Please tell me I didn't kill my dog

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Member Since
Barked: Wed Jun 20, '12 11:39pm PST 
I'm not going to be as coherent as I'd like given the circumstances, so bear with me.

My sweet, wonderful eleven year old retriever mix died her sleep yesterday. She had a host of old age related breathing and mobility issues, not to mention she had gone off her kibble not long ago and was eating canned food.

However, stupid me decided a couple weeks ago after doing research and reading these forums that she was a good candidate for an occasional raw treat. I picked up pig feet, chicken quarters, and quail.

She seemed to like them, and would usually eat most of what I gave her. She crunched the bones, and did not gulp. The day before she passed she had a small quail and ate some pig foot. The day she actually passed she had a chicken quarter (plus a couple treats and some human pastry, she still had the perseverance to do the woe is me look).

I am absolutely wracked with guilt.cry Because she was of advanced age there was no necropsy, but I can't help feel I did this to her. I feel like a bone might have pierced her, or at her age it was too much...you can imagine how I feel.

I did the research and thought this would be okay for her, but now I blame myself. I know raw is generally safe though....I wasn't there when she passed, so I hope she just went to sleep and it was her heart or something and not me.

I'm just a complete mess. frown

Edited by author Wed Jun 20, '12 11:41pm PST


I dig in mud- puddles!
Barked: Wed Jun 20, '12 11:53pm PST 
hug I'm so sorry for your loss.

Please don't beat yourself up. As you said, she was of advanced age in declining health, it sounds like it was her time to pass.

My thought is that if she had an obstruction or perforation, then there would have been some pretty obvious symptoms. She would have been showing signs of pain and restlessness, likely some vomiting, and she most likely would have stopped eating.

Mommy's Girl
Barked: Thu Jun 21, '12 1:32am PST 

SO many hugs for you!
As the previous response said, it is pretty unlikely. Let me tell you my story.
I started my 7 year old GSD on raw. About a week later, he acted a little "off" so we decided to take him in for his yearly check up a few weeks early. I was concerned that the new diet was hurting him...
He was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma so advanced that it had already spread everywhere. We had no choice but to let him go. frown I thought it was the diet-- and it was something else entirely. He showed no signs of being ill until it was too late.

Be grateful that she went peacefully, and that her last few meals were probably her absolute favorites ever. That's what gave me some consolation. hug


Barked: Thu Jun 21, '12 5:42am PST 

As someone else already mentioned a perforation would have caused some pretty obvious distress. And the odds of that happening with a raw bone are astronomical, especially so if as you say she was great at chomping everything up. Gulpers frequently inhale entire bones, dogs digestive tracts however are very efficient at digesting them regardless.

If she passed in her sleep I would say it's safe to assume something was amiss you never knew about. Usually with the heart. Which would coincide with the breathing problems you mentioned already existed previous to starting to offer her some raw.

It's beyond crummy that you coincidentally started offering raw as treats right before this happened, but rest assured that didn't cause whatever happened. If she hadn't gotten any raw chances are you'd be wondering if it was something else you did to cause her death. It's something we all do because we love them so much and searching for the answer to why they're gone often helps us grieve.


Proud to serve
Barked: Thu Jun 21, '12 7:00am PST 
You definitely did NOT kill your dog. I'm not the type of person who says things just to make people feel better, in fact I've been accused of being entirely too blunt many times. If I thought you had hurt the dog in anyway, I'd say so right now.
Feeding your dog a raw diet did not kill her. As the others said, she was probably happier than ever getting the raw foods you were giving her. Dogs are meant to eat meat and bones, their digestive system was built for it. There is no way you caused her death. She was elderly, and had respiratory issues. Most likely she went to sleep, fell into respiratory arrest, and passed quietly. This is fairly common in older dogs.
I'm sorry for your loss. My dog is turning 8 this year, and has gone a tiny bit grey in the face. He also developed a fatty tumor. These things coupled with a precancerous lump removal from his arm all sent me in a sudden massively traumatic realization that he's a senior and won't be here forever. I can't imagine life without him, so I can only guess at how it will feel to lose him. You didn't kill your dog, it was her time. Animals, unlike humans, often deliberately try to die alone. It's instinct for them.

You didn't say what you did with the body. Any chance you cremated? There are some lovely things you can do with the ashes if you're of a mind to.

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Thu Jun 21, '12 9:39am PST 

Agree with the others. She would have shown signs that the meal didn't agree with her if there was a problem with it.

No matter what you will feel guilt at a pet passing. Sassy had suffered through kidney disease, her long standing heart murmur worsening rapidly and degenerative myelopathy and I still feel like I should have been able to do more. More meds, more tests.... And that wouldn't have helped, she was just ready to leave us.

Member Since
Barked: Thu Jun 21, '12 10:26am PST 
Thank you all so much, especially for your honesty. She seemed happy and fine the morning of, so no upset stomach I know of. It has helped me to know it was probably just the fact she was twelve. I'm glad I could give her something good to eat that she enjoyed even if only for a little while.

I really support the raw diet and its benefits, in this case though I was just very worried.

Thanks again (yes I am having account troubles, new account start date because my other wouldn't let me login or get a new pw). hug

Tiny boy, but he- has a huge- heart!
Barked: Thu Jun 21, '12 12:34pm PST 
I agree with the others. I do not think raw feeding had anything to do with it. I think it was just her time and you are so fortunate that she didnt' have a long and drawn out suffering illness before she passed! Dying in her sleep - there's not really any better way to pass on than that. What a blessing for her and also for you.

Rest assured she enjoyed her life to the very end, and it sounds like she really loved her new food too! What a lucky and well loved dog she was.
Vance CGC

You kids g'off- my lawn!
Barked: Sun Jun 24, '12 2:26pm PST 
I agree with everyone else. Totally, 100% not your fault. And I have called people out for trashing raw when it was their fault their dog was hurt by it. She would not have passed peacefully in her sleep if there was a complication from feeding raw.

For the most part, in an older dog just starting raw, your risks are inability to handle bacteria or digest bone (generally secondary to ongoing GI issues), or the change in amount and quality of fat or protein shutting organs down (generally secondary to ongoing organ distress). All of which have serious, obvious symptoms over the course of 12 - 36 hrs, AND a base in existing conditions.