General Question

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Quality of life for an older dog. Could I have your opinion on this matter?

Asked by Mama_Cakes (11154points) July 23rd, 2012

I have a almost 16 year old Pomeranian/Chiahuahua. He has congestive heart failure and has been on Lasix and a few other meds to help deal this issue. He has been on the medication for 3 months. It seemed to be helping him. He hardly coughed anymore.

The last couple of nights, and now all day, today he’s been coughing.

I am worried about his quality of life. How do you know when is when..

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26 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

My sister says that if the dog can eat, pee, poop and sleep comfortably and wag his tail when you pet him, wait until tomorrow to consider this decision.

SpatzieLover's avatar

It’s a completely personal choice. Generally, I wait for a change in health. Small dogs cough due to flattening of the esophagus, too.

Also, I agree with @gailcalled‘s sister. We do the same in this household. If my dog answers me with a tail wag, can still go outside or on a pad to do potty, eats, drinks water and is still waking up from sleep to bark when the doorbell rings or follows me (even just with eyes) when I’m doing stuff, then I wait to decide.

Often in our home the decision is made for us. A seizure happens, or some major change. That’s when we know.

Coughing would not be enough of a reason for me. My grandparents also had heart issues. Including congestive heart failure. Coughing happens.

Does he seem stressed out? Is there a change in demeanor? Have you called the vet to ask about a doseage change for the furosemide?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

UGH, I’ve been wondering about this with my own dog. She’s rapidly getting worse with her pee dribbling everywhere, and doesn’t do much besides sleep these days.

I guess the only way to decide is to figure out whether or not the dog seems to be in pain. So far, my pup doesn’t seem to be hurting, so we keep trudging along.

syz's avatar

It’s possible that he may need a higher dose of Lasix.

janbb's avatar

If you trust your vet, I would talk to them about it. Mine was really great on end-of-life decisions.

Judi's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate , the vet gave my dog a prescription that fixed the pee dribble. (except for when I forget a dose.)

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Judi I know, my dog takes Proin, but it’s not working anymore. We even tried increasing her dose, but to no avail.

Judi's avatar

OH crap. Is that what I have to look forward to with Molly???? The other night when I was out of town my hubby said she got up and was making funny noises. She went outside and just lied there on the concrete. He was afraid she went out to die. he talked to her and encouraged her to come in the house. She’s fine now, but I wonder if he had a small heart attack or something. I hate that those cute little puppies get old and sick.

wundayatta's avatar

Only you can decide. It has to do with what you are comfortable with. You are the one perceiving the dog’s quality of life. You are responsible for the dog.

In the end, you can not know what the dog wants. You can only project your feelings on the dog. So imagine yourself as your dog. Would you want to live or die? Make your decision based on your projection.

As an outsider, I think it is ok to give your dog peace sooner rather than later. I think most owners wait too long. I think they do it because they can’t imagine living without their dog, but I don’t think they are being fair to their dogs.

YARNLADY's avatar

This is a decision only you and your veterinarian can make. I have had to make the decision three times so far. With two of them it was fairly easy, because the vet agreed they needed it, but one vet kept our dog for several days for treatment that cost us hundreds of dollars before the dog died.

Sunny2's avatar

Don’t wait too long or you’ll feel guilty for not being strong enough to make the big decision for your pet. @YARNLADY ‘s recommendation of conferring with your vet is the best one. And ask the vet what he/she would decide if it has his/her dog. The vet would know better than you what the dog will have to go through. It’s a hard decision. You have my sympathy.

rooeytoo's avatar

I feel I am the best judge of this. Too many vets and doctors, IMHO, like to try all their assorted pills and tests and whatever. I don’t want this for myself or my dog. If you have the sort of vet who thinks only of the dog and not of his retirement fund, then by all means confer, otherwise, look into your heart. I truly agree with @wundayatta on this one. I think many people, because of their own grief, allow the dog to hang on when really the dog is ready. I always think this poem says it all and very poignantly at that!

