Doggy Dementia....when is the right time to say goodbye?

(19 Posts)
ShortyShortLegs Wed 02-Sep-20 11:10:45

Family background - myself, husband, kids 16, 18 & 20 now, my mum, all live together. Mum's dog had just died, we wanted a companion for my dog Spud, as he was clearly lonely.

Teddy is 16 approximately, a JRT X Collie, a rescue who we adopted seven years ago.
He was called Teddy by previous owners, but he doesn't actually know his name, never responds to it. He's not deaf.
He's had to have several teeth out, was diagnosed with dementia after about a year with us and prescribed tablets (stopped working so no longer has them) but is physically fine apart from occasional stiffness.

When we adopted him he was never very bright, but we just thought he had a soft, dopey character...we've always had JRT's before who are inquisitive, busy and active.
He always loved tummy rubs and would literally lay by your feet for as long as you rubbed! He was never affectionate, wouldn't sit on laps, have a cuddle or look in your face, but would sit next to you and tap your arm with his foot until you stroked him...
He never played with toys, (scared stiff of squeakies) but loved chewing teddy bears and going for walks and runs. He would potter around in the garden with Spud, they got on fine but there was no connection, they'd sniff about together but not play together, Spud would try, but it seemed that Teddy simply didn't know how to interact with other fact, I don't think he knows he is actually a dog himself!
We actually got our third dog Chip to be a companion to spud as he was obviously still lonely.
Teddy seemed very happy, although not bonded to us at all, no matter how much we tried with love, affection, space and treats!

The dementia gradually got worse to the point that now he literally whines constantly....every second he is awake, he whines.
And now, he's started whining in his sleep. The vet says he's not in pain.
He's got drastically worse in the last six months...and in the last few weeks worse still...
He is just so miserable all the time, unless on a walk, but even then he still whines, especially if you stop walking for a few minutes. Oh, and he's started launching himself into oncoming traffic, particularly bloody great lorries so it's not safe to let the kids walk him (mobility issues).
He constantly gets stuck under the kitchen table, cries to go out of the OPEN door until I pretend to open it. That was cute at first.
Is extremely fussy with food, refusing to eat or forgetting he's already eaten. Some nights, increasingly frequently, he's waking at 2am whining and walking round in circles getting himself worked up into howling desperation, until I get up to feed him...he doesn't want a wee, but he'll need one afterwards.
He'll go out for a wee, forget why he's out.
He hates the rain, fair enough, but if it is actually raining he'll walk round and round the garden for 15 minutes looking for the perfect wee spot...then he whines because he's cold and wet!
He literally does nothing to interact now, apart from the whining.
I am exhausted by him, I do love him but I think he's so miserable and fed up and nothing any of us does is making him feel happier....I literally get no peace from him, I sometimes put off opening the curtains so I don't wake him just to get five minutes more peace.
I dread car journeys, we drive 15 minutes to a dog walk, he cries and howls the entire journey, so loud that none of us can have a conversation..he's always cried in the car, but this is something else. He's never sick, jumps out of the car like nothing has happened. We've tried him on a seat, on a lap, in the boot, in the footwell with every journey being the same. A couple of years ago we were driving to our holiday destination, the vet gave him sleeping gel, he whined and howled one hour and forty five minutes of the two hour journey...nodded off on the last 15 then was wide awake and whining again.
It has got to the point that the other two dogs are getting stressed out by the howling...if I shut Teddy in another room, he will whine and howl louder.
He's lethal in the kitchen, we all trip over him so often because he gets under our feet and has no sense of moving quickly, tries to shove his head into the hot oven so someone has to hold him back....he's honestly got a death wish.
And I'm having to make the other dogs go out for a wee with him to encourage him. Thankfully he's never wee'd in the house...though he will no longer wee/poo on the grass so husband is having to hose the patio everyday.
He has a vet appointment next week, I'm seriously considering having him PTS. I feel awful about it, but I can't see he has any quality of life left, he won't lie down for tummy rubs, won't have a cuddle and gets a wild terrified look in his eyes if you try to, doesn't enjoy food and has lost weight, he seems bewildered a lot of the time. He will just stand and stare into space or stare at a blank wall...
The kids will be desperately upset, but I don't think I can deal with the whining any longer, it's like having really loud tinnitus that won't stop. Even the bloody parrot is mimicking his whining hmm At least the kids get to go to school and college to get a break. I'm at home all day with him.
So, when is it okay to say goodbye? I feel so guilty and torn.
Anybody else been through this or got any advice?

OP’s posts: |
Martamaybe Wed 02-Sep-20 11:18:15

I don’t mean to sound harsh but reading your post it doesn’t sound like you do love him although you say you do . I think you feel guilty because of this . I think you need to unravel this guilt from doing what is best for him . It may well be that it is time to say goodbye to him if he is not enjoying life .

Soubriquet Wed 02-Sep-20 11:21:32

It sounds like it’s time to let him go

My dog had dementia. He couldn’t find his food or water bowl despite them not moving. He would get himself into a corner and howl at the wall because he couldn’t work out how he was stuck.

He would howl in his sleep, and honestly it was heartbreaking.

He had moments of lucidity but it didn’t outweigh the downside.

Ihaventgottimeforthis Wed 02-Sep-20 11:29:40

If he has no quality of life, why are you keeping him alive? It's certainly not because he is happy.
I'm a lot harsher about this than most people, but honestly having had 7 family pets PTS in my life (which is not even that many), I am firmly in the camp 'better a week or month too soon, than a week too late'.
If animals are unhappy, whether they are in pain or not, then what is the point in dragging that out for them, especially when things are only going to get worse?

