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I would like some opinions on when it’s time to put a dog to sleep. While I’m sure most will say that I am the one to make the final decision it would be nice to hear some views on this.



Got my dog hoppy in 1997, I found him at the pound while dropping off a very ill stray dog. Never intended to get this dog but with only 3 legs approx 4 weeks old he stood out a great deal as I walked by the cage containing roughly 10 dogs inside. I went ahead and picked him up 1 week later after getting neutered and became very attached to him immediately and im sure I’ll never find one with a personality like his again..

So now 15 years later I think I have to seriously consider putting the dog down, and its really a tough call to make. My family loves this dog very much, but I feel I have to make the choice and I think I have to make it based on his quality of life, not based on my hopes and wishes or that of the family members.

Medicatons he’s been on for about 4 months
Rimadyl (arthritis)
Clamacalm (anxiety)

We put him on these about 4 months ago because he seemed to be very stiff and sitting down took forever, and for the anxiety cased by nobody being with him and also countless times he wakes up in the middle of the night staring at the wall breathing heavily..

The rimadyl seemed to work pretty well, seemed to allow him to walk, getup/down much better. We didn’t feel the Clamacalm was doing much for him so we took him off about a month ago..

2 days after going off the clamacalm he couldn’t stand up any more. He was not standing or walking great before that but could usually do it unassisted. He has been wearing rubber boots, and has a harness on most of the time because we have wood floors and he needs help to get over door jams at times. Our vet say’s it shouldn’t be going off clamacalm that caused this, at least not directly, but we saw after about a week his anxiety went up a lot and he just hasn’t been able to walk or stand unassisted for a month now.

Anyway his effected area are his back legs, (front leg being strong as a horse) so he can usually get up but his butt never gets off the ground this causes him a lot of frustration and we cant figure out how to stop him from trying to get up because its constantly hurting him self when he fails and falls back down. Over the last 3 weeks we had put him back on climacalm and acepromazine and another pill meant to help dogs when flying and for the most part these don’t stop him from constantly trying and failing to stand up. He is very determined and while we try to put pillows and rugs around without having him in a pillowed playpen he ends up knocking his head a lot and hurting himself..

At this point the vet say’s she doesn’t think he will be able to walk again because of nerve damage and muscle loss in his rear legs. I doubt he will give up trying, the medicine we have tried in various strengths do nothing to stop him from causing himself harm by falling down over and over…

Other Vet issues –

- He has bad teeth and the vet say’s he needs them cleaned and is likely in pain ( I knew this 6 months ago but decided not to do anything that put him to sleep because of his age)

- The other day his right check was very swollen, the vet said he had some growth that we need to get biopsy on.. I assume this was swelling was caused by falling at some point because it is pretty constant.

- I believe he has some demencia based on the trances he gets in at times, as well as some loss in eyesight.

- He always craps in the house, lying down, wont even go to the grass, or do it standing up anymore. (although he will go outside to pee if we help him walk/carry him)

Those issues aside I also see:

- He still seems happy as far as I can tell (although he is unable to tell me if that’s true)

- He’s eating well and still has a good appetite

- His eyes are still wide open and alert (when we are not drugging him to prevent him from trying to walk)

The constant monitoring for the last month is really taxing on the family. Luckily we work at home so we are able to deal with it, but I don’t want to do this for ourselves and really care what’s best for hoppy. I don’t think he will ever stop trying to get up. I have told the vet its urgent that he be given medicine to stop this because the only other solution if he cant walk ever again is to build a playpen (dog version of a rubber room) then make him stay in that so he stops hitting his head and falling down, and what kind of life is that going to be if the only time we can take him out is when he is sleeping. Anyway 15 years is a pretty good life I think, and im not so sure I want to force him to stay around if he has the life of a doorstop. I also know that things are only going to get worse with other issues. So in the near future if we decide not to put him to sleep are at least 1 major procedure of teeth cleaning and probable removal of many teeth, and a biopsy witch hopefully isn't cancer. I know there are more items just around the corner that will make him even less happy, but not sure if I allow him to wait for those or just end it while he’s not in total misery at this point..

My sister is the one that takes him to the vet and while the vet didn't suggest we put him down, she seemed to imply that we consider it. My main concern is that he stops trying to get up as that is frustrating for him and ends up hurting him, but it appears that cant really be solved.

Appreciate any input.
 

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I think the best advice I've heard is to pick 5 things that he likes to do, and when he can't do at least 3 of those things anymore it's time. And that it's better to do it too soon than even a little too late.

Sorry that you're going through this right now. It's never easy :(.
 

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I believe that when the dogs quality of life can no long be sustained it is time. It's not about the quantity of time - it's about the quality of life you can give them.

