go i see him and i miss him so much.I did have to explain it to my 6 year old after my husband and i came back from the vet.That was very hard for me.I am so heartbroken but need to be strong for my girls.
I know that gizzi is in a better place now,no more pain.
I will get his ashes in 2 weeks and than will but him to rest in our yard.So he will be still with us.I wish you all the strengh you need.It is the hardest you will ever do!But you know you are not alone!



answers from Boca Raton on

My heart goes out to you . . . I know how incredibly hard it is. It does sound like you've gone above & beyond with your dog. Only you can make the decision; but it sounds like your dog is ready. I know what you mean with "not being able to give them 100%". Mine were all my original babies until I had a son 2 years ago. I feel so guilty for not being able to play with them and cuddle with them as much as I used to (although they are still spoiled rotten). I think you know in your heart that your dog is ready; sounds like he's had a wonderful wonderful life and he has been truly blessed to have you for a mom (the world needs more people like you).

When you are ready to bring the dog in, the vet should put a catheter, then bring him to a room and give you some time alone with him. Then they will come back in with the meds, but will allow you to stay in the room and pet him, kiss him, & talk to him while they adminster the meds. It's harder on you being present, but better for the dog that way. Yours is the last voice he hears and he feels loved and safe and secure and not scared.

The important thing about having the catheter is so they can get the dosage in in the proper amount, without accidentally missing the exact place where they should inject it, and without stressing your dog. I have had SEVERAL people tell me that they didn't put the catheter in, and it took several injections, which is even more heartbreaking for you, watching your dog get multiple shots when he should be peacefully going to sleep.

I had to put down my 2 cats, 3 months apart, when they were 16, and another cat in May when he was attacked by a dog. I have 3 dogs - my pitbull will be 11 in November and she is the SWEETEST - I love pitbulls. They get a lot of bad press from people who don't know anything about them. Mine had surgery when she was 7 for her leg (when everyone else said, just put her down and get another dog). We also have 2 more big dogs. I dread the day I have to put one of them down, but I know we will all be reunited on the Rainbow Bridge someday.

Good luck to you Kristy. I will be thinking of you and your dog. If you would like to, feel free to e-mail me at ____@____.com



answers from Miami on

As a "mom" of a 22 year old cat, I understand your pain. It sounds like your boy is at the stage where his quality of life isn't all that great anymore. Looking back now, I waited too long to put my kitty out of her pain. I did so for the very best reasons (my husband was due to come home from Kuwait w/in days of her taking a turn for the worse), but I shouldn't have waited. She'd been having mini-strokes, was arthritic, couldn't make it to the litterbox, etc. We'd been back & forth to the vet's office (thankfully, it was my father-in-law) for about a week. I thought she was just going in overnight for observation, but three days before my husband was due home, she died in the night, alone. I still regret (six years later) that I wasn't there with her! Having had to put other animals to sleep, I've found that while it is hard to be there, my vets have always assured me that the last thing to "go" is an animal's sense of hearing. So, despite the tears, I've stayed & talked to my babies as they left this world. That's what makes it so hard about my cat -- she didn't have that luxury of my voice or touch.

My advice to you is spend some quality time w/your old boy, then let go, but be there w/him. I am truly sorry for you & your family. Hang in there. Also, there's a great book called Dog Heaven that you might want to check out.



answers from Boca Raton on

I am so sorry for your pet's condition. I have had to put three of my dogs down - all for the same condition over the past 30 years. The first was horrible, and I kept my dog alive like you are now for over a year. Little did I know that she was suffering - she just couldn't let me know. It was so hard to put her down, but I knew in my heart that it was time. You are questioning yourself now, so you probably feel your dog is not having a great quality of life. I said I would never get another dog because Sheba was the "dog of all dogs", but I ended up getting another puppy - same breed and fell in love all over again. I am now on my fourth Keeshond - and each of my previous Keeshonds have died the same way. I wouldn't trade it for the world though, because nothing compares to the unconditional love of your best friend. Use your heart to make your decision. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is the most giving thing to a suffering pet.



answers from Miami on

I feel your pain. I still cry over the loss of my "Angel-bear" and she's been gone for almost two years now.

She was 16 years and a month old when the brick of reality dropped. She had lung cancer and the panting was signs of pain and distress. I felt so terrible for throwing pillows at her because I thought she was doing it for attention. Turns out she was trying to get my attention, and I was just blind to it.

We threw a going-away party the night before. It helped a lot to know that other people loved her almost as much as I STILL DO.



answers from Miami on


I was in your shoes about 6 years ago with my cat that I had for, hold your breathe, 17 years. He was peeing in odd places couldn't stand up, would fall over. He would still come to me and kind of eat and drink. I knew it was time and as hard as it was I did what I knew was right for him. I had him put down. I still have his ashes. I had him for so long that I couldn't bare not to keep him with me always. It sounds to me like it is time to let him go, as hard as it is going to be the longer you put it the hard it is going to be not only for you but for your pet. He may not cry out in pain, but believe me he is feeling it. I am one that loves animals and it is hard but sometimes we must make the hard decisions especially for those that have been with us for so long that are unable to make their own decisions.

