End of life decision for a pet

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by socialleper, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I think a similar topic about this went around not that long ago. My situation with my pet has changed since then, and I could use some advice, or just talk it out.
    Even though I've had dogs for about 20 years, I'm still a little inexperienced about many things because I've really just had the same dogs for a very long time.
    At one point I had three. The two girls started fighting viciously (blood, going for the throat, the whole 9) so I had to re-home the youngest. The oldest (14) was put to sleep 3-4 years ago. Her mind started to go and one day when I came home from work she was down in the yard and wouldn't get up. That was a fairly easy decision to make.
    That left little Hughbert all by himself. At 17, my doxie is not doing great and I don't know what to do. He doesn't have any terminal diseases, and aside from some meds for separation anxiety (started after all the other dogs were gone) he isn't being treated for anything. He isn't blind, his hearing might be OK but I think he just doesn't bother to listen any more. His house breaking has gone completely by the wayside, and just goes where ever and when ever he wants, showing no disregard for it. He'll sit in a puddle of his own pee, wet the bed at night and stay there, poop on the floor and walk through it, smearing it all over the place. Most of the time I have to put him in front of his food to get him to eat. By this point he has about 8 teeth left. He will walk into corners or tight spaces and start whimpering because he is "stuck." He will also hang out in dark hallways.
    Because of his age he will get ear infections or UTIs, and the Vet always gives me the "well at his age..." preface before they discuss treatment. My wife and kids tell me that their friends feel bad for him when they see him, although they have never said anything to me. I am starting to wonder if I shouldn't let him go. He is past the upper range of his breed's life expectancy, but the oldest on record was 24. He could potentially go on like this for a few more years.
    He isn't happy; I know that. I can't remember when the last time his tail wasn't between his legs was. But that doesn't mean he wants to die either. He can't tell me if he would prefer living a slowly decaying life or end it with some dignity. That's kind of a heavy philosophical question for an animal is the basic intellect of a 7 year old.
    How do you know when it is time to put down a dog that is still technically functioning, but only in the most rudimentary way?
  2. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    I don't have pets, and for pretty much this reason. Unless it's a turtle, we'll outlive them.
    That sort of responsibility and heartache? I can do without it.
    It sounds like you know what's the right thing to do.
    Keep the happy memories, and let your friend go.
    Best wishes.
    pappabass, Pilgrim, oZZma and 3 others like this.
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    I've been in your position two times.

    I asked myself, what is the quality of life my pet is experiencing? My decision was made based on similar descriptions that you posted. I let them go.

    They were sisters, never been apart. One was thirteen. The other sixteen when I let them go. They were my buddies for so many years. I didn't want to but they were suffering. I didn't want them to feel bad anymore. Still miss them.:crying:
  4. dwm74


    Nov 8, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    Our good friend Oddly sums it up best in those two lines.

    Been there, done that. Never easy, and it'll affect you for longer than you expect it too, but deep down inside you'll know you did the right thing.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
    pappabass and Fretless1! like this.
  5. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    This is the relevant question:

    And you answered it, yourself:

    You cited a long list of problems that all add up to a poor quality of life and it's obvious to you that your dog is unhappy.

    You know what to do. Say goodbye and let go.
    Pilgrim, blastoff99, dwm74 and 2 others like this.
  6. Ghook


    Sep 25, 2018
    Eastern US
    Such a tough call. My toy poodle Charlie Brown had to be put down a little over a month ago. He was just under 16. He was deaf and blind , stiff legged when walking and I took him out no less than three times a night for over a year, but here is the deal. He was always wagging his tail, he cooed when lying next to me or on my lap. I saw nothing but his interest in hanging around. The last day we had him he slept on his blanket all day. That night I heard him cry, in pain and knew it was time. At 2am we found a 24 hour vet ( amazing man, sensitive, compassionate) my wife and I sat with him and when the relaxant they gave him prior to his last shot he cooed as we both petted him and said our goodbyes. I'm still hurting but feel we gave him the best life we could of, he was, with our other dog, as family as it gets. I feel the difficulty of your decision.
  7. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    The hard question - as my vet once asked me. Are you keeping him alive for him or for you? Speak to your vet, and ask what he/she thinks is the right decision for your dog.

