How do you know when it's time to PTS?

(23 Posts)
AllGoodDogs Fri 23-Nov-18 13:27:48

Our gorgeous black lab is 13, we've had him since he was 12 weeks old. He was our first baby and has never been anything other than a gentle, patient, wonderful dog.

He has arthritis and is on daily metacam for pain relief with 6 monthly bloods which have all been OK so far. He does hydrotherapy 2/3 times per month as he can't walk for long periods of time, and he really really enjoys it.

At home he's very quiet now, sleeps a lot but can be restless, almost like he can't get comfy. His back legs are very week, he slips on the laminate (we have put mats and rugs down to help him), coming in and out of the house on the steps at the front & back doors. He scuffs his back paws as he walks and they do knuckle under sometimes. I feel guilty everytime we go out and take out other dog with us because I know he won't manage a long walk.

When he does go to the vets they don't see the side of him we do. They see the excited friendly dog who loves people, he acts years younger when he's at hydro / the vets.

Is there a noticeable tipping point for when the time has come? Do we wait until he can't get out of bed one morning, or until he loses control of his bowel or bladder?

Sorry if I've waffled. Picture of the Good Dog attached 🐶

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Jenda Fri 23-Nov-18 13:34:23

I'm sorry. It's such a heartbreaking time. With my old girl, she just lost all her energy and was sleeping slumped. She had no light in her eyes and we just knew it was time. We decided on Fridays to PTS on the Monday but by the Saturday morning it felt too selfish to keep her another 48 hours. She came to life in the vets reception and trotted around but they knew that was adrenaline and trusted our judgement that she was really gone by then.

I think it's about quality of life. If you feel he is in constant pain with no real happiness then it might be time to make the decision. lots of love to you

AllGoodDogs Fri 23-Nov-18 13:38:15

Thank you Jenda I'm so sorry for your loss.

Did you stay with your girl? Can you tell me what happened if you don't mind?

My husband is in denial I think (he works away and doesn't always see him at his worst) but I need to have a chat with him and explain that this may be his time.

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ADastardlyThing Fri 23-Nov-18 13:43:56

It is hard but I think it's time when there's no doubt, and I think it's a question only you can answer. flowers

Oddsocksandmeatballs Fri 23-Nov-18 13:49:44

My old fella, also a black Lab, was 14 and 3 weeks when we PTS. He'd been diagnosed with osteosarcoma on the Thursday and we were told 4-6 weeks but by the following Tues we knew it wasn't going to be and I took the decision to do it that day (supported by my wonderful son who was a ward assistant in a specialist small animal hospital, he was of the opinion that it was better to be a day too early than a moment too late).

I made the appointment for later that day then we all said our goodbyes, exH, DS and I took him to the vet and D decided she couldn't bear to be there so stayed home. Once we arrived we were quickly taken through and the vet examined him and agreed with our decision, once that had been done they took him off to shave a small patch on his leg ready for the injection. Then he came back and they called us through to be with him, we laid his bed on the floor and he laid down with us all making a fuss of him. The vet administered the injection while we stroked him and talked to him, he soon lost consciousness and we continued to be with him and hold him until after he was gone. It was 4 years ago but it still makes me cry to think of it but we did do the right thing, I am convinced of that.

AllGoodDogs Fri 23-Nov-18 14:05:47

Thankyou oddsocks I'm so sorry flowers

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user1471465525 Fri 23-Nov-18 21:53:31

This was exactly us a few months back .I could see she was going downhill very quickly but husband and vet insisted she was fine . She struggled on for another month but in hindsight it wasn't fair on her as she was miserable even though she was still eating and able for short walks she slept most of the time and became restless at night even on strong painkillers?Only you will know when is the right time but it's very very hard to say goodbye .Sorry you are going through this .

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Passthecake30 Fri 23-Nov-18 22:00:42

I had a black lab from when I was 1yr old to 14yrs old. I remember one day she just didn't want to get out of bed. She wouldn't eat or drink, and if I recall correctly her kidneys failed. I think you will know when the time is right, if she is enjoying life then let her... but if you are delaying the inevitable as you can't let her go... you know what to do.

