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to not know when it's time to put my dog down?

(66 Posts)
CheerfulYank Sun 07-Dec-14 04:23:30

Please help. sad He was diagnosed with a liver tumor on the 15th of last month.

The vet said she didn't know how long he had, just to watch him.

He's still eating but not so much now. Sleeping a lot. He doesn't seem to be in pain but I don't know. Just noticed he was drinking his water without getting up from his bed, just lying there lapping at it. His abdomen is pretty swollen now.

I don't know what to do. He's the first dog I ever owned myself; I've never been the adult in this situation.

I love him so much. I don't want him to suffer but I don't want to take him away from us if he still feels all right. He loves us so.

What should I look for? What should I do?

JamaicanMeEatMincePies Sun 07-Dec-14 04:26:13

Oh you poor thing thanks

It'd awful when you lose a pet, they really are like another child sad

I don't have any advice for you but posting to hand hold and bumping thanks

CheerfulYank Sun 07-Dec-14 04:28:54

Thank you. He's so sweet. He's been the best dog.

I've tried to be honest with DS about it. He's seven and my dog is nine so he's never known life without him. sad One minute he's fine and the next in tears over it.

I don't know what to do for my dog and I don't know what to tell my son. When I was little I thought all grownups had a book with All The Answers...where's mine?!

MaitlandGirl Sun 07-Dec-14 04:42:00

I'm sorry to hear about your dog, it's the heartbreaking part of dog ownership.

There's a saying with animals "better a week too soon than a day too late". Having said that it doesn't sound as if your dog is rest to go just yet, but things can change fairly quickly.

I'd give your vet a call on Monday and ask how the rumour is likely to progress - will it affect his kidneys, will his pain levels increase, will if affect his ability to get comfortable?

My DP had her dog pts last year and it was obvious in the last 24hrs that it was time. She got very restless and couldn't settle for a sleep - she'd lie down for a sleep then be up whining and pacing the room after about half an hour. The vet offered pain relief to calm her down, which worked but the next day she lost control of her bladder in the kitchen (her kidneys were failing) so an immediate call was made to the vet to arrange to take her in.

we were guided all the way by the vets - they were happy that the pain killers would give her an extra few weeks but the kidney failure was unexpected at that time.

Thinking of you.

vienna1981 Sun 07-Dec-14 06:02:43

If only they could talk, eh?

Difficult to say if he's in pain but he certainly sounds weak. Not much quality of life for him. If I were in your shoes I would do the deed sooner rather than later as you would only be delaying the inevitable.

I speak from personal experience. Three dogs and two cats and I was with all five of them. All the best.

confusedandemployed Sun 07-Dec-14 06:20:00

I'm so sorry about your dog. I thought I was going down this road earlier this week with my elderly JRT, but it turned out not to be serious. It did make me realise that when the time comes I am determined to do it sooner rather than later though. I don't think I could bear her to be in pain or discomfort.
I hope you find the right time thanks

Balanced12 Sun 07-Dec-14 06:27:48

It's heart breaking (been there) but if your thinking about it it's probably time xx

CinnabarRed Sun 07-Dec-14 06:46:16

I really feel for you. I left it several days too long with DearCat1, and have regretted it for years. I left it perhaps a day too long with DearCat2, but basically got it more right than before and it was definitely a better ending. I'm determined that DearCat3 won't suffer when his time comes.

WowWowSauce Sun 07-Dec-14 07:20:35

I'd call the vet and ask - mine was good when I had to take my poor old cat in. They'll know if he's ready. I'm sorry he's so unwell.

EveDallasRetd Sun 07-Dec-14 07:35:30

Cheerful, I'm so sorry love, it's a shit position to be in.

I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I did.

A couple of years ago our RottDog was diagnosed with bone cancer. She was 8 weeks from start to finish. The last two weeks were the hardest, we could see she wanted to be with us and wanted to play, but she just couldn't manage it. DD was 6 and even she said "She's just not Rott any more"

In the end it came down to 'Dignity'. She wasn't in any pain, she was eating and drinking (and being cuddled almost constantly), but she had no dignity. She wet herself without even realising, and looked so forlorn when I cleaned up.

She needed to go when there was still a RottDog spark there. We fed her a pound of sausages, and bought all her fave toys to her. We all gave her a love and a hug (even MuttDog did) and she went peacefully with a tennis ball in her mouth. She was mildly sedated first, then had the final injection.

It was peaceful and it was kind and it gave her back her dignity. She really did just fall asleep.

