Follow
Share

My dad is 92, has dementia but lives at home with a daytime caregiver. He has a dog, 12 yrs old, blind, deaf and is diabetic. He requires 2 shots a day which we pay someone to cover over and administer the shots. The dog wears a dog diaper and also is now constipated. I know, I know, the dog should be put down but it is my dad's joy and reason for living. All he does is love on him. Dad's at the point where he doesn't care if the house smells or he smells. He sobs and sobs (actually wails) when the dog is gone for a couple of hours when he's at the vet. I'm afraid dad will go downhill when the dog is gone but I don't want the dog to suffer anymore. Will dad ask everyday where the dog is and then cry all over again. Its just so awful and sad.

Find Care & Housing
1 2 3
I think we all mean well even tho
our opinions may differ . What we need to keep in mind is that any decision that is made will be made out of love . As an owner of multiple dogs through many years dogs , at least my dogs , are all different . My little one now screams as if she’s in pain when she sees the vet pick up a needle . If I wasn’t in the room I’d think they were killing her when in reality they haven’t even touched her . The dog we lost a few months ago was a stoic and the vet , who knew her her whole life of 15 years said we may never know when she’s in pain until she can know longer walk or stand on her own . I took the advice of my husbands doctors not to put her down as he would be so devastated . I listened until I could listen no more and in hindsight should have let her go way before I did . I know if my husband didn’t have AD he would have made the decision long before I did . As I said what we do is out of love so don’t judge too harshly . Turns out my husband mourned but no more than he would have before AD . Her pictures are taped all over our bedroom and we talk about all she contributed to our lives for so many years each night before bed and every morning when we get up . I will say that the fact that there is another dog in the house to focus on has helped greatly. Do whatever decision is made , and I know how agonizing it is , will be the right one for the dog lover involved .
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Somethingelsa
Report

As much as you love your dad, the poor dogs well being/ pain and discomfort must be considered too. No one but the dog truly knows if it's in pain.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Bethcares40
Report
Isthisrealyreal Jan 24, 2020
Beth, you can tell when a dog is in pain. They are not silent sufferers, they pant when they are in pain. When they are truly suffering they will even whimper.
(5)
Report
See 5 more replies
There is a very good chance that the dog will die before your dad does. Have you thought about what you will do then? Depending on your dad's level of confusion, you might be able to introduce a toy dog as a "new puppy" now- before it is needed. This may make his distress less when his poor dog passes away.

They have some very realistic animal friends for dementia patients.

https://www.alzstore.com/alzheimers-companion-pet-therapy-p/0604.htm
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Alicew234
Report
Maryjann Jan 9, 2020
Have you actually seen one of these? I am going to bookmark it for my MIL, for when she gets to that point as she just cannot live without a dog.
(0)
Report
See 2 more replies
Holy poop!! 74 responses in just a few days. I’m happy that the dog is not suffering and will be kept around a while longer, but it’s interesting how easy it seems to be for us to express our feelings about a dog’s wellbeing.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to bluefinspirit
Report

Thank you for keeping that dog alive. I’d say the vet needs to be put to sleep!! Nough said.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Greymare
Report

Thank you EVERYONE for your responses! They are ALL greatly appreciated. We decided to keep the dog with dad. Our hope is the dog will pass at dads home. But I believe he'll continue to give my dad so much love and joy and a reason to live. Pepe (the dog) is not physically suffering but is old, deaf, blind and diabetic. His caretaker is remarkable and will let us know of any changes. It was the vet who wanted to put the dog down. She believes she is the advocate for the animal and feels its the right thing to do. I respect her but we feel this is the right thing to do for our dad. Again thank you all for taking the time to respond to my question!
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to swicklund75
Report
Isthisrealyreal Jan 8, 2020
Thank you for the update. I would find another vet. I have met vets that are quick to recommend euthanasia. My vet said you will know, the dog will tell us when it is time.

You are truly blessed to have such great caregivers for your dad and his faithful companion.

