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How do you know when it's 'time'? (Euthanasia)

(91 Posts)
Quasicrystals1456 Fri 24-Jul-15 16:54:36

Oh god I can't believe I'm writing this.

If you've made a decision to have your dog pts, how did you know it was time?

If there's an 'event' or diagnosis that is definitely causing pain/distressed I can imagine making the decision. However my dog is old, and is sick a lot. His appetite isn't great. Doesn't really enjoy walks now. Wants to be alone most of the time (previously unheard of). I'm looking at his lovely grey muzzle wondering whether it's soon going to be time to consider pts. He's not the happy dog he was.

He's on medication for arthritis. He's on a special diet. We've arranged our days to try and make the best of his life.

But...

How do you know when enough is enough?

Thanks for reading <sob>

HarlettOScara Fri 24-Jul-15 17:04:27

I think its hard when you can see that your pet has good days and bad days. However, when the bad days outnumber the good, it's time.

And if he really doesn't seem to get any enjoyment from life, then it's time. You have to ask yourself if you're only keeping him around for you...what is he getting out of life at the minute.

I always cite 'better a week too soon than a day too late' and I've lived by that twice in recent times.

It's always a hard thing to do but it's our privilege to be able to spare their suffering and is our final act of love and kindness.

Quasicrystals1456 Fri 24-Jul-15 17:08:36

better a week too soon than a day too late

Never heard that before. Thank you.

Definitely agree it's been a privilege. I've had him for 9 years (rescue).

5 houses (!) and 2 children - superstar dog.

I have a younger one, and I'm trying to be careful not to unfairly 'compare' the two, but look at him in his own right; his own 'normal'.

SmartAlecMetalGit Fri 24-Jul-15 18:51:01

I'm a great believer in erring on the side of too soon than risking leaving it too late.

DDog1 had heart failure, at the time it was controlled with medication but he was on the highest doses of everything he could have (£150 a month of medication, he needed his own pill organiser!!) so we knew the inevitable was approaching. He also had arthritis and was on increasingly strong painkillers to keep him comfortable, towards the end that was a fairly high dose of tramadol.

We were expecting the heart failure to be what got him and we're deciding when to book him in to be PTS rather than wait for him to decline. Unfortunately we woke up one morning and for the first time his bedtime dose of tramadol hadn't lasted through the night. He was in a lot of pain, struggling to walk and he wouldn't eat his breakfast (unheard of for him) which made getting his medication into him very difficult.

We decided straight away that he'd be PTS that day. Although once I got his pills down him and they kicked in he was ok the chances are we'd have the same problem the next morning. We couldn't expect him to go through that every morning, especially when he was already on borrowed time because of his heart. He was PTS that evening.

I don't like idea of weighing up good and bad days when it comes to the end of a dog's life. Dogs live very much in the moment and if they're in unmanageable pain it's not much comfort to them that they might be pain free the next day.

I'm absolutely sure we did the right for DDog1. After eleven years of ownership it was the least we could do for him.

Quasicrystals1456 Fri 24-Jul-15 19:14:49

Thanks for sharing thanks

I do think it's helpful to look and think (even for my own benefit) that perhaps in the last ten days he's had 6 good and 4 non-so-good. As the balance tips I can look at it more objectively.

I know what you mean about dogs living in the moment though.

CMOTDibbler Fri 24-Jul-15 21:23:08

I haven't had to do this for a dog yet, but after 2 cats, I now think that you should do it as soon as you think that you'll need to do it in a couple of days. Both times I wished we'd gone the day before.

Its a heartbreaking decision, but if he's isolating himself, it doesn't sound like life is very good for him right now.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Fri 24-Jul-15 21:24:25

DDog had osteosarcoma, he was 14 (and one precious month) we had the diagnosis just a few days beforehand and we were told he had weeks but on the Tuesday morning I got up, went to give him his breakfast, looked at the pain etched on his face and knew it was time. It was the hardest phonecall I've ever had to make and one of the hardest days of my life, waiting until the family could get home to say goodbye but I knew. He might've made another week but it would've been for us and not for him. I loved that old mutt with all my heart and he took a bit of me with him but he left an awful lot more of him behind.

R.I.P Shitbag-bloody-bastard-Labrador, we loved you with all of our hearts and we thank you for everything you gave to us.

