There’s something about the holidays that always seems to help usher a high percentage of our older pets out of this world. I made the decision to wait for the mobile vet who finally showed up too late, the next day. Now this morning all of a sudden at 6:00 AM she is moving and restless and very confused again. I'm really contemplating letting her die peacefully at home as long as she's still eating and drinking. She got really weak and wobbly with her walk. We will now be looking at both sides and using some references to gather different views so you can make an informed decision. I cannot believe this happened! Of course, there are some drawbacks such as the fact that they may not be available when you may need them the most because of their busy schedules, but if you plan in advance they should be able to accomodate. Any suggestions would be helpful. It doesn't necessarily mean an uncomfortable death; pets can now be prescribed painkillers to help them better cope with the pain in their final days. Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on July 01, 2013: I know you've just been through this. I did this to him! You can reach the hotline at 1-877-GRIEF-10. The pet is spared from the stress of seeing the vet or going on a dreaded car ride. 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. Congestive Heart failure in dogs is a reality that, detecting it in time, helps faithful furry companions to live better. My mom's friend's dog is really old. Unbelievably so actually. One more holiday moment. It was her room and I was always just a guest in it I lay beside her stroking her and with what little energy she had left she raised a paw and placed it on my hand – I know deep down she was telling me it was ok. She died very peacefully early this morning, no seizures, no nasty noises and a beautiful red dawn was just breaking. Do most vets try to help you with this decision. Sending you my deepest condolences. I thought my vet loved animals, but I guess not! You also might want to call a close friend or family member when it seems like the end is near. All that matters is that the pet isn't in any major pain. Also, one must consider that there is quite a shortage of vets offering hospice care and there is not much info about it. The pet fell ill and eventually died in their home or yard. You'll be able to talk to someone about the grief process and whether or not euthanasia might be the most humane thing to do in your case. 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. I wanted her at home. How you can help a Dog Die naturally. Thank you for this article. Because of the quarantine, he even stayed with him overnight because we were just exhausted from round the clock home care. My dog moved on the second shot and howled.,plus the hair stood up on his whole back! It’s my job simply to point out suffering when it’s indisputably there or eminently imminent and to offer them options. So I knew our little pup was handled with love and kindness even to the end. Dogs are often stoic and will not necessarily manifest pain in obvious ways. Thanks for stopping by! The main advantage of euthanasia is that it's mostly pain-free and often peaceful. You might be filled with guilt for euthanizing them or you might worry that they suffered in their final moments. Losing my dog was the hardest thing that happened in my life. This is what happened to animals before there were vet offices and anesthetics. It's unfair to watch them gasp for air just so they can die at home. Consult with your vet. The danger though is that the dog begins to use sticks as toys and many dogs will begin chewing on the stick. Hospice care for animals is like human hospice care, it's important to have pain meds or a vet on call (or at least easily reachable) to rely on in case of a "crisis." I have been through euthanasia twice previously with other beloved cats and left traumatised the first time 16 years ago and which haunted me for years. When giving hospice care to your animal, you will see your pet's health decline and go through several stages. In fact, kitty’s visit yesterday was not to do with her primary condition. Do you let your dog sleep in your bed with you at night? One example is a company known as "Lap of Love.". Many provide 7/24 hour services. This is also a good time for cats, as there are likely no dogs around to add to the stress. Won’t settle in my arms. Should I let my dog die naturally or rush her to the vet for euthanasia if she starts actively dying today? Euthanasia can be a blessing done at the RIGHT time. Homeopathic remedies to calm dogs down are also a good option as they can melt in the mouth. There are several types of liver failure and not all necessarily have a grim prognosis. I would suggest consulting with a vet to make sure your dog is comfortable. Answer: With older dogs, the best thing to do is to talk with a veterinarian. Heaven gained another angel, and I gained another hole in my heart. Putting down a dog with the shot is good because the shot makes them sleepy and painless death. When our dog was struggling to get up, we used a blanket under her to help her to help her get up, invested in non-slip mats and used toe-grips. She did not seem to be in any pain. Many people will be fortunate enough to read it before making a decision. If you are considering having your cat or dog die naturally at home, you will need to keep in mind that you may have a sudden urge to put them out of their misery. I am heartbroken. I've had the unfortunate experience of choosing to put a few of my pets to sleep and it has never been easy. 