What Should You Consider When Deciding to Euthanize an Old Dog?

When deciding whether it is time to euthanize your dog, talk to your veterinarian and consider the pain and suffering of your dog, says the American Humane Association. Before euthanizing the dog, let family members say goodbye and work out burial or cremation arrangements.

Talking to a veterinarian about euthanizing a dog is often the first step, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The vet can determine how much pain and suffering the dog is experiencing and if there is any other way to relieve the pain. In an older dog, the pain might be due to the natural aging process and not treatable. Older dogs that have a lower quality of life, such as not being able to eat, experiencing pain while moving or frequently vomiting, are often suffering more than necessary.

Another thing to consider before euthanizing an older dog is whether everyone has had the opportunity to say goodbye, notes the American Humane Association. Allow time for friends and relatives close to the dog to say their final goodbyes. Give each close family member some private time with the dog to say goodbye in his own way. With younger children, give them time and prepare them, explaining that the dog is hurting and that is why the dog needs to be euthanized.