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My sweet elderly dog, it is getting closer to the end, but.....


DawnM
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She has been the best dog.   She is a black lab mix.   We went to look at her almost 14 years ago and decided to "think about it" and walked out to the car and she jumped in, sat between my boys in the backseat, and wagged her tail and wouldn't get out.  She has been awesome ever since.

But she is now almost 15 years old and her back legs keep giving out, and she poops all over the house, she can't crouch anymore so she poops as she walks.   

She can't get up very easily.

And she wanders the house looking for no one knows what.

She drinks LOTS of water but still has VERY dark/bright urine.

But she still eats and wags her tail.   And she doesn't seem to be in pain.

I am going to call the vet this week, but how do you know when it is time?

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Aw, sweet story about how you got her. 

We had to make the decision about our old dog 3ish years ago. It was hard and it felt too soon...but looking back it felt we should've done it sooner.  I've heard that a lot; that looking back, many people feel they waited too long. 😞

Just to note: for our dog, back legs giving out was a precursor to seizures, which were so, so terrible. I wish we could've avoided that. 

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I haven't had to go through this myself but my sister is dealing with similar decisions for one of hers.  My kids adore this dog and so we've hashed it out quite a bit.  To me the big issues are her comfort.  She's not in pain, still eats well, and still wags her tail.  I think she's doing ok.  My sister's dog has the legs giving out problem but was also having lots of pain with it.  They've got him on a couple of different medicines for arthritis as well as doing some acupuncture (which my sister says is surprisely affordable) and it has made a huge difference for him.  A couple of months ago she had an appointment to put him down because he cried so much but at the last moment she asked the vet if there was anything else they could try and now we actually see him run from time to time.  He still has lots of incontinence but diapers have made that a manageable problem.

So I would definitely talk to the vet and see what all the options are before making any kind of decision.  

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We had a mini poodle who got demetia- getting lost, etc.  Took him to the vet and he was given a alzheimers drug that in his case, ctually reversed the dementia.  He was losing his vision and hearing and he already had a heart condition from when he was much younger.   The partial vision loss and hearing loss had made it so that he didn\t want to go outside without me right by him.  Then one day, we were doing yard work and our screen door closes a bit slowly.  Well he must have known he was dying and went off to the woods to die.  We never found him.

 

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We had a lab mix that did that; it was early stage kidney failure. I’d take her to the vet & figure out what is wrong. They may be able to give you medicine to make her comfortable a little longer. As well as tell us what to do when we felt it was time. 

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I'm going through the same thing with my chihuahua.   My vet is just waiting on my phone call saying 'it's time'.   I'm going day by day.   Yesterday and last night was not a good day.   He's already thrown up once today, so today may not be either, but right this second he's barking at the neighbors so maybe he'll surprise me, lol.   I'll see what he feels like tonight and tomorrow.    I asked this question here a while back and got the same advice my vet gave--take it day by day.    I'm going by discomfort levels.   Mine doesn't seem to be in pain, but he has congestive heart failure, so 'discomfort' is my guideline personally.    

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Adding...  I think it was someone here who mentioned wanting to trade places with your pet.   You know how we always say our pet has the best life-- eat whenever, play, sleep, get snuggles, enjoy life, etc?   Well, this poster (I can't remember who, I'm sorry) said 'would you want to trade places with your dog right now?'  That put it in perspective for me.   You can't explain to an animal the science of why they hurt, why they're pooping in a strange way, why their legs don't work.   So sometimes, you have to make hard decisions for their well-being.   It is hard as hell to make that decision though.   Like I said, I've been weighing that option for months now, but time is ticking down. 

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It sounds like kidney failure. I'm so sorry. I know how hard this decision is, but unless your vet can work miracles, she's only going to get worse.  If she were ours, we'd be prepping the kids and getting ready to say good-bye.  ((DawnM))

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1 hour ago, klmama said:

It sounds like kidney failure. I'm so sorry. I know how hard this decision is, but unless your vet can work miracles, she's only going to get worse.  If she were ours, we'd be prepping the kids and getting ready to say good-bye.  ((DawnM))

That is what I am thinking.  This is the stinky part about dogs having a short lifespan.

 

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This sounds awful, and I am sorry in advance...

but have you considered what you need to do if your dog dies at home unexpectedly? 

Do you have a place for a legal burial, like enough land and permission by law in your own yard? Are you prepared to do that? 

or will you need to take your dog somewhere else?

I have personal experience with a large dog dying at home and we had plans in place for his burial. Had I not, it would have been much more stressful.

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Posted (edited)

Our oldest (Rescue, diabetic, blind,15.75 years, 2/3 Goldie-1/3 Beagle), my sweetheart, had to be put to sleep right before Yule. She had begun to eat slower, her back legs had been giving out for about four months, to the point that she could not get up at all without help, and would flail. She also had seizures in '19 & '20. (We now believe she had either stomach cancer or a tumor of some kind in her abdominal area)

We had cancelled the appointment twice before as I couldn't bear to do it. But then she got sick, got to the point where she wouldn't eat very much, and it became challenging to give her her much-needed insulin shot. She was on antibiotics and a vitamin drink when she stopped drinking water. Her last meal was eggs, milk, and steak. We had her cremated; I have her ashes, paw print, and nose print. She was the sweetest, most grateful dog. 

I'm so sorry you're going through this. It's so hard.

