Old family dog


We have a 12 year old small mixed breed dog. It’s been a good family pet with the children, but the vet warned us to watch for biting as it ages. We have children ranging from 1-17. Last week the dog tried to bite my 8 year old. :frowning: That same child often feeds the dog. I was already concerned about the dog biting someone, and last week attempted bite arroused those fears all the more. This should probably be a no-brainer, but I guess I need some support here. My husband doesn’t want another pet, so once this dog goes, we would be pet-less. :crying:

I don’t want to wait until there’s an injury, but I also don’t want to get rid of the dog any sooner than neccesary. Has anyone else here gone through this?


MY mother’s border collie went blind and had arthritis but she refused to put him to sleep. He would lunge and bite at any noise that the heard, including her own. Finally, when he could barely move and had suffered a long, long time, she put him down. I think that she waited way to long.

talk to your vet. Maybe you won’t have to put the dog to sleep. Perhaps there are other issues that you dr could help you with.

Just out of curiousity, why doesn’t your hubby want another pet? I can’t imagine living without a dog or cat. There are a lot of good dogs at rescue centers who want a home. Our beagle was one of them and best off, we didn’t have to potty train him. He came house broken. He even came with a warning that he chewed a lot-which he never did. So, we knew what problems to expect from him.


Similar thing happen to my grandparents dog…

They had to put her down when she was “old” I would say she was somewhere between 12-15 years old.

I don’t remember really because I was around 8-10 at the time and I know that Suzie (the dog) had been around forever!!

Her eye sight was going bad. She became aggressive out of fear. She started to growl at us (the grandchildren), even though she was very familiar with us. At one point she attempted to bite one of the younger grandchildren, who was 8 months at the time, because they pulled her ear. The baby was NOT hurt!!!

That was very unusual for Suzie!! Seeing the 8 month old at the time was grandbaby number 8 and all the other grandchildren before them, myself included, could pull on her ears all day long and she would not care… We are talking about babies here that did not know any better… it was like Suzie knew they were just babies and didn’t know any better.

Anyway it left my grandparents, especially my Grandfather torn, He didn’t want to put her down but at the same time he didn’t want his grandchildren to be fearful of the dog and not want to come over. He also didn’t want to see the grandchildren get hurt and at that point there was already a close call. (i.e. the 8th month old mention above).

Ultimately he decided to put her down. As much as he loved Suzie he wanted what was best for his grandchildren. Which was a safe environment for them to play and the Suzie started to make that impossible.

They never got another dog after Suzie and all of us that are old enough to remember her have very loving memories.

I don’t know if this helps.
I know that it’s a tuff choice no matter what…

You are in my prayers… God bless!


I had a seven-year old Chow/Lab mix that I had to have put down…

She was a great dog—for me. Chows tend to gravitate to one person, and I’ll admit I have rarely had a bond with an animal like I had with her. Unfortunately, she didn’t have much use for anybody else; she tolerated my wife, but she wanted nothing to do with my small son.

Whenever he would try to pet her or get close to her, she would do her best to run away, get behind something. She snarled and nipped a few times, and got an attitude adjustment for it; I kept hoping she’d warm up to him, or at least remain indifferent. I kept putting off what I think I knew, in the back of my mind, was inevitable.

The final straw came when he was strapped into his car seat in the back seat, and the dog was in the back set with him; my son was four years old at the time. My wife left them alone for a few minutes; we think what happened was, he reached over to pet her, and she bit him on the face. No real damage done—she scared him more than anything, but that was it. I loved the dog, but I loved my little boy more. I would not tolerate having an animal that was going to turn savage on my child every time he just wanted to be friends with her.

We had the dog put to sleep two days later. It was quite a wrench for me; I cried for three days afterwards, and the day the deed was done, I was a wreck, but it had to be done. You can’t adopt out Chows to new owners…they are one person dogs, and she wouldn’t have adjusted to a new owner. We got my son a fantastic black Lab later that year, and they are great together.

My advice is to not wait until something happens that you’ll later be sorry for, like we did.


Yes, I have talked to a couple of vets. Contributing issues are our dog is going blind and has arthritis. While the dog isn’t totally blind yet, it doesn’t recognize me from a distance. The vets consider this a judgement call that owners need to make. I don’t want to wait until the point that your mother did, but it would be easier if the dog died of natural causes before that point.

