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When is the right time to PTS your dog?

(13 Posts)
MerdeAlor Mon 19-Jan-15 11:39:26

I know it is a personal decision but I'd appreciate hearing when you felt it was the right time to PTS your dog.

We have a 15 year old Jack Russell Terrier. Utterly devoted to me and I adore him back. We have two other elderly rescues too and love the oldies. He has a few health issues and is full of arthritis.

He is incontinent in the house daily (wees and poos) his eyesight is deteriorating and because of his arthritis we only walk him twice weekly. When we do take him out he enjoys it.
He is fairly bad tempered and easily stressed by my DS. He nips without hurting (it usually turns into a yawn). He just wants to sleep on the sofa curled up next to me.

Apart from his eyesight he isn't deteriorating and he has a quality of life - he still gets pleasure out of eating and being with me. I feel we are approaching the right time to PTS but it is a great responsibility to get the time right.

When was the right time for you?

Chattymummyhere Mon 19-Jan-15 12:31:00

I haven't had to do it but I remember reading once someone posted.

"Always better to put to sleep to early than too late"

By that I took to mean while the pet still had some quality but before the dog lost its want/enjoyment of basic things.

Like wagging it's tail when it was fed/fussed or going for a walk.

Some people put to sleep once they become unable to controll their bladders and bowels as dogs don't like to toilet in their homes.

He shouldn't be nipping though has he been checked out lately to see if other issues are starting or current ones have gotten worse?

LoathsomeDrab Mon 19-Jan-15 14:29:19

"Always better to put to sleep to early than too late"

I'm very much from this school of thinking.

DDog1 was 14 (in fact just short of turning 15) and had both heart failure and arthritis in his hips. The heart failure was well controlled but we'd reached the limit of what we could do with drugs so we knew once he became symptomatic again there'd be nothing more we could do. He was also on the highest dose of tramadol we could give for his arthritis.

He was perfectly happy pottering around the house (he didn't go for walks anyway, long story), eating, cuddling with the other dogs, having a very gentle play every so often.

One morning he got up and it was obvious his late night dose of tramadol hadn't lasted through the night like it usually did. He struggled to get down the stairs and wasn't interested in his breakfast which was very unusual and made getting his morning painkillers (and heart meds) into him was very difficult. Once the morning dose kicked in he was fine but we knew there was no scope for increasing his pain relief so we were looking at potentially being in the same situation every morning.

We could have decided to wait and see if it was just a blip but realistically it was unlikely to be. Even if it was a blip it was inevitable it would happen again and for Big Dog to be in such pain he wouldn't eat was a very big deal.

We decided to have him PTS that evening and the vets (who knew us and him very well as we were in at least monthly with him) agreed that it was time. We had been planning to have it done on a home visit and were intending to book one for the following week but he caught us all out so we ended up taking him in.

I do still wish we'd booked the home visit for a week earlier as it would have been the perfect time to let him go just before his meds stopped keeping him comfortable overnight.

Missymum6 Mon 19-Jan-15 14:34:33

It's a horrible thing, we spoke about it for a while about our old boy. He had bad legs. Once it's effecting him daily and he is in pain I think it's the kindest thing you can do although it's heartbreaking xx

MerdeAlor Mon 19-Jan-15 16:16:35

Thanks for your replies and flowers for Loathsome and Missymum

I think the nipping is coming from his eyesight deteriorating and to get attention. If you put your hand down to stroke him he nips to see if it's food. I have to hold his collar in one hand and stroke with the other. It never hurts but I have become worried about other people coming into the house just in case he does it with them and frightens them.

A very dog experienced neighbour of ours was of the 'earlier better than later' and put his dog TS the first time they age related urinated in the house. That is too soon for us but I am worn down by the constant clearing up after him.

His arthritis is awful but our vets don't seem to want him to have any pain medication regularly (we are not in the UK, not sure if that makes any difference).

I feel as though the decision to PTS should all be about the pets quality of life so I feel guilty that he is so hard to live with now.

Chattymummyhere Tue 20-Jan-15 07:27:20

If his nipped to tell the didference between food and a hand then it sounds like his losing/lost his sence of smell.. A blind dog can cope aslong as it can hear and smell but smell is the most important thing for a dog.

Missymum6 Tue 20-Jan-15 17:20:00

How has he been? We also had issues with pain medication. He was a big boy so was on very high doses so vet was putting him on then giving him breaks, towards the end it was just heartbreaking seeing him limping around and was getting worse and worse. The one thing that did help and we saw a HUGE improvement at first (didn't last unfortunatly) was puting cod liver oil in his food and giving him glucosamine. Not sure if that's any help to you x

MerdeAlor Tue 20-Jan-15 18:55:51

After spending the last 24 hours clearing up poos and wees, I have admitted defeat, the combination of his nipping at my DS, his incontinence and his pain really has worn me down.
He's a hardy little bugger though. Not 5 minutes ago he attempted to jump up on the sofa and fell off landing on his side. This happens every day. Occasionally if he lands on his shoulder it causes him incredible pain but otherwise he just shakes and tries again. He head butted the step today too by running at it full pelt.

I know he could go on and on so even though I feel terrible it must be a decision about all our quality of life, not just his.
We sat down at dinner with our DS and had a conversation about putting him TS. It is extra difficult to broach with my DS as he has ASD and doesn't understand.
Thanks for the tip about the glucosamine Missy he does take a supplement for arthritis, I'll check whether it has those ingredients.

MerdeAlor Tue 20-Jan-15 19:01:32

Chatty it is quite possible he has lost his sense of smell too.

I think I've been in denial about the nipping though. If I'm really honest it is mixture of attention seeking behaviour and eyesight (and possibly smell too). He knows he's not allowed to do it but as his health has deteriorated he relys on his mouth more and more.

I pretend that he's 'talking' to my son when really he's growling to be left alone.

MerdeAlor Tue 20-Jan-15 19:02:11


Chattymummyhere Tue 20-Jan-15 20:31:58

I think it might be his time and your in denial from the last posts.

If his growling and nipping his not happy, his falling, his soiling, his blind and possibly lost his sence on smell.

Could you honestly say as a human you would be happy to be blind, incontinent, not smell and fall over? Whilst your attempts at getting people to realise how bad it really is are ignored.

A blind dog does not need to rely on his mouth for things, plenty of blind and or deaf dogs do not start nipping and growling when they wouldn't of before.

EasyToEatTiger Tue 20-Jan-15 20:57:58

You are looking after an elderly dog. A dog on the way out needs as much care as a puppy, the difference of course being obvious. There is as much difference, I think between the process of dying and the process of giving birth. We too are looking after an elderly dog. She's 16-18 (rescue so we don't know), but still enjoying contact, stil eating, still enjoying being out and about, making mistakes in the house, but I think generally content. She is not yet dying. A younger dog clearly was, and it was only kind to pts. It's harder with an abject dodderer.

It really is worth speaking to your vet. I will post a link but I think you are able to look up about quality of life yourself.

So sorry for your predicament. You are not alone.

Missymum6 Wed 21-Jan-15 08:11:58

Bless him I know exactly how you feel. One min he would be bad and then the next he would try and get excited like he was trying to show us there's life still in him. Sending you hugs xx

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