Post # 1
The animal cruelty threads have been making me sick lately. For those of us who do care about our pets and treat them like family members rather than throwaway garbage, I’m wondering if you’ve ever had a pet die of old age/natural causes. I have only ever heard of animals eventually being put down when they get too sick.
I would pay for whatever treatment plan was necessary for my dog but I find it really hard to imagine myself ever putting him down. I’ve never been in the situation, so I really have no idea what the best decision is. I know I wouldn’t put down an old person who was costing me money/time/etc.
Have you ever had a pet die peacefully of old age at home, or does it usually end in putting down?
Post # 3
@MrsPanda99: our very first family dog died at home in his sleep. He was 19 years old and had a good life.
Post # 4
We had to put our family dog down many years ago. Sometimes an animal’s health declines quickly, and instead of watching them suffer, it’s easier to help them through. I know you can arrange for the vet to come to your home so that it’s as comforting for the animal as possible.
These threads are always tear jerkers for me. Like you, our dog is part of our family, and I can’t imagine what a mess I’ll be when that day comes.
Post # 5
Yep! We had brother and sister Golden Retrievers who lived to be 14 and 16. The average age for a Golden is 11! I won’t read those other threads…
Post # 6
@MrsPanda99: My Doberman died naturally from cancer, at our house. My mom was pretty adamant against putting her down even though we knew the cancer was terminal, and I feel terrible for stretching out her suffering and chronic pain for way longer than it should have been. She was even wearing diapers at the end because she couldn’t hold in pee and poo. I wouldn’t want someone to do that to me. I think part of loving and caring for your pet is knowing when it’s over and when to let go.
Post # 7
Sort of… I had four ferrets in college. The oldest and the youngest I had put down because they had conditions related to old age and were suffering. The other two also had similar old age issues but both died at home with me before I could get to the vet to have them put to sleep. Both ways really, really sucked 🙁 But I did all that I could to keep them as comfortable as possible for as long as possible, but at some point enough is enough, ya know?
Post # 8
@MrsPanda99: I have experienced both.
I have had some cats and dogs as a kid that just died naturally in their sleep.
I have also had to make the decision to put down my great dane. She had bone cancer and it was to the point that it was making her have a poor quality of life. It was a hard decision but I could see the pain in her eyes and with the vet’s diagnosis I knew it was only going to get worse and she would never recover or feel any relief.
I don’t know which is worse. My mom’s great dane recently passed away in her sleep and my Mom felt awful because she didn’t get to formally say goodbye because she didn’t know that Sadie was going to go. I got to say goodbye but I do still feel sad about making the decision. It is just bad all around.
Post # 9
Several years ago, we had to put down our 17 year old cat. She had kidney failure, was not eating, and had started to go blind. I think it was the best decision because we did not have any way of knowing if she was suffering. I was not there for the procedure, I couldn’t handle it, but my parents were. I now have two cats I have adopted since moving to California, and probably will get a dog at some point, and so I know I will have to make this decision again someday. I sure hate thinking about it 🙁
Post # 10
Our old family dog died of old age at 17. He’d had a long and happy life and although he’d got a little creaky in his joints, he was otherwise OK. He died one night and we found him in the morning.
Post # 11
Kind of. My mom’s cat suddenly died… she was probably 13 years old, and we think she had a heart attack. My sister was home alone and heard the cat making strange noises, and then she just died in front of her. It was really traumatic for my sister actually, and we sometimes say it was the cat’s last revenge on my sister, because the cat hated her.
Post # 12
@MrsPanda99: I have had old pets put down not because they were costing me money, but because they were dying slowly and painfully. I basically consider them to have died of old age. We gave them care and meds for symptoms as long as they were enjoying life & doing ok. But then they would start soiling themselves in the night and we’d clean it up until a few days later, one morning, they’d wake up and not be able to stand. And then we would have them put down instead of letting them die slowly and painfully. This happened similarly with two very old dogs, both were having organ failure due to old age. So putting them down probably only shortened their lives by a couple days, but stopped suffering. There was no treatment we could give them that would make them better. And I believe people should have the right to doctor-assisted suicide if they want it, instead of being forced to suffer as they die slowly. In some ways we are kinder to animals when it comes to end of life care.
Post # 13
Yes. Our family cat was 18 when we had to put him to sleep. One day he just started acting weird, not wanting to be held, not eating, all he wanted was to sit on the heat vents on the floor. We could tell he was in pain. We took him in, found out his kidneys were shutting down and there was nothing we could do so we had to put him to sleep. We were there with him rubbing his head as he passed. It was the only time I’ve ever seen my dad cry, and I miss that cat everyday.
Post # 14
I grew up with cats, and over the years we found three of them dead in the garden. We weren’t certain if they had just crawled into the flowers to die or had been hit by cars and placed there.
Post # 15
Unfortunately, we had to euthanize my childhood dog. It was abundantly clear that she was suffering but she just wouldn’t let go. She couldn’t get up, she had lost control of her bowels, she was crying in pain. My mom and I spent her last night laying on the floor on either side of her, just stroking her and telling her she could go, it was ok. Even though she couldn’t lift her head, she still followed us with her eyes.
I think we let it go on too long, hoping that she would go peacefully and we wouldn’t have to do it. Eventually the next afternoon we called the vet and he came over to do it. It was awful, but I know it was the right thing to do.
…. and now I’m crying at work. Oh man, having pets is at the same time the most wonderful thing in the world and the most heartbreakingly awful at the end.
Post # 16
Virtually all of my family’s pets – horses, dogs, cats, sheep, alpacas – have been euthanized once their age/illness made it obvious that their quality of life was nonexistent. The only pets I can remember finding dead were a couple of mice, but their lives are already so short that their declines happened quickly as well. My parents always taught me that ending a beloved pet’s suffering was the kind thing to do.