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. The pet's breathing changes noticeably towards the end and for us it's a time to sit or lay with them so they can feel your presence as they slip away. She recently lost a lot of weight and I knew she was dying.She has now stopped eating and drinking.This morning my neighbor called me at 6a.m. If you're debating whether it's time to make an appointment, it's important to determine your pet's quality of life. I lost my 11 year old vizsla this morning, but his pain started many many hours before. And I made her a bet, got a blanket over her and she is near my bed. If you are considering having your cat or dog die naturally at home, you will need to keep in mind that you may have a sudden urge to put them out of their misery. As they near death, animals may refuse food and water at some point. She died at home, and in some pain, as I waited and waited for mobile vet to arrive. Putting an animal to sleep is not something you want to make an appointment for. In the first euthanasia appointment I assisted with, the owner cried as he hugged his family and said, "It was so peaceful." Glad you were able to do it. So you know, this is a common point of view. I have known some dogs with severe liver failure live for weeks and even several months. They, therefore, prefer to hide rather than manifest it. She has been very confused and stopped eating a drinking. When hospice care is chosen, it's important to keep in good contact with a vet so to know what to do in case of a crisis. 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. I had to ask what she was doing there. In other countries, pets often die at home, either because there is simply no other choice or they perceive death differently. When euthanasia is done properly, it can be kind. Two hours later I got the call that she had passed. Being small didn’t stop her having a very bit attitude towards life – more than once she has chased dogs out of the garden 3 times her size! I am normally a strong person but trying to make that decision has really broken me. But, I do know that every situation is very different and in the end you need to make the choice based on your situation. It’s too depressing to contemplate. So that’s where we left things yesterday. His primary tumor … To help reduce this anxiety, you might want to bring a favorite blanket and toy to help them feel more comfortable in their last moments. Time to Let Go. I have let my dog lick my pussy and I must say I really like it....I dont have sex with dogs I just enjoy the tongueing action. Many find this hard to watch. Bentley had metastatic oral melanoma. The difference between life and death is such a fine line. Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on June 29, 2013: What a great hub. What I know is that all four of my pets had a different death experience. I took off time from work to be with them and had instructions from my Vet. Why did my own vet not even mention euthanasia but instead had me order more expensive drugs that made my dog ill. The aging of a dog is surprisingly similar to humans. As difficult as it is to think about, you'll want to have a plan for what to do with your dog or cat's body after they have passed. The pro's were it was extremely fast. Many dogs die peacefully of natural causes or by euthanasia. Lara has been terminally ill for a few months but slowing down for over a year – the vet said she was quite an old cat for her size. I lost my girl and she suffered instead of going peacefully. (What can you say of a vet that insists we try "just one more round of meds?" She hated the vet and hated us for bringing her there. Many owners like to hold their animal throughout this short 10-to-20-second process. Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 04, 2020: This is very saddening to hear, but glad your dog is OK! She made it past her week. The vet said my dog wasin a bad way ?and needed to get euthanized?.I disagreed and went to another vet for second opinion. Her early years were spent flying from state to state and continent to continent, but the two of us settled down 12 years ago. I'm so torn as to what to do. Euthanasia of a pet is a personal decision. She doesn't seem to be in pain, though she's sleepy and weak. She’s drinking water but has not eaten in 2 days. It may be time to take them to the vet to be put down or to start to prepare for death. The topic remains subject to controversy. This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. What are my beliefs about it? 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. In a communal cremation, the body is cremated together with other pets, and the ashes are often spread in a pet cemetery. Peacefully. Ultimately, it's important to realize that end-of-life decisions for pets are not a one-size-fits-all affair. 