Your dad is blessed to have you as his advocate. We should all be so blessed to have someone that looks to our hearts on this journey of caregiving.
(4)
Report
See 5 more replies
Veterinarian, is the best person to consult on quality of life, for the dog. If the dog has been assessed for a UTI, and other urinary complications, then follow the Veterinarian's quality of life recommendations.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Screennamed
Report

If you have a caretaker assist for your dad, ask her if she would mind helping w/ some aspects of the dogs care, or hire a dog sitter to do this. Or if you can perhaps you can do it your self. My dog is blind, 15, deaf, but still has quality of life, not in pain and is still somewhat continent of bowel and bladder. If the dog becomes incontinent, or is in regular obvious pain, THEN it is time to put her down. It's dad's dog. Only do what dad would do. If your father passes away first, then you can make these decisions.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to jdevorah1
Report

This is a tough situation to be in but you can deal with dog constipation at home with plain, unsweetened pumkin. One of our previous dogs was constipated. We called the veterinarian, he said to use pumpkin and if she didn't start going in a few days then he would have to use medication. Dog was no longer constipated by the end of the day. Pumpkin also works for diarrhea.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to SNeedsAVacation
Report

I woul dDeal with it just to Keep Dad Going a Bit Longer..If the Dog is Not Suffering, Don't you either. However, When the Dog Does, You make the Decision and tell Dad it was the most Humane way as I Say.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Parise
Report

I feel no dog or any animal should suffer needlessly. Yet, It’s so hard to part with our beloved animals. We make the decision for euthanasia because we love them and want their suffering to end.

I just want to say to everyone that has lost a fur baby that I know how much you loved and cared for them. We all miss the fur babies that we lose. We also have beautiful memories of them. They added so much joy to our lives. I loved all of my fur babies too.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Report

Dogs use there sense of smell far more than any other!! If the dog is eating and otherwise just hanging out I would advise against putting him down. Hes a heartbeat that your Dad can pet and talk too. Likewise I'm sure his dog likes to just sit next to him. Don't take them away from one another. I try and always follow the wishes as best as I can for the the one who needs care.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to H0tH0use
Report
needtowashhair Jan 6, 2020
I agree. I don't know why so many people are concluding that the dog is suffering. I see no evidence of that in OP's post. Yes, the dog has medical problems but so do many people who live rewarding lives. If you judge someone's suffering by a list of physical ailments, what would have happened to Stephen Hawking? With all his medical problems he lived a rewarding live and the world is better off for it.
(7)
Report
You are in a tough place, as it is obvious your dad is not ready to part with his old friend, and likely the old friend doesn't have very long as it is. If the dog is crying in pain, you might be able to convince your dad it would be more humane to let him go, but if not, and he loves the dog this much, I would try to manage his health as best you can. I'd hate to see a rift develop between you and your dad if he disagrees with your decision to put him down...Your dad is very attached and will grieve when he goes, that's for sure. Maybe he even worries that every trip to the vet is his dog's last, as on some level he may be sensing the inevitable himself. But with dementia it's hard to know. There is no easy answer for this one...my heart goes out to you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to twiedybird
Report

That is such a sad story, but you have to ask yourself - what happens when the dog dies on its own? I know that you're asking if the dog should be euthanized and perhaps you can sit down with dad (or not) and tell him that doggie is very unwell. So sad, I know.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report

I agree with the others. I'm very much an animal person and a constipated dog who is dealing with diabetes may be suffering. I know panting is a sign of pain. So please ask the vet. Unless you expect your dad to pass soon, he will have to deal with the dog's passing eventually, even if, as others say, you find excuses to tell him the white lies that the dog is elsewhere. Would it be impossible to have him attach to another similar dog? (I don't know how much your dad can see.)
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Maryjann
Report

This is coming from Dr. Fox which is an animal rights person and a veterinarian. He writes in newspapers and he had written this one that might help you.

