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jazmina88's avatar

Why do most dogs have to be put to sleep, instead of dying?

Asked by jazmina88 (11647points) May 17th, 2010

My theory is that dogs have so much heart, they are indestructable.
My sweet old girl, Maggie is 16. I know most people have to put their animals down. I think they love us so much, they would drather be with us, even though it’s not easy. Mags is starting to glide gracefully down and has some trouble getting up. But she is so happy. She has been called the miracle dog.

Why do most dogs have to be put to sleep, instead of natural death? I know there is a pain and suffering factor. I want to keep my girl happy and healthy during old age, like a sr. citizen. She’s not to the point where I have to decide TODAY.

What do you think?

I have put my dear cat to sleep, she was 18 and very weak, with kidney failure.

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24 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

I had to put my dog to sleep because he got poisoned and would have needed major surgery. Due to his age, the vet said he most likely wouldn’t survive the surgery, so we opted to put him to sleep instead of letting him suffer anymore. I would have much rather him died of old age than having to do that.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I think it’s probably the most humane thing to do, especially if the animal is suffering from an injury or disease although old age could be a factor also. We had to put down our half labrador/half cocker spaniel several years ago because it had arthritis in its joints so bad, it just couldn’t move around and function normally anymore. That was very difficult for us to do as that pet dog was just like a family member.

Merriment's avatar

I think most dogs are put down rather dying naturally because we, their owner’s, can’t handle the suffering inherent in most deaths. And too there are those owners that, frankly, just are too selfish to do the “senior or handicapped” care that is involved in keeping a less than mostly self-sufficient animal around..

I know for me, the thought of watching the doggie love of my life fearfully suffocate, was something I was very very happy to have the ability to help her to avoid.

SeventhSense's avatar

It’s the choice of most owners really for their own reasons.

jazmina88's avatar

I’m so lucky to have had her in my life for 10 of those 16 years, she still acts like a pup when it comes to food, and even talked to me last nite. That used to be our fave game besides frisbee. I do give her great sr. care.

She has had a couple of seizures, one whil getting blood at the vet, so every day has been a blessing since then, over a year ago. She had one 3 weeks ago and I helped her recover. She put her paw out to me… she was really glad I was there and was thanking me.
I’d never seen one before.

An hour later, she was fine. She gets glucosamine and an anti inflammatory. and LOVE

I also rub her with healing stones. There has been one in her water bowl for 8 years.

lillycoyote's avatar

Both my cats “died at home.” I set up little kitty hospices for them because I couldn’t bear the thought of putting them down. I had the time and the inclination to care for them that way. Some people don’t. I still am not 100% sure it was the right thing. Maybe it is selfish not to put them down. Who knows?

jazmina88's avatar

Mag’s brother, Elliot…died a sudden death. I guess it’s like old people, we do have the choice to relieve them of the pain, and the same icky feeling, we dont want granny to suffer either.

Dogs do have strong will and heart, yes???

InspecterJones's avatar

Cause unlike with humans, there are no laws against putting a dog out of its misery.

Merriment's avatar

Unfortunately we don’t have the same ability to euthanize humans. Our choices in the case of a human who is dying is limited to withholding heroic measures and nutrition/water. Frankly, I think it’s a terrible state of affairs.

jazmina88's avatar

I asked a question about enthunasia a few months ago.

Cats are a bit more carefree, tend to run when ill and dogs tend to ignore…...wags… girl…..sleep…wag more, grin….

meagan's avatar

We had to put our dog to sleep. He was fourteen, I think. Letting him die naturally would have been very cruel. He had very bad arthritis and couldn’t even stand up without falling several times. He often urinated on himself. It was a really bad situation.

Putting an animal to sleep is just the humane thing to do. Why would you want to let something suffer so much?

Ltryptophan's avatar

I looked into my poor buffy’s eyes when she was put to sleep. We had her for 19 years. She was suffering from diabetes, and kidney failure, and had begun having major seizures. Her last seizure left her in such bad shape that all she could do was reach over and touch our faces with her paw. So there was no way to feed her. No way to care for her really. Death was imminent.

I didn’t like it. I don’t think there is much of another choice. I wish there had been a faster way to go. I could see her with me in her eyes one second, then they administered the poison and her pupils dilated and that was it. Poor thing. Death must come….sadly.

Parrappa's avatar

I was never a pet person, so I don’t quite understand it. There have been plenty of wild animals, including dogs, that have had injuries but continue living on. It seems unnatural to kill animals because we think they might be suffering. If every animal just died when it was uncomfortable then the animal kingdom would have perished long ago.

filmfann's avatar

I had two Cocker Spaniels. Freckles was the oldest, and we let him get sicker and sicker, because we didn’t want to put him down. It was a terrible decision. He could no longer walk, had blood in his stool, and needed help just to get to his feet.
When Waffles, our other dog, got to the point where she was starting the long decent, we put her down. I loved that dog dearly, and didn’t want her to go thru what we put the other dog thru.
@jazmina88 It is never a graceful slide. There is nothing graceful about it.