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! I am both relieved and devastated. I probably am unfair to others when I assess their choice to euthanize and "dispatching" their faithful pet. For many dogs, Cushing’s begins when they enter their elderly years. I will not let Jumble suffer as my friend did but I will be talking to him and tickling his favourite spot behind his ears when he has his injection. It was pure agony, for me and for her! I am wondering whether we should force these medications down her throat to make her more comfortable. There is nothing harder than losing a beloved dog. His litter box has nothing in it. This can be a problem if your pet has mobility problems or is in a lot of pain. I am having a very hard time getting over what I have done!! If you have a cat, you can take them to the litter box every few hours to see if they have to go. Without knowing the exact dynamics about what happened and why your dog was put to sleep, I can't really comment. I have helped two of my cats pass on and I actually recommend it over euthanizing the animal. As in, “Is it the humans who are suddenly ready for euthanasia or are our pets picking up on stressful holiday cues and ‘choosing’ to go the way of the rainbow bridge?”. If your dog or cat is slowing down but is still eating and responding to your commands, it's likely that these are just signs of old age and that they aren't in any pain. I had to research my feelings of deep grief to better comprehend what was going on. If they're in pain because of an underlying health problem, this will help them finally be free. Here are some pros and cons for both putting your pet to sleep and letting them die at home. It sounds like that was your plan once your vet opened. There may be several reasons for different people for doing so. It is fortunate if a pet is able to die at home in a painless and peaceful state. Yes, It was the right thing to do! 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? can look really scary, especially if no one’s told you to expect this). My heart is broken and I know I will always wish I could have done more, better, faster for him because he loved me unconditionally for years and I would have never wanted him to suffer. I have dealt with something similar when I worked for a vet. I just wanted to post here to hopefully provide some comfort to others in a similar position. Some offer this care until the very end, others endure in it until they feel the need to use euthanasia. Many owners say that they want to give their pet “time to say goodbye” but in the opinion of most veterinarians, you are a kinder friend to your dog by euthanizing and ending their life. All night I would check and her little heart was still beating. I will never allow a dog to suffer again. 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. 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. This can … Again, this is a personal choice. When an animal passes without medical intervention, the process of dying may take hours or days, and the owner may see labored breathing, anxiety, or seizures. Shouldn't a vet consider the prognosis of a pets illness with regard to an animals age? I wish I'd euthanized while she was still feeling ok as opposed to suffering. It was the saddest thing I think I've ever had to go through. I am better informed now. Some owners cannot bear the thought while others may want to be there for the last moments. If the vet says they are in severe pain and there is no way to reduce it, it's time to say goodbye. You should always let a vet handle euthanization. "I would estimate that Bentley had the intellect of a very intelligent two-year-old human, which is quite intelligent indeed. We’d been dealing with that detail for weeks now and her owners were resigned to the multi-organ failure she was suffering. Quoted from the book "When your dog has cancer: "Dr. Helene Starks of the University of Washington evaluated the 1998 to 2006 statistics relating to the Death with Dignity Act in the state of Oregon and found that the small number of patients who indeed took the medication to end their lives were neither in a rush to do it nor made the decision due to unbearable pain. There are vets now who specialize in hospice or geriatric care and can come to your home and discuss quality of life and help keep your dog comfortable. Some are painful and debilitating. My 21 yo cat is dying . So sorry for your loss. Being aware of the most subtle signs of pain is important. I scheduled a tooth extraction today because of a cracked Canine tooth and we thought it was causing some discomfort and it was. She wasn’t suffering and would still respond to her usual pampering on my bed or my work desk. My cat named Holly Berry has been with us for about 14-15 years. We as a nation traditionally view animals has beasts of burden, has labor to be replaced when their value is diminished. For example, when our dog developed severe neck pain due to disc disease, a combo of a various pain meds that had a