Good luck.

SAHM of 3 boys



answers from Boca Raton on

Oh dear. Have I been where you are. Think of it this way, do you think your dog is happy, I mean really happy? It is the hardest, most heartbreaking thing. I have had to put to rest 4 cats, 3 dogs in my life. I could not bear to see them suffer. I am a nurse, and I have a living will, dogs do too- it's their owners. You have loved him and cherished him for 15 years, believe me he knows that. I can not say it is easy, it is not. It has been the hardest thing I have had to do in my life. All my pets were pre baby. They were my babies. I miss them all to this day, and always will. I do know that I will see them all again, play, hug them again.
I felt guilty too after baby, but you did not abandon him, you are thre with him.
Ok- your dog is in pain, bad pain. His quality of life is none, he can not do what he wants or has to do, but he does it for YOU. He is loyal, and he loves you. Please get a compassionate vet, use mobile vet if you wnat, they will come to you, you can be with your dog when he sleeps, talk to him, Hold him and cry. Grief is the same if a human or a pet dies., Cremate him and keep his ashes ina beatuiful spot. HONOR HIM he has tried to stay and honor you. Loving him is not letting him suffer. This is how I needed to look at it also. Have someone with you, and have someone watch the baby before and after for a while. I don't know where you live but I wish I could help support you in this heartbreaking time.



answers from Boca Raton on

I am very sorry that you are going through this. I have been through this 3x with my babies (cats). The 1st time was when I was pregnant with my son (6 years ago). Then when my son was 2 1/2. The last time was when I was pregnant with my daughter (5 months ago). My husband & I did take our cats to the vet & were there every time. We got their ashes back so that we can bury the 3 together at a later date when we move & get the place that we will settle down in. It was soooo hard but God doesn't give us more than we can handle so I just dealt with it & I think of the good times we had. It sounds to me that you don't want him to suffer anymore. That was what made the decision for us. Just follow your heart. My prayers are with you.



answers from Miami on

I just had to put down my 16 year old cat because she was in kidney failure. Thank Goodness it was a fast illness and I was able to make her as comfortable as possible while she was ill. I held her in my arms while they put her down and as I sit here now with tears in my eyes it was the best decision I could of made. No it was not at all easy it was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I am 100% confident I made the right decision in being there for her when it was her time to go. She was always there for me when I needed her and to me that was a time she needed me to be there with her the most. My husband and I left my 19 month old daughter with friends while we went to the vets office, I recommend having someone go with you to drive you and be there to support you. I am truly sorry you have to go through this but I am sure you will not regret being there for you faithful friend.



answers from Miami on

I also went through the same situation with our family dog. Here is my take. Once they can't even go to the bathroom on their own I think it's time to let them go. We love them and want them around but what type of quality of life are they having. If they could speak I'm sure they would tell you how miserable they are. we put our dog to sleep. It was hard and heartbreaking but at least he wasn't suffering anymore. Good luck with a hearbreakingly difficult descision.



answers from Boca Raton on

I think you do know... plan a special day with your old "Beau". We took our dog to the park, took some beautiful pictures and spent some last family moments together before putting her down the next day. I think, in the end, you know it is for the best.
Peaceful journey to your canine buddy...
Mom to Katie, almost 2
EDD little boy, 12/07/07
and my first child, Allie (my mini ____@____.com dachsie) 9 years.



answers from Miami on

Hello Kristy ,

It is very hard to see a love one suffer . Both of my parents past away 3 1/2 years ago . You love your Pet as you do a family member . Ask yourself if your Pet still has quality of life ? It is not fair for him to keep taking medications when you know it is not going to work .If he lays in his bed 95% of the time that tells you he is not doing well. I can't tell you YES put him to sleep , but go for your gut feeling if you were in that situation yourself what would you want for yourself .

~ A.



answers from Daytona Beach on

Boy this one touched my heart. My mom's dog (sort of mine while I was still at home) was about nine, when he started having complications with clotting blood, unable to urinate (so she had to cath him...she is a nurse), and really unable to stand really for a long time. Duke was a cute, clumsy airdale terrior, really huge for his breed but I think really they are breeding them larger. Anyway, the point is Mom and Pop spent a year to no avail, treating him. Mom just asked one day, is he in pain? Is this a good living condition for him? Would you want to live like that? The next time Duke snotted out a clot of blood she knew he was in trouble and made a hard choice. If there is not a way to get him to a level of comfort, then is it fair to the animal? It will take alot out of you either way, but it is really more about the dog's happiness and comfort. I think you prolonged his life, the best you could have, more than he would have had out in the wild. You gave him a family and all the love you could give. You did your part, sometimes it isn't about them anymore its about us letting go. Its a rough decision. Good luck, and I hope you are okay! I think that if you aren't there, you will always wish you were. When anyone dies it always stays with us, cat, dog, or person. So you should take all the time you need. Ask your hunny to take the baby as that isn't something you want to show the baby, and go on your own, knowing that you are doing him a far greater thing being there in the end. I remember hearing this from someone, when someone goes that you love, they don't hurt anymore. You can remember that when he does go. Take care, Jen

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