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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
For a senior, how do you know? My 15/16 year old shepherd mix just doesn't look good lately. She just doesn't seem to have the spark of happiness of living. She keeps giving me the "look"... To my knowledge, she has no medical issues, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was something going on internally. I don't know how to know when it's time. I don't want her to pass one day at home, that would be terrifying for everyone. I also don't want her to be suffering. Dogs are so good at hiding pain, but I just feel like she's telling me she's hurting.. :(

I guess, how do you know when it's time if there is not an clear cut answer...?

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I knew it was time for Alex when he had been to the vet and we had tried two medications for a few weeks with no success (ear infection which was untreatable due to calcification). He was very wobbly from the tilted head due to the infection and just miserable, he couldn't walk straight or follow me around like he used to. He lost the spark in his eyes and the last night he was crying in his sleep which he never did, that was it for me and I took him in the next day

It's all about quality of life, if they're happy then I'm happy. If they're in pain or suffering and I've done all I can then I know it's time. Never a easy decision and I'm sorry you have to consider it :(
 

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What does your vet say? I have always worked closely with my vet when it comes to this, I am extremely lucky to have good vets to work with. As long as we are able to determine there is no pain and suffering I am ok with waiting and hoping for that one pet that will leave peacefully in their sleep, as my current vet tells me you know that never happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I knew it was time for Alex when he had been to the vet and we had tried two medications for a few weeks with no success (ear infection which was untreatable due to calcification). He was very wobbly from the tilted head due to the infection and just miserable, he couldn't walk straight or follow me around like he used to. He lost the spark in his eyes and the last night he was crying in his sleep which he never did, that was it for me and I took him in the next day

It's all about quality of life, if they're happy then I'm happy. If they're in pain or suffering and I've done all I can then I know it's time. Never a easy decision and I'm sorry you have to consider it :(
Thank you. See, she is technically my mom's dog, and she won't pay for a vet visit for testing for anything, but I understand why, she's old. To figure out if theres anything internal, we would need to do xrays and stuff. She doesn't have any clear cut symptoms of anything, except arthritis, but can still walk, get up etc. So its not easy for me to tell, because she is not blatantly miserable. Nothing clear cut, just old age, which is hard to tell. She doesn't seem 'happy'. Started sleeping in my moms room (NEVER has, wasn't allowed in there) and she just potties, eats, and lays around looking all sad.. I know something is wrong, she has declined in happiness and 'life' in the past few weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What does your vet say? I have always worked closely with my vet when it comes to this, I am extremely lucky to have good vets to work with. As long as we are able to determine there is no pain and suffering I am ok with waiting and hoping for that one pet that will leave peacefully in their sleep, as my current vet tells me you know that never happens.
She's not my dog, shes technically my moms, I just feed her, let her out etc, but not pay for her care - she hasn't been to the vet since I wanna say September, when she was having severe GI issues, but the vet said she was looking great for her age, and she cleared up with some medicine. My mom doesn't want to have any testing done or anything - the vet stresses her out really bad. So it's kinda just like wait until something serious comes up and she IS suffering. I dont know if she is in pain or not. She just doesn't look good. :(
 

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Normally a vet wouldn't just put a dog down without an examination to determine if it is time anyway. I totally get the not wanting to do any specific testing, but just an overall exam could shed light on her condition. Also just like people have their good days and bad days dogs do too.
 

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Normally a vet wouldn't just put a dog down without an examination to determine if it is time anyway. I totally get the not wanting to do any specific testing, but just an overall exam could shed light on her condition. Also just like people have their good days and bad days dogs do too.
I'm gonna try and convince her to let me take her in.

Seems like she's having more bad days than good. Way more. Especially the past couple of days..
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Her abdomen is really swollen. I'm gonna take her in tomorrow after work..


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I think it is one of those things where, depending on your bond, you will just know. You will feel it. We had a keeshond growing up who we had for 13 years. the last few days of her life she pretty much stopped eating and was having trouble getting up. Then one day we all just kind of felt it and knew that she wasn't going to make it through the night. My brother and I ended up sleeping in the kitchen with her so she wouldn't be alone when she went.

Now we didn't take her to the vet because she was old and she was healthy, I know my dad's Keeshond ended up having to be put down though. All I remember from that night was that is was storming and I sat in my window sill watching my mom and grandma back out of the driveway with Rambo in the car.
 

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Trust your Vet and Your Dog's signals

1.21.14

If you have an experienced vet, trust his/her advice regarding
medical issues. Sometimes, a dog appears to have lost special
behaviors that we have always seen in the past, just due to aging-- just like older people (and not due to any terminal illness).

It is UNFAIR to expect your dog to ALWAYS have the physical spirited behavior when he was younger. Just because he is slower and has lost some of his spirit does not mean that he is at the end of his days.

I have always gauged END OF LIFE signs from my creatures
by what my trusted vet has told me... and also from my pet's behavior. If your pet does not want to get up anymore and loses any interest in food (for more than three days), and when you have a terminal diagnoses from your vet, then MAYBE it is time to say GOOD-BYE.

It is always a DIFFICULT decision. If your pet is NOT in pain,
then I would opt for waiting to look for improvement. I have
"forced fed" some of my creatures with clear chicken broth
(by boiling chicken breast, no salt and skinless) through a
syringe or making a soup from watered down pet food.
I have had miraculous results.

The tighter the bond with your pet, the better you are to
determine WHEN it is TIME to say GOODBYE.

DON'T GIVE UP TOO QUICKLY, BUT DON'T DELAY TO THE POINT WHERE YOUR PET SUFFERS. It is a fine line.
Pray for inspiration and guidance.
 

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My 14 year old shih tzu has slowed down a lot this past year. Sleeping a LOT more. However, he is still excited for his breakfast and dinner, still interested in going next door to his grandma's (she has a BALL to throw! .. although last time I threw it he started limping badly after only a little while 'sigh'). He also is still able to go outside and potty. I think as long as they are comfortable and still have some of their old interests, then they are not ready to go.

I wouldn't do anything heroic at this point, but he does get normal vet care if he's under the weather. In fact, the vet was amazed at how quickly his eye healed ... in only a week's time, whereas some younger dogs he was treating for an eye injury were still not 100 percent after 3-4 weeks.
 
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