I have drafted a basic Quality of Life assessment for animals under our care, which may help you make a more objective decision regarding if your cat has a life worth living and if euthanasia is preferable to keeping her alive. I hope this will help with your decision-making: In considering the quality of animals’ care and welfare, be they domesticated or captive wild, healthy, ill or injured, the following criteria are critical in assessing their well-being and having a life worth living:
» Provision of physical safety, hygiene and comfort.
» Satisfaction of basic physical and social needs.
» Freedom from fear.
» Provision of emotional security.
» Relief from pain and suffering.
» Control over immediate environment, especially for self-care and protection.
» Freedom to express natural behaviors.
» Opportunity to experience various sensory stimuli, which many species seek and enjoy.
Send all mail to animaldocfox@gmail.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns. Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxVet.net.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Manson
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Jan 5, 2020
Thanks for info.
(1)
Report
Kittybee and LexiPexi thanks for your comments on my response . They made me cry as I felt that perhaps my response was an “ all about me “ one which was not what I had intended. I really don’t feel I am any more loving or caring than any of us going through this . Just a heartbroken wife of 53 years trying as best as I can to cushion life for my husband to the best of my ability . Also learning that no one thing works for everyone and not to judge any decisions that others make and to ignore those that judge mine.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Somethingelsa
Report
LexiPexi Jan 5, 2020
I didn't think it was 'all about you'. It's about all of us going through this journey. You write beautifully. Your last two sentences above says a lot. Don't hesitate to comment in the future.
(2)
Report
Seems you need to ask the vet if the dog is at the point that euthanasia is the most humane option.

In the meantime, dad may need to be weaned off constant contact with the dog. Dog probably needs lots more uninterrupted rest. Dad needs to start coping with the dog "not being there" which is inevitable. Maybe say, "The dog is resting now," may help with the transition and when the dog is gone.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Taarna
Report

Maybe start talking with dad about how sick the dog is and when dog is not there, tell him it's at the vet and maybe let the dog spend a night away from your dad to get 'treatment'. Perhaps the conversation can then change to vet says he can no longer do anything to help. It might do him good to get another dog, an older one that is couch potato personality and could help him add another dog to love on before the inevitable happens. There are so many dogs that are several years old that need a loving home, but get overlooked when people are seeking puppies.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to my2cents
Report
my2cents Jan 5, 2020
Just to add - if the dog is not in pain and the diabetes is still managed well, it may just be an old age issue and not a suffering problem for the dog. To me, that is the most important thing to determine -- do not euthanize just because of age or health issues. It should happen when there is unrelieved pain...in my opinion
(11)
Report
If the dog isn’t suffering, I wouldn’t let it go. My Dad is 90 and loves his elderly toothless and sight challenged dog to bits. At 8 pm every night the dog nudges at my Dad’s hand to tell him it’s bedtime, so they have a very strong bond. I am sure Dad would be devastated if his dog wasn’t with him right now. He needs his companion with him right now.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to JulieKac
Report

I got my mom a robotic dog on Amazon. It wags its tail and barks and moves its head. It was specifically designed as companions for dementia patients. You might try that. https://www.amazon.com/Ageless-Innovation-Companion-Lifelike-Realistic/dp/B01L9B5JYU/ref=mp_s_a_1_1_sspa?keywords=robotic+dogs+for+seniors&qid=1578252574&sprefix=robotic+d&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFGMTI3WFgyQ004TFkmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA2MjIwNzExNFQ2TDJGT1JUNlk4JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA3MTUyODMxN1FDSDFZQlo1T05EJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfcGhvbmVfc2VhcmNoX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=
In either case the current dog should be put down soon, it is suffering.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to mikejrexec
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Jan 5, 2020
Great idea! Cruel to let a dog suffer.
(3)
Report
See 1 more reply
I couldn’t watch a dog suffer. Your dad loves the dog and wouldn’t want his dog to suffer. It’s so cruel to make them suffer.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Report

As with all answers for folks who care for relatives with dementia-- there are no honest answers--- if you tell them the truth, it will not do them any good--- so you tell Dad the dog is at the Vet getting medical help. Then you tell Dad he has won a 2 week stay at a New Hotel that will feed him and care for him !! ( an assisted living facility) ….
To help our mother who has recently passed away, we had to trick her into moving to a place that would be her earthly salvation and then move next door when she entered decline. If we had been soooooooooooooo honest and told her everything out misplaced guilt--- for at least two or three months we would have endured holy hell, and then she would have forgotten how she got there.
Also--- what we did was provide another dog that visited her instead of living there with her. IT ALL WORKED out fine. So do the right thing and take care of business. Talking about it will not make it any easier. But action will eventually bring a greater peace to the situation. And you do not have to tell him the dog is dead-- that would be extremely thoughtless. Good luck. Do the right thing.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to DugganB
Report

