How do I comfort my dying friend?
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Thread: How do I comfort my dying friend?

  1. #1
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    How do I comfort my dying friend?

    My 13 year old golden retriever, Angel, and I were doing pretty well up to this week. She would come downstairs with me in the morning, a little slowly but with a wag in her tail and would go immediately to her dish for breakfast and then a walk outdoors. She had an excdellent appetite. Monday she had a bad limp in her front shoulder. Tuesday she could hardly stand up. WEdnesday the vet told me it was arthritis and put her on D/K food, MSM and Glyco-Flex II soft chews. That was the last day she was able to come upstairs. She can't stand or even get up now. She only eats what I give her out of my hand and not much of that. She can't stand at all. I take her water dish to her and she drinks a lot until she can't hold her head up anymore. I'm turning her over regularly and picking her up and taking her out on the grass but she is only urinating. She stands until her legs won't hold her up any more. The vet says we can do some expensive diagnostic testing which may tell us what's wrong, but she's still an old dog and there's no guarantee we'll be able to do anything more for her. I'm not a fatalist, but I don't want to prolong this and put my friend through any more discomfort. My question is, what kind of food can I give her (she will occasionally eat some scrambled eggs and toast) and what can I do to make her as comfortable as possible? I'm going to start giving her Tylenol for Arthritis. Anyone have any suggestions? When do I know when it's time to put her to sleep, or is that a choice? Is it better to let her slip away on her own?

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    Senior Member FilleBelle's Avatar
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    Re: How do I comfort my dying friend?

    Putting your dog to sleep is, of course, your choice. We cannot tell you what you should do, but we can tell you what we have done.

    I have put three animals down in my life. One of them was deemed a danger to himself and others by my family and by several professional behaviorists. Two of them were old, sick, and in pain. We knew it was time to let them go when the bad days outnumbered the good. There came a point with both of them when we could see that they were no longer able to enjoy their lives with us. We preferred to say good bye to them while they were still able to wag at us and kiss our hands, rather than prolonging the process until they couldn't respond.

    This is a terrible decision to have to make. My thoughts are with you and your Angel.


    RIP Clifford, who never met a stranger

  4. #3
    Senior Member skelaki's Avatar
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    Re: How do I comfort my dying friend?

    Don't give her tylenol. You should give a dog low dose aspirin. Ask your vet, but probably one or two pills (that's what the dose the vet had me give my collie and the two breeds are roughly the same weight).

    For her last days, give her whatever she'll eat and when you take her in hold her, hug her, give her a kiss, and if she loved chocolate, give her a piece for her final treat.

    This is the most difficult part of having pets that we outlive. My heart goes out to you. One thing that can help a little is to start making a memory book and include lots of pictures of her along with a little story for each one.

  5. #4
    Senior Member rsculady's Avatar
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    Re: How do I comfort my dying friend?

    Almost a month ago I had to let my Angel go. He was a 16yr old Siberian and between his arthritis, and kidney infections, he was not enjoying life and I did not want to prolong his discomfort simply because I wanted him with me. My family and I decided together and my husband and I were with him right up until the last breath. It was peaceful and in my heart I know it was the right thing. I still miss him every day and I don't think I will ever not miss him. Only you know the answer but even if you don't like the answer, letting your friend go with dignity is the greatest gift you can give them. I knew I would not want to come downstairs and find that he was gone from me. I would not have been able to handle that.
    Darlene Aka The Rescue Goddess
    Mom to Angel(Over the Rainbow Bridge 08/07/07 never to be forgotten), Makita(Sibe) and Fuzzybutt(Golden Retriever)

  6. #5
    Senior Member Mdawn's Avatar
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    Re: How do I comfort my dying friend?

    I'm so sorry...

    My Golden Retriever, Montana died last November, so I well remember what it's like. Two years before Montana died he suddenly was lame, meaning he couldn't walk AT ALL. We, of course, took him to the vet right away. X-rays showed that he had a ruptured cruciate ligament. Because of his age at the time (about 13 years then) my vet refused to do surgery, saying that he can almost guarantee that Montana wouldn't live through it. We got a second opinion and they said the same and also refused to do surgery. So after talking to our vet (original vet) we had two options: We could have him put to sleep or we could wait and see while making him as comfortable as possible. We (obviously) decided to wait and see. It was hard work, we had to carry him outside to potty and just the hard work of caring for a dog that was unable to walk. Eventually, Montana improved to where he was able to walk again. According to the vet, he developed scar tissue around the injury, which stabilized his legs allowing him to walk. The vet said that we got EXTREMELY lucky. Ok, that being said...Montana (2 years later) got cancer. It was a cancerous growth on his foot. According the the vet there wasn't anything that could be done. It could have been removed, but the cancer had most likely already spread. We got a second opinion (again), they said the same thing. We opted to make him comfortable until the time came that he was in too much pain and then we would have him put to sleep. Then Montana started having seizures. He had these for about a month. He always rebounded fairly quickly from them and we still thought we had some time. The day before Montana died, I will NEVER forget it, I took him out to use the potty and he collapsed in a seizure. He was flailing his legs, arching his neck back, he urinated all over himself. I was just sobbing while seeing this. I tried to comfort him as best I could, but it wasn't good enough. When he finally came out of the seizure, I look at him and I finally knew that it was time. I looked at him and saw in indignity that he suffered of flailing around on the cold ground, urinating on himself. It was ridiculous that such a loving, faithful friend had to suffer that way. I made up my mind that it was time. We called the vet the next morning to have him come to our house to have Montana put to sleep. Before the vet arrived, Montana went into another seizure. This time he didn't come out of it. He died before the vet arrived. I held him in my arms when I realized that this seizure was different. I told him I loved him and that it was ok to go, but most importantly I told him that I was sorry.

