When to put my dog to sleep

Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is extremely painful. Our dogs give us so much joy and affection that imagining life without them can be unbearable. Which is why it can be difficult to know when it’s the right time to put your dog to sleep.

We can’t ask them how they’re feeling or if they’re in pain. But there are some simple things to keep an eye on if you’re worried your about your dog’s quality of life.

Your dog’s quality of life – what to look out for:

  • Appetite isn’t as good as it used to be
  • Not drinking or drinking excessively
  • Withdrawn
  • No longer cleaning themselves
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Unable to get comfortable
  • Struggling to get up after resting
  • Lameness due to arthritis even when on pain relief
  • Not bothering to greet you after you’ve been away
  • Can no longer tolerate exercise

If you’re not sure, it’s worth asking friends or family if they see a change in your dog – when we live side by side with our pets it’s sometimes difficult to spot gradual deterioration. Ask them to be honest and try not to feel hurt if they say something you don’t want to hear.

Your vet can help you decide

It’s a good idea to talk things over with your vet, they can give you an expert opinion on how your dog is feeling.  Older dogs should have a full veterinary check up every six months as a matter of course to keep them happy and comfortable.

If you’re unable to provide your dog with the treatment they need, then unfortunately it’s time to consider euthanasia. If you don’t feel you can afford to euthanise your dog, speak to your vet as they may well be able to help you spread the cost.

The kindest thing you can do

Deciding when the time is right for your dog to be put to sleep is a deeply personal journey. Once you have decided it’s the right time, you may well feel doubt or regret. Remember, you made the decision to put an end to their suffering. There is no kinder thing you can do for your dog.

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