We had a wonderful vet who is also a family friend. She did the deed with kindness and with tears. Letting RottDog go with people that loved her crying over her was respectful and kind. It was a good death and the memory doesn't hurt.

Be kind to yourself Cheerful, you don't have to have all the answers and showing your DS how hard it is isn't actually a bad thing. He knows you love the dog as much as he does.

Booboostoo Sun 07-Dec-14 07:53:45

I am so sorry about your dog, what awful, shocking, sad news.

You know your dog best and you'll know when he's had enough but it might be better to risk putting him to sleep a day or two early than to allow things to drag on a bit when he might suffer.

I've stayed with all of mine in the end. The procedure is pain free and calm but you may well be in shock over it all afterwards.

WhereHas1999DissappearedToo Sun 07-Dec-14 07:56:52

I'm so sorry Cheerful, we had to put our lovely dog down yesterday (a fox terrier), he also had a liver tumour. He had been unwell for months with low blood sugar, having the shits and having seizures.

We didn't know what was wrong with him and originally we thought he had a tumour on his pancreas but he didn't have that and after weeks of wondering whats wrong with him, he finally got dx on friday with a liver tumour and we knew he had been suffering for months, we just wanted to get it over and done with so we put him to sleep the following day. Me and DD knew we couldn't put him through anymore pain. The house just feels so empty and I took down his dog cage, bed etc and his toy are still lying around sad

Pollywallywinkles Sun 07-Dec-14 07:58:13

It's a horrible time for you.

In my experience you generally know when the right time comes. It sounds like you are getting closer to the right time, but perhaps not there quite yet.

I lost both a cat and a dog this year and in both cases knew when the right time was. Don't forget that your action is for your beloved dog and not for yourself. It's not always easy to separate the two.

I personally think that dignity is important and you obviously don't want them to be in pain.

Speak to your vet and see what they have to say.

Marylou62 Sun 07-Dec-14 08:13:12

I never cry on MN but have tear for you today...OH OP You have been given heartfelt advice from PP .... I have a dear friend who, years later admits that she wasn't ready to let her beloved dog go but with hindsight she left him too long...he isn't going to get better, the fact he cant stand to drink, I think the time is very whole heart goes out to you and your son...

meltedmonterayjack Sun 07-Dec-14 08:27:55

You poor poor thing. It's a horrible feeling and a horrible decision to have to make.

If you're in doubt perhaps ask the vet what they'd do if it was their dog? I find that question very useful sometimes at the doctors and also at the vet when monteraycat was still around.

I think if his tummy is very swollen and he's too weak to stand to have a drink, then the time could very well be here. If he's not in actual pain then he will probably be very uncomfortable and achey.

My heart goes out to you and ds. It's heartbreaking. Take care of yourselves and your darling dog.

fuctifino Sun 07-Dec-14 08:37:55

My dog, who we lost at the end of September, was on the face of it, fine. She still jumped up every time anyone came into the room, she was still going out for a short 2 mile walk. But, her belly was becoming more swollen and her normal diet wasn't maintaining her weight.
I suspected she had a tumour somewhere.
A week before we put her to sleep, she coughed up what looked like a mushroom. It was dark, she was in the garden and she'd eaten it before we could get it to have a look.
Still she was her normal bouncy self.
The decision was made by me, without her seeing a vet. She was too old for invasive tests, the vet would be going on the external state of the dog and I knew her far better than the vet. The concern for me was that whatever was going on inside would cause her to hemorrhage. My dd is first in from school, if the dog did bleed out, potentially she could have walked in on that. It's something nobody should have to see, let alone a 12yr old.
I booked the vet to do it at home as I wanted our other dogs to see she had gone, one was her sibling.
She went out for a walk in the morning and very peacefully went later in the day.
The vet said if she hadn't done it that day, it would be 2 weeks max.
Very sad time for all but we did the right thing by the dog and I'm glad she didn't deteriorate to the point where we had to carry her to the vets.

Sad times, enjoy what time you have left with your dog ((hug))

Wherediparkmybroom Sun 07-Dec-14 08:58:03

I dragged it out for nearly 12 weeks before I called the vet in, senile, incontinent and riddled with tumours.
If it helps they can come to the house, my collie died on my lap and is now buried in the garden. No one can tell you when but better not to put it off when you know!

