Dog is getting old, how do you know when it's time???(11 Posts)
My Pyrenean mountain dog is now 8.5years old and starting to go down hill
She's started going deaf and has started getting cloudy eyes, has fatty lumps on her chest and she seems a bit stiff when she stands up/sits down or climbs onto the bed etc and the worst thing is she's started weeing in the house, which given her size is hard to clear up effectively and is smelly. She has been to the vet and has no infection or anything, she just starts going wherever she is. She sleeps a lot too. But then she has days when she's less stiff, seems quite happy and not so bad. She still eats well too.
I just am not sure if it's better to let her go now/soon before she gets worse or just let her carry on as she is. She's been my pal for years and helped me through some really rough times and I love her lots, I'm just not sure what to do. Dh says he thinks it's time but she's def my dog rather than his. When did you know it was the right time?
Sorry this is so rambling!
I have a giant breed dog. I think from what you are describing it may well be approaching time to let go.
Are you treating the stiffness? Arthritis can cause incontinence issues, because going to the toilet hurts.
She has senior dog food for giant breeds and I give her glucosamine and chondroitin. I'm planning to take her back to the vets for a once over again as I like to make sure she's in good health and I'll mention it to them then and perhaps get a better supplement for her. I don't mind spending money on her at all, I'd rather she was comfortable, I hadn't considered the stiffness being arthritis and that potentially causing the toileting issue, so that's something to think about. I may ask the vet what they think when I take her as while I don't want to prolong the inevitable if she's suffering, I would like to delay it as long as I can providing she has a good quality of life. I'm just mindful that she's already approaching the end of her breeds life expectancy which is rubbish!
They do have short lives. Yes it is rubbish. Is she overweight? My last dog had mobility issues that were exacerbated by obesity. Once he was slimmed down he became much more mobile.
I think you should get your vet's advice on the stiffness. Our 13yo labrador (ex gun dog) became stiff with arthritis, particulrly in his hind legs, over the past couple of years and being put on 'rimifin' has made a huge difference. We have to watch his weight too.
With our old Staffy girl, who had arthritis for her last 3 years and then developed leukaemia, we took the advice to think of her three favourite things and when she could no longer enjoy two of them it was time to say goodbye.
For her that was cuddles, food and nylabones. She went downhill very suddenly in the end, unable to handle being touched or to eat, after a few months of successful steroid treatment, and those things gave us a very clear benchmark to focus on.
Sorry about your girl. It is so hard.
Both the incontinence and the arthritis are easily treatable.
Talk to your vet about a good NSAID - there are several excellent ones on the market e.g. Previcox which will make a great difference to the arthritis. You can also consider asking your vet to refer you for hydrotherapy.
As others have said, weight management is crucial, and your first line of defence. Don't expect supplements alone to manage what is a degenerative, incurable and painful condition of the joints.
For the incontinence, make sure there's no underlying issue e.g. UTI etc and discuss with your vet. There are at least two excellent and very effective treatments for urinary incontinence in older bitches. One of ours is currently on one of them (phenylpropanolamine) - it's been brilliantly effective.
I would go back and have a chat with your vet about these two conditions - as both are likely to be easily treatable, your dog could be enjoying excellent quality of life for a while yet.
We had to PTS our first Lab when she became doubly incontinent and could not manage even the shortest of walks. She became visibly more distressed with each accident. One day it was clear the time had come and she went to sleep being held close. It never gets easier for the owner who has to decide when the time is right, but is the last kindness, after exploring all the veterinary interventions mentioned by PPs.
I would ask myself how is she in herself... so forget the peeing in the house and the fatty lumps and the hearing/eyes. Take a close, unbiased if you can, look at her physical condition and her quality of life. Does she still enjoy a little walk and your company or is she completely disinterested in you and pleasant activities?
In your heart you will know if she is still getting enjoyment from life or not. When the balance tips to 'not' then let her go but if she is still getting pleasure then support her in her old age
We are going through this too at the mo. I think our oldie only has a few weeks left to be honest so I ask myself these things every day to make sure I remain mindful of her quality of life. She still likes a gentle tickle, still likes to go a little way up the road but is not really eating much any more. I do think you will know. One day you will get up and just know. I always think as long as I am asking myself and debating it, it is not time yet. Big hugs
I had forgotten how much I dithered over this question in my dogs last 4 years. She was a GR so not as big as yours but at 9 years of age started to be incontinent and sleep a lot and seemed very stiff. She lived til 13.5 yrs and while I worried every night that she wouldn't be there in the morning she was actually on no medication (the incontinence cleared up once I decided that we wouldn't start medicating her for it and while she was on glucosamine for a while we didn't continue it long term but gave her cod liver oil in her dinner). She got a clean bill of health from the vets until almost the end. My friend made the call in the end, she really wasn't well and her mouth was bleeding (cancer & she was diagnosed just before being put down) and I kind of wish I had let her go a few weeks before I did. The advice I was given was that as long as she has reasonable quality of life and is eating she is probably fine.
I sympathise Mama it is very hard to say goodbye to a member of the family.
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