Signs to Know When to Put Your Dog Down

Having a family pet put to sleep is never a simple decision. What makes this already difficult dilemma even worse is many times you are unsure if the dog will pull through, or if it is time to talk to your veterinarian about euthanasia. There are several signs to look for that will help tell you that your dog should be humanely and professionally put to sleep.


It might be time to have your dog put down if it is no longer able to control its bladder or defecates indoors frequently. Many dogs experience incontinence and will have a few accidents in the home from time to time, but it is a different story when the dog is so tired or sick that he is no longer able to take himself outside to void on a regular basis.

Refusing to Eat, Drink, or Walk

Another sign that it may be time to talk to your veterinarian is if your dog is refusing to eat, drink or walk. Dogs are usually voracious eaters, and a dog that will not take any food or drink for two days could possibly be very ill or experiencing a lot of pain. Your dog may not even be able to walk to his food bowl, outdoors to defecate, or may even collapse while attempting to move to another area to lie down. This is another clear sign that the dog's quality of life has greatly decreased and it is time to have it put down.


An older dog that is diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, should be put down if there is no chance for a meaningful recovery. A younger dog that is spry may pull through with the proper treatment, but an older dog is probably not going to be physically capable of tolerating invasive treatments and medications. It is also not worth the expense of an potentially exorbitant vet bill for a dog that is not able to pull through.

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About the Author

Residing in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Jaimie Zinski has been writing since 2009. Specializing in pop culture, film and television, her work appears on Star Reviews and various other websites. Zinski is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of Wisconsin.