JenniferGovernment Sun 07-Dec-14 09:04:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kathryng90 Sun 07-Dec-14 11:20:10

I have had 2 dogs pts as a grown up. Both times agonised over when and both times I just knew when. Both dogs went down hill rapidly (think an hour) when I wasn't working and kids were out and vet was open. Had both pts at home by my lovely vet. Both became still and quiet with a look in their eyes of 'enough please'. You will know. Hugs x

Cornettoninja Sun 07-Dec-14 12:47:29

It's the toughest part of owing and loving an animal - you and your ds are in my thoughts.

I've been through this a couple of times over the years and agree the with the rule of too soon is better than too late.

If you're in a position of knowing that it's coming and just a question of when it really is kinder to let them have a gentle death before the pain and obvious distress kicks in. The biggest hurdle is your very normal and natural desire to not let go, but you do need to be stern with yourself and base your decision on facts and pragmatism. If he's not going to get better it's not healthy to rely on hope.

A good vet is invaluable. Ask what they'd do, you don't have to do what they would but it's good to have it in mind. Pain medication may be an option but I've not gone down that route with one pet purely because medicating and side effects bought their own problems.

I'm sure you'll do what's best, and try to remember what a good life he's had and how much love and joy you've given each other. That's what matters not how long it lasts.

IslaMann Sun 07-Dec-14 12:58:55

I could have written this post 2 weeks ago, except we had not had a diagnosis. My lovely girl spent the last 2 nights of her life unable to climb the stairs. I knew the time was close, but didnt know if it was time. When she didnt even get up to greet us when we got in from a couple of hours out of the house, I knew. Then when she did get up, her back legs could not support her. We took her straight to the Vets, and had her pts with dignity and much love. It was so terribly sad, and I still cry for her everyday. It was our last act of love for her. You will do the right thing, at the right time.

buffythemuffinslayer Sun 07-Dec-14 15:11:42

So sorry, OP. It's not a nice situation to deal with at all - dogs are such a part of the family and it's so sad when they go.

My belief is that it's best to do it while they still have some dignity. No dog deserves to live it's last days in pain.

My childhood dog was put down at Christmas, having had what we suspect was a stroke. My grandmother and mother didn't want to do it, but the poor boy could barely move. I stayed with him as the vet came - she was absolutely lovely - and he had a very peaceful, loving end. We kept his ashes for a year before scattering them by the river he used to swim in. It was sad but the right thing to do - for him.

I suggest you speak to your vet, tell them exactly what you've seen, and ask for their honest opinion. A good vet won't tell you what you want to hear, but what's best for your family. When our previous dog was put down I was quite young and my mother made sure I understood what was going on, let me cuddle her and feed her, before telling me she was going to a better place to chase rabbits and run in fields. For your DC, acknowledging and being open about it is the most important thing. As well as supporting through it.

Hope you're ok... flowers

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 07-Dec-14 15:19:58

I'm so very, very sorry, CheerfulYank, I know how hard this is.

Your vet is right though, when you look into your dog's eyes, what do you see? Is he happy in himself still? Able to get up and go to the toilet if he wants to? Go for walks, wagging his tail? Wanting to eat, wanting to drink? Happy to be petted and cuddled?

I suspect not. If he will do these things it will either be because he must or because he wants to please you. You know and love your dog and you will know the answer.

It's the hardest - yet kindest - thing you can ever do for your beloved animal, knowing when is just the right time to let them go. Our vet always said that owners never brought the animals in to be put to sleep too early, never ever. I think your vet is giving you time to say goodbye to your dog and be at peace with your decision. Be guided by your vet.

The most comforting thing that I can say to you - that comforted me was this: "In loving and deciding to release your pet from pain and suffering, you accept your own".

Thinking of you and YankDog thanks

Silvercatowner Sun 07-Dec-14 15:24:46

Three things for me - wagging their tail when they see you, being able to go outside to poo and wee, and to eat, even if only a little bit. If they aren't able to do that then it may be time. The drinking whilst lying down would worry me.


MimsyBorogroves Sun 07-Dec-14 15:35:52

I'm sorry.

I lost my old girl nearly 3 weeks ago and it still hurts - and I still mourn the loss of my childhood dog even now. I still think of him most days.

As a child I read something (could have been James Herriot) about making the decision based upon your pets favourite 3 things in life, and how if any of those things don't bring him or her joy anymore then it could be time. It's often food, or sitting in the garden in the sun.

Sadly, not being able to stand for a drink doesn't sound good. I'm so sorry for what lies ahead, but you've given your dog a lovely life with you, and a dignified end is the final gift and thank you for all they have given to you.

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