    I've been there, and it is tough.
  8. I've been there. When they are in the state your pooch is in, as difficult as it is, I have them put down. Not only is he unhappy, there is a good chance he's in constant pain and confusion. And he's not a good companion any longer; that's a duty he can no longer fulfill. When it comes to dying, unlike humans, dogs have the luxury of ignorance; they really don't understand the implications. We project that on to them.

    As much as I hate the idea of euthanasia as a solution, I hate the idea of an animal suffering even more.

    I wish my dogs would make it to 17, but I'm on my 5th Great Dane (average lifespan around 9), and that's a heartbreak I am all-too familiar with. Be glad you had that much time to spend with him.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  9. Ive been through this with cats. It breaks your heart to see them suffer, and it breaks your heart to let them go. Your pet cant make the decision. You have to.
    Kevan Campbell, OldDog52 and bobba66 like this.
  10. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Thank you all for your input.
  11. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    When I had to do it with my at-the-time older dog it was obvious that she was in a bad way. That made broaching the subject with my vet much easier.
    In this situation I don't really know what do to. Do I call his vet and make an appointment to put him to sleep? It just seems like such a morbid thing to do. And knowing the date is coming up....
  12. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Big dogs have a much shorter life span. It is a much more immanent thing with them. They tend to wind down starter as well. They start having joint and heart problems that left you know they are aging. It seems like under 25lbs dogs it is more mental. Their bodies can last but their minds start to go.
  13. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Part of the reason the vet is there is to answer questions. If you speak to him her, make it clear that you want their opinion on what is best for the dog.

    If you decide, you may want to ask if they can come to your house. My vet would do that an a service, if it makes it any easier for you.
  14. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I don't think I'm keeping him alive for me. In many ways taking care of him is very time consuming. However, that almost makes me feel like if I put him down I'm being selfish because I don't want to put up with the trouble any more. That feels wrong.
    I know logically dogs really only exist because humans wanted something from them. We made them. From a purely biological point of view we call the shots. But I really have myself wrapped around the philosophical axle over justification.
  15. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    We called and made an appointment.

    If that's your choice, let the vet know what you would like done with the remains.
  16. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    From what you describe, it may be time. Have a frank discussion with your vet.
  17. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    This is why my dad was against us having cats or dogs when we were kids. We had small things like parakeets.
    I wish I had listened to him on that one. There is a very long story about how I ended up with 3 dogs, a cat, and four ferrets at one point. The short version is my first wife was a *****.
  18. Skip Chucker

    Skip Chucker

    Dec 9, 2018
    There is a vet where I live who does this kind of thing as a home call. No cars, no cages, no added stresses, just being comfortable at home. It doesn't make it easier, but it makes it more peaceful.

    I don't know if that is an option where you are, but it's worth asking about.
    Kevan Campbell and OldDog52 like this.
  19. IamGroot

    IamGroot Inactive

    Jan 18, 2018
    Sorry for you. Make the call when you are ready. I have outlived many of my beloved dogs...so far.

    Admiral Wilhelm Canaris was very devoted to his dachshunds. They slept in a file cabinet draw in his office. He said his dogs were very discrete and would never betray him, something he did not believe true for humans.

    When one of his dachshunds became elderly, it developed chronic constipation. Herr Admiral personally assisted the dog so it wouldnt be put down.
  20. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    This hits really close to home, as today our newest housemate of only a few months had to make the tough call to put down her beloved bestie, a sweet cattledog of only 8yo that only started showing symptoms a week ago of a mass that turned into a fast moving liver cancer.

    All the responses I saw in this thread were touching, but it essentially boils down to these ^

    It's never easy to say goodbye to a good fur friend .. Had it happen to an 8yo cat a few years ago, and another current mate had a cat of 4yo need to be euthanized for the same diagnosis of an enlarged heart (it always seems to be the sweetest ones that go away the soonest, as their hearts are just too big for this world. I have another cat that's gonna live forever, I joke.) Still, I refuse to let their naturaly shorter lifespan be a deterrant to ever taking in another when so many who only need a good home have so much love to yet give and get.

    It reads to me like you've done all you possibly can for this dog, and his time has come. Not selfish at all on your part to have him put to sleep and out of a daily misery. I hope somebody would do the same for me when I can't even wag my tail. There's a difference between living and just being alive.

    cattrax, OldDog52, Jim Nazium and 3 others like this.