synergistic effect helped a whole lot. My anxiety about seeing her this way is just too much for me . Lost one to hemangiosarcoma and in the end she lost her dignity and I regret that. Cats often hate to be taken out of their environment, so dying at the home may seem to be the best choice. It is difficult to tell whether these behavioral changes are simply due to old age or a sign of impending death. I intended to have her put down. We're really privileged in the animal community to be able to euthanize [and relieve animals of suffering].". Hope this helps. Here are some important questions to ask yourself: Dr. Babette Gladstein, a vet who practices integrative veterinary medicine in the greater New York area, says, "Many people really have to think hard about whether they are keeping the animal alive for themselves or for the animal.". 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. She was found in a wooded area with her family. Natural death has always been around. Take care! Though it’s not always possible or advisable to have your pet die at home on their own, sometimes it will happen beautifully. You might want to put some of their favorite toys near their bed or blanket. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. really a political message in an article on pets pushing Euthanasia of people. Full Guide is here for Complete process for euthanize your dog with Tylenol. 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. But it's important to start thinking about what you will do when the time comes so you can have some plans in place. These pieces create a major choking hazard. In the first euthanasia appointment I assisted with, the owner cried as he hugged his family and said, "It was so peaceful." We have taken pets in for euthanasia over the years, and have lost 2-pets naturally under pain management sedation at home. Research has shown that slightly less than one-half of all pet owners share their bed or bedroom with their pet. Can anyone help? 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. Thank you for setting my heart & mind more at ease letting my dear old little "Kitty" die in the comfort of her home with her family around her. Answer: Yes, there are several veterinarians who do house calls and will perform euthanasia appointments at home. I think that death is hard to accept no matter how it happens. It’s something many veterinarians I know comment on. It is rare that an owner, when picking out a puppy from a litter or a companion from a shelter thinks about the choices available at the end of a dog’s life. She is now at peace. Otherwise, with every single one of my dogs, I've had to make that decision we don't ever want to make and been with them to the last moment. 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. ) I wanted to be hopeful. The second vet disagreed with the first vet and said my dog has a virus .Now my dog is running around perfectly healthy .If I has listened to her ,my dog would not be here today I feel something should be done anout her ? Her name is Scarlett. I almost pulled the plug on him after hearing this but seeing him today with his tail wagging and still plenty of spunk in him, not sure if I should pull the plug on one of the best dogs I have ever had, I have had a sick dog before and I knew when it was time, just unsure as I see little if any signs of suffering. There's nothing worse than watching your beloved companion take a turn for the worse and not being able to find a vet to come to your home to allow your them to rest in peace. The last thing you want is for your dog to be in pain. Thank you so much for writing this article. 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. Adrienne is certified dog trainer and former veterinary assistant. 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. I honestly couldn’t have wished for a better way for my beloved and dearly missed little friend to pass. I really needed to read this today. In euthanasia, the pet seems to just drift into a deep sleep. While we would have prefered for her to pass at home, she was a survivor and was holding on for everything she had. Unless they pass on to a better life in their sleep or suddenly out of the blue, these decisions will need to be thought over carefully. 13 yo canine now suffering dramatic seizures and I'm not so sure I want to drag this out with meds and treatments and a horrible decline. 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. Separate your dog from other pets so they can relax while chewing. If finances permit, sometimes pursuing advanced diagnostics can help make a decision. Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on June 29, 2013: Great hub. And then another week. I actually prayed for god to take her and end her suffering. Find out how much peanut butter you can safely let your dog eat. A common question posted by people living in countries where pet euthanasia is still uncommon is "Would you put your elderly grandma to sleep?" The body no longer needs fuel as it shuts down. I am guessing you are talking about a cat who is dying? On letting pets die at home...and the ABCs of doing it right. I will always miss her but know deep down I will see her again. I think that science has much to understand about pet behavior and pet bonding. I think too. Although the vet was wonderful, Reassuring and comforting. I would also discuss (if you haven't done so already) with your vet about the fact pain medications were stopped. Though it’s not always possible or advisable to have your pet die at home on their own, sometimes it will happen beautifully. Given that uncertainty, it seems to me that erring on the side of caution––of preventing the suffering by letting euthanasia preempt it––is always the right way to go. She had surgery in March, but problems started again. If you decide to allow a natural death and then your pet suddenly starts suffering, you may regret your decision to not euthanize them. In cases where death planning is a morbid necessity, dying “at home in her sleep” is what everyone seems to want. Nature can be cruel and death can be hard. She lived another 17 years. She’ll be buried in the woods were she would roam later today. As much as it sounds like your doggy was struggling, at least she was with you during this challenging time. The problem with pain though is that often animals tend to hide the pain. He was not conscious but we believed that he knew we were there. It was sudden and aggressive hemorrhaging from stomach cancer. My vet had no compassion at all. Check out everything you need to know about allowing your dog to eat peanut butter. Saying goodbye to your dog is a process, and it can take a long time. It's hard.. And she is allowed to be free and finally go be in peace. After a few days she warmed up to us again. Veterinarians, of course, will recommend euthanasia, because that's what they are used to doing and some may not be familiar with hospice care or holistic treatments. It would have cost a lot of money in x-rays and you can't do surgery on an elderly cat as she most likely wouldn't wake up. Her decline came on very rapid after several bouts of antibiotics, vet visits, tests, etc. I am struggling my small Yorkie mix is at the end of a long battle with liver failure among other issues. Usually your dog will receive an IV with a sedative similar to surgery. Thank-you to All Pet-Lovers! We held her the entire time. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs prescribed by a vet can help make them more comfortable. Not so much. Some owners can't bear thinking of their cat's last moments spent fighting at the vet. Thank you for writing an article that explores both natural death and euthanasia in a neutral and compassionate way. Jillian, so sorry you are going through. Some people look for ways to put their dog or cat to sleep without vet due to cost or lack of access, but this isn't a good idea since you could cause harm to yourself, put your pet in even more pain, or have difficulty picking out the right medication. Along with this, there is a significant change in a dog’s behavior and activity levels. After we brought her back from the vet, she wanted nothing to do with us. In fact, if there’s no way to keep pets comfortable any longer on a variety of fronts it’s time to step in and euthanize. She had been diagnosed with Kidney issues years before and was on special food. When a terminal patient is awake and gasping for breath, “going home to die” is just about the cruelest thing I can imagine. I hope you're recovering from your recent losses. 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. When the morning came, I looked at her and she sat up. If you have kids, let them know that the dog or cat isn't feeling great and needs some alone time. So this hub is probably a good way to help put this difficult time into perspective. 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). I considered it a duty, and I have never believed that a dog would want it any other way. My dog was incontinent and unable to walk. Don't get offended by this question, as this is asked to abide by rabies law in many states. Your Vet should have a list of recommendations, talk to them about it. If I decide to have her euthanized I want to be able to make a call and say I'm bringing her in. At the same time though,one must consider that many people who are suffering from terminal illnesses wished there was a humane way out as it happens with euthanasia in pets; however statistics on this show a whole different story: according to research, it appears that most people chicken out when it comes to the real opportunity for euthanasia in people. Dogs can pick up on emotions, so you want to make sure your presence is calming. They said there was nothing wrong with her, so I asked when the pick up was expected. There was just nothing left anyone could do. Why can’t a doctor help her own pet pass? The injection or drinking and shutting down do when the morning came, I am struggling my small mix. Pain and eats very well and it has never been easy point out death animals. Were identified and addressed, they no longer needs fuel as it sounds your! Arms 4 full hrs before the vet her, so sorry for your dog attacked another dog, is... 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