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Rabbit37

When to make The Decision for a beloved pet

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As if my life hasn’t sucked enough these past few months...

I was going to write details, but honestly I guess it doesn’t matter. My question is, as a pet owner, how do you determine when quality of life is gone, to the point of needing to make the final decision to put them down? 

I thought my elderly terrier had reached that point, then a few days ago I found him on a rug, on his back, enjoying scritching and wiggling all over it. But is that enough? Is still enjoying food enough, even when he struggles to breathe every day? He was dx’d with congestive heart failure last year, but damn it, he’s still hanging on and refuses to give up. 

He possibly has renal disease now, which I know is incurable. I’m starting him on a renal diet today, but it may not be enough to notice a difference. The vet said that it’s really more now of how much care I can handle. Do I end his life because I have to clean accidents now? Am I being selfish to not want the house to smell like pee? He’s stone deaf, and his vision is starting to fail. 

Your thoughts/experiences would be appreciated. Don’t worry, it won’t make me cry more than I already am. 

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You are going through just what we have been through. Last Tuesday 1st May we said goodbye to our precious little dog Freddie. He was such a cheeky lively bold noisy cute and adorable little fella. He was diagnosed with a heart murmur almost 5 years ago but that didn't prevent him from enjoying life...he lived it to the full. He also had epilepsy which again didn't have an impact on his life. Even though his heart was failing this year he was still in great form although he slept more...but he was 15 years old!! He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. We had to bring him out to pee regularly as he was having accidents in the house. 3 weeks ago he started collapsing on exertion but bounced back each time.

Last Monday his health deteriorated rapidly and Mam and I stayed up with him all night hoping he would just slip away but that was not to be so on Tuesday we brought him over to the vet where he went to sleep quickly. Many many tears have been shed and we miss him dreadfully. We knew it was time to let him go when he was just too tired to do anything, he couldn't poop and was retaining fluid even though he was on a high dose of frusemide. He was like that from Monday evening until Tuesday afternoon when we brought him to the vet to get put to sleep. It was very peaceful. It's so hard to know what to do and I really feel for you but there are no easy answers

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1 hour ago, Rabbit37 said:

   Your thoughts/experiences would be appreciated. Don’t worry, it won’t make me cry more than I already am. 

It's never an easy decision to make, I've been there, so I feel your pain....

 My childhood dog had congestive heart failure......He was dx'd with it at 8, and lived to be 15....Nobody thought he would make it that long, but he was a terrier, and refused to give up, too.

When he stopped eating, and started struggling to breathe all the time, and started seeming very depressed, hiding from us, my family decided it was time.

Is your dog still enjoying life, doing some of his favorite things?......Eating is a big factor....if he's still eating and drinking normally, that's a sign that maybe it's not time yet....

Does he have more good days or more bad days?......When the bad days outnumber the good, it might be time....I also agree with your vet--it's now about how much you can handle.

As for the accidents, you might consider doggie diapers......I know some people who have had good success with them.

I hope this helped--I know it's not easy to say goodbye to a beloved pet.

Edited by CrazyRedhead

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I would ask my vet if I were you and get their opinion. For example, my vet won't put any animal down that he thinks has any quality of life left.

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Thank you all. I’ll respond more today, but didn’t want to leave this thread hanging. 

Last night was a bit surreal, I had to help my terrier out the door, he barely ate, finally settled down to sleep (I think the vet appt wiped him out)... then sat with my neighbor as we watched our year old pups play til they flopped. 

 

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I'm so sorry, it must be very hard decision. I'm glad I have never had to make it myself. My parrot died last summer in age of 29, but he didn't suffer. I suffered a lot though as he was with me since I was 6. Because of this I don't plan to have anymore pets, it's very hurtful when you're watching them die or suffer. Hope you'll deal with that harsh time.

Edited by Dr. Marshall
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@rowan77 I’m so sorry. I remember reading so much in the past about Freddie, I know how special he was. My heart goes out to you and your family. 

