Our mini-Schnauzer is 14, blind, deaf and has heart failure and dementia. Is it more humane to let him die naturally at home or to put him to sleep? We want to do whatever is is in his best interest but we are not sure what that is. It is going to be hard on the kids either way so we are not factoring that in. Bud doesn't seem to be in a lot of pain although he does move very slow and hacks constantly. Every morning I half expect him to have passed in the night and check to see if he is still breathing. Please advise.
I don't think that blindness and deafness should be part of the consideration. Dogs compensate so well with their noses that they don't miss their eyes or their ears as much as a human would. Dogs sense of smell is like sonar, and they can actually get a 3-dimensional picture by smell. It is really hard for humans to understand this but it is true.
I think that if Bud's good times out weigh his bad ones than it may not be time yet, especially if he is not incontinent, and he still has a sparkle in his eye. If his eyes look dull and lifeless than he may have already have died a bit on the inside and this would make your decision easier. In Chinese medicine that life, or sparkle, in the eye is called the Shen. Watch Bud's Shen. However, if Bud is not painful, and he still enjoys his food and plays a bit, and the dementia is only an occasional occurance than give him some more time.
Since you need to think about it, you're probably on the right track about putting him to sleep. If there is no joy at all left in his life, and it's just pain and taking one breath after another, it's probably time. Run it by your vet as well before you make the decision. I just had to deal with a similar situation, and our vet gave us pills to sedate our dog with before we took her in. It was much better for her, and for us. I'm so sorry you have to make the decision. They don't make it easy on us sometimes. :-(
Thank you so much for your kind words. This is so tough but I want to make sure that we put Buds best interest first. Gosh, I wish he could tell us what he is thinking. Just when I am sure he has no joy left he surprises us and gets a little pep in his step although it is usually short lived. You're right though. I need to run it by the vet. I have been putting that off because I am worried they'll what to perform heroic measures which I am confident is not the right call and will only slightly prolong everyones pain.
Thank you for your thoughtful response. I do tend to humanize Buds condition as I have a grandmother who is 94, deaf and blind (due to macular degeneration) and has stomach cancer. I lump the two together in my mind unintentionally which is why it is actually harder for me to consider putting Bud. Yes, he has a sparkle but it is infrequent and short lived. I think I am going to let nature take its course unless it appears that Bud is in pain or his bad days outweigh his good days. It is so hard o be objective but I will do as best as humanly possible.
My Zoe's stomach seems distented and her breathing is shallow -- at night, especially. She's 14 and a half. I love her. She had surgery after Christmas to remove a benign tumor and although she was recovering nicely afterwards, she then became ill, began vomiting and had blood in her stool. Her X-Ray revealed the distention and gas in her stomach. She lost weight. I was in a state of panic. She has recovered from all that, and her potty/stools and appetite are completely normal -- ahe's gained some weight -- but I've noticed her breathing is still shallow and her stomach seems bigger than it was before the surgery. I am so incredibly sad and worried. She seems happy and appreciates all the love and caresses I give her with her responsive cooing sounds. She's thrilled to go for walks. Zoe and her younger brother Cicero try to outdo each other greeting and barking at people. My heart goes out to both of them. The time she's with us on this earth is a blessing. She knows she is loved and any advice you give us will be so appreciated!
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