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How do you know when it is time ?

9/22/21 @ 6:08 AM
USER SINCE 10/11/15

I have a 14.5 y/o lab...   from time to time I have to help him get up... but with some good effort he can get up on his own.  Sometimes he lays on his mat too long and when he dose get up to go out side he don't make it and leaves a mess to be cleaned up.

He can't really see past his nose much any more and his hearing is shot... And for the most part... he is so skinny... nothing but skin and bones. 

He still eats ...  still likes to get his petting... 

How do you know when it is time to take him in for the shot ? 


10/1/21 @ 7:28 AM
Swamp buck
USER SINCE 1/23/09

Well said Birdy. I think when the time comes to take care of our dogs, I cry not only for them but in a way for myself too. In the realization that another block of years has slipped away from my life and that we are all heading for our eventual end and the dogs and birds we love to chase will be gone. That said a new pup springs hope of more fun days afield!!! 

9/30/21 @ 11:28 PM
USER SINCE 8/24/07

It’s funny, in a sad way, that these animals teach us so much about our own frailty and human condition.  We love them from puppy hood, hunt over them, play fetch, swim with them, run, and then, way too soon, they depart. I’ve cried like a baby over every dog I’ve had. But my life is so full thanks to them. 

They give us so much. As hard as it is to send them off, we owe it to them in the end.  I pray for every one who ever has to say good bye to their best friend. 

9/30/21 @ 1:16 PM
Swamp buck
USER SINCE 1/23/09

Same for me RegJoe. My springer crapped in his kennel one night and made a mess of himself. When I saw him in the morning he looked at me with a face of disgust. I said OK and took him in that day. I had made 2 or 3 appointments earlier to take him in but just couldn't do it. I would take him to a field or woods and let him run for that one last time but he always looked so happy that I would back out. They always break your heart in the end for sure- its one of the rules of owning a dog. However I have found that getting a new pup is a definite cure for a broken heart 

9/30/21 @ 6:14 AM

You will know when its time.  I got the "look" from one of my labs a few years ago.  We went to the vet that day.  Hate to see them suffer at all.  She was 15 and three days at the time.

9/28/21 @ 12:36 PM
USER SINCE 1/10/03

How is the dog's breathing?  I recently went through this with my dog.  He started breathing fast and short, even when he had been laying for a long time.  When I called my vet to ask how we would know, he immediately asked me how his breathing was.  He said the fast and short breaths is a sign of discomfort and indicated to him it was most definitely time.

9/28/21 @ 10:29 AM

One thing I'll add that hasn't been mentioned is that there are mobile vets who specialize in at home euthanasia. For a small fee they drive to your home and administer the final medication right there. I feel it's more comfortable for your friend to go at home rather than in a vet clinic.

And as someone said make sure to be there. I missed ours as I was hunting and deeply regret it.

9/27/21 @ 2:21 PM

So sorry to hear of your situation...never easy. But agree that "you'll know" when it's time. And you'll also know if you're being selfish (that is a harsh word in this situation). And when you feel that, it's really time. I've read all the posts and was not till the last one where I saw what I wanted to say.....having it done at home. I made the mistake (for me) of having my first lab put down at the vet, a place she never really liked, and I swore that I'd never have my hunting partner go out with that smell in their nose. My last guy was done at home, by a vet I had to hire, but worth if for me and him. I now have an 11 year old and a 5-month old. The 11-year old made a nice retrieve for me Saturday on a drake woodie, it is an easy spot, no more hunting out of a boat for him. Hope he gets a couple more this season....may be his last.

9/25/21 @ 6:57 PM

Mikieb first off very sorry to hear you have to start considering the decision, it's so tough. My last lab was 13.5 and also had alot of trouble getting up and down but could generally walk around ok once he was up. He also sometimes couldnt get up in time for the bathroom. But he was happy still and content to just wander a little in the yard and then lay around outside or in the house. Still ate and even wanted to play sometimes. It was finally time when he couldnt stand up for very long anymore, and honestly looking back I waited too long and often feel bad about it. I loved that dog so much. He was my 3rd lab I have had to put down. It's always so hard. The one thing I did learn this time that is if your vet wont do it at home, there are vets that will, for a fee obviously. I had the vet come to the house and we did it outside in the yard as he layed in one of his favorite spots. He passed so peacefully and quietly. It was a 100x "better" experience than taking the 2 labs I had before him to the vet clinic. It was honestly worth any price to me, I will gladly pay for the same for my 4th lab i have now when the times comes, which is hopefully a long time away.

9/25/21 @ 10:07 AM
USER SINCE 3/21/14

To lighten the mood just a bit, when our yellow lab was getting close, she could no longer walk up the stairs or get up on our bed.  She would sit downstairs at night and bark.  I ended up sleeping on the couch downstairs for a few weeks next to her.  After 12+ years I felt like that was the least I could do.  Annoyed the snot out of my wife who jokingly (I think) told me either she goes or I go, and of course I said (jokingly more or less), "gosh honey, I'm going to miss you....."  Had to put her down a few weeks later (dog not my wife) but I felt like it was important that I give her some comfort in her last days.  Hope I am not being too irreverant in my comments.  It is a really tough situation but it is part of the circle of life - from chewing up shoes, digging up freshly planted fruit trees, and eating two Thanksgiving pies, to those last days, that's what we sign up for......  Good luck.


9/25/21 @ 4:14 AM

The most recent Lab we lost was just shy of 15 years old. Found out in March of 2018 he was in kidney failure. Tried some special food, but he went from 92 lbs down to 65 lbs. We put him down December 4th 2018. He just finally quit eating and was not able to stand without help that final day. We planned to do it and I was able to be with him all day. Of course when we took him to the Vet he made it hard on us by walking right in without any help. My wife had second thoughts at that point and I had to be firm with her that she would regret waiting any longer. He was skin and bones. I would have been OK with doing it a bit earlier, but I tend to deal with the process better than my wife, so I had to give her more time.

We waited almost 2 years after losing Shadow and now we have a 3 year old Lab Rescue who ironically had the same name. This new dog was definitely mistreated and has major anxiety and trust issues. But now that he’s been with us for almost a year he is really turning out to be a good dog. This is our first rescue and there is a big learning curve compared to raising them from a puppy. I struggled a lot with how long it took the dog to trust us, but he’s doing great now and we look forward to many good years with him.


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