Before I Go

Before I grow too frail and weak,
And all that’s left is peace in sleep.

I know you’ll do what must be done
To end this fight that can’t be won.

I don’t fear death as humans do,
So let me try to comfort you.

Come, let’s take a quiet stroll
And share some time, soul to soul.

No need for words ‘tween you and I,
No need to say a last Good-bye.

We’ve grown so close in mind and heart,
It seems so cruel that we must part.

Be sure I’ll sense the pain you’ll feel,
Without me walking at your heel.

The days will seem full of despair,
Your “Sunshine” simply won’t be there.

In time the pain will slowly wane,
You’ll think of me and smile again.

Now take me where my needs they’ll tend
And stay with me until the end.

Hold me close with soft Good-byes
Until life’s bright light has left my eyes.

The final sound I need to hear
Is your soft voice upon my ear.

Your loving face will fade and dim
As the rush of heaven closes in.

And when you start your journey home,
I’ll be right behind, you are not alone.


There is another that tells the story even better. If you want I will put that one up as well.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@rooeytoo absolutely beautiful and why would it not apply to humans as well? If @Mama_Cakes does not mind, I am sure it would be comforting to read the other one you have.

rooeytoo's avatar

To My Family———May I Go
> May I go now?
> Don’t you think the time is right?
> May I say good-bye to pain filled days
> and endless lonely nights?
> I’ve lived my life and done my best,
> an example tried to be.
> So can I take that step beyond
> and set my spirit free?
> But something seems to draw me now
> to a warm and loving light.
> I want to go, I really do!
> It’s difficult to stay.
> But I will try as best I can
> to live just one more day.
> To give you time to care for me
> and share your love and fears;
> I know you’re sad and afraid,
> because I see your tears.
> I’ll not be far, I promise that,
> and hope you’ll always know
> That my spirit will be close to you
> wherever you may go.
> Thank you so for loving me,
> you know I love you too.
> That’s why it’s hard to say good-bye
> and end this life with you.
> So hold me now, just one more time
> and let me hear you say,
> Because you care so much for me,
> you’ll let me go today.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

“As an outsider, I think it is ok to give your dog peace sooner rather than later. I think most owners wait too long. I think they do it because they can’t imagine living without their dog, but I don’t think they are being fair to their dogs.”

I’m not thinking about myself here. I truly don’t want him to suffer. I say to myself, he’s had 16 wonderful years. I want to him be comfortable and go peacefully.

janbb's avatar

@rooeytoo Tears well up!

I had a beautiful “letting go” time at my wonderful vet’s. This brings up the memories of my dear Prince.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@rooeytoo Thank-you, but that was awfully tough to get through.

He’s sleeping by my side, snuggled into my hip. I’m going to call the vet today and ask about a higher dosage of Lasix, When he was first put on it, he suddenly acted like a puppy.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Your dog will let you know when it’s time. When they give up and quit enjoying life, they’ll quit eating and drinking and wanting to do nothing but sleep. The tail quits wagging too. It’s tough but they have given up the fight at that point.

rojo's avatar

For years I have remembered a quote by Heinlein:
“When the need arises, and it does, you must be able to shoot your own dog. Don’t farm it out, that doesn’t make it nicer, it makes it worse.”
I made the decision when it reached the point where I felt like, if it were me, I would want someone to make the choice. This was at a time similar to that described by @Adirondackwannabe.
My sympathy, it is not an easy decision to make but make it and be there for your friend to the end.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

He’s on a higher dosage of Lasix and seems to be doing better.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Mama_Cakes Great news. Luck lady.

janbb's avatar

Yay for Doggie!

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I’m in the process of making French Toast and I have a spectator. Waiting for something to fall. :)

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Pee breaks every few hours! Yay!

rooeytoo's avatar

I am happy for you and your “pup!”

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