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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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15 year old Havanese - quality of life?

I'm new here & this is a 2nd, required post. My beloved Havanese (Taffy) is 15 yrs old & obviously not the b.... she used to be (who is??) I adore her, & am certainly not eager to participate in the passing of another pet, but wonder when to seriously consider pulling the plug. She sleeps most of the time, is totally deaf & largely blind, possibly a bit demented (who isn't!!), near toothless, insists on going out for walks with me & my Maltipoo - she struts along proudly, but can't go more than about 300 ft. due to arthritis. Taffy must be carried on stairs, helped up to her perch on the sofa, & uses my house as a latrine, despite near hourly treks outside. On the plus side, she's still so-o-o sweet, is fun to watch ruling the roost, swatting at Maltipoo, & somehow always hears the chow bell; she eats everything very heartily & will devour Maltipoo's food if given the chance. Absent any serious illness, how does an owner make such a difficult decision as when to euthanize a much loved pet?
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 06:05 AM
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I know that a few Havanese live to be 20 years old. Taffy does not appear to be in any pain with reduced expectations. She appears to be still enjoying life. She still enjoys her food. She is a gorgeous senior citizen..............................

If I were in your position, I would make an end of life decision with the advice of my trusted Vet. This would be a tough one for me.

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 09:30 AM
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The answer is going to be different for everyone and every dog. She sounds pretty healthy at this point, however.

I would NOT be happy with the potty situation, but there are options for that. Many dogs become incontinent with age. Diapers can be a godsend in a situation like that.

I would separate your dogs at feeding time so there is no opportunity for either to take food from the other. That's not fair to anyone. Mine all eat in their own crates.

And as for walks... I'd consider getting a stroller. You can let your old girl walk as far as she's able to, then pop her in the stroller for the rest of the walk. THat's what my Kodi has been doing for the past 6 months while rehabbing from a shoulder injury!

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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 09:32 AM
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As long as a dog is eating and not showing signs of excruciating pain I think they still have some quality of life left and want to live. As far as dogs sleeping a lot, even young ones do that. Many dogs become deaf or blind. It does not seem to both them...it bothers us because we know how we would feel if deaf or blind. As far as carrying Taffy up and down stairs and onto the sofa, I have been doing this with both my dogs for 6 years and they are both quite spry. Mia hurt her back several years ago and the vets advised me to avoid jumping off furniture and stairs for the rest of her life to help prevent another episode. This is just a minor inconvenience. Stairs are blocked and I carry them both upstairs to bed every night. The fact that Taffy shows a love of food is a good indication that she is not ready to throw in the towel. Even though she only walks 300 feet, she is still walking. Incontinence would be tough to deal with but wonder if the doggy diapers can help with that. You will know in your heart when it is time to let go. It sounds like it is not quite time yet but only you can make that decision.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 02:29 PM
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My Boo just turned 18 (yes 18) on 10/31/20. So, I do have a lot of experience with Havanese geriatric issues. Boo also is mostly deaf and has age-related vision changes, which started around age 16.5. I found that keeping furniture in the same place and making only limited changes to his daily routine helped him adapt to his sensory loss. He has been on a low dose of prednisone and a B12 supplement for the past few months, due to some age-related intestinal issues. He is doing well with no apparent side effects. You might want to have your vet check B12 levels, as low B12 can cause issues mimicking dementia as well as other things. Like Taffy, Boo also likes to sleep, which is typical for an elderly dog. Still, he enjoys going outside and playing with his puzzle games for short periods. I would check with your vet to see if there might be some other issues causing the increased urination, like an infection. Havanese can live a long life with good nutrition and proper veterinary care. I would not consider euthanasia, absent uncontrolled pain. However, ultimately, only you and your vet can make a decision about end of life issues.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 02:56 PM
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I think there are ways to manage some of the issues that come with age so you can enjoy her longer. That is a big change from years ago when it was hard to access information about managing geriatric pets, and someone’s decision became living with incontinence or losing the pet. Definitely work with your vet, but I think you’ll probably find the best sources of information on managing these problems from people with older Havanese here on the forum.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 02:56 PM
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Thank you for sharing your pictures and stories of your dogs!
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 04:49 PM
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It's always a hard decision, but it's our duty not to let them suffer. It's usually pretty obvious when they are no longer enjoying living, and stop wanting to eat.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-20-2020, 05:25 PM
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I once put a lovable 17-year-old poddle put down. She was blind, deaf and arthritic but had no problem getting around the house and going outside. I don't remember her being incontinent. Of course she slept a lot.

Ashley developed warts with itched. I had them removed, they grew back and more grew. Those awful things would bleed because she scratched them so much. It' been a long time ago and I'm sure I had her on medications for itching and other things.

During her elderly years when we left town I had a dog sitter who came to the home and stayed with her because she was too old to leave at our groomers kennel. Our dog sitter eventually quit which meant we could not leave town. There came day when we needed go and I decided it was time. Ashly was just existing and was tormented by those warts. My Vet came to our home. I cuddled and held Ashley and said goodbye. Although it was a Sad Day ... by that time her passing was also a relief.

I had a Schnauzer and I waited too long. Her death was a horrible experience. My son and his tender heart did the same thing with a lab whose death experience was horrible.

It's hard to know When.... Dogs like humans typically just don't go sleep and not wake up. Death is usually a struggle.

I would think an incontinent problem would be a major issue. Karen has given some good suggestions that might work for a while.

I think Patti may outlive me and I may not be faced with another decision like that.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-20-2020, 11:49 PM
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Welcome to the forum! I agree with everyone who suggested you consult your trusted vet. I like Karen's idea about the stroller. Taffy sounds like quite the character! Good luck with your decision.
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