12 year old dog is restricting our lives

(58 Posts)
Julier88 Tue 03-Mar-20 14:07:33

Sorry I couldn't think of anything other than the harsh truth for a title.
So I have had my staffy since he was a puppy and he's now 12 years old. The last few years have been a bit of a nightmare. He has a lot of accidents in the house is say on average once a week but other times can be 3-4. He's been to the vet and around a year ago they said he has a deteriorating spine disease which could progress quickly or could drag on for a few more years and that's why he's lost a bit of bowel control. He's on some medications for pain. It doesn't seem to bother the dog that much as he still eats and drinks well. But he can't go for walks as he falls over quite a lot. Sometimes he tried and his back legs just give in and he drags them and they bleed. So now he just uses the garden and potters about the house. He has developed a nasty habit if occassionally left alone of eating it and vomitting it all over the place. It's a nightmare to clean. But he still seems very alert and content. My partner is Spanish and we have plans to move their but obviously we can't while the dog is still here since he's not able to walk outside the house. No dogsitters will watch him so we can visit his family and we would have problems getting him to one anyway. He also developed an aggression in his old age to other male dogs after he was attacked by one at age 8 so he can't be around them which rules out a lot of dogsitters anyway. We're both at our wit's end as the dog is full of life as long as he is using the garden and not taken on walks. Now my partner has a new baby brother, his dad most likely has prostate cancer and life is going on without us. We moved to a cheaper city as couldn't afford to stay in London where I'm from. So no nearby family to watch him. He's started not listening to any commands. It feels so trapping but we feel so guilty about the thought of taking him to the vet to be put to sleep. We're tired of cleaning carpets and floors as he just gets up and does it wherever he is if he doesn't have the time to go outside. The house ends up smelling awful. On top of that I'm suffering with extreme anxiety already. When I tell people I know they feel sorry for the dog which I don't understand because we are doing our best and making so many sacrifices to stop him from being put down and it's making us miserable and more stressed. Family don't understand why we can't visit. I'm getting so resentful and tearful. What would anyone else do in this situation? I'm getting to the point I dislike the dog.

OP’s posts: |
HelgaHere1 Tue 03-Mar-20 14:14:24

I would have him put down, are you sure he is happy and not non compos mentos due to age. And are you sure he has no pain, how would he tell you? I would think spinal problems would likely have associated pain, as would bowel probs imv.

n00bMaster69 Tue 03-Mar-20 14:15:47

Once a dog can't control its bowels, can't go for a walk, suffers pain etc then I really think it's the kindest thing to PTS.
I've gone through the same with my cat and dog, it was heartbreaking but they didn't deserve to suffer.

MacavityTheDentistsCat Tue 03-Mar-20 14:15:59

It may well be an unpopular opinion but I would say my goodbyes to him and have him put down.

nachthexe Tue 03-Mar-20 14:17:24

I’m not going to tell you to pts. You say he’s happy pottering and eats well.
We use a specific kennel facility with a vet on site. You can either opt for the ‘doggy day care’ option which means they spend time outside in a grassy field with other dogs and staff, or not, which means they use their own pen. We also have a day care/ kennel which mimics home environment (so the ‘kennel’ is essentially a living room with a tv on during the day etc.
Really you need to advertise for a house sitter who will look after your elderly dog. Round here we have several listed dog walkers who offer that service (even for dogs that can’t be walked). And dog walkers who will look after them in their own houses.
Mine are 13 and 14 (one is the same position as yours, past ‘walks’) and we have 3 or 4 options. Depending on where you live, there will be private or public opportunities. Stick a post on your community sites asking who the dog walkers are. They usually offer home visit services too.

BiteyShark Tue 03-Mar-20 14:18:14

I always try and think of it in terms of is the dog surviving or thriving. It sounds to me like he is just surviving as it can't be nice for him having accidents and not being able to go on walks. Dogs are very stoic in terms of pain so I wouldn't assume he isn't in any.

Irrespective of your resentment it really sounds like PTS would be the kindest thing to do. Don't leave it until he has absolutely nothing left in his life.

ScribblingMilly Tue 03-Mar-20 14:20:02

You have weighed up the situation quite fairly but it's a personal decision for you alone. When my dog had kidney disease, we had him put down as soon as he lost his happy spark because it was his essence, and we felt we didn't want him to be miserable, even if he was still toddling around & could be petted into a degree of contentment. Others would have waited longer and tried more extreme treatment, I'm sure. I'm entirely comfortable with the decision I made. You need to be too.


TDL2016 Tue 03-Mar-20 14:22:56

I stopped reading when I read “he drags his back legs and they bleed”. I think the dogs given up. With cut legs, he’ll be in pain. I think you need to discuss your options with your vet.

Aquamarine1029 Tue 03-Mar-20 14:27:36

Your dog's quality of life and dignity are gone. I would be putting him humanely to sleep as soon as possible.

pigsDOfly Tue 03-Mar-20 14:30:44

Why are you making sacrifices to stop him being put down?