    When they die naturally, it isn't easy for them or for us. It a lot of times isn't quick. With Montana it wasn't like a light just shut off and he was gone, it took awhile and it wasn't dignified. It wasn't the way he deserved to go. I will always regret that for the rest of my life.

    So, you can take from my experience what you will and whatever you take I hope it helps you. No one can tell you when the time has come, you know your dog better then anyone and will be able to tell. If you pay attention hard enough, your dog will tell you.

    Best wishes and I'm really sorry that you have to go through this.

    The Dogs: Eddie the Lab & Uallis the Mastiff
    The Cats: Max, Gus & Lexi

  7. #6
    Senior Member crazydays's Avatar
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    Re: How do I comfort my dying friend?

    I am so sorry for the pain you must be going through. Trying to make your dog comfortable near the end can be very hard. It sounds to me that your very loved dog is shutting down in many ways- ability to eat/drink/get up/go down/pain---these are all signs that the quality of life is going down. You will know in your heart when your dogs struggles are too much.

    Comfort measures-your Vet should be providing instruction to you about pain control. A real comfortable bed in the area of sun or warmth. Good time to be with the family which brings her comfort. Food- as much or as little of anything that she likes. Kibble may not interest but some hypoallergenic soft dog food might interest. What about vanilla ice cream- soothing cool sweet and easy to swallow.

    My thoughts are with you
    Last edited by crazydays; 09-01-2007 at 03:39 PM.

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    Re: How do I comfort my dying friend?

    Thanks so much. I'll see how it goes over the weekend. God bless!

  9. #8
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    Re: How do I comfort my dying friend?

    I am sorry that you are going through this.... it is difficult at best but

    NO NO NO TYLENOL
    YOU WILL KILL YOUR DOG IF YOU GIVE TYLENOL
    TYLENOL IS FATAL TO DOGS...

    if you want to give yoru dog pain killer which woudl be a good idea, talk to your vet about some metacam or rimadyl or another veterinary painkiller that won't harm your dog

    S

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    Re: How do I comfort my dying friend?

    Great ideas and I've already implemented several. Ice cream! She loved it. I put it in a small ramekin and held it close to her so she didn't have to lift her head. She relished it. I've had her on the patio today because it's covered and shady and the temperature is pleasant, so she can watch the wildlife, such as it is in a condo! Also found her a softer cushion. Thanks so much for your help.

    Thanks for the warning. I got some bad advice somewhere. Fortunately, she's only received one table this morning. Your dogs are lovely.
    Last edited by corotomon; 09-01-2007 at 05:21 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  11. #10
    Senior Member Ella'sMom's Avatar
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    Re: How do I comfort my dying friend?

    Oh your dog is in my prayers. God bless her and you.

  12. #11
    Senior Member Inga's Avatar
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    Re: How do I comfort my dying friend?

    I am so sorry to hear about your dog. I understand exactly, I have a 12 1/2 year old myself. I also put a dog to sleep in March. It is always the hardest thing in the world. I always promised myself and my dogs that I would not let them suffer just so that I would not have to be sad. I is still the hardest decision one must make for their loving companion and friend. I always tell people to make a list of things the dog enjoyed in life and when those things are being crossed off it is time. Bless you for giving your dog a life of care that got 13 years. It is a good long life for a dog. I am sad for you and your family.


    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Gandhi

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    Re: How do I comfort my dying friend?

    Sorry about your dog, I know how hard it is and it just sucks, they are so dedicated. I had my lab who was 15yrs and then I just had to put Peekaboo down and it just isn't easy thats for sure. Jen

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    Re: How do I comfort my dying friend?

    Thanks so much. I forget sometimes how much I like people who love dogs.

    Thanks. Angel was a rescue from the dog pound who just seemed to be waiting for me to come and get her. She's been a great friend. At one point there was another Golden and a standard Poodle in our little family. Angel is the last to go. I'll wait a while but can't see myself without a canine companion for long.

    Thanks, Jen. Looks like it won't be long now. Unless she gets more uncomfortable, I just praying that the Lord will let her slip away on her own bed.
    Last edited by corotomon; 09-02-2007 at 07:36 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Senior Member crazydays's Avatar
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    Re: How do I comfort my dying friend?

    Corotomon- I have been thinking about you and hope your weekend wasn't too stressful.

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