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When to euthanize a dog for incontinence

Updated March 23, 2017

It can be difficult to know when the right time is to have a dog euthanized. As family pets, dogs are literally part of the family and, to some people, seem like our own children. As humans, we become extremely attached to dogs and no one wants to make the decision to have them euthanized. Sometimes it can be difficult to know when the right time is--and it will never feel like the right time.

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Looking for the Signs

The first step to making this important decision is taking a close look at your dog's age and overall health. By now, the dog has probably been to see the family vet. It's important to consider whether everything has been done for the dog. You should be asking yourself a few questions. For example, how often is the dog having an accident? Is it becoming a problem or a health hazard for your family or your dog? Is it to the point where the dog is having accidents throughout much of the day. Have you tried medication? Is your home becoming ruined (i.e. carpet, flooring, furniture, etc) from the dog's incontinence? Once you've answered these questions, you may have come to the right answer. If the answers to all of these questions indicate the incontinence has become unmanageable, it may be time to euthanize your dog.

What About the Dog?

If you're a dog lover, you probably believe in paying attention to your dog's feelings. We all know that dogs can't communicate with us the same way that people can, but they do communicate. We've probably all seen a dog when he was embarrassed. Have you ever watched a dog have a bowel movement outside? He tends to look rather embarrassed, and why not? Chances are, if your dog is past being able to control his incontinence, he feels shameful about the state he's in. So the next step in this process is to look at the dog and consider how he feels. Talk to your dog about the situation even though he can't speak back. Sometimes it helps us come to a decision by explaining everything to the dog. At least we feel like we tried.

Ask an Expert

Ask your veterinarian about whether it's the right time to have your dog put down. Chances are, your vet may be more insightful than you think. The vet can tell you if you have done everything possible for the dog. You also may find that there are more options available to you and the dog than you originally thought. If you are still unsure after speaking to the vet, talk to friends and family members. Many people go through this and can also offer information about whether it's time. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and your family. Don't rush into it, but don't prolong the inevitable either.

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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Beth Lytle has been writing professionally since 2008. Working as an editor and with recent work published on eHow, LiveStrong and the Bayer Aspirin website, Lytle is a self-made freelancer. Lytle writes health-related and home-improvement articles, first beginning her writing journey while attending writing workshops and classes during childhood. Lytle has owned transcription and commercial construction companies since 2006.

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