AnnieOH1 Fri 23-Nov-18 22:06:42

I would highly recommend a travelling vet service if there is one in your area, it will be calmer for her when the time comes. That said I don't know if I would quite yet in your circumstances. Hugs flowers

echt Sat 24-Nov-18 01:24:56

Lovely pic, AllGoodDogs.

When my pooch couldn't climb the stairs, I slept downstairs in the spare room so he could always sleep with a human, as he always had. I had to lift him at the end. What it all meant was that I knew when he'd had bad night because he cried, something I might miss in the day, being out at work. It was that that decided me. I took him to the vet who said he cancer and 2-4 weeks to live, but he was badly within two days. Because he took a downturn so quickly , I couldn't arrange for him to be PTS at home, but took him to the vet where DD and I cuddled him on the floor.

He ate well to the very end, but it was the crying in his sleep that made my mind up.

Good luck with a hard decision, OP. thanks

Theresahairbrushinthefridge Sat 24-Nov-18 20:01:58

If you feel it is time then it is.

When that day comes I strongly recommend phoning your vet. Tell them you are bringing him in. Then there is no discussion. It makes it so much easier.

DownAndUnder Sun 25-Nov-18 03:33:38

I have an 11 year old spaniel with arthritis and hip dysplasia. I think it comes down to quality of life. When I told the vets mine was struggling on her anti inflammatory they prescribed gabapanetin and it’s been brilliant. It’s been 6 months and her blood tests are fine, she doesn’t pace and pant, she wants to do 2 half hour walks a day and runs if she knows we’re going to a pet shop. Could be worth trying smile

Roystonv Sun 25-Nov-18 03:57:58

Our dog is at about the same age and stage from what you say. We are aware the time is coming but as yet she is doing ok; so we monitor. We have had many dogs and other pets over many years and so have had this difficult decision to make many times; I wholeheartedly agree with oddsocks that a bit too soon is better than too late. It is not a horrid process at the vets from my experience (except of course you are saying good bye to a much loved friend) the vets are very experienced and you are with them till the end holding and talking to them; ours have always gone quickly and peacefully. Bless you all.

ChristmasSprite Sun 25-Nov-18 04:23:50

I can't say. Whatever you decide, you have kept him in brilliant shape, and I have tears for your decision.

I just think its playing on your mind now,and you've noticed his discomfort. So horrible, and tough, but I agree better a day too soon than a moment too late. Just indulge and pamper precious times together.

flowers. Strength to you x

nailsathome Sun 25-Nov-18 04:28:36

For me, after having the same dilemma with my 14yr old GSD, I realised that if it's time to be asking the question then it's probably time.

It's just heartbreaking though.

AllGoodDogs Sun 25-Nov-18 13:32:37

Thank you all. We're going to consult our vet and see if it's worth adjusting his meds or something first to see how he gets on and if he perks up. It would be lovely to get him to next year if we can, this would be the worse time possible to lose him, right before Christmas. Obviously if the vet feels the time is right now then so be it, but it's a chat worth having x

Thank you all for your support and advice, I really appreciate it!

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Jabbythehutt Mon 26-Nov-18 14:05:03

The way I think of it is to think back and name 5 specific things that your dog always loved doing (eating doesn’t count). So for mine one might be being chased in circles in the park, another might be stealing used tissues, another might be trotting along and collapsing onto the ground for a good roll. She is 8 and doesn’t do all these things at the same speed she used to but still does them, and whenever she does I smile because I know she does it out of pure enjoyment. The day she stops doing all of these things I will be seriously questioning her quality of life, if she doesn’t feel well enough to do things I know she really enjoys doing then she must feel pretty awful. I honestly believe people put too much truck in waiting until they’ve stopped eating or can’t control themselves in the house, I think for a lot of dogs this is too long. Just my personal opinion. I had a dog that we left until this stage and I really felt awful in the end, the day I came downstairs and he was looking regretfully at me from a puddle of urine he was lying in; it broke my heart. Better a week too early than a day too late I think. The 5 things exercise is really useful to give some perspective.

