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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When do you know when it's time to put a beloved pet to sleep? Our 13 year old husky/malamute cross Timber weighs 135 lbs. All of a sudden yesterday he can't seem to use one of his hind legs and can't make it up the stairs anymore to be in the house. We have put him in our heated garage for now. I let him out to go to the bathroom a while ago but he only hopped a few feet and laid down. He won't eat either. His mother lived to age 12 and lost the use of both back legs overnight. The vet said it was some sort of tumor in her spine and that she was too old to operate on it so she had to be put to sleep a few years ago. I am hoping that Timber doesn't have the same problem. Last time he was at the vet's she said he was in good shape except for an immune deficiency that makes him go almost bald twice a year. DH says it is time to put him to sleep but I don't want to do that unless it is absolutely necessary..
 

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Crazy Dog Lady
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Everyone has their own opinion on this. When I worked in vet clinics, clients used to ask us all the time if we felt it was the right time to euthanize their elderly pets. We always told them "you know your pet better than I do, when the time is right you'll know."

Some people feel as long as the animal is eating and drinking, its not "time" yet. Others put more stock in quality of life - the dog who lives to chase the ball and can't do it anymore, in their opinion, isn't living a life worth living anymore. Others refuse to euthanize for any reason, and wait for the animal to die a natural death.

I just lost my 12-year old AmStaff this past summer, of natural causes. He tried to die on me half a dozen times in his last 2 years (stopped eating/drinking, looked miserable, vet couldn't find anything wrong), but each time he sprung back like nothing had ever happened. When he finally did pass on, it was without warning. He ate/drank fine the night before, attitude was fine, no indication that it was his last night on this Earth.

You have to decide at what point you feel that your dog has no quality of life. You say he's not eating, and he has experienced a sudden loss of use of his hind legs. If it were my dog (and this is only my opinon) I'd take him to the vet to see if they can find anything wrong before I make any decisions. That being said, if I had a dog that had to live in a heated garage for the rest of his life as opposed to in the house with the family, if he was used to being in the house with family, I'd definately take that into consideration.

I hope he gets better for you...........
 

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It doesn't sound good for your old friend. I'm so sorry.

It will be nearly impossible to help a dog that big get around like normal. If he were 40 pounds you could carry him as needed or if he were 80 pounds you could easily use a sling to help him. At 135, your options are limited if he doesn't regain use of his hind legs.

BML gave some good advice about consulting with your vet. If nothing can be done, then the kindest thing will be to put him down.
 

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Super Mom and College Kid
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How I knew it was time for Katie when she no longer loved to be held,touched or looked at. Would stare for hours at the wall,or just some place esle. the vet couldn't find anything physically wrong with her at the time. {we found out later with her necropsy she had a huge tumor on her brain.} I'll never know why any of the tests never found it. She acted like she had doggie dementia. The night before we made the arrangements to put her down. She climbed up in my lap like she used to and sighed a long kind of suffering sound and fell asleep. I knew she was suffering. and we couldn't find a cause. But she acted like she knew we were sending her to our Lord. and for that short time she was happy.
 

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It is a very difficult decision because we want to hold on for us. We miss them when their gone. There will come a point when he lets you know he's ready. The vet I used to work for had a dog that woke him in the night whining and licking his face (she slept in bed with him). She had never done that before, but had been suffering for quite a while with congestive heart failure.

My heart goes out to you. May many wonderful memories carry you through.
 

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I am so sorry, this is THE most difficult decision a pet owner has to face. If his back leg has gone useless, I would be suspicious of stroke, tumor or something. I am a believer that they will let you know; if he is refusing food and can only lay down, he might be telling you something. I am so so so sorry. The options open to us are so wonderful though, a quick needle and they just go to sleep.

My prayers and thoughts are with you, whatever decision you make. So very sorry.
 

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So sorry you are going through this. I would take him to the vet and see what the vet says. :(
 

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When to let them go, is when you look into their eyes and they say let me go. I love you but I need to go. Its hard but they will tell you, when its time.
 

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This sounds so much like what happened with my 14-year-old hundred pound dog. It happened so suddenly that I kept thinking it was "something" that could be fixed. I was using a sling to lug her outside a couple of times a day, while waiting to get in touch with the vet (snowstorm, long story). The moment I knew was when I took her out to pee and she fell over onto her side and just lay there.

It was a very hard thing to give in and admit but I have to say that I found peace with the decision very quickly. She was my first dog ever and very beloved. But I knew it was time. I knew that the dog I had in my heart and memory did not want to be so helpless.

I am so sorry you are going through this! You will make the right decision (either way) because you know your dog best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for your kind thoughts. Some reserved good news- We kept Timber out in the heated garage for a couple of nights and I gave him Metacam twice a day for pain and inflamation.
The old boy has rallied once again! He is still weak in the back legs but can now make it up and down the shorter set of stairs from our outside basement entry without us having to lift him. It was so hard on him to be separated from the rest of us when he was in the garage but he seems to be getting better every day. I am hoping that he will totally regain the use of his hind leg again soon. If this dog was a cat he would have used up a few of his lives already. When he was a pup he had a large tumor on his jaw that went away over time, was pushed out of the back of a moving pickup truck a few years ago and hurt his front leg, was backed over by an SUV and sustained two broken ribs and has been dealing with a zinc deficiency on and off over the years. He is tough old dog and it would be nice to have him around for a bit longer.
 
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