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Posts: 5
I have 2 Shelties, the older one is Mac, he's 12 years old. His younger buddy is Harley who is 11 years old. Both dogs are showing their age. Mac is going deaf, losing hair on his tail, has a limp, severe dental issues, and he smells all the time. Harley has hip displaysia, is losing his eyesight, and his weight has caused his front legs to bow inward so that he waddles rather than walks.

Harley has a pretty good life, even though he's overweight. He still has a spark, and runs around a little bit. Mac, I don't think life is as good for him. I don't know for sure, and don't have money to try and find out, but I think he has cancer. Even after a trip to the groomer, a day later he smells bad. He smells all the time - so much that everyone in the house doesn't want him to be near them. I put up with it because he's my bud.

Both dogs have gotten to the point where they just can't seem to go half way through the day and sometimes the whole night without having to pee or poop. It's becoming a regular thing for them to go to the bathroom in the house. It's driving my wife crazy.

Mac's dental issues have gone another step for the worse. His bottom teeth have almost completely worn away, and the little stubs that are left are all loose, and now he's starting to bleed from his gums all around them. I think I have to get soft food for him because I worry the harder food is causing the bleeding. Cleaning up dog poop is one thing, but cleaning up blood brings a whole new set of emotional feelings into the mix.

I've asked my vet, who knows all the dogs pretty well, about the bleeding and he suggested dental surgery. I can't afford that, and he asked if I'd thought about euthanizing Mac. Well, when the bleeding started, that's when I started thinking about it.

I've told my wife, and my vet, in the recent past, that because of the ages of the dogs, and their ailing health, if there is any concern about quality of life for them, I will have  them put to sleep because I just don't have the money to spend on their health care when I can hardly afford my own. And if one goes, they both go - they would be lost without each other.

So, all that said, I'd like your feedback on this - I know Mac is not far away from having to be euthanized. Should I have his partner Harley euthanized too, even though his health issues are not quite as bad as Mac's?


Posts: 205
I'm sorry for what you are going thru with your 2 buddies....but I think in your heart you already know the answer...I think quality of life is more important then quantity of life...I think the greatest give you can give your fur babies is to love them and put them to prayers are with you...Lisa Tai-Chi's forever mom

Posts: 347
I am sorry your dog's health has declined so much. I agree that their quality of life is more important than quantity, and it sounds like the quality has declined greatly. This is one of the toughest decisions we have to make, so my heart goes out to you.

Just another thing, you may want to repost this in the grief support forum. There are a lot more people there who will see this. I will be thinking of you.

Posts: 282

I would worry that if you euthanize both dogs you may have to go through some major guilt.  Would it be an option,  to euthanize the one who is ill and just wait to see how his buddy responds to his absence?  My little one who is left behind has bounced back surprisingly well.  Their resiliency can be astounding.    Also,  about the smell, I am wondering if it is coming from his ears.  My husband had a little daschund when we were dating and he had a terrible smell which turned out to be ear problems.  Very inexpensively fixed by the vet after he realized it was the ears.   Best of luck - whatever you do , you'll be doing the right thing because your decision are made out of love.


Posts: 5
Thanks everyone for your thoughts and advice.

Posts: 5
As an experienced oncology RN, I can tell you - large tumors, and individuals with a high tumor burden (in other words, they're full of cancer) do have a distinct smell. Generally, not everyone can smell it - but cancer DOES have an odor to it.  I'm not trying to scare you, I just don't want you to think you're nuts for smelling it (I've known people who think they're going crazy because they can), if in fact it is cancer.

That said, it COULD be his ears, and cleaning them properly certainly won't hurt him (it'll probably tick him off, though - LOL!). I also wonder if the oils in his skin, like those in humans, have changed as he's aged (ever heard a rather honest little kid say an older person smells funny?) - and it could be his teeth causing it as well. I'm no vet, but I know humans change as we age, so I can't imagine that dogs and other animals are any different.

Clinical guesses aside, no matter your decision, you're doing the best you can given your situation - and I really think that that's all our "kids" expect from us, is to not forget them and do as much as we can for them.


Posts: 5
I'll check with my groomer. I would have thought that cleaning ears would be part of visit, but I don't think I've ever asked. I have asked about Mac's smell, and if they 'handle" anal glands as part of grooming. They told me that was standard practice in their shop.

As for the teeth and moth smelling, oh yes. Mac does have horrible breath, but it's not the same bad odor that just seems to eminate from him. Maybe it is his body/fur oils. The smell comes back even just a couple days after grooming.

Again, thanks everyone, for your suggestions and advice. All the information I can get will definitely help me make a more informed decision.


Posts: 9
I am also considering euthanizing my elderly dog. I just wanted to share my experience with her being smelly and although it's maybe not what's going on with your dog, but maybe someone else's. My dog smelled so bad all of a sudden and it was relentless. We'd bath her and instantly you'd smell that smell again!  Her bedding was stinking too and it was stinking up my house! I took her into the vet and he was fairly certain she had a pretty nasty bladder infection. And we did a quick sample, some anti-bionics later and ta-daaa, smell gone! It's pretty gross to think that the smell was caused from that, but once you smell it you'd recognize it anywhere!

Posts: 2
There are a  few responses to dogs smelling. Dogs that have Cushings disease also have an odor, it comes from the skin that breaks out from the disease. In addition many dogs as they get older like people do can not go all night without going out. Several of our dogs experienced this.

I have had many dogs over the years all were rescues and have had to put down dogs as well, its been my experience that dogs bounce better than people. I would not put both dogs down due to the major failing of one.

Posts: 57
Putting my precious to sleep was the toughest decision. The one thing that kept us sane was that we were saving him from suffering a painful death. It was the merciful thing to do. Stop his suffering. He stayed as long as he did for our sake, im convinced. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Jackie
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