Absolutely not. If that is your dads reason for living, and he loves his dog that much, to put the dog down would be cruel. Your dad doesn't deserve such heartbreak. Hire a maid to come in and clean. Go to your local senior center and ask if they have volunteers to help with the dog. A dog walker, and someone to visit with your dad. I work in animal rescue and my Gramma's cat was taken away from her when she couldn't clean the litterbox anymore. She never got over it and never forgave my dad and uncle for taking the cat away. If that is your dads joy, and he cries when the dog is gone, please don't break his heart like that. My dad used to say "You only kill your mother once" meaning if you do something that you can't undo, the guilt and consequences may be worse than the original problem. Older people, even if they are living at home, have lost so much already. I saw on your profile you live in a different state than your dad. Is that still true? Please, I beg you, do not take his joy away from him. You might regret it more than you know, and after he is gone, you will wish you allowed him to be happy till the end. A dog is family. I understand the health issues. Your dad and the dog are aging together. The dog may be the only thing in his life that he can relate to. Dogs aren't disposable. The love he feels is real. If I lived near you, I would help. It is that important he keep his dog. The dog needs him to. Please don't put the dog down. Try to find help thru local organizations. United Way, local colleges, veterinary schools where a student can help, local vets. Most vets have people working for them who dog sit, dog walk, etc. Please keep us posted. What if it was you? He is 92. His friends are gone, his independance is gone, his faculties are going, he has lost so so much. The dog is all he has left that is his and has been there by his side. And the dog knows he is very sick. And your dad may be what is keeping the dog alive. They need each other. I can try to find you assistance with the house and smells etc. I will do what I can. This is very important to me. I will help anyway I can.
I don't know how to put my contact info down privately but if you can't private message me, and you have a FB account. Go to #1 Lost and Found Animals in McMinn County, TN and ALL Surrounding areas and leave a post that you need to talk to Juliana about your dads dog. I will do what I can.
P.S. I empathize with you and know that this is a difficult decision. I give you huge kudos for reaching out for advice. Whatever decision you make will be a tough one. I will keep you in my prayers and like I said, contact me if you'de like, and we can discuss it more in depth and try to come up with a solution. Even though a dog is old and sick doesn't mean he is ready to go. He won't go till his "master" does. But, I am not there. I would talk to the vet about the constipation. Maybe his anal glands are impacted. Maybe he needs more fiber in his diet. I have a great place to purchase top quality fish oil. It helped my dogs with constipation. You have to be careful with some products, and I researched like crazy when the vet said to get some fish oil. Some of it can make the dog sick. Please keep us posted. Whatever you decide to do is going to be tough. I have a whole network of people across the country that can help you if you need it. (((HUGS)))
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to JulianaMoon
Report
msgarrett Jan 6, 2020
I agree with you! I used to give my dog a scoop of cooked yams and she loved it and would beg for it everyday. I had my dog for almost 20 years, it broke my heart when she had a really bad seizure after being ill for 3 days, we went to the vet and she came back after I talked to her and petted her; but we had the vet give her the 2 shots and let her go to pet heaven. I didn’t want to see her go thru that again. It’s been one year and I still miss her so much. My dog was completely blind and wearing a diaper. You can tell when the dog is near end of life when all they want to do is sleep all the time and have a hard time walking. Mine just started to go down hill overnight. I held her for 3 days till the end. Would not trade that for anything. I say keep the dog for the old man and let them stay together until the end.
(2)
Report
This is a tough one. I feel for both your dad and the dog, and yes, the dog is suffering. Dogs are quite good at hiding pain, because it is a sign of weakness to other dogs and animals if they show pain. A vet will tell you that.

If you think your dad only has a few weeks to live (hard to tell, I'm sure) then I would say keep the dog, but otherwise it is time to end the poor animal's suffering.

I know this is a long shot, but is it possible to find another dog that looks just like his, or enough like his dog, that he might not notice? Could you find someone with a therapy dog to come in and show love to your dad a few times a week?
When my dad had to go into assisted living, we had to have his old cat euthanized because no one wanted an old cat, and we couldn't keep her because everyone in our household is highly allergic to cats. I still feel guilty for not being more understanding.

