Last Christmas, it seemed as if our dog was nearing the end of his life. He was sleeping a lot. And he wasn’t eating much.
At one point, for a few days, he stopped eating altogether. This seemed the finish to a slow steady decline, which had been coming on for about a year and maybe even longer.
We prepared ourselves for the worst. We started bringing him everywhere we went, because we didn’t want him to die alone. At the time, we were also working closely with an holistic healer.
We celebrated my father-in-law’s birthday at a Chinese restaurant two days after Christmas. Our 14-year-old dog rested in the car, while we ate.
When to Consider Putting Your Dog to Sleep
We took turns checking on him. At one point I brought him a little stir-fry beef, to see if we could coax him to eat. He took a few bites, but not with his usual relish.
At some point in time, we briefly discussed putting him to sleep. My husband pointed out that doing this would rob our dog of the chance to recover. As it turns out, he was right.
Putting Your Dog to Sleep Too Soon
Our dog was not in any obvious pain. However, I realize that animals are very good at hiding their discomfort. He slept a lot and he wasn’t interested in food. Even though I’m not an animal healthcare expert, I know these are very bad signs. We certainly didn’t want our dog to suffer. But we also didn’t want to put him down if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.
My mother has always said, “Where there’s life, there’s hope.” I’ll admit my own respect for life came into play. Life is precious. Once you take the inevitable step of ending it, there’s no turning back.
Alternatives to Putting Your Dog to Sleep
So we decided to not bring our dog to the vet, in order to end his life. Instead, we worked with our wonderful homeopath, at home. (If you are interested in holistic dog care, I can’t stress enough the importance of a good homeopath.
The first few remedies our homeopath suggested didn’t do much. Then, almost as a last resort, she recommended Rescue Remedy. This is something we own. It’s useful in so many situations. For instance, it works really well as an acute stress reliever. Some dog owners use it just before a traumatic trip to the vet, or to the groomer.
Realizing this was likely a last-ditch effort to save our dog, I put a couple drops of Rescue Remedy on his nose. The next day he was a little better. He had also developed clear symptoms. (Prior to this, our homeopath had difficulty coming up with the right remedy. The picture was too vague.
If you’re not familiar with homeopathy, it works on a principle of “like cures like.” Homeopathic remedies contain a little bit of a substance that would be poisonous if taken full strength. However, because they are so highly diluted, the remedy itself is not harmful.
Using Bach Rescue Remedy for Dogs
Anyway, our dog’s clear symptom was diarrhea. This led us to the right remedy, one that’s often used for persistent diarrhea, along with aversion to food. One dose was all we used. Within an hour, the diarrhea had stopped. (Our homeopath tells us to never repeat a dose of remedy if you see improvement. At that point, she says, just let the body heal itself. Likewise, if a remedy causes a steady worsening of symptoms, it’s time to stop.)
Please understand I’m not an animal healthcare expert, so I can’t give medical advice. All I can do is share with you what helped our own dog.
Within a couple of days, it seemed as if our dog was getting better. He began drinking and eating a little. Before long, his ravenous appetite returned. You can see him in the picture below. We love him very much.
When to Put Your Elderly Dog Down
Our dog’s apparent brush with death happened at Christmas. Now, it’s almost Easter. He is healthy and active for his age. He loves to eat. We now feed him his favorite people food. Our story has a very happy ending.
All is not perfect. But at 14, we don’t expect it to be. Today, for instance, he had an “accident” on the kitchen floor. Although I wasn’t happy about it, I don’t feel the need to rush him to the vet, because of this.
If you are considering putting your dog to sleep, just because he’s old, one alternative might be to visit a holistic practitioner, to see if there’s anything that can be done to make him more comfortable. Life is precious. If you can’t find a practitioner, here’s another option. You may want to explore homeopathy. Vetionix makes a line of easy-to-use remedies for specific ailments. Hopefully, your dog will respond in a positive manner. Below you can see some of its formulas for some of the most common dog conditions. This might be something worth trying, before making such an irreversible decision. However, if it were my dog I would not give these remedies indefinitely. Once I saw improvement I’d stop, unless the remedy was clearly needed again.)
Update: It is now July and our dog is now in relatively good health for his age. His appetite is great and he seems to be enjoying life.
For Additional Reading