It hurts to realize that your days with your best pal are almost over. You want to make the right decision for senior dogs, but knowing when to say goodbye can be difficult. That’s why it’s beneficial to use a “know when to put your dog down checklist.”
Losing a beloved dog is never easy. Sometimes you show your love by letting go. Holding on to your dog when he’s sick and in pain can be less humane than putting him to sleep.
To help you know when it’s time to say goodbye, we have prepared a detailed when to put your dog down checklist to help anyone handle this difficult situation by knowing when you should put down a dog by recognizing key dog end-of-life signs.
Whether you are looking for signs to put your dog to sleep or signs to put your dog down, know there are reasons to put your dog down and that doing so when your dog’s good quality of life diminishes is the most humane thing you can do. There’s no magic number to determine when to put your dog down due to old age or other severe health conditions.
But knowing when to say goodbye to your dog can be difficult, and, ultimately, you are the only person who can decide to euthanize your dog. Use these 13 questions on our when to put your dog down checklist to help determine the quality of your dog’s life and decide whether or not it’s time for you to euthanize your dog.
1. Has your dog’s behavior changed recently?
- 1. Has your dog’s behavior changed recently?
- 2. How often does your dog cry or whine?
- 3. Does your dog eat and drink normally?
- 4. Has your pet’s mobility declined?
- 5. Does the dog participate in family activities?
- 6. What is your pet’s emotional state?
- 7. Is my dog in pain?
- 8. What are the best options for my dog?
- 9. Can my dog die naturally?
- 10. How much does it cost to put your dog down?
- 11. How do I prepare to say goodbye?
- 12. Should you bury your dog?
- 13. How to get back to normal?
- Final words about using a ‘when to put your dog down checklist’
Listen to your pet. If you learn to recognize behavior changes, you will surely know when something is wrong. For example, if a recently active and friendly animal becomes aloof and sluggish, it is clear that there might be some issues.
Although changes in behavior do not imply a need to put your dog down, sure signs should motivate you to talk to a specialist. First, consider if the dog is impervious to food, walks, and attention. Finally, note if your dog has become irrationally aggressive or sensitive or if your dog tends to vanish for long periods.
2. How often does your dog cry or whine?
Crying and whining are usually signs of pain or discomfort. Thus, tracking how often your dog shows these signs is essential.
Dogs also become aggressive and defensive if they feel pain. Determine if your dog has mood swings from crying to anger. If the erratic emotions become regular, you might want to take your dog to the vet.
3. Does your dog eat and drink normally?
Consider creating a special diary to track whether your dog is eating and drinking. It’s not unusual for a dog to occasionally skip eating or not eat as much as usual. But if your dog doesn’t eat for more than three or four days, you should be concerned and contact a vet near you.
You may need to try new tricks to get your dog to eat. One option, feed your dog by hand.
If your dog is ill or has a condition that makes it difficult to eat or swallow, you may need to consider more extreme measures such as feeding tubes.
Work with your vet to determine whether there’s a medical reason why your dog isn’t eating.
4. Has your pet’s mobility declined?
This is another question to ask yourself before knowing when to let your dog go.
Most often, weakness and inability to move freely are clear signs that the animal needs urgent medical help or has declined to the point that it’s time to consider euthanasia or putting your dog to sleep.
5. Does the dog participate in family activities?
Does the pet enjoy playing with his toys or cuddling next to you? Or does it seem like your dog is merely existing without enjoying life?
The answers to these questions will help give you a clue about your next move.
6. What is your pet’s emotional state?
When it feels like your dog’s days might be over, it is essential to keep an eye on his emotional condition. Observe changes in behavior and note any reasons why they may have occurred.
Try to see if your pet still enjoys any activities or if your dog seems always to be scared or anxious most of the time. Your dog may also suffer from canine cognitive dysfunction or dementia, which can drastically change your dog’s personality and temperament.
Determine if dog dementia or cognitive decline affects your pooch’s quality of life and help determine whether it’s time to consider euthanasia.
Your dog’s emotional condition can indicate if something is wrong.
7. Is my dog in pain?
If your pet is experiencing pain, you should do everything possible to alleviate your dog’s suffering.
Types of pain include: somatic pain (from limbs and skin), visceral pain (from internal organs), and neuropathic pain (from nerves and the spinal cord)
Signs of pain in dogs include:
- Tight or twitching muscles
- Shaking or trembling
- Arched back
- Holding their head below their shoulders
If you notice your dog is in pain, consult your vet to determine whether he would benefit from taking pain pills like carprofen.
