Question: How do you know when is the right time if your pet is a senior dog? The remedies will not help your pet die, but they will help keep him mentally and physically comfortable in his final hours. I have put many dogs cats and horses to sleep by euthanasia. Once you have come to terms that your pet’s quality of life is declining and that you have the power to provide him with an act of mercy, it’s okay to embrace all of the emotions that come with your decision – euthanasia can be a relief to both you and … Her decline came on very rapid after several bouts of antibiotics, vet visits, tests, etc. So you know, this is a common point of view. She never complained, not even a whimper. Scarlett will always be in my heart. Some owners like to play music, or they may take their pet to a special area in the garden to say their goodbyes. How unfair to let her go without us around her. But, had Bentley been a two-year-old human instead of a dog, euthanasia would not have been a legal option.". Euthanasia can be a blessing done at the RIGHT time. I finally got her to relax in my lap as we discussed what we needed to do but then she was completely limp and unresponsive and lost bowel and bladder control. This can … She was barely drinking a quarter of a saucer full of tuna juice. After awhile, her hind legs didn't work any longer. If you have a cat, you can take them to the litter box every few hours to see if they have to go. Unbelievably so actually. She died at home, and in some pain, as I waited and waited for mobile vet to arrive. The loneliness in the house is too much to bear. Although this is expected or even planned, it can still be a shock when it actually happens. She is drinking water but unable to keep it down. I considered it a duty, and I have never believed that a dog would want it any other way. I say little friend because although she was 14 she was always a small cat and not much bigger than a large kitten. Your dog was very lucky to have you next to him until the very end. She has taken several courses on hospice, end-of-life care for dogs. Do your best to prevent this from happening. Unfortunately, that's the disadvantage of natural death; you never know how things may unfold, and if the pet may start suffering, you may not have a vet handy at the time of greatest need. But at some point the healing can begin, and this is when many people begin to start thinking about opening their home and heart to another dog. can look really scary, especially if no one’s told you to expect this). If you're debating whether it's time to make an appointment, it's important to determine your pet's quality of life. There are several types of liver failure and not all necessarily have a grim prognosis. We had to make a decision. But you'll still want to keep an eye out for any of the above signs or for any changes. What I so appreciate about this article is the fairness in which the options are presented. I scheduled a tooth extraction today because of a cracked Canine tooth and we thought it was causing some discomfort and it was. So sorry for your loss. It was a heartbreaking experience and I have read so many articles that have felt shaming as if I “should” have been more prepared ...and my internal voice is already screaming that at me in my grief. It sucks but it honestly might be the best gift you can give them. There is nothing harder than losing a beloved dog. But we must think guilty about what? The last thing you want is for your dog to be in pain. The body no longer needs fuel as it shuts down. Their eyes will be open, but there will be no movement. In this case, though, it will be an overdose amount, and because the barbiturate depresses the central nervous system, the dog or cat drifts into an anesthesia-like sleep that will ultimately halt their breathing and cause cardiac arrest. Hospice care for pets is a new trend. Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on June 29, 2013: Great hub. It is fortunate if a pet is able to die at home in a painless and peaceful state. It's hard.. And she is allowed to be free and finally go be in peace. In private cremation, the body is cremated individually, and the ashes will be returned to you. Question: Aren’t there vets who can come to your home to perform euthanasia? But our vet at the time was amazing and venturing into the hospice arena. If you decide to let your dog or cat die at home, you will need to learn how to recognize pain and must acknowledge and accept all the events as they unfold. In other countries, pets often die at home, either because there is simply no other choice or they perceive death differently. I know that IF I ever get another pet I will try my best to be more than adequately prepared for this very hard decision and time at the end of their life. Unfortunately, this is not common. Now I feel so guilty and I still see those awful images of him going through that! My 16 year old dog is scheduled to be euthanized tomorrow, but my fear is that she may die naturally on her own before the hospice nurse arrives (14 hours from now). How do I deal with death? Do I have a hard time accepting it? My mom's friend's dog is really old. And when I don’t believe suffering is happening, as in yesterday’s case, I think it’s perfectly acceptable for owners to take their pets home to die––that is, as long as they understand that conditions may change. I didn't want him to feel anything. I stayed up with her all night watching her labored breathing, lying on the floor next to her, gently rubbing her neck and telling her I love her and not to be afraid. The dog healed well and it had a happy ending. What I know is that all four of my pets had a different death experience. Though it’s not always possible or advisable to have your pet die at home on their own, sometimes it will happen beautifully. However, the converse is also true: There are times when it’s so very wrong to take a pet home to die on their own when you consider that the comfort of euthanasia is just seconds away (or can be brought home to your pet if you so choose). The danger though is that the dog begins to use sticks as toys and many dogs will begin chewing on the stick. So that’s where we left things yesterday. Very broadly speaking, here are my ABCs on the issue: Patients that are awake and fully aware are more apt to suffer pain and fear acutely. I'll always remember these words." Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 04, 2020: This is very saddening to hear, but glad your dog is OK! Thanks for stopping by! I’m not saying you should put your dog to sleep so you can adopt another dog….I’m just sharing my perspective on dogs, euthanasia, and our life without them. She does not seem to be in any pain and a lot of times when I think I need to do this she Springs back and runs around like she's ten years old. If a dog is suffering, “dying naturally” can take a very long time and it can be very painful. So sorry your dog is going through this. If severe pain is present, going home is a no-go. Consult with your vet. Regardless of if your pet dies at home or is put to sleep, you're going to need time to grieve over the passing of your furry companion. At the time she started meowing strangely, it was also time for her yearly checkup. Options include communal cremation, private cremation, and burial. Like you said, first her appetite subsided, but she continued to drink water. If you decide to let your pet pass away naturally, make sure you contact your vet in advance and arrange a plan should they suddenly deteriorate after hours. When you call your vet, you may be asked several questions such as what you plan to do with their body after they pass away. Many people will be fortunate enough to read it before making a decision. I had to research my feelings of deep grief to better comprehend what was going on. His eyes are glassy, and I don't think he can see anymore. His breathing seems normal. From now on all my pets will die a natural death at home with the people who love them. I wasn't prepared to take her home, but I made it back in time, signed some documents, and got her shots. I don’t want to lose Jack. But it's odd. Dear Pauline, it just seems that in one way or another, we must always feel guilty, don't we? My heart goes out to you, I struggled for days about whether to go to the vet or not but knowing her for such a long time I do genuinely feel that she was not suffering and going to the vet to be euthanised would have made her suffer and I'm not going to lie it would have made me suffer more too. Still went outside to relieve herself, but I need to bath her, but she was trying. When giving hospice care to your animal, you will see your pet's health decline and go through several stages. Knowing your pet's normal pulse and respiration rate may help recognize pain at home—rapid breathing and pulse are both signs of pain. They’re always free to do as they want with their pets. Other questions you may be asked is if you want to be present for the procedure. I would say at least speak with your Vet for more advice and if he/she thinks your cat is suffering then euthanasia would be the only way to go - difficult as it may be. I'm 16 so I been with her for my whole life. Her early years were spent flying from state to state and continent to continent, but the two of us settled down 12 years ago. He was the best dog I ever had! Question: My dog is dying. I think too. One vet offered to put a dog to sleep because the dogs was very ill from ingesting plastic and was suffering a blockage, while another vet gave hope and did all she could to treat. It never got easier, but I always knew I was doing the right thing to end their suffering. Thank you for this article. What are my beliefs about it? After we brought her back from the vet, she wanted nothing to do with us. If you decide to allow a natural death and then your pet suddenly starts suffering, you may regret your decision to not euthanize them. We sat with him and several times he seemed to stop breathing but would sigh and start again. If you plan to let you pet naturally at home, talk to your vet about pain management first and foremost and inquire if sedatives can be administered at home towards the end. I wanted her at home. Not one time did any of them appear to be in severe discomfort. Hope this helps. Many mobile vets offer this service. As they near death, animals may refuse food and water at some point. Only you and your vet know your dog best and can make an informed decision. But it's important to start thinking about what you will do when the time comes so you can have some plans in place. Letting him die … I just know the holidays brings me lots of patients like yesterday’s kitty: Nineteen years old, recumbent, non-responsive, breathing hard and readier than you can imagine for the long sleep that awaits us all. She always sleeps on my bed but last night and tonight she’s tucked away in a corner of the room. She would meow for water and jump into the tub, but just stare at the water on the floor of the tub like she forgot how to drink. So, I cleaned her up often and offered her water. My anxiety about seeing her this way is just too much for me . I feel that we were with her in her early days and she needed us in her last moments. They may also charge extra fees, but it may be worthy, considering that, the pet is at home where most comfortable and doesn't have to endure the stress of a car ride and being taken to a place he or she may fear if the dog was