Dog Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello. I am the proud owner of a 16 year old dog, Guava. He is a border collie/ lab mix, 65 lbs.. He turned 16 this February :)

Guava's been having many accidents in the home since December 2015 – I often find him laying in his mess now. He’s severely arthritic and his vet felt that his spine’s degeneration, due to age, was possibly creating pain for him to eliminate. We put him on gabapentin to see if it helps him feel the need to do his "business" outside. It worked for a few weeks but this weekend we've had 3 days of him avoiding his walk in the yard to eliminate resulting in accidents in the house. Friday I came home after dinner and found him in his mess - he had no idea he did it. Last night he was pacing and panting all evening – later when we were sleeping he eliminated extreme amounts in 2 places. Today he lost control again during a daytime nap. He has also been dribbling pee all over the home. We find 100’s of spots on the hardwood and tile floors weekly.

Generally he seems happy but I don't really know the signs if he's suffering at all. He still has an appetite yet he struggles while eating (hard to swallow, tough to stand up to eat, laboured breathing). Guava is quiet stoic like many dogs can be. He shows some confusion – does he even know he's falling apart? He’s 16!

His shaky legs and loss of muscle is worrisome. He is near deaf, can only hear a loud clap to grab his attention. His vision is also very impaired - in the bright sun he can't see me in front of him so he'll walk right into me. He mainly relies on smell to find family members in the house. Once he finds one of us he nudges us with his nose. We can see his curved, bumpy spine through his fur and today I noticed his back hip bones are starting to stick out. When he lies down his tail is tucked in under his body, the reverse to how it used to flare upwards.

Guava and I are together every day. He will sit with me while I work at my desk. I can’t tell you how much I have read on the internet trying to understand signs of when its time to let your pet pass away. I just keep saying to myself that he’s old and hopefully he will let me know. But lately I am not so sure he will in fact let me know...

I have a trip with my kids this coming March Break. My home caregiver for my dog had to cancel so I am faced with taking him to a new person’s home for 10 days. He’s never stayed at a strangers place for that long. Even though I plan to ween him into the caregivers home with many visits I worry I will bring on much stress and confusion for him. My biggest fear is he’ll die while I am not there. I just feel we are on borrowed time as it is...

My current vet clinic has been very helpful in providing what Guava needs to stay comfortable. But in the end they say its either going to be my pet or my decision when to let go. This step is very emotional and stressful. I realize dogs are not like humans. Humans overthink and are very emotional. Dogs are devoted and hide pain too often. I want to be sure I am making a clear, educated decision with letting him go. He has made it 16 years with me. I feel I owe him the respect to avoid suffering and pain. I want to be with him when its time to say good bye as well.

If there is any sound advice out there I would like to receive it.
Thank you
Leanne
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Leanne,

It is so very tough when you're faced with this decision. I empathize with the struggle and the heartache you are experiencing.

No one can tell you when it's the exact right time to let go, but it sounds like your beloved friend is exhibiting a lot of signs that the time is near. 16 is quite old.

I think the best thing is for you to be right beside Guava when it's time for him to go. Your presence will confirm him and you can tell him what a good companion he's been.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,780 Posts
I'm so sorry that y'all are going though this with Guava. I remember how hard it was with my little old man, Shadow. Shadow was 17 years 8 months when he passed away, and for the last 2 or 3 months was in a slow decline, it sped up the last month.

If you want to try and keep him around a bit longer, having him lay on something that's easy to clean or disposable, will help. I taped down puppy pads (Shadow's shuffling gait bunched them up if I just laid them down, to catch any mess he made. They also make diapers for dogs that could help you. Bladder incontinence is pretty common in old dogs, but fecal incontinence isn't. I'm not sure which your boy has, but with both it's common that they simply do not know that they are going, their muscles relax when they sleep and the urine or feces just comes out.

Shadow had severe arthritis and Rimadyl helped for awhile, but in the end nothing really did, he just got weaker and weaker, and it was then his muscles that were the problem and not the joints. Keeping him on the carpet and off the linoleum helped him to not slip and slide when he was standing and also helped him to rise after laying down.

Your boy losing weight is not good, especially if he's eating his normal amount. It makes me wonder if something besides old age is going on. Shadow lost weight, but Shadow also slowly stopped eating, not eating is what ultimately claimed his life. What I can tell you is if he's not eating, or slowly losing his appetite, it's probably time to let him go. Don't wait until he stops, and if you can't get him eating after a day or two do not pull out all the stops to try and get him to start again. I kept trying with Shadow, even took him to the vet who said I could try a few medicines to see if it helped, but nothing worked and I just dragged out the inevitable. I still wish I had let him go the first day he really wouldn't eat.

Being hard of hearing, and not seeing, are both common in older dogs. Shadow could still hear pretty well, but he was near blind before a stroke left him completely blind. Shadow was also senile. All of those we just adjusted to, none were so bad that they made me think he was unhappy.

With Guava it's the fact that he's losing weight and struggling to eat that worries me most and leads me to think that it may be time, or very close to the time, to let him go. You can try home cooking for him, you can try feeding him while he's laying down, and see if it buys him a bit of time, that's what I did with Shadow, but in the end be prepared for him to have no interest in whatever food you try.

Again I'm so sorry that you and Guava are going through this. I know how difficult it is to watch a beloved dog struggle with what used to be simple for them. I wish I had better advice too offer.
 
  • Like
Reactions: yvon and SusanLynn

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your fast and caring feedback. Guava and I are going to visit the vet this afternoon to have another check on his recent accidents and eating struggles.
Leanne
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
324 Posts
I knew the time was right for my 19 year-old cat when she was no longer able to use the litter box and she was unable to control her bladder. I would find her laying in her own urine. Cats are meticulously clean so I knew this must have been a cause for distress for her. I spent her last day with her snuggling in bed, petting her and telling her that I loved her, thanking her for being my friend for 19 years. In the end, she ended up taking her last breath and passing away while the vet was out of the room preparing everything, so it really WAS time. But I knew, despite how it happened that she was telling me it was time. That was 9 years ago and I am crying as I type this :( It really is so hard to lose a beloved pet. Big hugs to you. One thing I will tell you to consider is how you will feel if Guava were to pass away while you are away on your trip. I think the stress of you being gone and being in a stranger's house might be the straw that breaks the camel's back so to speak- something to think about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well its been a tough day. My vet didn't like the weight loss in Guava. He lost 4 pounds in 4 weeks. She examined his liver and it felt larger than before. He did have a ultrasound last fall that showed a mass but my vet didn't encourage me to explore it due to my dogs age, his content demeanour at the time and the fact that the surgery to biopsy would be too hard on him. She has made the assumption based on Guava's symptoms that the mass is more than likely cancer. She is amazed he is walking – his arthritis has taken over his back end. She supports my decision to let my dear friend go when I am ready. I just wish this trip I have in 3 weeks wasn't happening. I have some big decisions to make. Its just so hard with how happy he looks when he sees me.
L
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
818 Posts
I am so sorry. It is never easy to make a decision to say goodbye to an old friend/family member. I had a girl Misty Blue who I kept in diapers for a year. She was active and happy just leaked. The vet has diagnosed her with bladder cancer. When her quality of life was no longer there we set her free. There is a saying "Better a day too soon, than a day too late." Here is a loving article: Pet Euthanasia - How Will I Know It Is Time?
I have been there for so many pets and their families. It is the hardest part of my job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Sorry =(
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top