How to Know When It Is Time to Put My Dog to Sleep

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To determine when it is time to put a dog to sleep, assess the animal's attitude and appetite, as decline in either or both of these as they age can indicate that dogs are genuinely unhappy or ill. Recognize when it is time to euthanize a pet with helpful information from an experienced veterinarian in this free video on pet health.

Part of the Video Series: Canine & Feline Diseases
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Video Transcript

We're going to talk about how to know when it's time to make the decision to euthanize your pet. And this can be a very, very difficult decision obviously because animals can be just like children to a lot of people and they're family to a lot of family since therefore they're a family member that is, and so always talk to your veterinarian. This is a decision you'll make with your veterinarian and when it's time can be difficult to know for a lot of dogs or cats because they will mask their symptoms a lot of times and it may be difficult to know exactly when that time may be. So here are some things that may help us to decide those types of factors. Now one would be what is going on with the pet. Is the pet very geriatric? So old that they're confused and they just, they can barely get around, that sort of thing, those are obvious. We see euthanasia in older pets that have severe arthritis that can't be managed with medications and also certain types of cancers that we know are going to be terminal and we know at some point that these pets are going to succumb to that can all be helpful in the decision making process. On top of that, probably the biggest things are going to be attitude and appetite and drinking. Attitude would be what's their mental state, are they still happy? Do they still want to come see you when you get home, they still wagging their tail. If all of those types of traits are gone, then those pets generally aren't that happy. Also when it comes to eating, dogs especially are big eaters and so if they're not eating, that means they're not happy and the same goes with drinking. If they're not eating or drinking, they're going to go downhill fast and so the whole point of euthanasia is we try to look at it as a positive thing to peacefully help these animals prevent suffering and so not eating, not drinking, they are suffering because they feel miserable enough not to eat or drink. So those types of things may help in the decision making process, but talk to your veterinarian, they can help you work through that.

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