never fond of going to the vet. Dogs have been always there for us, when we were happy and when we were sad and it's perfectly normal to be with them until the very end. Mazey passed in my arms 4 full hrs before the vet was to arrive. Here’s when it becomes clear that there’s a right way and a wrong way to let pets die at home. The difference between life and death is such a fine line. He was not conscious but we believed that he knew we were there. From the moral point of view, you can differ with the views cited in the article, but from the psychological point of view, there is nothing wrong and there will not be any chance of infection as such, if your dog does not bite and make a wound on your genital. It is a decision I'd rather leave to natural causes, but I can never stand to see a pet suffer. Each appeared to appreciate my talking with them while holding them all bundled up. You can learn more about the grieving process and … These pieces create a major choking hazard. I lost my girl and she suffered instead of going peacefully. Nevertheless, there’s always room for dissent in the exam room. He left him sitting up and didn't make it so he wouldn't feel it. In early December, we noticed some weird things she begun doing: Her "meow" changed and she almost sounded like a duck when she would meow. This may not happen immediately. My beautiful little friend Lara passed away early this morning. These are big decisions, and despite what people may tell you, it's also a personal choice based on your pet's personality, your personal beliefs, and their condition and level of pain. Why did my own vet not even mention euthanasia but instead had me order more expensive drugs that made my dog ill. Nothing is worse than hoping for a peaceful death and then seeing them suffer and not being able to get a hold of a vet. Owners can create an area in familiar surroundings—a sanctuary—for the animal to be comfortable and in familiar surroundings. I hope this helps others. How often does a new owner look at a frolicking, excited dog and realize that bundle of energy is going to get old and die? I was sitting holding my best friend's hand when she died and saw the pain she endured each time the effect of the most powerful pain killers wore off. They may get panicky the moment they see their carrier, or they might get carsick. It allows the dog to die without the extreme suffering of medical conditions. However, it's important to note that there is no standard timeline—each animal's dying process will be different. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs prescribed by a vet can help make them more comfortable. He has only licked at the sauce in his food, but not actually the food itself. My 21 yo cat is dying . Yes, they may still twitch, defecate and urinate, keep their eyes open, or even vocalize after dying, but these are reflexes the vet may make you aware of in advance. On letting pets die at home...and the ABCs of doing it right. Like a lot of cats she never travelled well and really didn’t like the vet. I knew he was my dog the moment I saw him. As your pet grows older or as an incurable and fatal disease progresses, you may start thinking about those dreaded final days. “I want her to die peacefully at home,” is among the most popular death-related lines whenever the issue arises––usually with respect to extreme geriatrics or pets with terminal conditions. When the morning came, I looked at her and she sat up. I had begun what I called "cat hospice," essentially giving her tuna juice and tuna or chicken with a bit of Pedialyte. The vet gave her a week, and said she was in Kidney failure and had a mass in her stomach that was most likely cancerous. Many people wish euthanasia was a legal option for humans because it could potentially be a blessing for the terminally ill. Your Vet should have a list of recommendations, talk to them about it. I struggled so much with the decision of whether to put her to sleep at the vet and am so glad I didn’t. Adrienne is certified dog trainer and former veterinary assistant. The rest had already been put down. Some offer this care until the very end, others endure in it until they feel the need to use euthanasia. It’s Hard. Like you said, it is a personal decision and one that isn't taken lightly. The end-of-life stage includes symptoms such as anorexia, behavior changes, decreased urine production, different breathing patterns, and decreased alertness. Remember that there's no timeline when it comes to grief. If you're dealing with more indoor accidents, you can place a pee pad near their bed or even have them wear a diaper if that's easier. Just wow. I knew she was trying to leave me to go and die.I brought her limp body back up on the porch and sat with her and told her I loved her. I kept telling her to go be with her brother at the rainbow bridge. A common question posted by people living in countries where pet euthanasia is still uncommon is "Would you put your elderly grandma to sleep?" Her eyes are clouded over, and she seems unaware of her surroundings. My decision has been supported by my/their Vet. I wish I'd euthanized while she was still feeling ok as opposed to suffering. I made the decision to wait for the mobile vet who finally showed up too late, the next day. A few days ago when she took a turn for the worse I absolutely agonised about whether to have her put to sleep at the vet or let her die at home, a home death being much more preferable but hard. In fact, once the underlying issues of many patients were identified and addressed, they no longer chose to end their lives. Many find this hard to watch. I am both relieved and devastated. However, it's also true that hospice care is much more advanced for humans, and the ill are kept heavily medicated to not feel pain. Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 23, 2018: Sandra, so sorry for your loss. It was too late for me to make arrangements. Prior to this, she was taking multiple pain medications, mainly for her arthritis (tramadol, gabapentin, prednisone). I think same as people in hospice (we have lost 3 family members in hospice), there is no reason a pet should be in a lot of pain at the end (although there could be other issues such as seizures that need to be considered). The vet said my dog wasin a bad way ?and needed to get euthanized?.I disagreed and went to another vet for second opinion. We recently put our 17.5 year old cat Maxine down. There are chances that there may be medications to stop the vomiting. They said there was nothing wrong with her, so I asked when the pick up was expected. Another big problem is that some pets do terribly at the vet's office. What if they’re not eating and drinking? I'll always remember these words. As a nation we are not good with death and dying, I am not. This past winter has been tough on her and she seems disorientated and has trouble manipulating her back legs. The main advantage of euthanasia is that it's mostly pain-free and often peaceful. There's a subtle difference in a dog's behavior when he is past the point of struggling to overcome illness or injury and is about to die.Learning what happens to a dog's body when it dies and how to tell when those final moments have arrived can help you prepare and provide your dog with love, comfort and dignity as he leaves this earth. It's unfair to watch them gasp for air just so they can die at home. The general rule is the smaller the dog, the fewer the chews. If they're in pain because of an underlying health problem, this will help them finally be free. She’s not purring when I pet her. "I would estimate that Bentley had the intellect of a very intelligent two-year-old human, which is quite intelligent indeed. I honestly couldn’t have wished for a better way for my beloved and dearly missed little friend to pass. Don’t let your dog chew any kind of bone into small pieces. What ever decision you make, saying goodbye to your bestest friend forever is never easy. I have learned so much from being with my pets at the end. Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 06, 2017: So true James, and now there are more and more vets who come at home and provide in home palliative and hospice care for old and ill pets. The only time I heard her cry was when she tried to go downstairs. I think that death is hard to accept no matter how it happens. Everybody wishes their pet dies in their sleep. All that matters is that the pet isn't in any major pain. As your dog’s age advances, it slows down, starts having gray hair and joint problems. I live alone and so I couldn't carry her to my car to take her to the vet...not without causing her more pain -wrestling a big dog into my truck! Good Luck everyone. The good thing about euthanasia is that it is quick and for the most part painless. As much as it sounds like your doggy was struggling, at least she was with you during this challenging time. She had surgery in March, but problems started again. More and more dog owners are choosing natural death over euthanasia, and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as the dogs are kept as pain-free and comfortable as possible and their underlying condition is well-managed. Years ago, I was dropping off records at a new vet in a new town, and she was sitting in a cage on the counter. When the day comes, your vet may inject a sedative to make your pet more comfortable before injecting a dose of brightly colored pentobarbital, a liquid barbiturate often used for anesthesia. Some cats are extremely fractious, and even though they are sick, they may get an adrenaline rush and fight being put in the carrier and being handled by the vet. It is hard to know how much pain they are in and I hate the thought of them suffering if there is another choice. Kitty’s tale is proof again that when it comes to death and dying one size doesn’t always fit all. I am guessing you are talking about a cat who is dying? I hate the fear of taking my dog to the vet because she is so afraid and knows where she's going and something always painful happens when she's at the vet. We thought it was just a matter of time. I tell them about their adoption story, sing songs and talk about our life together. Your vet can teach you how to give sub-q fluids; however, in some conditions, such as edema, fluids may make the condition worse and cause breathing difficulties. The hard part now was gauging her degree of discomfort and intervening via euthanasia only if needed. Carolyn from Northamptonshire on July 20, 2013: Fantastic hub, I had two dogs one who died at home in his sleep, he was as you described, not crying, just lethargic and uninterested, the other we had put to sleep he was 18, had had two strokes he recovered from enough to still escape the garden, and could not really see, we he collapsed the third time we decided he had had enough. You might want to put some of their favorite toys near their bed or blanket. Plan on using Meloxidyl to manages his pain and keep an eye on the signs, just think it's way to early to call it quits. Many provide 7/24 hour services. I have been in the same home for 20 years and she knew no other. They'll be able to help you take care of logistics and provide emotional support. We considered euthanasia but he seemed close to passing so we sat with him. Dogs can pick up on emotions, so you want to make sure your presence is calming. Pets who die naturally usually go agonal first. I did this to him! 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