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Quiz: It is time to euthanize or put my dog to sleep?

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Dog sitting on owner's lap

Euthanizing your dog (“putting your dog to sleep”) is one of the hardest decisions that a dog owner will have to make. The happy days with your loyal canine friend may be over and it’s enormously difficult to say goodbye.

Whether we call it ‘putting our dog to sleep’, ‘putting our dog down’ or ‘euthanizing our dog’,  it’s a subject no one wants to talk about – and with good reason.

“Is it time to Euthanize my Dog” Quiz

If you would like to get our opinion on your own personal situation, you can click “Start” on the image below, and take our quiz to answer 6 questions about your dog:

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Should you put your dog to sleep? (Answer 6 key questions)

Putting your dog to sleep is one of the toughest decisions an owner can face. Click "start" and answer these 6 questions to get our point of view.

1 / 6

How easy is it for your dog to eat? (1 being easy, 5 being very challenging)
If your dog needs help with hand-feeding, or shows little interest in food, select a number between "2" and "4". If your dog needs a feeding tube, select "5".

2 / 6

Is your dog in pain? (1 being no pain and 5 very high pain)
If your dog moves with no obvious pain, select "1" or "2". If your dog appears in pain or does not move a lot, select "4" or "5".

3 / 6

How easy is it for your dog to stay hydrated? (1 being easy, 5 being very challenging)
A dog who drinks without help may be a "1". A dog needing subcutaneous fluids to increase fluid intake may be a "5".

4 / 6

Does your dog have incontinence problems? (1 being no incontinence, 5 being unable to control)
Select "1" if your dog is able to potty outside or "2" if your dog has small accidents or is able to use solutions such as in-home pads. Select "4" or "5" if your dog can't control where to poo or pee.

5 / 6

Does your dog seem happy?
If your dog shows excitement and is responsive to the environment, select "1" or "2". If your dog appears depressed or anxious even in a happy setting, select a higher number.

6 / 6

Does your dog need assistance to move?
If your dog is able to move and go on walks, select "1". If he can't move without help, select "4" or "5".

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WATCH: 3 Important Tips To Care For an Old Dog [VET VIDEO]


When Is The ‘Right’ Time? Signs It’s Time To Euthanize

So how do you know if now is the right time to euthanize your dog? This is probably one of the most common questions dog owners ask, and the most difficult one to answer. I’ve seen (and felt) the distress, pain, and internal battle that it causes.

In fact, there may not be a clear-cut ‘right’ time to euthanize your dog, but there is often (although not always) a window where it could be considered the ‘best’ time for a number of reasons.

There are some situations where the answer to this question is pretty clear-cut:

  • When a dog is in severe, chronic pain which can’t be relieved
  • When a dog is critically injured and won’t be able to survive the damage
  • If a dog’s quality of life is so poor that he/she is merely ‘existing’ not ‘living’

But, there are more ‘gray’ areas than black and white.

Which is the right choice to make when:

  • Our dog is in long-term chronic pain, but it IS relieved by medication/treatment
  • He isn’t able to run/play and barely eats, but still seems to be comfortable
  • She has a terminal disease, but doesn’t have any insurmountable symptoms – yet
  • Our dog is mostly anxious/confused but has short periods of being her ‘old self’
  • He has no appetite, often refuses to drink, and has trouble with incontinence

There are also other potentially difficult situations, such as:

  • When a dog is aggressive to the point of being dangerous, and training, behavioral modification, and other treatments haven’t helped.
  • When finances simply don’t allow you to afford ongoing, long-term treatment for your dog’s severe, chronic, and eventually terminal health conditions.
  • When your dog could survive for some time to come, but his life will be full of vet visits, painful treatments, anxiety, and stress… with no hope of recovery, just management.

All of the above clearly shows that there is NO single, one-size-fits-all answer to any of these questions. As owners, we know our dogs better than anyone else in the world.

Continue reading our page about Putting Your Dog to Sleep or click directly to the shortcuts below:

Author

  • Dr. Winnie earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. She has been an animal lover and owner all her life, having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! She is a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, 2 kids and Big G.

Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is not a substitute for veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment. We recommend taking your pet to the veterinarian for a full medical exam. Do not give supplements or medication without first consulting with your veterinarian first.

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