Remember that if your pet is experiencing pain, you should do everything possible to relieve your dog’s suffering.
Instead of continuing the animal’s unnecessary pain, it may be time to consider putting your dog down.
8. What are the best options for my dog?
Consider different options, but try to make an unbiased decision. Think of your dog first and avoid being selfish.
If you decide it is time to stop unnecessary suffering, you may wonder how it works. A vet performs euthanasia at the vet’s office or your home. There also are some home euthanasia services that will come to you.
What options are available? As a rule, euthanasia drugs are pills or injections that work similarly. Most vets use pentobarbital, which renders the animal unconscious before stopping the brain and heart functions. The whole process takes a few minutes.
9. Can my dog die naturally?
Some animals pass away naturally and peacefully in their sleep, but that’s rare. Natural death can often take a long time and make your beloved pet experience too much pain.
It’s difficult to watch your dog suffer. The dying process can be long and painful.
That’s why people who choose to wait often regret that decision. Thus, many vets and pet owners who have experienced this pain recommend choosing euthanasia and using a vet to perform the procedure when appropriate.
10. How much does it cost to put your dog down?
Depending on the clinic’s drug, this procedure should cost $50 to $150. If a vet makes a house call, the price will be around $85 to $125. That is the price for euthanasia only.
There may be additional expenses such as cremation services, cemetery spots, urns, sedative shots, exam fees, or more.
11. How do I prepare to say goodbye?
If the signs are clear, it’s time to let your dog go; you must prepare to put it down. Watch to determine if your dog has more good days than bad. Some veterinary hospitals and vet schools offer hospice services to help you monitor your dog’s health and decide when to let him go.
There are many things you will need to do. In addition to deciding whether to bring your dog to a clinic or have your vet come to your home, you must prepare emotionally. Maybe it’s the best time to realize all dog photography ideas to save the last days of your pet together with you and your family on photos.
How do you say farewell to your dog? The answer to that question is personal, but there is one standard tip that will work for everyone — try to spend more time with your pet and show them love and affection until the last moment!
12. Should you bury your dog?
Once you’ve decided to end your dog’s life, you need to think about want you want to happen after your dog’s life is over. There are a few options available:
- Burying a pet on your property;
- Buying a spot at a pet cemetery (around $300 and $800);
- Let your vet take care of your dog’s remains.
It is hard to give recommendations, so you must consider the options and decide what’s best for you!
13. How to get back to normal?
Losing a friend or family member is hard, and it will hurt. Thus, you must think about coping with this loss before it happens!
Don’t be ashamed to admit your feelings and get advice from others who have coped with losing a pet. Remember the good times, and don’t feel pressured to get a new dog.
Celebrate your dog’s life by hanging up some of your favorite photos; you might even want to consider having a pet portrait commissioned; many companies, such as Paint My Pooch, can transform your old photos into a piece of art.
Final words about using a ‘when to put your dog down checklist’
When you get a pet, you commit to giving your dog all the love and care they need. You open your heart and home to a new family member.
Thus, when it’s time to say goodbye, it hurts. But sometimes, you must make difficult decisions using a quality-of-life scale to show how much you love someone.
Recognizing signs it’s time to put your dog down and knowing when to let it go is among the most difficult.
You need to be honest when weighing your dog’s quality of life.
Use this when to put your dog down checklist to help you recognize the signs, so you’ll know when it is the right time to say goodbye to your beloved pet.
One last tip, if it’s clear your dog is experiencing a terminal illness, you can consider euthanizing your dog without any regrets. Be there with your dog during his final moments, and work with a vet who offers home pet euthanasia if possible. Being able to say goodbye in your own home will be easier for both of you.
After your dog dies, be prepared to grieve. Over time, you will heal and move on. Celebrate your dog’s life by creating a memorial, donating, or commissioning special artwork.
Fortunately, all your precious moments and memories of your beloved dog will stay with you forever!
Elizabeth Price is a former psychology student at Montclair State University who is still eager to research almost any topic. She works as an academic advisor and blog writer at EssayPro, an urgent essay writing service. You can reach her on Twitter or contact her via email. Elizabeth is a contributor to Native Advertising Institute, LearnWoo, and TaskPigeon.