sulee Mon 26-Nov-18 20:21:59

We’ve had to do this a few times over the years and it’s the worst part of owning a dog. I always ask my vet’s opinion for guidance and I think it’s about weighing up quality of life and have all other options been exhausted? Sadly it’s looking like nearing that point for my lovely old boy who has deteriorated quickly recently. I’m dreading it, having lost our last dog a couple of years ago. The vet was lovely, we sat and stroked him till the end. He went very peacefully, I’m still getting over it and dreading going through it again! Sending hugs xflowers

Jenda Thu 29-Nov-18 23:49:09

Sorry, I forgot to check back! We took her to the vets as she was a little terrier and so portable! She lay on the table with me and my mum and sister ( we'd got her when we were teens) around her and they injected the drugs. She was extremely peaceful and it was just like she had fallen asleep. I was holding her head and just noticed it became a bit heavier when she had gone. It makes me cry thinking about it because she was such a brilliant girl but we were so pleased she went like that. She was so peaceful and we were sure we'd picked the right time

About a year before we thought we were about to lose her and then my mum got her some new medicine which gave her a total lease of life so it can hard to know when the end is the end. That said, when we decided to have our girl PTS there was almost a sense of urgency because we knew it had to be that morning and we didn't want her to suffer a minute longer. It sounds flippant but I honestly think you just know.

Hope things are going ok, I've been thinking of you

Arsenicinthesugarbowl Sun 02-Dec-18 19:16:24

I felt so emotional reading your thread. My BC is 12 and his health has really deteriorated recently. He’s got very unsteady on his legs at times and even stopped and legs have gone while walking on a couple of occasions. Still has days where he runs about but pays for it later. He’s been to the vets and they say no arthritis but he does have kidney problems. My biggest fear is he has cancer we can’t see and I hate the idea of him being in pain and is not knowing. But he enjoys his food, spends a lot of time snoozing-gets up ok (unless Lino or laminate) and copes with short walks.
It’s so hard isnt it? From looking at previous posters I think we will know when it’s time as there seems to be a change from doddering about to more serious deterioration.
I hope all goes well for you and your gorgeous boy.

2anddone Sat 08-Dec-18 22:45:56

Arsenic I am in the same position as you. My bc is coming up for 14 he is really doddery on his feet and his back legs have started slipping on the laminate.
Some days he wants to run and play, others he just wants to sleep.
Just lately he has started having the odd pooh accident in the house, he doesn't seem to realise he has done it!
The vet can't find anything, just old age but I am wondering when is the right time to pts. My ds and him are only 7 months apart in age (we got ddog then heard I was expecting ds) so have always been together I just know how devastated we all will be once the time comes.

AllGoodDogs Mon 10-Dec-18 14:47:37

Hi all. Just popping back to update you on my boy. We took him to our vet yesterday for a chat and she explained that all the minor other issues he has (deaf, cateracts, upset tummy a couple of times a week) are all signs that his body is failing. He's ready to go when we're ready to let him, basically. The cold weather has made him worse recently and it seems unfair to prologue the inevitable. I don't want to get to the stage where he can't get up in the morning and we need to arrange for him to be PTS in a rush.

His weakness at the back means he has been putting more weight over his front legs, causing discomfort there and in his neck.

Now it's up to me and DH to have a proper chat and decide when to let him go. We can arrange the vet to come to us, then the cremation service to collect him same day.

To add to the already incredibly bad timing, both children have birthdays between now and Christmas. Not sure whether to book him in ASAP and welcome to distractions, or wait until after the festivities... Pretty shitty either way tbh.

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Arsenicinthesugarbowl Tue 11-Dec-18 06:48:31

AllGood I hope you are ok. What a sad update but I guess it’s saying what you already knew. I’m thinking of you and your lovely dog. flowers
2and we are back at the vet today just to check kidneys but we have had a few wobbles again. I’m quite worried about his mobility at the moment and he gets tired very quickly after any burst of exuberance. And yet still he tries!

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