Edited by twovetteslater
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My cat had kidney failure, and I knew for a year that her kidneys were not functioning well. We were coaxing her to eat and drink more with very wet food. When I finally took her to the vet for another evaluation, the vet told me that kitty was probably at a 5 or higher (out of 10) pain level all of the time, even though she would still cuddle and purr and didn't complain.

So you may not be able to tell from his outside demeanor how much he may be suffering. I would get the vet's opinion. I put off having kitty euthenized longer than I should have, and I regret that now. I felt that her waning time on Earth was precious, and she still seemed happy, so I hated to end it. But it would have been better to do it much sooner.

I'm really sorry. It's so hard.

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So, you say she isn't in pain...but you need to know that dogs don't show pain like people do. They generally won't whine or cry. Instead, they show it by not being able to get up, not being able to crouch to poop, etc. So those things are in themselves indicative of pain, likely in the hips.

Also, almost no labradors EVER stop eating. EVER. Dogs in general, but labs in particular. You just can't use that as an indicator in dogs the way you can in cats. I've actually assisted in a euthanasia where the dog passed while eating french fries - they do love their food 🙂

I think, if this was my dog, it would be time. A dog wants to be able to poop, to be able to get up and down without pain. And, the wandering is a sign of dementia. 

What I would suggest is taking the dog to the vet and saying you think it might be time, explain what you did here. A vet won't put your dog down if it shouldn't be. But if they agree, you know what you need to do. 

Could you buy more time? Yes..but to what purpose? Dogs don't know time like we do, they don't look forward to grand babies or vacations, you know? They live in the moment, and right now, it sounds like a lot of those moments are hard and painful and confusing. I'm sorry. I really wish I had something more encouraging to say. But I can only offer support and love. 

I know my dogs would not want me to suffer, so I've vowed not to let them suffer, if I can help it. It isn't a betrayal, it is a final loving action. 

I'm so sorry. I know this is so hard, and your pup is obviously well loved. 

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I agree with previous posters.  I have had two goldens, one that passed away when it was 8, and our last one -- our best dog ever -- just passed away at 10.  The first died at home in my arms and not only was it traumatic, it was also logistically difficult to have an 85 pound dead dog with husband deployed and 3 young kids.  This last time he was feeling badly, had stopped eating, I took him in and they said he had only hours to live.  They put him down in the office after we said our goodbyes.  It was still hard to say goodbye, but much easier than if he had been at home. 

It really does sound like it might be time. So sorry Dawn. 

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1 hour ago, pinball said:

This sounds awful, and I am sorry in advance...

but have you considered what you need to do if your dog dies at home unexpectedly? 

Do you have a place for a legal burial, like enough land and permission by law in your own yard? Are you prepared to do that? 

or will you need to take your dog somewhere else?

I have personal experience with a large dog dying at home and we had plans in place for his burial. Had I not, it would have been much more stressful.

 

Our 75 pound lab died at home a few years ago.   We buried her in the backyard (Dh was on a business trip and came home immediately, but it took a few hours for him to get home, so I had to sit with the dead dog while I waited.)

However, we have since looked up our options and if we drive the dog to the Vet, it will be something like $80 to cremate the dog.   If they have to come collect her, it will be upwards of $300 or more.

We are allowed to bury in our yards provided we leave a full 2' of dirt from the top of any flesh.

So, yeah, we know and are prepared.

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You know your dog best, but because she is no longer able to eliminate and move about comfortably, I would say it is getting to be time. I waited too long with mine. 😞 

I am so sorry, Dawn. image.png.5ea1cf3f6b82688b06029efb333c57b8.png

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We are facing the same thing. We know our 11 yo shepherd mix has hip dysplasia from x rays taken when she was younger. She can't crouch and sometimes ends up doing the splits with her back legs if they slide out from under her. She walks like a drunken sailor and has difficulty walking in a straight line. She is very slow to get up. Some nights, she paces and won't settle down. She sometimes poops when she's laying down and doesn't seem to be aware of it. She is in pain. She pants when it's not hot and has a spot on her leg she licks. It's raw on her bad days. She's on all the painkillers the vet will give her without knocking her out completely. However, she still runs to the fence when the dog next door comes outside. She still plays and chases after our other dog. She comes to us looking for affection.

This is my husband's dog and he is the one who needs to make the decision. She still seems to have her faculties and he can't see putting her down when it's her body giving up, but her mind is still there. We're moving our dd and non family will be caring for the dogs for 3 days. We considered putting her down before we left (dd felt it was time), but dh isn't yet ready. I expect it will be shortly after we return. 😞

It's a difficult decision to make!

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(((Dawn)))

Just coming in to say I'm so sorry. It's so hard. And you are absolutely not alone.

My shepherd just turned ten and I'd be thrilled if he made it to fourteen.

You should be very proud.

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It's just so heart wrenching. I mean it literally feels like someone is pulling your heart out of your body. I am so incredibly sorry! For us, we woke up one day and just knew. She was no longer there with us even though she was still alive. That made the decision much easier. It was the last thing we could give her and to say thank you for all she had given us. We had 17 precious years.

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sorry guys.   I have been really busy.   Bloodwork is back today and it is good.   I need to get a urine sample and take it in for analysis.   they said arthritis is getting bad, so she is on meds.

I guess we have more time.

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1 hour ago, DawnM said:

sorry guys.   I have been really busy.   Bloodwork is back today and it is good.   I need to get a urine sample and take it in for analysis.   they said arthritis is getting bad, so she is on meds.

I guess we have more time.

That’s good news, right?

Good luck with the urine sample! I hope that’s good too.

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