Dog with congestive heart failure

Our question this week was:

My 7 year old Brittany has congestive heart failure, Coughing more, losing weight. The question is…what time in the process is that most painful that the pet maybe should be put down. On lots of medicines, but still has energy.

Vickie Moore


Hi – thanks for your email. Good question with no easy answer. I think pets with congestive heart failure are often uncomfortable and they don't feel good but not in "pain". I look at the situation as a quality of life question. If a dog feels good enough to still eat, drink, have normal urinations and bowel movements, sleeping well, is able to go outside and do their business, and is breathing comfortable…then the quality of life is probably reasonable.

If you look at your dog and know they don't feel good and just feel that they are not having a good quality of life, then I'd say its time. I know it is a difficult decision. I hope this helps.

An article that might be helpful to you is on our is When to Consider Euthanasia in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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