Post # 1
My family has a 15 year old poodle. She is completely blind and deaf at this point. Whenever she is awake, she is miserable, she cries to go up the stairs, you bring her up and she cries ( I mean screeches) to go back down the stairs. She will not STOP crying, I mean screaming and howling for you to take her up and down. She just walks anxiously around in circles, banging into things and jumps if you go to pet or touch her. She goes to the bathroom all over the house.
My sister is handicapped and has been very attached to this dog since we first got her, 15 years ago. At this point, we don’t know what to do. We think it is her “time” but feel guilty about “putting her down.” This is our family’s first dog. I don’t think she has any quality of life anymore. What do you think we should do?
I know this is kind of a depressing poll, but this is one of those really tough life decisions, and I thought maybe if others who have been in a similar position may be able to relate, could help.
*I should also add, the vet said everything else including her heart is healthy.
Post # 3
Personally I would put her down. I come at this from such a weird position. I work hospice (people) and yet fostered at a no kill shelter. I hate to see anyone or anything suffer and is sounds like she is miserable. You can’t put people down when they are suffering (believe me sometimes that seems like the worst law when morphine no longer works) but you can ease this animals suffering. My toughest struggle was when I got a foster in that needed to be put down and instead they wanted to extend the suffering. Being blind and deaf is terrifying and I can’t see putting an older dog thru that. It isn’t like there is much point in adapting as she doesn’t have that many years left regardless. Your sister will adapt. The day is going to come regardless.
Post # 4
What does the vet say?
Usually crying is a sign that the dog is in pain. If there is nothing that the vet can do to eleviate the pain than it is time to put the dog down. Its not fair to make them live in pain like that. Getting advice from the vet should help.
I was in a similar position as you for the past few years and here is the very sad story about what happened:
My sister had a basset hound that was her first dog and she went blind around age 9. That was only the beginning. After that she had problems walking and her eyes looked really crazy and bugged out. Than she became incontenant (sp?). She kept eating and never cried though so the vet says that she is probably ok. Well, her life was still miserable. She could not do much at all. Just a month ago (age 13) my sister found that the dog has congestive heart failure. The dog died 2 weeks later after an awful 2 weeks of pain. My sister let her go through 2 weeks of torture. What happens is the dogs lungs and heart is filling up with fluid. The dog could not even eat. They had to inject her with gaterade. The dog eventually died by choking on her own vomit. It was seriously awful. I cannot believe how selfish people can be about keeping their dogs around because they feel that they cannot put them down.
I tried to tell my sister that she needed to put her down but she just freaked out and said that she could not do it. It made me sick to my stomach to think how awful that dogs life was up until she passed. 🙁 I live 300 miles away so I didnt see her though.
Anyway, I know that is seriously a very depressing story but its true. My advise is to make your sister have a serious talk with the vet about her dogs quality of life. If she really truely loves this dog she will do the right thing…
Post # 5
It’s such a hard situation, but I would say it’s her time. My aunt had a dog for half of her life who was blind, deaf, and had cancer. The dog barely ever moved, and was completely miserable. It was so hard to put him down, but it was necessary because keeping him alive was causing him misery.
Post # 6
This is exactly the situation my parents found themselves in recently with their 18 year old poodle. Blind, deaf, skittish, having accidents everywhere. But she still had a really healthy appetite and moments where she seemed like her old self, so they were reluctant to take that final step. Then one day she wasn’t interested at all in food or getting up, and they just knew.
Animals usually let you know when they’re ready to go. We were able to tell immediately with all three of our dogs that passed away. Two we put to sleep, and the other we were going to take to the vet in the morning, but she decided not to wait.
But if your dog is suffering from that much anxiety all the time, it might be the kindest thing to let her go.
Post # 7
Whatever you decide, it won’t be easy but I thought I’d share my story. My parents had a cat they loved that was diagnosed with “kitty cancer”. – thats what we called it because I never remembered the name. There was literally nothing they could do except let her live and die or put her down. My parents couldn’t bring themselves to put her down so they just made her comfortable. She slowly got worse, stopped eating, stopped walking around, etc. When it officially came her “time” it took her a good day to die. I wasn’t there but my dad said it was horrible. She was crying and making noises my dad had never heard and he said she looked to be in severe pain. He’s since said he wishes they had put her down instead of making her suffer, he counts it as one of the worst decisions he’s ever made.
