How do I know if it is time to put my dog down?

I have a 15 year old German Shepard mix that is still eats well, but his hind quarters start sagging after being up for a short while and he has a lot trouble standing up. He has a bad case of hip dysplasia. He also falls a lot when walking and defecates in random spots on the back patio as if he is unable to control himself. He still knows who my wife, kids, and I are and enjoys the attention we give him, but his condition seems to be getting worse. My wife says it is time, but I am not so sure.

Asked by Member 1038324 on Jun 23rd 2011 in Senior Pet
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If his quality of life amounts to more bad things such as pain, discomfort, falling in his own excrement... And he seems depressed, and unable to participate in many if not all of the activities he did previously with enthusiasm... I do think it's time. And one of these "slip and falls" could lead to an injury.
I'm sorry your ol' man is getting older, but sometimes it's more selfish to prolong his suffering than it is to let him go.

BUT If this is hip displaysia and he shows an enthusiasm for life, don't give up on him! I'd recommend supplementing him with 1500mg of Glucosamine, 3000mg of fish oil, and some vitamin C every day.
And a diet change could very well be in order; if you're feeding your dog crap, he's going to feel like crap. If you could transition your dog to a grain-free dog food meant for seniors, he may have a year or two left of quality life left. Try a 6 star food I'd feed Taste of the Wild Wetland with wet food mix

Koda answered on 6/23/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


the most loving and compassionate thing a pet parent does is let their pet go. You will know when it's time, they will tell you, all you have to do is look into their eyes. Believe me, I know it is hard, but don't hold on for you, let go for them..

Member 1036108 answered on 6/23/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Bruno CGC

That sounds more like Degenerative Myelopathy than hip displasia. It's sadly common in German Shepherds, and not rare in mutts either. They gradually lose feeling and control of their back end, making it hard to get up, dragging back feet, and loss of bowel control.

I'm so sorry you are having to make this decision. If you think he's still enjoying life though, you don't have to give up on him. You could try walking him with a support harness, or even a towel under his midsection to prevent him from falling. You can put lots of soft rugs around so when he goes down it doesn't hurt so much.

But even if you decide that this is the end of the road for him, don't fault yourself. 15 years is a very long life for a large dog, and I'm sure he feels very loved by you and your family. It might be the most loving thing to end his pain, if you think he's suffering.

Bruno CGC answered on 6/24/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer