Deciding when to euthanize a dog is highly personal and difficult, but most pet owners decide to put pets down when they face constant pain that is no longer controllable using medication. For others, the decision occurs when the pet loses interest in activities he once enjoyed.
Consulting with a trusted vet who has provided care for the dog for several years can help the owner to determine when to euthanize the pet. If the owner is unsure of the decision after consulting with the vet, a second opinion is often useful.
Sometimes circumstances force the decision on the pet owner. If the pet has surgery and the procedure does not go well or the vet diagnoses the pet with advanced cancer, euthanasia is often the best solution to prevent any further suffering. However, when the animal's health deteriorates slowly, the decision of when to euthanize him is more difficult.
Once the owner makes the decision to euthanize the pet, the American Humane Association suggests scheduling time for each family member to say goodbye. The Association recommends preparing the children for the loss of the dog. Some families choose to be present for the procedure, but the option is one of personal choice. Some vets provide euthanasia at the home, ensuring the pet is as comfortable as possible.