MyPreciousRing Fri 24-Jul-15 21:25:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Quasicrystals1456 Fri 24-Jul-15 21:30:20

This is so hard. Again, thank you.

He's out with dh and young dog for their evening walk now. Didn't seem bothered to go out, but equally not massively struggling.

I don't even know the logistics of it. He's terrified of the vets so I'd hate to take him there, but otoh booking for a home visit to be pts doesn't appeal either confused

Quasicrystals1456 Fri 24-Jul-15 21:40:20

Oh balls. Dh is back. Old dog very slow apparently. He's just come in and lay down on the rug. Not gone and got himself comfy. Just lay in the hallway. I've put a blanket over him. I'm trying not to read too much into his expression but he looks fed up. Not in pain but just so so tired.

(He had a short walk this morning and has been at home all day with company).

Dh is going for a 2nd fast walk with young dog. I'm sitting here wondering what to do.

FYI he's on the ground floor. I'm in the middle floor (lounge) then we have more stairs to go to bed. So him being on the ground floor is quite isolating. He did actually come up to the top step earlier to lie down. He likes that as a vantage point.

Sorry for waffling.

ThisIsClemFandango Fri 24-Jul-15 21:45:23

When we had our golden retriever pts we knew she was going for a while - she was 13. She was doing ok, in the last couple of weeks she was a little slower on her walks, then one day she wasn't really eating much and wasn't so enthusiastic for her walk. The next morning she wouldn't get up so we phoned the vet and following his advice we let her go later that day. I feel it was the right time for her and she seemed to have decided she was going.

It was quick and so upsetting, she was and is utterly irreplaceable, but she had a very happy and fun life and lived it to the full until those last 2 days. But we couldn't have let it go on any longer as she was clearly going downhill, quickly.

flowers for you OP and other PPs. It is a hard call to make even when you know it's the kindest thing for them.

kittyvet Fri 24-Jul-15 21:51:24

Good days outweighed by bad is always the right time. Make yourself a list of all the things you know your dog enjoys. Then take a good look at the list. Time to let him go when he isn't managing to do much on the list. Trust your instincts- in my experience pet owners rarely get this wrong.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 24-Jul-15 22:20:04

Our old boy was struggling with a liver tumour. That last weekend, we knew he'd had enough. He stopped eating, we tried everything but he wasn't interested. He kept wanting to go outside and lay down at the bottom of the garden. This was in December. It was like he wanted to quietly slip away. We had him put to sleep on the Sunday morning. Broke my bloody heart. And dh's.

When you have to ask the question, you know it's time. It's the last act of love you can do for them.

I'm so sorry. flowers

blueistheonlycolourwefeel Fri 24-Jul-15 22:25:35

I'm so sorry you're having to think about this.
Our beloved dog is only 6 but is currently on steroids and painkillers for a possible slipped disc or maybe meningitis.
She's really up and down but has only wanted to go out for a walk twice this week (used to be a daily enthusiastic walker) and I'm starting to question how much quality of life she has.....shock

EasyToEatTiger Fri 24-Jul-15 23:16:02

It is awful when the time comes. We had a very old dog, and we had been going to the vet regularly since about Christmas to see if we were keeping her going unneccesarily. One morning dh found her lying in her wee. That was it. She was able to get up and bimble around all day after I had given her a shower, but I called the vet. She had been with us a long, long time. There are various Quality of Life questions which I went through again and again, but that was the last straw. Darling dog.

MyPreciousRing Sat 25-Jul-15 00:00:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ineedtimeoff Sat 25-Jul-15 10:25:02

Reading this and knowing that it will be time soon for our old girl. Not yet, but soon. I have a great vet and will be guided by him. I know he wouldn't let her suffer unnecessarily. I guess it's a journey to that final decision and you are evaluating and assessing all the way.

flowers my heart goes out to you

SteveBrucesNose Sat 25-Jul-15 10:25:43

We made the hardest decision of my fucking life decision about 9 months after diagnosis of chronic renal failure. One thursday evening, he vomited. Completely fine in himself, but as I knew he had this condition I took him for a check up. His blood tests showed elevated levels. By the following wednesday he wouldn't eat his normal food, only home cooked food and scrambled eggs. When I was taking him for his check up on the Monday, I knew he wasn't coming home without us having had a discussion about it or having made the decision. As soon as I left the front door and took him to the car, leaving the house 15 minutes before I had to to be on time and ended up late as he was walking so slowly and sadly, I knew he wasn't coming back.

