My Dog is getting too old, what should I do?

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My Dog is getting too old, what should I do?

This is a discussion on My Dog is getting too old, what should I do? within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi, I'm new and need some serious advice. We have a 14 yr old Aus/German Shepard. He's in poor health even though we've done our ...

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Old 10-07-2016, 07:39 PM
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Unhappy My Dog is getting too old, what should I do?

Hi, I'm new and need some serious advice.

We have a 14 yr old Aus/German Shepard. He's in poor health even though we've done our best to make him happy.

He has stage 4 gum disease and the Vet is worried about putting him under due to his age. The cost is approx $2000 with no guarantee of success, not only that, we just can't afford it now. We have already spent $20k on him years ago when he snapped ligaments in both his back legs...

His legs are very week and he has trouble walking for any length of time although he can still use his legs. He can climb down stairs and up (most of the time) but rather not. He does have bad arthritis.

His hearing has gotten bad, he can hear if I yell or clap my hands.

He has some infection on his anus, we had the vet clear it out and we now have topical antibiotics.

I feel so sorry for him and the highlight of his days are waiting for me to awake and greet him. Other than that he's pretty much lying down all day.

We are moving across country (in 4 weeks) and taking him in the car for a 3 day drive will no doubt stress him out, especially since he'll have to remain 8 hours in a crate he's not use to while we cross on a ferry. I will not fly him, he panics when he cant see me.

He's no longer that happy puppy running in the field or taking long walks, he's slowly deteriorating and it makes me feel horrible that his last days are left with me to decide.

When is it time, what would you do?
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:44 PM
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You will know when it is time, and it isn't time now. He enjoys seeing you, he seems like a happy old guy with the infirmities that come with age (I'm a senior, I know what I'm talking about).
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Old 10-07-2016, 08:22 PM
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I'm sorry hon. When you feel that the pain is taking away any joy he may have then I think you'll know what to do. The hard part is saying goodbye.
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Old 10-07-2016, 08:22 PM
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If it was me I would not subject him to that dental work
My first dog I waited too long to let her go and had regrets
With our second dog, we vowed not to do that and went with the "Better a week too early than a week too late"
And I think we got the timing just right
That was due to arthritis and old age too. It was a hard choice because he was still eating and drinking and bathrooming
But one day I could just see the pain and even more so, the anxiety had set into him. The pain in his legs was starting to scare him
And then we knew
Anyway take it day by day is all you can do
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Old 10-08-2016, 01:44 AM
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I have just had to make that decision with Susie, my Bernese cross. She is just over 12 years but her back legs keep giving out on her and she has trouble getting up and down. When she does get up she just walks a short distance then lies down again. I can tell she is not happy and I hate to see her struggling so much when she used to love running around. She can't go for car rides with me any more as she can't get in and out of my Van. Rather than wait till she is unable to get up and down, I am taking her in next week to have her put to sleep and it breaks my heart to have to do it. Everybody has to make the decision themselves, nobody can tell you when it is time but the dog usually does. Once they can no longer do the things that they love to do, like going for walks or riding in the Van, even though she is still eating and wags her tail, I can tell she is tired of all the effort it takes to just exist.
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Old 10-08-2016, 06:50 AM
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Unhappy Thank you

hi thank you for all your advice and experience in the matter, my wife says it's time but I just feel terrible to agree with her. it's tough
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Old 10-08-2016, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by James2016 View Post
hi thank you for all your advice and experience in the matter, my wife says it's time but I just feel terrible to agree with her. it's tough
I think that since your wife is ready, I think that once you're ready, its time. Its never easy but its really evident that you both love your dog very much and you won't want him to suffer any more than necessary. Maybe there are a couple of things you can do with him to help prepare yourself? Maybe take him out for his favorite ice cream or meal -- you know something that you normally wouldn't allow him to have because it wasn't good for him. Maybe take him to a place he loved to visit to have one more great day.

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Old 10-08-2016, 06:09 PM
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Unfortunately this is a very difficult decision that you will have to make, based on his quality of life. Even though our beloved dogs do not speak our language, they most certainly communicate with us, and my belief is he will in his own way let you know when living becomes such a struggle its no longer worth it. IMO no one on this board can tell you when the time has arrived, this is something that is between you and your dog.
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Old 10-09-2016, 01:32 AM
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My elderly boy got to that point, his teeth were getting bad, but his health ruled out having a dental done. He had bad arthritis that started causing him to not be able to easily get up when he was laying on the linoleum and towards the end his paws had started to slide out from under him when he was trying to eat or drink. A stroke had left him completely blind, and then canine cognative dysfunction (doggy alzheimers) set in.

There are medicines your boy can take that will help him with the arthritis, some supplements like advanced Cytel-M, or green lipped muscle, may help. My boy was on Rimadyl and it kept the worst of the arthritis under control.

You can opt to treat any infection that may crop up due to the bad teeth, that's what my vet recommended. If your dog will let you try brushing his teeth. Also if his stomach will tolerate them, raw meaty bones like turkey necks do an excellent job of cleaning teeth.

If your dogs health permits then ask your vet about an anti anxiety, like Xanax, that you can give him during the car trip.

It sounds like your old boy may have a bit of time left, and if I was in your shoes I'd just work to keep him as comfortable and happy as possible. Old dogs do tend to sleep, a lot. I know my old boy probably slept for 16 to 18 hours a day, if not more, so don't let that worry you.

Sadly he will likely get worse, and ultimately there's not much you can do. If the really bad days outnumber the good, if he stops eating and you can't revive his appetite, then it'll definitely be time. Otherwise it's a judgement call that only you can make.
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