I suspect you're not doing him any favours with your sacrifices, and he might not thank you if he knew.

You can't really tell how much pain he's in, and yes, the medication might mask the pain but dogs are masters at hiding pain. Being incontinent and dragging his legs around and making them bleed sounds like hell for him.

Quality of life is all a dog has and there are worse things for a dog than being pts.

If I were him, I wouldn't want to live like that.

Sounds very much like it's times to let him go. That's certainly what I would do.

Forget what other people feel about the situation, they're not living with an incontinent dog and they're not feeling what the dog is feeling.

Far too many people keep their animals alive, usually for selfish reasons, for far longer than is fair or acceptable.

There's an expression relating to putting animals to sleep, something like: Better a week too early, than a day too late. Perhaps a bit trite, but it's very true.

TeacupRex Tue 03-Mar-20 14:32:17

Sadly I think if you're asking, you already know the answer to this one sad I would want to let him go while the happy memories are still present - you don't want to remember his last years watching him deteriorate. Let him have a lovely last day and then let him go with dignity and respect.

Mrsjayy Tue 03-Mar-20 14:34:16

I would have him pts he is 12 I would make the decision for him.

Mrsjayy Tue 03-Mar-20 14:37:07

Why are you keeping him alive I know it is hard but at what point will you decide enough is enough ?

AmICrazyorWhat2 Tue 03-Mar-20 14:40:24

I agree with @BiteyShark, he's surviving not thriving at this point. I think it would be kinder to pts.

I love my dog, but I think I would pts if he was in that situation, heartbreaking though it would be.

Clymene Tue 03-Mar-20 14:47:20

It would be far kinder to have him pts

champagneandfromage50 Tue 03-Mar-20 14:52:47

Your poor dog is having a terrible time and you feel anger and bitterness towards him be cause you're making sacrifices to keep him alive and suffering. Do the poor dog a favour and PTS

randomsabreuse Tue 03-Mar-20 14:53:34

He's in pain, let him go.

We had to let our lab go last year. Losing bladder control, not enjoying walks, not wanting to get out of sopping wet bed into adjacent dry bed.

His pts wasn't "nice". Once he'd gone his front legs were "running" for ages as the nerve compressions in his spine were released (DH is a vet so was there for him).

He said after that we'd left it too long and that he hadn't realised that his front legs must have been so sore as well as the back end weakness we could see.

It's time to let go- sometimes the kindest thing is to pts.

Lynda07 Tue 03-Mar-20 14:54:37


It's hard but you know what you have to do.

TheReluctantCountess Tue 03-Mar-20 14:55:03

I would have him put down. It sounds harsh, but it’s the kindest thing. We are approaching that point with out dog, who is nearly 13.

JKScot4 Tue 03-Mar-20 14:57:56

If he’s dragging his legs and incontinent it is time to let him go. There seems little quality in life for him.
You resenting him has made me quite upset, remember you’ll be old one day.
I have staffies and it’s sad to read some of things you’ve written.

AmICrazyorWhat2 Tue 03-Mar-20 14:58:36

I know someone who let her very ill Lab hang on for several weeks in a wretched state because the owner couldn't bear to part with her. Everyone was telling her to let the poor animal go and she did in the end.

Honestly, it's kinder in these circumstances.

ScribblingMilly Tue 03-Mar-20 15:02:27

Just to add, when we had our dog (also a staffie) put down I had baked her favourite biscuits and she was wolfing them down getting lots of hugs from us & the vets when she went. Better that than when every last pleasure had gone (IMO).

oohnicevase Tue 03-Mar-20 15:09:02

It's never too early but it's often ( more often than not imo ) too late .. so many people let's their animals go on too long and say they are still happy when they are clearly not . We have the gift of letting them go with out pain and should utilise that . Why not have a chat to your vet and see what they say if you are wanting someone to help your decision. They won't tell you what to do but you will get a sense from them that it is too soon or not .. by the sounds of it though it is the right time .

Julier88 Tue 03-Mar-20 15:16:27

Thanks for the replies everyone. It's been a hard decision as we didn't want to do it when he still might have some enjoyable time. I'm sorry to anyone who was upset by reading that I was getting resentful. I know I will be old one day too, hopefully. He doesn't drag his legs indoors but he does stagger but he wags his tails and likes getting belly rubs. We had an end of life consultation two months ago and the night before he stood at the front door and wanted to go out for a walk which we obliged and he ran. It's like he knew and whether or not this sounds crazy we took it as a sign that he wasn't ready to leave us yet and cancelled the appointment. He has good days and bad days but I think it is better now than wait til his back end goes completely. He spends most of his time laying down and sleeping.

OP’s posts: |
Steamfan Tue 03-Mar-20 15:16:51

Poor old dog. Have a word with the vet, but I think it might be time to let him go - he doesn't seem to have much of a life

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