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Letting a dog die naturally... - Page 2

post #21 of 74
Thread Starter 

Thanks, SundayCrepes and everyone!  SundayCrepes, sorry to hear about Emma, but glad that it was the right time.  So did the vet come to your house?

 

Kenai has miraculously come around!  We stopped taking him for walks, but we let him out daily to walk around our acre property.  Occasionally he stumbles from walking over something, but it is not common.  Sometimes he falls for seemingly no reason, but that is very rare.  He cares very much for the new baby and makes an effort to visit with her and give her kisses about once or twice a week.  He still loves the smell of roasting chicken and will beg, but we stopped giving him any scraps at all because of how sensitive his gut can be.  He eats breakfast, but does not eat dinner every day, his choice.  I am okay with that because when I had to carry him when his legs gave out he weighed SO much more than I thought he did and more than I ever remember him weighing.  Since his energy usage is so low these days, if we can keep him on the slender side, that will help him with moving his body around.

 

I have not had a veterinarian assess him for whether or not we should be giving him pain medication.  He is managing his daily activities quite well, is not acting strange in any way, so I will save that option for when things get closer.  For now we are just grateful!

post #22 of 74

Glad your dog's better. That was how our dog was. She was so sick we weren't sure what to do, but she didn't seem unhappy. We nursed her and she got better for months. We could see the slow decline, but she still seemed to be enjoying life. She was never cross, had a fine appetite, and liked laying outside on cool mornings. Then she instantaneously was worse. The vet thinks she had a stroke. We couldn't bear to see her suffer so it wasn't hard to put her down. Actually, when we told our son that is what we were going to do he agreed it was the right thing. Then he said, "But we won't do that to us." Well...I do believe in euthanasia for humans, but it didn't seem the right time to mention it. So I just said, "We're young and healthy. This has nothing to do with us right now." He told me, "I'm really young, but you're really old." Yes, but not as old as Emma (in dog years.)

post #23 of 74

I have experienced both methods for end of life with pets- I prefer the natural way. Euthenasia felt wrong, and the choice still does not sit well with me, but I can't take it back. The ones that went naturally, well it felt right and still does. They went on their own terms, not mine.

I would rather experience the process of death than be euthanized personally.

 

Enjoy Kenai while you have him- evaluate each moment as it comes and don't rush into anything you might regret.

post #24 of 74
Saw this bumped up... Hoping for an update on Kenai!
post #25 of 74
Thread Starter 

It has pained me to open this thread for a while because I cannot say that I have had him evaluated by a vet.  And I fear that will alienate me from some of you.

Gratefully he is still here with us!  Since I first posted this he has gotten better and then recently he started to go downhill again.  He wasn't eating his evening kibble and getting skinnier and looking sad.  Again my mom wanted to euthanize him but I didn't want to and it caused some tension.  Also, he was throwing up the kibble.  He seemed really hungry, but he wouldn't eat the kibble.  So I started feeding him straight canned food in the evening.  He had been getting half and half dry/wet in the morning and then all dry in the evening.  He wolfed down the canned food and has been eating it every night.  Also I started giving him lots and lots of body rub-downs.  He sleeps most of the day and then in the evening when the kids are asleep and the house is still he comes and finds me in some room and I rub him down thoroughly.  I have to support his body under his back half because as he stretches and leans into the scratch he's not strong enough to stand on his own.  It makes a mighty mess!  (He is a husky/shepherd mix.) He looks so happy afterward!  

He is at the age where I would be happy if he died, but I want it to be on his terms.  It is so precious to see how he handles with grace and strength his body's transition toward the end.  I hope I can be as strong.

post #26 of 74

PLEASE, please, please bring him in to be seen.  I am all for natural death....but without suffering.  All of my pets have died naturally and I always kept various meds on hand to ease any suffering and pain.  Look to this site for recognizing pain http://www.vet.cornell.edu/pain/recognize.htm

Also they can advise food/supplements that is best for maintaining muscle mass.   They may also recommend at minimum some subcutaneous fluids (iv best) to balance out fluid loss from vomiting.

