How do you know when it’s time?

(11 Posts)
KipperTheFrog Tue 15-Sep-20 08:05:12

DDog is 13 next month. We thought we were going to lose him last year with a stomach issue, but after a week at the vets he pulled through. He’s had arthritis for a few years, and is on joint supplements plus painkillers. We upped his pain killer dose to the max about 6 months ago. His back paws are becoming deformed from the arthritis, and obviously he has slowed down a lot. Spends a lot of time sleeping, and can only manage really short walks.
He’s struggled with the heat this summer, but, he still has his moments of “puppy” behaviour - running around the garden. Not often, but it happens.
He’s our first dog as adults, we’ve had him nearly 10 years. How do you know if they’re suffering? Does it sound like he is? I don’t want to have to let him go, but I also don’t want him to suffer.

OP’s posts: |
LBee2020 Tue 15-Sep-20 09:20:08

I'm sorry to hear that. It sounds like he's a lucky pup who has a lovely life with. I can't offer any advice on this as my first dog is still young but i would ask the vet for an honest opinion on whether his quality of life justifies some of the issues he's facing. Thinking of you!

PollyRoulson Tue 15-Sep-20 12:47:26

I never know and envy people that say you will know when it is time....

Things I go by are:-

Does the dog still greet you happily - it may not be as energetically as it used to but

Does the dog still want to go on walks even if they are only short toddles

Does the dog react or show interest to things around him eg seeing a ball, you eating crisps etc

Is the dogs sleep relatively contented eg not restless whining or barking or showing signs of pain

Is there an obvious illness that is causing distress and can have alternative medication..

Dogs are incredible stoic and will hid pain well so look at changes in behaviour

I think it is fine to have a dog that is having a contented reduced life but obviously when the bad days outweight the good then that is time to rethink. In my opinion vets these days are very eager to help to keep dogs comfortable for as long as possible so also good to be guided by them.

However it is really important that you know your dog so your decision will never be the wrong one. However it is always a hard decision to make. I hope you can find comfort in whatever decision you make.

KipperTheFrog Tue 15-Sep-20 13:12:10

Thanks for your replies.
@PollyRoulson he was certainly keen to go on his walk this morning, but after only a few minutes he's limping. He does show interest, but he's been off his food a lot this summer, on the warm days.
He struggles to get up onto the sofa, but still does in the evenings. He used to be very much my husbands dog, but last few months he cuddles up to me in the evenings.
Cant get a vet appointment before the one we have booked in 2 weeks!
My parents keep saying "you'll know" but I'm afraid I wont! Apart from his arthritis, he seems healthy as far as I can tell.

OP’s posts: |
PollyRoulson Tue 15-Sep-20 14:51:13

It is so hard. Have you looked at the canine arthritis site? They have lots of ideas and tips that may help you and give you discussion points for when you see the vet.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Tue 15-Sep-20 15:12:03

The advice I heard was, think about all the things the dog used to enjoy, and consider how many of those are left.

We have an elderly arthritic dog, and so we're coming to that point as well. Not imminently, but within the next year. It's a horrible decision to have to make. We made it for our terrier a few years ago, and I think we made the right call. You do know. The lights sort of go out and they look at you as if everything is a struggle.

KipperTheFrog Tue 15-Sep-20 15:22:38

Thanks @PollyRoulson, everything on that site we pretty much do! He has an orthopaedic bed with a memory foam pad on top too. Although he tends to choose to sleep on the sofa!
@GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman there are times I look at him and he looks sad, but then later he'll be picking up his ball.

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TheHoundsofLove Tue 15-Sep-20 15:43:14

It‘s so hard, but I do think you’ll know in your heart. I had to have my lovely 12 year old boy pts just before Christmas - I could just see in his eyes that he‘d had enough. If I’m honest, I wish I’d done it a few days earlier - I think everyone else would have thought it slightly too soon (probably even the vet), but I was on a little walk with him and it was like the light in his eyes had gone out. sad It’s difficult as on his final morning we managed to go for a tiny walk and he even enjoyed saying hello to a pup (although lost his balance and nearly fell over in the process) but he was on strong painkillers that I was worried weren’t truly giving him relief and his back legs were starting to fail him. I didn’t want to wait until an out of hours emergency type situation (which I’ve experienced before and was horrendously traumatic). I think you have to have faith in the fact that you’ll know when he’s starting to get tired of it all.

Topseyt Tue 15-Sep-20 15:47:11

It really is very hard. Especially when they are elderly and you already feel like you are on borrowed time. I remember it very well with our labrador. He had reached 15 and over his last 6 months had become increasingly creaky. He still loved an amble around on short walks though, and enjoyed a trip to the park when one was in the offing. Always happy to see us right up until his very last day, when suddenly all of his joints gave out and he couldn't get up any more.

It had been coming on for a while with him just slowing down gradually. The end though was literally as sudden as that, although it was hardly a surprise. I just knew at that point that there was no hope of him ever getting up properly again, so I knew it was time to say goodbye. DH and my teenage DDs came to the vet with me and I will never forget the sad sight of them carrying him in there. It was definitely the right decision at the right time.

I know it sounds twee to say that you just know, but we did. Right up until then though we had been wrestling with the questions in much the same way as you are.

I'll wish you all the best. The final kindness is the hardest decision, but often in the end the only one.

Our boy was put to sleep last November. I will never forget it. My feelings were a very strange mixture of both extreme sadness plus also relief that I had been able to do the right thing by him when he needed me most.

KipperTheFrog Tue 15-Sep-20 16:01:21

@Topseyt that made me cry! Your poor old boy.
Honestly, I dont want to get to the point where he cant stand any more. He was always such an active young dog, 2+ hours a day of walks and playing in the garden. Now he can barely do 20 minute walk.
We have young DD's who don't know life without DDog (to be honest, we cant really remember life without him!) so that'll be hard too.
I want him to live forever, but I also do not want to think he's suffering.

OP’s posts: |
Topseyt Tue 15-Sep-20 17:26:48

KipperTheFrog

*@Topseyt* that made me cry! Your poor old boy.
Honestly, I dont want to get to the point where he cant stand any more. He was always such an active young dog, 2+ hours a day of walks and playing in the garden. Now he can barely do 20 minute walk.
We have young DD's who don't know life without DDog (to be honest, we cant really remember life without him!) so that'll be hard too.
I want him to live forever, but I also do not want to think he's suffering.

I know.

I think that the only problem with owning much loved dogs is that they just don't live nearly long enough.

I wish he could have just stayed with us and walked of this earthly coil the same day I do. Unfortunately, that just doesn't happen.

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