Time to let go?

Share advice for keeping your aging dog happy and healthy

Peg (In- Loving- Memory)

Barked: Sun Nov 4, '12 10:16am PST 
To give you an idea, my mother's dog Peg is a 16 year old Pharaoh Hound/Pit Bull Terrier mix with both breeds' average life span being 10 - 14 years. In the past year her health has really been deteriorating. It started with really bad arthritis that has been eating away at her muscle tone. Two different veterinarians told us all we can do is keep her on pain management and provide not too strenuous exercise. Even though we've doubled her food intake (she gets wet food, but I also add extra wetted kibble for extra calories), she is beginning to look literally like skin and bones.She has incontinence that keeps getting worse. Her vision and sense of smell have gotten much worse. Once in awhile she will start barking at nothing, and frequently will just stand and stare into the distance at apparently nothing in particular.

My mother is out of town so I've been watching her. Yesterday and now today she has been drinking and urinating excessively despite not having gotten into anything. I just put down a large container of water for them and Peg immediately drank almost all of it in one sitting. I'm pretty sure her kidneys are going.

She spends a good chunk of the day sleeping, but doesn't seem to be in a lot of pain since the pain control meds. Despite letting her out frequently she will lay in the dog beds and just urinate on them. We have tried incontinence pads but she just pulls or chews them off no matter what and is really miserable with them on. The thing that gets me is she still enjoys food, treats, and usually toys (some days she doesn't want to play or will only chew the toys for a few minutes before losing interest). She still likes chasing toys outside a lot of the time.

I'm not really sure what to do. It seems cruel to let her waste away, but neither me nor my mother have literally ever dealt with this situation before. I'm not sure what to tell my mother would be the best thing to do at this point. I know people have said "if they still enjoy the things they used to it's not time", but what if they enjoy it half the time and do not the other half of the time, and they've got all these other medical problems?

Edited by author Sun Nov 4, '12 10:20am PST


I am the Keeper
Barked: Sun Nov 4, '12 12:14pm PST 
when the bad days far out number the good, it may be time.

listen with your heart. she will tell you when she is just too tired to go on.
Peg (In- Loving- Memory)

Barked: Mon Nov 5, '12 11:42am PST 
Despite pain meds she has been sleeping a lot more lately and sometimes refusing to play. The past two days she has not even seemed to know where she is, laying around random parts of the house looking pretty miserable. My mother is going to call the veterinarian this week to help her cross so she doesn't suffer. I am trying to be strong, but it's proving to be quite difficult.

Peg (In- Loving- Memory)

Barked: Mon Nov 5, '12 3:54pm PST 
Made her favorite human food, spaghetti except made it with egg noodles for the extra protein and a little less filler, and with tuna for the omega 3's instead of fatty greasy hamburger which I worry could upset her stomach more in her old age. Made two days worth of it. Since no one else seems to have the inclination to, I've been taking her out to chase a new squeak toy. She wants to play until she drops but I have to stop her because she starts stumbling and shaking.

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Mon Nov 5, '12 9:12pm PST 
Like has been said when the bad days outnumber the good it's time to say goodbye. My husbands dog Jackie would leave a growing puddle in the kitchen every morning. It was horrible to make the choice, but really I believe the same thing with humans...you're incontinent and probably in pain...it's time to go...thoughts are with you.
Maggie (I'm- Moms Angel- Now)

Punish the DEED- NOT The Breed!!!
Barked: Tue Nov 6, '12 6:09am PST 
Older dogs often will give you the look that says "its time for me to go now" I wish I had not been so busy when my brave sweet Maggie gave me that look the day she left me. She had been doing well but had lost a lot of weight over the summer despite the tripling of her food intake and the prayers. Her vet thought she might have had brain cancer and that was causing her to have seizures. I had left to take my cousin's daughter home and Maggie was fine got home less than two hours later and she was gone. My heart shattered into millions of tiny pieces and I am still trying to come to terms with it. She has been gone a week and I miss her so deeply its like a knife to the heart each time I see her pictures. Your moms dog will let you know that its time.
Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
Barked: Wed Nov 7, '12 5:50am PST 
the excessive urinating and excessive drinking are ususally indications something is wrong and one of them is kidney failure. It can be pretty common in older dogs. It might be helpful to talk to your vet and have them help you decide. It's also common for older dogs not to play as much. They begin to have a relaxed, sedated, life of cuddling.

I do agree you will know when there are more bad days than good. It's difficult trying to make sure we make the right decision for our dogs. I'll be thinking of you....