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We have a year and a half old lab/pit bull/shepherd mix who is a magnificent dog. He is our little boy and gentle as a lamb, smart, part of the family, even protected me once from serious harm at his own risk. We owe this dog everything, even though he has been alive less than 2 years.

After a couple months of health troubles the pathology report came back. Stage V Lymphoma. The lumps are even in his eyes. He can see but they stick out and it looks like raw meat. He rubs them against walls and anything he can find because they itch? I don't know, but the blood goes all over. So unfair for a dog his age. Our vet go several opinions so there really is no doubt here. we have giving him the best medical care and spared no expense (but chemo is out, we have seen how it destroys people, plus it is too late for it to do much good).

His body is covered in lumps and his breathing is very labored on and off from the tumors in his organs/lungs, at times its fine, others he sort of pants with his mouth shut. He trots not runs and cannot jump up on the bed any more. Mostly he lays around the house rubbing his eyes and doing nothing where he used to follow me around, play, chase squirrels, etc. We have already signed the papers and paid the vet so when the time comes we can just go in and say goodbye.

Here is the problem. he is definitely my husband's dog. When he sees him its like al his energy gathers together and he looks happy, follows him around in the yard, even tried to chase lizards like he used to. For a while, until he gets tired, you would barely know he was sick except for how horrible his eyes look.

We also have a new puppy. She loves him and before he got real sick they played but now he just snaps in her direction to get her away, he is not up to play. I spend my time trying to balance making our dog's end of life as special as possible and not ignoring the puppy because she will be here when our dog (Sirius) is gone and I want to raise her properly. This is also quite stressful on both me and my husband, not only watching him suffer but not knowing when the right time is to put him down.

So that is my question. When do you know? It doesn't look like this cancer is painful and the vet said  it will be more his breathing than real pain. He is not happy but he is not terribly unhappy either, from what we can tell but who really knows, its a guessing game unless he could talk. We do not want him to suffer but we do not want to let him go too early either, and do not want to be selfish by letting him go now just because it is hard on us. (I cry all the time and my husband is a wreck).

So is there some kind of secret formula or something so we know when to put him down? I do not trust my or my husband's judgement fully right now only because we are so wrapped up emotionally, yet asking friends is hard because they do not love him like we do.

Do you have any advice on this?

Please answer as soon as you can, thank you so much.

Diana

Answer
I am so sorry to hear about your dog; sometimes life just isn't fair.

In my experience, the dog will usually tell the owner when it is time. They no longer want to eat, and the light seems to go out of their eyes. For me, those have generally been old dogs, as my dogs have been fairly healthy over the years.

Here is a site that may help you more; just scroll down for answers to a question similar to yours: http://ask.metafilter.com/129451/What-happens-if-we-dont-give-our-dog-chemo

Here is more up-to-date info on this horrible disease: http://www.caninecancer.com/Lymphoma.html

{{{{{HUGS to your family!}}}}}

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Karen Brittan

Expertise

I have been showing miniature schnauzers in conformation, obedience, and earthdog for forty years, and am a professional dog groomer. I am not a veterinarian and cannot answer questions of a veterinary nature. However, I can give my opinion or share some experiences on some health issues. Everyone should remember that this is a volunteer service, and few of us are up late into the night. Medical emergencies require a veterinary visit, or at least a telephone call... not an internet question which might not be viewed and answered until hours later. If your dog is sick or injured, it should be seen by a licensed professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Experience

I have taught obedience classes and have taught people how to groom for many years.

Learn more about me and my dogs: http://britmorschnauzers.com

Organizations
Member of: American Miniature Schnauzer Club; Twin Cities Miniature Schnauzer Club; Twin Cities Obedience Training Club; Elk River Kennel Club; Minnesota Professional Pet Groomers Association; Greater Twin Cities Earthdog Club.

Education/Credentials
Fifty-one years of living with, observing, and training dogs, along with numerous seminars during that time.

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