ShortyShortLegs Wed 02-Sep-20 11:52:28

Martamaybe I do love him! But it is harder lately, I must admit...he's all take and gives nothing in return. That's no fun for anyone.

Thanks Soubriquet, it IS heartbreaking, he sounds so distressed. And yes, it's the getting stuck and not being able to work out how to get unstuck that is the issue.

Ihaventgottimeforthis the appointment with the vet has been booked for six weeks, during that time he has got worse, but, my husband has been shielding, my son has had major complex spinal fusion surgery and my daughter has had two pacemaker surgeries so we've had to all shield them as a family until Friday. Things are getting back to normal for us now and that was the closest vet appointment to end of our shielding that I could book.

And yes it has been a stressful time but Teddy is definitely whining, howling and more confused now than he was when I booked the appointment. While he was still bumbling about, enjoying walks and not incontinent, we were happy to let him plod along. It doesn't seem right anymore.

OP’s posts: |
Martamaybe Wed 02-Sep-20 12:14:27

I think you’ve answered your own question in your last post . Maybe phone your vet and have a talk . It sounds like you’ve had a very stressful time lately . I hope things are better now

growinggreyer Wed 02-Sep-20 12:15:12

It sounds like he is very near the end of his ability to cope. He must be so confused and he probably doesn't realise what is happening. It's probably time to let him go. Spend this week making a little fuss of him and know that you have done all you can to make his life safe and happy.


RiaRoth Wed 02-Sep-20 13:37:02

How can a vet say he is in no pain if the dog is whining all the time?

You live with him 24/7 so you are in a better position to make a decision along with your vet.

However I would want to try him on pain meds to see if he does settle and becomes more comfortable.

PoopySalata Thu 03-Sep-20 11:54:26

I've got had a dog with dementia PTS recently.

The last few months were extremely hard work. Despite being on a battalion of pain and anti anxiety meds the dog was whining constantly and did not sleep at night. My husband bore the brunt of it, but we all had disturbed sleep. It got to a point where the dog could not be left alone for more than a minute or two because he would become extremely stressed.

Our vet was happy to keep prescribing drugs for the dog. I called an 'at home' euthanasia service and had the dog PTS at home. I was a relief to be honest.

It sounds like your dog has no real quality of life, and that his illness is now impacting your quality of life too. I'd say it's time to let the dog go thanks

Rigamorph Thu 03-Sep-20 12:00:24

Dogs can whine for anxiety, not just pain. (Although he could also be in pain too).

The poor thing sounds so confused and distressed. It's only going to get worse.

I think it's time for you to let him go. flowers

Pumpkintopf Thu 03-Sep-20 12:33:47

It certainly sounds like you love him and want the best for him op but from what you describe he has no quality of life and I would let him go, with love and memories of the many happy years you gave him. thanks

ShortyShortLegs Thu 03-Sep-20 15:29:46

Thankyou for all of the lovely replies....I feel so sad for him that he spends all of his time now feeling miserable or distressed. He has no doggy instincts, he won't interact with us or the other dogs, or my brother's dogs.
We have given him a lovely life, he's had a nice comfortable home and nice family, beach holidays, walks every day and at least he hasn't had to live out his days in a rescue shelter. He was even featured in an advertisement in the newspaper which is something this recuse never usually does....he was 'by donation' as he was 9 and a cross breed...we've had seven good years with him.

We will talk it over with the vet but we think it is really time to let him go.
I'm adding photos, they really show the difference between him at his happiest and now...he has lost the spark in his eyes and bouncey tail...and he never does that lovely happy grin anymore.

RiaRoth, the vet is confident he is not whining due to pain because he was even whining when on strong pain meds/coming round from anaesthetic when he had some teeth removed...when we went to collect him afterwards, he was whining so loudly we could hear him in reception. The nurses were saying they'd never seen a dog like it before.

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Thu 03-Sep-20 15:45:05

You know your dog better than the vet.

When their spark goes its time to say goodbye and I don't believe in leaving it until all the joy has gone because then they are existing rather than living.

I think it's time thanks

WillowintheUK Thu 03-Sep-20 15:51:46

I think it’s time to let your lovely boy go. It’s the last kind thing you can do for him but I know from experience how hard it is.

littlealexhorne Thu 03-Sep-20 16:12:15

Its absolutely heartbreaking and an incredibly tough decision, but it sounds like you've given him a great life over the past 7 years, and sadly it seems his time may be here. I think a good way of thinking about it is how you would feel if you were in his situation, I know I'd hate to be living my days so confused and frightened. He looks like a real sweetheart OP, and I'm sure you've all got lots of lovely memories of him to cherish.

Soubriquet Thu 03-Sep-20 16:23:48

This was my dog who was PTS with dementia

I gave him a full rotisserie chicken and a packet of chocolate buttons the night before. Lots of cuddles and tears the next morning.

devildeepbluesea Thu 03-Sep-20 16:30:07

I have a JRT who's 18 and has dementia, but he is nothing like your lovely Teddy. He still eats well, sleeps well and enjoys his walks. Despite being blind and deaf he can still find his way about. The only thing that he does is he howls when he's separated from me, which is no fun for whoever's looking after him.

However even I have been wondering whether the time is nigh, because his world is getting smaller and smaller. In your shoes I wouldn't hesitate to say goodbye and let him go with dignity. flowers for you.

Soubriquet Thu 03-Sep-20 16:31:51

Did my photos load?

Suzi888 Thu 03-Sep-20 16:58:17

Aww so sorry, my JRT has dementia too. There is medication apparently, but we never tried. He was 16 and seemed so distressed, he was also blind and deaf, so we let him go.

It sounds like time for yours too xx

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