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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16696
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Need to know if it's time to put my dog to sleep. She's over

Customer Question

Need to know if it's time to put my dog to sleep. She's over 13 years old. Blind, deaf, has old dog vestibular. Now won't eat and stands all day.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry that you have been waiting for a response, but your requested expert isn't online which delayed your question coming up on the list for all to answer. I would like to help if you are still interested in an opinion.

I understand that you are struggling with whether it is appropriate to consider letting Sally go via humane euthanasia now given that she is deaf and blind, she has vestibular disease, and is refusing to eat and lie down.

I try and guide clients on this very difficult decision by asking them if they believe they would want to live the way their beloved pet is.

I ask if their pet is still able to do the things that they have always enjoyed (albeit for a shorter period of time).

I also ask if they believe that their pet is comfortable most of the time and is living with dignity. And if that is not that case can we reasonably do something to make it so she can do so.

If you honestly answer these questions I believe you will come to the best decision for your girl.

I believe humane euthanasia is a gift we can give our pets when their quality of life is poor.

Although she is trying to behave normally she is unable to do so.

I think that you are asking this question because logically you know she is uncomfortable, but your heart doesn't want to lose her. That is very understandable with a well loved pet.

Euthanasia is not painful.

It is simply an overdose of anesthesia. All your pup will feel is the placement of an intravenous catheter or the pinprick of a needle.

They get very sleepy, become mentally unaware and then their heart stops, which leads to low oxygen and brain death.

I do think her quality of life isn't very good now. From what you are describing she must be in pain. She sounds so brave. But you have to be able to reconcile that decision. Be honest in your assessment and I think you will make the right decision.

I have had to make this decision too. It is heartrending. But I was able to let go when I put myself in my dog's shoes. I didn't want her to be uncomfortable any more.

I can give you some tips that may make things easier for her at the appointment. If you feel it would be stressful for her you can ask for a tranquilizer before the procedure.

And if you wish staying with her while she goes can be very helpful for you and her, IF you can be gentle and reassuring for her. I find that dogs with owners who can be relatively calm and loving let go much more peacefully.

But if the owners are upset then they tend to fight the effects of the overdose of anesthesia and it is rougher for them, and then of course for you.

If you feel you cannot be calm and reassuring for her don't worry that she won't be well loved and taken care of. We are gentle and hug and speak softly to them as they pass. They do not pass alone and afraid.

If you can, you should make her appointment for the first or last appointment of the day so there are no distractions and the clinic is quiet.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hi Emily,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Sally. How is everything going?
Dr. Kara