I'm sorry for the decision you have to make. It's one of the hardest things. Thoughts and prayers to you.
 

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Knowing very well how hard of a decision this is ... as I just had to face this with a much younger dog ... my thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved one. Like others said ... and as I just had to face myself ... when there is no longer anything that can be done and the quality of life is gone ... it is time. It is like you say ... it is all about the dog and not our need to keep them here.

I am so very sorry you are going through this. Bless all of you.
 

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I am so sorry you are going through this.

I had to go through a similar decision many years ago.

For me, it was the question is there more pain or happiness in their lives. When I realized that my dog was in a lot of pain and that the overall discomfort level was constant and not going to get better and getting worse everyday, it pretty much overwhelmed everything else. I did not want to see her suffer further.

It is hard to say goodbye, but the worry became such a burden. When I finally accepted that the burden was not going to get better and that my dog was just merely getting through the days, I decided it was enough.

Hope that the decision becomes clear for you when you are ready.

Kat
 

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Based on your post, I'd say it's time. I had a dog that sounds like yours, and when he could no longer get up without help, I put him down, because I wanted him to not be down, laying in his own poop/pee, when I was gone. I felt he should have some dignity. He knew when he had pooped, and I think he felt badly about it, because he had always been housebroken before. He also had bright eyes, and a good appetite. I had spinal xrays/ultrasounds/blood workups, and tried various meds. Nothing worked. So I gave him the final gift I could give him.
My vet felt he had degenerative Myelopathy. There is no cure.
 

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I am so, so sorry. You're right about one thing: you'll never find another Hoppy. You'll find someone else, who will be different, but you'll love them just as much.

I think, looking at what you've written, that I would put that dog to sleep if I were you. I would agonize over it and feel guilty for the rest of my life, but I'd do it. Whatever you do, do it with love and you'll have made the right choice.
 

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As someone who has gone through this more times than I like to think about, I know how hard this is. The best advice I can give you is what was given to me last year: better a week too early than a week too late.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well sense I originally posted this and we put hoppy back on climacalm he did seem to start walking a little better, (still unable to getup by himself most of the time) however each day a couple times I would take him to the grass at the end of our front lawn and he would try and walk back to the house usually not falling down. He seemed to have a lot of drive to walk towards the house, but in any other situation he would purposely try NOT to walk. Anyway that was short lived and after about a week of doing pretty good he just went downhill with his walking..

The only identifiable pleasure I can see he still has is eating, and that is a tough one for me to get my head around, or at least it makes putting him down harder because I have always felt lack of appetite is one of the best signs that its time to die. Anyway he lives in to much frustration and I think hope for any improvements are futile so today we are going to put him to sleep (in about 3 hours). This is extremely difficult, not so much the death but because I have to make the choice for him. I wished for a massive stroke or heart failure these last months but no such luck. I feel if he stays longer its for me, or my family’s enjoyment or to make us feel less bad, so for his own benefit and to relieve his frustration, possible pain and suffering we have made the choice to say good bye.. 3 hours from now and I can feel this is much worse than when I find out a person in my family dies. Im not sure why. I have always been more attached to animals than people but I think this is much tougher because I have to make the final decision to effectively end his life after 15 years.

Anyway, im not going to change my mind but hope the guilt doesn’t effect me for years to come because I can tell already im going to feel very guilty for doing this, even though I know its totally necessary.

BTW, he had got a couple of filet mignon’s last night and some more steak today before he goes to the vet. That’s the first time he ever got steak and sure liked it..

RIP Hopper

 

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I am so sorry ... my heart genuinely aches for you. It brings tears to my eyes.

I still feel guilty and it has been almost 10 weeks since I had to let Leeo go to The Rainbow Bridge. I miss him terribly. But like someone else said ... I hope I did it soon enough. I could no longer bear to think he was in pain and had lost his quality of life and the light in his eyes had gone.

I am so very sorry.

Run free Hopper! .........
 

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I'm so sorry. Alot of us here know the pain. I pray for peace for both you and Hopper.
Run free Hopper, you were much loved. There are alot of dogs waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge
 

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I definatly share your pain Hoppo..
Right now I have a 15 year old dog with mammary cancer ,(its a mess and spreading fast.)
Shes still wagging her tail and eating and playfull , but..
I know that very soon I will be faced with the same decision as you had to make with your dog .

Im sure you did the right thing...
 

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Godspeed Hopper.
Thank you for being a caring owner and being willing to put your dog's welfare ahead of the pain that losing him will cause you.
 

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So Sorry. It's always hard to weigh your friend's quality of life....When it's clearly inevitable, so much better to end it happy, with a belly full of steak :)
 

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I am so sorry for your loss, I have been there and know how hard it is but know you are doing the right thing !! My prayers are with you and Hoppy.
 
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