 Ultimately it is your decision on euthanasia and although they may advise that route...you have final say and can ask for the best things to keep him comfortable in his final days.

post #27 of 74

Thank you for posting an update. I was afraid to open it and see that he had passed. I'm glad that's not the case. I do agree that pain management is so important -- you don't want any animal to suffer needlessly. OTOH, I do see your perspective about going "naturally" and I'm glad that you are doing what you can to make him feel loved. It sounds like he knows you are there for him. I just hope that you will reconsider pain meds if things continue downhill.

post #28 of 74

dying naturally doesnt mean that you should deny your dog medical help, you wouldnt do that for a child would you? Well your dog depends on you like a child to treat them for illness and to keep them comfortable.

post #29 of 74

I'm curious as to why you won't take him in for an evaluation.

post #30 of 74

"Dying naturally" could be wailing in pain, for days. That's what it often was, in the old days. And I don't mean "evidence" from fiction novels written in the past, I mean anecdotal evidence from contemporaries. For example, the death of Albrecht Duerer's mom, in her old age, was natural - and very hard.

 

I think I just don't conflate "natural" with magical, warm and fuzzy. Cancer deaths are very natural yet many of those are awful. Hospices exist for a reason.

 

 

post #31 of 74



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDouble View Post

"Dying naturally" could be wailing in pain, for days. That's what it often was, in the old days. And I don't mean "evidence" from fiction novels written in the past, I mean anecdotal evidence from contemporaries. For example, the death of Albrecht Duerer's mom, in her old age, was natural - and very hard.

 

I think I just don't conflate "natural" with magical, warm and fuzzy. Cancer deaths are very natural yet many of those are awful. Hospices exist for a reason.

 

 


THis is why having pain meds on hand is good.  death in pets isn't the same is in humans....my pets have all passed naturally....and not necessarily in their sleep.  My last girl had liver failure and developed ascites.  She wanted to hide and be somewhere quiet.  My hubby and I were close to her and her final meal was some whipped cream from my finger.  I sat with her and talked to her and pet her and generally was just there.  She passed on...yes there was agonal breaths but I knew all the signs.  I knew she was going.  I had her for 16 years from the time I was 16.  Another that was natural....again I recognized the signs and took her to our yard so she could sit in the grass in the sun.  It was quiet and peaceful.

 

Yes chronically ill pets can suffer and slowly waste away it can be very sad....that is why I am big on recommending meds to keep them comfortable in their final hours.  There are pet hospices...and hospice treatment that is all done at home.  This is all about keeping a loved one comfortable...not to prolong suffering....but to ease it in their final moments.  The goal of animal hospice is to provide comfort, dignity, and a sense of peace to animals reaching the end of their natural lives. The focus of care is on sustaining the highest quality of life for whatever time remains.


 

 

post #32 of 74

I am very happy you didn't put him down. Way too many people euthenize because it's more convenient with the bs of they were probably in pain anyway. I believe in fighting for the ones you love instead of killing them. What food are you giving him? It could be contaminated and making him sick. there are better tasting foods out there that are probably healthier. I can't see ever putting my 13 yr old dog down. It makes me ill to think about people who do that because it's usually just because bing.. you've hit that age good bye.  After 10 years on nutro my dog started throwing it up. They switched companies and it went down hill. I switched her food and she never throws  up now though she is thinning down in her old age. I also will be pumping her up with 100% meats from here on out. I find that's the quickest way to get animals fat is 100% pure meat.

post #33 of 74

I think that refusing pain medication to your dying beloved pet is horribly cruel.  I also think your idea that it is important to starve to death because it is "natural" is animal abuse.