@Wooster thank you for the links. The first one, I thought, maybe I’m wrong. Then the second scale, my ropey was mostly 2’s. Give nugget some extra snuggles from me. 

@CrazyRedhead good questions to ponder. I’ve thought of diapers... in previous years, that would’ve been laughable, he’d remove them in five seconds flat. Now though, he might not really notice. I’ll consider it tho. In the meantime, I’m armed with plenty of 409.

@jt07 I did ask my vet. He wouldn’t give a straight answer, more said that it was up to me how much additional care I could give. He said the obvious, ropey was struggling with breathing, and his lungs were congested. I already knew that. But when I see him peacefully sleeping, on his favorite blanket... that kinda flies out the window. 

@Dr. Marshall I’m sorry for your loss. I have an 18yo African grey (not the one in my icon) that I’ve had since he was 5 months. They’re just as special as any furry out there. I know what you mean about not wanting to put yourself through another death again, but I just have such a void in my life without pets. I’ve never actually had none in my life at any given time. 

Pets are just so much of my family’s life. When my 16yo daughter spends the night at a close friend’s house, she’s always texting me at 8am to pick her up, because she misses our furries too much. We live in a small town, and in a very walkable area close to downtown. Lots of people walking their pups... when I’m driving by, she’ll often roll down her window and yell “I love your dogs!” with a big wave. 

Gah. Ropey’s not eaten well today, but he meandered a long time in the warm sunshine in the backyard. 

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Rabbit I'm sorry I can't give any better advice. All our dogs we had put down were within a few days or a week of dying naturally and were in severe pain and very sick. It was to the point that it was impossible to look at them in their pain. We never had any dogs that died from congestive heart failure. We did have one dog that literally dropped dead in front of my dad from a heart attack, but he was not put down and was not suffering. It was quite a sad surprise.

So I really don't know what to advise here. I sure do wish things were different though and that your dog were well and that you didn't have to make such a decision.

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Thanks, jt, I know how much you love dogs. 

He doesn’t seem to be in pain, although I’m sure it’s not pleasant struggling to breathe at times. More like he’s in a fog. It’s more on me that I don’t want to let go, he slept with me every single night for over 14 years. It’s only been the past few months that he nows sleeps in my son’s bed, because it’s lower to the floor. 

I’ll update if there are changes. 

Edited by Rabbit37

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My thoughts are with you, Rabbit. It's not an easy decision to make. My dog also sleeps in my bed, and I don't know what I'll do when that time comes. I try not to think about it.

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Thankfully, not only do I not make snap decisions, I’m also a procrastinator. I’ve been closely watching my elderly pup. Had to clean up two accidents as soon as I got up Saturday morning. Just kept thinking “when will I know?” Then last night, he *trotted* - not the slow ambly current pace, but actually trotted - into the kitchen with his tail wagging for dinner. I know it’s just a blip, but refreshing to see. 

Of course life can’t possibly be that easy, now my beloved parakeet is not doing well. She’s been puffed for a couple of days, her wings have been drooping since yesterday. She’s eating, but this isn’t looking good. The kids and I can’t remember exactly what year we got her, but she’s bare minimum ten years old, possibly eleven or twelve. Poor gal. 

Never realized the staggered influx of some incoming pets would all reach the end of their life span at the same time. 

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I cared for one dog for a year with her cancer. She required medication and dressing changes but seemed to be mostly happy it seemed. Finally she refused her meds. Then one day she wouldn’t go upstairs to my bedroom and seemed to not feel well. I came home from work to find her almost dead. It changed so fast. Maybe I should have known?  But in one day things can change fast. Based on my experience I would say have a plan if you need to get to the vet off hours if things get bad fast. And just do your best. It’s very hard to know the right moment. And look into belly bands vs diapers. Belly bands work for boy dogs and are a potential solution to pee accidents. I’ve been there with all the house peeing, too. 

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