He looked at me and pretty much asked me not to come home. I could see it in his face that he couldn't do it any more. The vet said he had one or two more things that he could try, but I knew. I also asked him what he'd do if it was his dog, and he looked at me and told me that I knew what choice he'd be making and that I should ring DH to get him to come straight there.

As much as my vet is fantastic and we trust him with the other two dogs implicitly (and we know that it was him that kept BoyDog so healthy for so long despite his condition), there's always going to be a part of me that thinks of him as the bastard that killed my Dude. Even though it was completely right.

Floundering Sat 25-Jul-15 12:04:08

I have held pets in my arms as they slipped away after the injection & I would say its the last loving thing you can do for them, they are loved and warm and peacefully fall asleep.

So much better than slipping away in pain & distress.

My love to you all its a shit decision to have to make but you will know.

sherbetpips Sat 25-Jul-15 12:15:50

Our cat of 17 years suddenly became very weak, off her food and tired. She literally went from ok to ill overnight, we waited a week and took her to the vets. They said she had kidney failure and sever arthritis and had probably been ill for some time, they will carry on as normal for as long as they can but she just couldn't do it anymore. I held her the whole time as she went to sleep, sobbing my heart out, she was a loving fabulous cat but I couldn't put her through any more. The vet was very helpful and understanding and even gave me some links on advice on what to tell children.

Quasicrystals1456 Sat 25-Jul-15 13:13:40

Goosebumps reading these.

I left our bedroom door open last night but he stayed downstairs (unheard of).

I took him to the stables this morning and he ambled round a bit but was basically lying down most of the time.

Got in, had lunch and now he's eating leftovers ok (rice with turmeric). Also eaten some yoghurt. Mmm. Seems a bit more perky.

Dh visited the vet and had a chat about the options. He was really upset.

These stories are really helping. Thank you for re-telling.

Ineedtimeoff Sat 25-Jul-15 13:21:50

there's always going to be a part of me that thinks of him as the bastard that killed my Dude yes to that. I think that I may just feel the same.

Who would want to be a vet sad

Adarajames Sat 25-Jul-15 13:33:46

I had to have my old girl pts a few weeks ago. She was 16 and had arthritis and was totally senile, she'd been happily senile though and still enjoying walks (would walk some then go in her dog buggy for some then walk more to keep up with younger dog) and eating loads. I really struggled with making the decision, but she started to become distressed about not knowing what was going on, and I couldn't console her, lady from the rescue she came from kindly came round and spent time with us, chatting and sharing her opinion, so I was finally able to make the decision. My girl hates the car so couldn't bare to drive her to vets with hated car being last memory, was very lucky that lovely vet came to us and she was half asleep in her bed, being cuddled by me and with kisses from my young dog when vet sedated her and then gave her the injection so she was able to slip away without really waking up. I still miss her, but it was time so we do the best we can for them

LimeJellyHead Sat 25-Jul-15 15:59:29

You sound like such a caring and loving owner and very tuned in to your dear doggie. I have no doubt you will know when it is time. I always think if people are unsure if it is time yet, it might not be quite the time. I dithered for a few days with one of our oldies... I was feeling unsure. Then suddenly one day I just knew and there were no question in my mind.

Weighing up the good and the bad days, the quality of life and so on is sensible and I think we kind of do that naturally for our beloved companions anyway. I would say go with your gut feeling. Yes, too soon is better than too late, for the dog, but we are humans who have to live with that decision. I think if I had done anything sooner I would have always wondered if it was too soon and beaten myself up over it a bit.... know what I mean. As it stands I maybe left it a day or two late but I don't regret that. I did the best I could at that time. Whatever you do and whenever you decide to do it, know that you are doing your best for your furry friend and that is all we can do flowers

Hardly anyone who has a pet put to sleep thinks it was done at just the right time. Most of us worry we did it too soon or too late.

LimeJellyHead Sat 25-Jul-15 16:03:52

I also meant to say, if he is scared of the vets, have the vet come to your home. You mention that it doesn't appeal and I was wondering why not? I sat on the sofa with my fluffy boy. We sat and cuddled as if we were watching the telly. He was happy. The vet crouched down next to us to do the injection. That felt all so much nicer for him to go that way, in my arms at home.

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