I can’t really imagine life without a pet either. Pets bring additional responsibilities that he doesn’t want on top of the 7 children we have now. He wants to be able to get away for a weekend without worrying about what to do with the dog. Hubby liked the dog he had growing up, but I don’t think any dog alive can compete with his childhood memory.


This IS a no brainer. There is no excuse for taking a chance on a a child’s safety because of emotions anyone feels for an animal. It will be a sad farewell for your family–but the dog’s days as the family pet are over.


Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry about what happened to your son and your dog. Yes, I definately don’t want to wait until something happens that I regret. But if we put her down before something happens, I’ll always wonder if she might have lived out her natural life without ever needing to be put down.


I know, I know. :crying:


oh, honey! I know how hard this will be for you. Remember that God gave us the animals and we must be good stewards - your family comes first, you know ths, but it still hurts to say goodbye to a fur baby.

Ask for help from St. John Bosco’s Guardian Angel Greicio and from St. Francis.

And listen, every time an animal died when I was growing up my mom would say “Ok, now that’s it…no more pets”.

Today I have two cats and a scotty and my mom lives with me…lolololol.


Thanks Leslie, The story about your mom helps too. Hubby meanswhat he says, but he might also desire another pet after some time passes. Anyway, I shouldn’t let the fear of never having another pet keep me from protecting people from a dog that might bite.

Okay now, I’m resigning myself to what I need to do. Any advice on what to say to the children? I think the older ones should be told, but maybe I don’t need to inform the younger children and can just say the dog died at the vet. What do you think?


No idea about your hubby, but some of us are just not animal people. I have tried to ‘love’ our dog, but I just don’t. He’s a nice dog and good with the kids. When the time comes to make the tough decisions, I’ll do what I have to do. And after that, I don’t want another pet.

I’m certainly not unkind to him; I’m the one who takes him to the vet, the groomer etc. When he needed a cyst removed I was the one smearing YUK cream on the wound so he wouldn’t bite it. I’m just not able to muster emotion towards an animal. And I’m OK with that. —KCT


Personally, I would just tell the ALL the children that you put her down because of health… you can explain the condition and why…

It could also lead to the decision how human life is different then animal life…

However just telling the little ones that the dog died at the vet is not lying to them… If they are “okay” with the answer then leave it at that… but if they ask more questions like “what happen” I would answer those questions…

You know your children the best; so do what you believe is best for them.


It’s time to have the dog put down. Take it or leave it I’d suggest you evaluate your kids, and give them the choice to be present when the dog is euthanized (if the Vet allows it). The Vet gives an injection, and “Spot” goes to sleep… they are there with him, and know why… remember that all dogs go to heaven.

About 2-weeks later go to the local shelter on a whim. You’ll have another doggy in the house… guaranteed!


It is a very difficult decision, isn’t it. As a pet ages, just as humans, they tend to become cranky. Their sight is not what it used to be and any new noise may scare them, thus for their own protection, they bite.

Don’t be too sure your house will remain dogless. Wait until the kids do a number on dear old dad.

Seriously, it is always a good idea to know the breeds in the background of a mixed breed dog as some breeds make good family dogs, others do not. The biggest reason people turn dogs into a shelter is that they did not take time to learn what breed would best fit into their lifestyle. They get a dog, can’t handle the peculiaries of a breed and then they don’t want it anymore. Same is true for purebred dogs. I would not recommend some breeds for families with children, no fenced yard, small living quarters, and on and on.

I hope you find the strength to do what you have to do. It is never, ever easy.


Oh, I basically had to go through this same thing just last month.Lexi was our first “baby”.We adopted her when we’d been married only 3 months,and 2 weeks later,I was pregnant with our first real baby.She was a pretty good dog with all the kids and welcomed each of our six kids into our home.