I hope you find a good solution, because you really are between a rock and a hard place.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to OkieGranny
Report
Isthisrealyreal Jan 5, 2020
Okiegranny, my vet explained that he looks for a dog exhibiting pain when their adrenaline is running high, like being at the vets office. He said that is when it is very real pain, because it doesn't disappear behind the adrenaline.

That is something that I have used to gage whether I needed to go to the vet or wait it out. Has not been wrong one time in the 25 years I have been aware of it.

Another thing that I have also experienced is that some dogs will milk an injury or illness because they are enjoying all of the special treatment.
(0)
Report
I have an 18 year old Shih Tzu who is blind, deaf, lame and 'leaky.' I have her in diapers. She is PRECIOUS.
I ABHOR the practice of euthanizing pets because they've become inconvenient. I told my son if anything happens to me and he doesn't care for my pets I will haunt his a**. Fortunately, he knows I love him and would NEVER knowingly saddle him with the responsibility of a dog that may outlive me.
Children of seniors should consider that even though their parents may have dementia, they can still FEEL love. And that's what their pets are.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to TheBiographer
Report
pargirl Jan 6, 2020
Are you a caregiver to anyone? I also hate making that call whether or not to put a family pet down. It's not that it's "just not convenient" anymore, I literally couldn't have taken on one more thing or "clean up" after one more person when I was taking care of my mom and dad. Since we are still alive and kicking (I was barely until my dad passed in May) I think that has to be taken into account....the caregiver. Yes, I loved my dad with a passion but I was wasted at the end of his life. All the medical and financial decisions were a grind. Hospital runs, hospital stays so I could be there when the drs. came? Yes, dementia patients can still feel love, I know because my mom died from it but in my heart I know she knew every time I was there, hugged her, gave her a kiss, fed her......but I don't believe she would have known the difference from her precious Maggie and another white limp, stuffed dog. This is a touchy issue and a Hard one. I'm not saying you are wrong and I'm right. I guess I'm coming from how worn out I was as a caregiver and a dog would have done ME in (again, I love animals especially dogs and hope to get another one soon).
(0)
Report
Are these conditions necessarily painful or making the dog's life miserable? I don't think blindness or deafness would and if the diabetes is being controlled, that shouldn't either. We had a diabetic cat for 18 years, only about 8 or 10 of which she was diabetic. Definitely talk to the vet, they will usually give it to you straight. But don't think the same conditions that might make people miserable are the same for all animals. And you know it would make your Dad miserable to lose the dog.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Cedarlove
Report

Hi. I'm terribly sorry for this dilemma your enduring, one of which we both share. I am the daytime caregiver for my mother in law and she has Alzheimer's disease diagnosed approximately 4 years ago.

That just gives you a bit of a background on my daily involvement level. Not to drag this out... Mom's 14 year old westie had been a healthy dog for 13 years. In the last year he succumbed to various ailments including blindness. I am a dog person. I held her dog in my arms when she brought him home as an 8 wk old pup. It was time.
Because of family dynamic and dysfunction, they abandoned the act of selflessness in favor of mom's "feelings."

In short, i am with their mom all day and I am the one who gently reminds her that Buddy has crossed the Rainbow Bridge and waits for her loyally. Numerous times a day. Like as many as 15 times a day. And we cry. And we talk about funny times and we cry. It's been over 10 weeks now. And I would advise you to act in kindness and humane behavior and spare the dog the agony. After all they rely on the one with the thumbs to make the toughest decisions. And shoe your father the same kindness and cry. Talk. And remember that they who have fur are our family too.

Blessed Be

Samantha
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Sammygal5w50
Report
LexiPexi Jan 5, 2020
What a wonderful answer you gave. I'm not at that point yet, but you brought tears to my eyes reading your response. My husband is in stage 5 Parkinson's, related dementia and is blind. Our little Lexi is 15 and the love of his life. She is such a comfort to him. She is blind in one eye, low vision in the other and is now losing her hearing. She is still doing fine getting around the house and most days has the energy of a puppy. However, I know someday... for both of them.
(3)
Report
Keep the dog. He Loves his dog.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to lindas12
Report

I'd say to keep the dog alive until he dies naturally. Same with your dad.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to ceecee
Report

1 2 3

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter