How Do I Know When It’s Time?
Flash and Patches went to the vet last week. Their joints hurt. They pant all the time. They’re 15 years old. I’ve never been this far along in the aging journey with a dog, so I asked the vet, “How do I know when it’s time?” First she walked me through all of the things she knew about my dogs.
- Their gums and teeth are pink, meaning they’re healthy
- Their weight is holding steady
- Their hearts have a slight murmur, but that’s expected with age, and they’re still beating well
- Their temperatures are fine
Then she asked a ton of questions. She prescribed Rimadyl for pain and gave them each an Adequan shot. She recommends I bring them in once a month for the shot and keep them on pain killers. At 15 they have nothing to lose. And, of course, I’ll keep giving them the Synovi G4 and their Windees from Jones Natural Chews.
Signs that A Dog Is Nearing the End
Again I asked, “How do I know when it’s time?” She broke down some things which will help me to recognize the end when it’s near. The signs are:
- Muddy colored tongue and gums – this indicates that not enough oxygen is circulating through the system
- Dog stops eating and drinking
- Incontinence – peeing in the house, or in the place which it sleeps
- Can’t make it outside to the bathroom – with tiny dogs it’s easy enough to carry them outside, but with 60 pound dogs, not only is it difficult for me to get them in and out every time, it’s uncomfortable to the dog, being lifted and taken in and out multiple times a day
- Weight loss – I assume this doesn’t always happen when the dog stops eating, but can happen for other reasons
- Frequent vomiting
- Dementia – the dog wanders around the backyard without remembering how to find the door is what she mentioned as a sign
A Good Vet Visit
This was a good vet visit. I’m always a little nervous that it will be our last, since I just didn’t know what to look for. I think that the question, “How do I know when it’s time?” is a good one to ask the vet once a dog or cat is advanced in age. Now I know that I don’t really have to worry or panic, but that I can watch for some pretty specific signs. My own dogs got a clean bill of health for advanced seniors. They’re in pain, but it’s extremely manageable.
If you have a senior dog and it’s exhibiting any of the above symptoms, get it to your vet, STAT. Your dog will thank you. Ask questions. Prepare yourself and your dog and family. I’m not sure, yet, how I’ll be preparing. These are my babies. There’s part of me that’s very grateful they didn’t cross the Rainbow Bridge while I was battling cancer last year. And there’s part of me that knows they’ll be at peace and pain free when it’s time for them to go. But there’s an even bigger part of me that will be two Aussie sized holes for a very long time.
I’m just glad that now I know better what to look for. Maybe I’ll even start preparing myself for that day and hour.
Spreading the good chews …