Maybe the real issue here is knowing when is the right time to put an animal down? I kept asking people and they all would say,“you’ll know”.Well,I prayed and prayed so hard that Lexi would die in her sleep and that I wouldn’t have to make the decision to put her down.She was 18 y.o. in February. and we had rescued her from the animal shelter,so it wasn’t like she’d never had a chance at life.I don’t know how to explain but it was like I didn’t feel like I had the right to end her life.On the morning of May 7,she couldn’t lift her head and I (hysterically,I might add) told Hubby it was time to take her to the vet.I didn’t know it,but you have to make an appointment to have them euthanized! I held her all the way to the vet,but literally right around the corner,she shuddered and died.She died the way I prayed she would.

The point is,really and truly,noone else can make this decision for you.My mom still gets upset after having had to put her dog down for being snippy in her old age and regrets it to this day.In sharing my story,maybe you will find something that you can use in either making a decision or finding comfort.You will be in my prayers,as I know how hard it is to make that decision one way or another.


I think that you should explain to the kids that he is old. Humans are the stewards of the planet and that means that we have to do what is best for our pets. Dogs don’t understand why they are suffering and they gain nothing spiritually through suffering. So, putting a beloved pet to sleep can be a loving gesture.

How much information that you want to give will depend on the individual child. You know your kids best and what they would understand.

I think that you should be prepared, that some of your kids might express a lot of grief. We had a baby chick that died when my girls were young. My daughter still talks about that little chick and expresses remorse that she died. Don’t try to spare them from the grief though. Learning to express their emotions is healthy and something that we all have to go through.


MY hubby is a lot like this. But he seems to have deeper feelings for our beagle, Buster. We got Buster from the pound and it was obvious that he had been abused by a male. Buster would flatte against the ground and scream when ever my husband would just scratch his head. So, my hubby spent a lot of gentle time loving on Buster and playing with him. The result is that Buster LOVES my husband. It is obvious that my husband is Buster’s idol.

Its hard not to have affection for something that just adores every breath that you take.

My husband is just now beginning to admit that he loves the dog. How couldn’t he? But I think that Buster is an unusual dog and that my husband probably won’t bond with another dog in the same way. He just isn’t an animal person.

Luckily, he endures my extreme love of animals. Poor guy, what a torture to marry someone who doesn’t just like her pets but really adores them.:smiley:


Or you can see if there is another family that you trust that might be willing to take him in. My late Roscoe came to me third-hand - the original owner had grandchildren that played too rough with it, and he bit one of them.


After much thinking about this situation, yesterday I called the vet and made an appointment to have the dog put down later this week. Hubby said earlier whenever I complained about the dog that if I didn’t want to deal with it, we should just kill it. (Hubby’s blunt.) I told my husband last night that I made the appointment, and this husband of mine–who makes no attempt to hide his dislike for the dog–doesn’t want to do it yet!. He was very surprised that I was at this point. He thinks I worry too much and that we have more time before we need to do this. We discussed the situation more, including dog stories and incidents that I never bothered to tell him in the past because I knew he wouldn’t want to hear them and that he’d respond with “just get rid of it.” Anyway, while hubby hasn’t hid his dislike for the dog in the past, last night he revealed some of the things he likes about our doggy.

Also a large part of my husband’s desire to postpone having the dog put down is also that he doesn’t want another pet, so he wants this pet to last as long as possible. His reasons for keeping this dog are the exact reasons I think we should not: he is concerned for our children. We discussed about telling the kids or not and decided that it’s something they should know before we do it, and something we need to prepare them for more.

Hubby propsed Norseman’s suggestion to try to find another owner for the dog, and we discussed that. Realistically I don’t think this particular dog would adjust to such a change even if we could find it another home. And the dog would still pose a risk to biting other humans even if she wasn’t in our family.

Yes, that’s it. Related to your story, a family pet of my parents also died on the way to the vet. But in that case, the pet posed no danger of harming anyone. I’m trying to gage the risk of harm to humans into this picture; if that risk wasn’t a fear I would keep the dog until its natural death.

Any animal with sharp teeth poses some biting risk to humans–I’m weighing out how that risk increases as this dog ages. Putting the dog down at this point might be a bit premature, but we are facing the fact that we probably need to do it sooner than later. By having told hubby that I made the appointment with the vet, he finally listened to my concerns about the dog.


At least you are talking about it!!! I’m still praying for you…

I know that it’s not easy no matter what the out come is…

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