Merriment's avatar

@Parrappa -If you ever love a pet you will understand the need to not allow nature to take it’s heinous course at the expense of an animal who looks to you and trusts you to take care of them.

I once picked up a dog that someone had run over and left for dead. His guts were literally trailing behind him as he hobbled painfully down the sidewalk. Now I could have left him to his “journey” as he would have surely died “naturally” within a few days. But to leave a gutted animal to die of his injuries or worse of starvation, thirst or his infection was just more than I could stomach no pun intended. So I took this dog to the vet and had him put down.

Because while it is natural for wild animals to die in nature it is not natural to be unaffected by an animals suffering.

SeventhSense's avatar

Small world. I also had a Freckles but he was a beagle.

jazmina88's avatar

@filmfann sniff…sniff…...quiver…..on this pergot floor, it is getting along very carefully without stress. I wish I could handle it like her, as my discs and collar bone are burn zones. and i’m not half as slick.

jazmina88's avatar

If we have this much trouble putting our best friends to sleep, it would be a huge difference to put people, granny down to die. I do believe in it, but it’s so personal. touching right to the middle of our being.

stemnyjones's avatar

I had to put my cat to sleep because of liver disease. I would only put an animal to sleep if it was in pain and suffering and/or it’s quality of life was greatly decreased, not just because it was getting old.

Iclamae's avatar

We’ve had 4 dogs and 1 cat put down. A 5th dog died peacefully in his sleep.

All of the animals we’ve put to sleep were suffering from an incurable illness or were experiencing the terrible parts of their last days (too weak to use the bathroom, no appetite, blindness, etc) (all of those symptoms in combination, not just by themselves). One of those dogs lasted 19 years before those nasty final days hit her and was the picture of health up till then.

We have a set of vets we really trust. If something is wrong with our pet, we take them in. If the doctor says it can be treated, and most likely cured, we do it. If they say surgery is an option and it could go either way, we do that. If they say you could try some medications or surgery but they likely won’t help, we don’t do that. On that last option, the logic is this: if it was me or my mom or a human relative, we wouldn’t go through that trouble for a possible solution that will likely cause some misery and uncomfortableness. Since we feel our pets are part of the family, we feel the same for them. We’d rather spend the last week with them happily than put them through 2 useless surgeries and forced feeding of some foul medicine. When it gets to the point of no appetite and difficulty standing up to go to the bathroom, we take them in to be put down.

Many people have different reasons and ways of thinking about it in general. We did it because it’s an option to prevent unnecessary misery. And like I said, we had a dog live to 19 with no major troubles till then. It wasn’t a time factor. It was a quality of life thing.

anartist's avatar

I selfishly could not bear to put down my 21-year-old cat, even after she repeatedly tried to crawl away to a dark corner to die. Instead I kept her on my bed next to me with a plastic sheet to protect the bed. She had stopped eating I would just stroke her and watch her as she slipped imperceptibly from life to death, not sure until she began to cool. Then wrapped her in white cloth and took her to the vet’s with a bouquet of white roses. Maybe she would have been happier in a dark corner for her last moments.
My darlin’ baby boy Jacky who must have suffered from the poison [I hate to think how long] finally crawled behind a bush to die. He probably heard me calling his name. I hope that was of some comfort. That I wasn’t there for him still hurts terribly.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I think, if we know that, due to an animals illness or age, it is likely to suffer towards the end of it’s life then it is kinder to put them down. You really answered this question yourselkf when you said ”I know there is a pain and suffering factor”. That is exactly the reason why many of us choose to put their animals to sleep. Like humans, animals will die eventually but I think it is cruel to drag out an animals life and wait for it to die naturally if the animal is in obvious pain/discomfort.

Siren's avatar

I would only put my animal companion down if it was in constant, chronic pain….to end the suffering. That would be the compassionate thing to do. If the animal was getting old, had arthritis for example, but otherwise could live several more years on good medication and geriatric vet care, I couldn’t in all conscience put the animal down.

Some people do put their animals down if they find they can’t maintain their pet’s quality of life for whatever reason and I think it’s an individual decision, one each person will have to live with for the rest of their life.

Kraigmo's avatar

Animals are not included in people’s life & death religious issues, so society can get away with helping them at the end of their lives, with euthanasia to speed things up It is over-used on animals, however.

I think it is compassionate to end suffering that is accompanied by inevitable death. But it is only legal and socially acceptable to do that for animals. Eventually, it will be allowed for humans as well, as it should.

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