 

Sure, if a pet keels over and dies quickly, that is simpler for the pet owner,  But you are simply neglecting your duties.  You are using some bogus "crunch points" as an excuse to avoid your responsibility to give meds & make a tough call for euthanasia when the time is right.  IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU.   

 

Better hope you don't get reincarnated as a dog in a future life!

post #34 of 74

Where did she say it's important to starve to death, or even that her dog IS starving to death???

post #35 of 74

As far as the eating goes, have you tried special dog food for dogs with digestive issues? My 10 year old dog was losing tons of weight, having bowel issues, and always sad and lethargic. After a visit to the vet, it was recommended we start giving her Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal food. When we switched food she started eating again, pooping normally, and was much happier. Obviously, it won't cure a dog that's suffering from a wide range of issues from old age, but if he's having problems digesting his food, it could help that particular problem. After my dog stabilized, we switched her to a cheaper digestive health food.

post #36 of 74


I agree

 

Euthanasia isnt easy, Ive done it, and I will do it again rather then let my pets suffer. Leaving your dog in pain, with no appetite and not enjoying anything in their life is cruel IMO, would you want to spend weeks or even months lying in bed, unable to do anything in terrible agony? Or would you rather fall asleep and never wake up before you've reached a point where life is unbearable. I have no issues with people allowing their animals to pass peacefully, as long as they are being humane and not subjecting their dog to pain and wasting away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMommy2 View Post

I think that refusing pain medication to your dying beloved pet is horribly cruel.  I also think your idea that it is important to starve to death because it is "natural" is animal abuse.

 

Sure, if a pet keels over and dies quickly, that is simpler for the pet owner,  But you are simply neglecting your duties.  You are using some bogus "crunch points" as an excuse to avoid your responsibility to give meds & make a tough call for euthanasia when the time is right.  IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU.   

 

Better hope you don't get reincarnated as a dog in a future life!



 

 

post #37 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMommy2 View Post

I think that refusing pain medication to your dying beloved pet is horribly cruel.  I also think your idea that it is important to starve to death because it is "natural" is animal abuse.

 

Sure, if a pet keels over and dies quickly, that is simpler for the pet owner,  But you are simply neglecting your duties.  You are using some bogus "crunch points" as an excuse to avoid your responsibility to give meds & make a tough call for euthanasia when the time is right.  IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU.   

 

Better hope you don't get reincarnated as a dog in a future life!


The tone of this is HIGHLY inappropriate in this thread. You can get your point across without being so incredibly unkind to someone working through these issues.

 

OP I hope you and your dog are doing well.  We let our 16 year old golden go naturally. She was eating small bits of cat food and drinking small bits of water until her last day (which was a Sunday). She passed away in our yard, on a blanket in the sun, surrounded by all of us. We loved her deeply and I understand completely how hard it is to figure out what the right decision is and when we may need to take matters into our own hands. 
 

 

post #38 of 74

Quote:

Originally Posted by babygirlie View Post

Way too many people euthenize because it's more convenient with the bs of they were probably in pain anyway.

 

It makes me ill to think about people who do that because it's usually just because bing.. you've hit that age good bye. 

 

This is painting with an overly broad -- and very unfair -- brush.  The decision to euthanize a suffering, dying animal is as gut-wrenching as it is humane.

post #39 of 74

OliveJewel, I wanted to jump in here because I know how hard it must be for you to open this thread right now.

 

While I believe pain medication can be of benefit if your pet is in pain, I also believe you are probably the best person to know if your pet is in pain. For me, a sudden disinterest in food means they need medical attention and they need it RIGHT NOW - but they are food-oriented Goldens, if they're not eating there's something terribly wrong. ;) My aunt's daschunds might refuse to eat because they're temperamental, and she wouldn't think much of it. As long as you've had Kenai, I believe you know him well enough to read his cues, and would seek pain management options if they were necessary. Having said that, I would gently suggest that you consider investigating those options before they are a critical need... even a light painkiller could make the difference between more good days, or an easier end for him, when it's time, and you'd probably rather have those on hand than have to hunt some down in an emergency. Even if you have some baby aspirin in the house, that could be enough in a pinch - just make sure you know how much to give him to take the edge off, if he needs it from you. You don't want to have to think about that in a very difficult time, you know?

 

I also want to say that I have some rather extensive experience with end-of-life-care in humans, and I think the two are remarkably similar. You could always tell when an elderly patient was about to die because they'd stop eating and their energy levels would drop sharply. Because these are signs of pain, doctors would dose them with morphine to keep them comfortable, which further suppressed their appetite and energy levels. Cyclically, this went round and round: more and more evidence of pain, so more and more morphine. Behind the scenes, we referred to it as "pain-management euthanasia." Eventually the patient would die, and whether that was due to truly natural causes, or medical intervention exacerbating the issues, is anybody's guess, but my gut says we don't help matters much.

 

It seems to me as though you're doing the best for Kenai that you can do, and he is a very lucky dog to have an owner so dedicated to ensuring his quality of life even until the very last day. Let him tell you when it's time, and the rest will fall into place.

 

((hugs)) to you... I know this isn't easy.

post #40 of 74

i am practical when it comes to pets. that's why i would have him evaluated by a vet, but i would NOT be talked into any expensive tests or treatments. no way. i would set a budget for the visit (under $100) and see what they come up with. they should be able to give a thorough physical exam and run blood tests for that amount of money.

 

that said, i have had most of my pets die naturally, at old ages. recently, our 13y 7 mo golden retriever died outside, in the late morning, in june, under a pine tree close to the house. she had eaten cat food just 1-2 hours earlier. she had her annual exam at the vet 10 days earlier, and he noted that she was slowing down, but otherwise not with any noticeable conditions. hers was a good death.

 

i lost a cat, age 19y 7mo. there was something in her cry that made me aware that she was not herself anymore. i took her to the vet, who noted she was down to 4 lbs, 2 oz and definitely slowing down, but, again, nothing noticeable/treatable (as if you can even treat conditions in that advanced of old age). she slowed down completely, stopped eating and died stretched across the heater vent in the bathroom within about a day and a half of the vet visit. another pretty good death.

 

earlier i lost another 19 yo cat, who got progressively skinnier, and slowed down his activity. on the morning that he eventually died later in the afternoon, he came to the kitchen at feeding time, watched me open the can, then turned around and walked out. he spent his last morning sleeping in the sunshine on a living room chair. then he sloooowwwly walked to the bedroom heater vent (it was january) and laid there, barely moving, barely breathing. i decided to have him put to sleep. my mom came over to help me transport him to the vet. in his fragile condition, i decided i would just hold him on my lap in my car. while my mom backed my car down my driveway, i felt a wet spot suddenly appear on my jeans leg. he has passed away in my arms (and thus drained his bladder). excellent death, don't you think?

 

but i have also had it go bad. i had a 13 yo cat, whose first sign of something wrong was a messed up eye. turned out he had cancer. he passed within 2 weeks of being healthy, to going fast. he was overweight, and died so soon, he never got skinny at all. i had him to the vet the night before he died, and the vet gave him a shot of cortisone, said it was 50/50 that it might work and he could live another 6 months, or it would go the other way and he would die soon. it went the bad way. by the next morning, he could not move. it was pitiful. he cried in pain. but i was terrified to move him as any movement on his own elicited a sharp cry. he was in agony. and i felt horrible that i had not had him put to sleep when i had the chance the day before. he finally passed after about 2 hours of agony. towards the end, i heard a *pop* noise from within him, then he lapsed into a coma and never came out. i knew he was gone when he stopped breathing. a very poor way of passing. i regret it a lot.

 

sooooo.......... my bottom line recommendation is to get some professional input. that way you have some guidance. and if things do go badly, you can have some solid advice on how to proceed.

 

wishing you all the best!

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