Post # 8
That’s definitely a hard decision to make… Growing up we had a cocka-poo that started going blind when she was around 15, she could see shadows and such and we did what we could to keep her eye sight but eventually she lost about 95% of her sight… Luckily she could still hear pretty well and because of her slow loss of eye sight she actually made it around the house really well… We knew she was getting close to being ready when she started going to the bathroom in the house and throwing up bile a couple times a day… She would lay in her bed all day long and we had to carry her in and out to go potty outside. We got her pee pads and tried to keep her comfortable as long as possible, and when she seemed to be going downhill and we’d start talking about making a decision she would perk up again for a couple days and we would think it wasn’t her time yet… This went on for a long time. When we finally made the decision (laying in bed all day and throwing up all the time just doesn’t seem like any quality of life) it was one of the hardest decisions we made… but we knew it was time… It’s hard to know when they are ready, but just make sure you are making the decision based on the animals life and not your own attachment.
It’s not a decision anyone can make for you. A question I have to ask is how long has the dog been blind/deaf? If otherwise it’s a healthy dog then I think it might just take some adjustment, can you see if the dog has ANY sight left? Maybe shining a flashlight toward her would let her know when you are close, certain dog whistle pitches can work on hard of hearing dogs… Or stoping or clapping can usually alert a dog to your presence… I would say exhaust every option before making the decision.
Post # 9
@secondchances: I also volunteer at a no kill shelter BUT there are times I feel when putting the animal down is neccessary. Thank you for your work with hospice, that cannot be an easy job!
Post # 10
sorry, but it’s past time for this dog to be let go. I know it’s hard, but if you love her, you’ll do what’s right.
if you’re worried about your sister, consider adopting a new dog, perhaps a younger adult dog– 2 or 3 years old?
(I’ve worked at animal shelters– including being the person who actually puts the pups to sleep– so I don’t mean to sound distant about the process, but it’s because I get so frustrated/sad when people let animals suffer past their time that I have to take emotions out of my response to you.)
Post # 11
My family recently put our 14 yr old dog down. She was having problems walking up and down stairs to the point that she would wait for us to carry her or she took a loooong time. It was obvious that she had arthritis and severe pain. You could also see glaucoma in her eyes so her vision was going. She would have severe panic attacks at thunderstorms (which we had a good number of this past summer) and we were afraid she’d have a heart attack from one. It was hard to put her down, but with her obvious suffering I know it was the humane thing for her. I hope you and your family can come to an agreement and be at peace with it.
ETA: She was also having multiple accidents in the house every week.
Post # 12
- Wedding: September 2010 - Angel Orensanz Foundation
A hard decision to be sure. I do dog rescue & my own dog hung on to be 16. She was losing her hearing, getting increasingly “absentminded”, losing her sight, appetite, etc
She had accidents all over the house, and it was one night she slipped in her own pee and couldn’t get up and began to cry in confusion that we dcuded it was time to restore her dignity & let her go.
If the dog hasn’t wagged it’s tail in awhile, it’s time.
Sending you strength, hon.
Post # 13
@Dell79: I think you’re right about her quality of life- it seems non-existent. Being a responsible pet owner sometimes means that you will encounter tough decisions, and this is definitely the hardest decision. I wish all pets would pass in their sleep so we could avoid these hard decisions but it sounds like you know what to do. I wish you & your family the best!
Post # 14
Sadly, it sounds like it’s time for her to go over the Rainbow Bridge. It’s not fair to keep her alive just to say she’s still there.
I’m so sorry. I know how hard it is.
Post # 15
I agree with others, that it’s time to let the dog go and be at peace. Nothing will ever replace her, but I bet your sister can learn to love another dog.
And if you can’t bring yourself to put her down yet, please look into getting doggy tranquilizers. My dog is epileptic and has seizures brought on my anxiety and tranquilizers really help her in stressful situations. They aren’t a permanent solution for your dog, but maybe they’d at least make her a little more relaxed in the time she has left.
Post # 16
I think one of the hardest things is deciding when to put a dog down. The biggest thing to remember is that this dog has given you so much of herself for her whole life. She has loved you and your family unconditionally. So if she is uncomfortable or in pain, then maybe it is her time. You have to decide what is best FOR HER. Often times we delay it, because we will be sad. But this isn’t about US or how sad we will be. it should be about the dog. After all these years, you have to do what is best for her.
That being said, I would consult with the vet and see if there is anything else you can do. Is there a medicine you can give her– perhaps her hips hurt her to lay down, so that is why she continuously paces. Or maybe she needs a big comfy bed. I’d consult with the vet to see what else you can do to make her comfortable, and then if not, it might be time. It would be incredibly hard, but it is one of the selfless gifts we can do for our pets.