When to Say Goodbye

Will there come a time when you need to help your dog with dementia leave this world?

Book: Remember Me: Loving and Caring for a Dog with Canine Cognitive DysfunctionI can help with that. My book has a whole chapter on the difficult question of whether and when to euthanize a dog with dementia. Because dogs with cognitive decline are sometimes still physically healthy otherwise, this question, which is always difficult, can be even harder.

I let my little Cricket go on May 31, 2013. Here is an article on how I made the decision. I tell the story in full in my book, and two other people generously shared their stories of how they made the decisions for their own dogs.

 

Other Resources on Euthanasia

Here are some resources on end-of-life care for your beloved friend and some articles that can help you assess your pet’s quality of life.

I highly recommend the following book. It was a real comfort to me as I assessed and reassessed little Cricket’s quality of life.

 

Facing Farewell: Making the Decision to Euthanize Your Pet, by Julie Reck, DVM

 

 

Facing Farewell is a comprehensive guide to making the hard decision, but in addition describes the euthanasia process in detail and helps you know ahead of time what to discuss with the veterinarian and what to expect.

Helpful Articles about Decision Making

Grief

Finally, here is a piece by a physician on grieving for a dog. I think he makes some very wise points.

Lessons from Zachary: What a Physician Learns from the Death of his Dog.

An old black and white rat terrier is lying on a bed with her head on a pillow. She is staring off into the distance

                               My last photo of Cricket

 

270 Comments

  1. Janie Curtis says:

    We lost our older dog (16) to old age and dementia about 3 months ago, and since then our younger dog (8/9 years old) has been displaying all the signs of dementia. Sleeping all day, not wanting to go for walks, loss of interest in human interaction, loss of house training, shaking for no real reason and in the past two days she has stopped wanting to eat. Initially we thought that it was depression due to the loss of her older companion, but she as been getting worse and now we are afraid that she has dementia as well. We are taking her to the vet today but are fearing the worst. It feels like she should be too young to get dementia and yet all the symptoms seem to be the same as the ones on your list. We are very sad at the thought of loosing both of them so close together.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Dear Janie,
      My best wishes for the best possible diagnosis and lots more good time with your dog.

      –Eileen

  2. Karen says:

    Hi, we put our girl down 2 days ago and she looked just like your Cricket and was almost 18 y.o and she had the same Dementia symptoms, she also started having seizures from a month ago, she forgot how to eat most times. I questioned myself if it was too soon, but seeing your site today it gives me comfort to know the time was right for my precious girl. Thankyou

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Hugs to you, Karen. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m glad the site gave you some comfort.

  3. Nancy says:

    MY SHITZU/MALTESE IS ONLY 9 YEARS OLD, BUT SHE HAS BEEN HAVING A LOT OF THE SAME PROBLEMS AS DESCRIBED EARLIER AND THE VETS HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING, SHE GOES GOOD FOR A WHILE THEN TAKES A TOTAL TURN FOR THE WORSE, IS THIS NORMAL AT THAT AGE TO HAVE DEMENTIA?

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      I’m sorry, Nancy, I don’t know of any research on that. But some other people have reported it here in their dogs. So sorry you are going through that. Try another vet maybe? Not everything is fixable, I guess, but there are a lot of conditions that have some or all of these same symptoms. Good luck.

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