I love my sweet girl. I've loved her for 18 years. She's now 20. About 3 years ago, she was diagnosed with kidney disease. We made the decision to let nature take its course, and she's still going strong! She does often wet her bed or the floor, but only when sleeping. 

Since she was diagnosed, she's definitely "aged." She's not as clean, has lost her hearing (only responds to a whistle), and is mostly blind (so she often doesn't know where the whistle is coming from). She also seems to have gum disease, but I was told at one point that she's too old to be put under to have dental work. Recently, she has shown some minor signs of dementia. She seems disinterested in taking walks and being loved.

Also, her personality has changed a lot over the years. She hates my son. He cannot touch her and hasn't been able to for years. Not even sure she loves my husband as much now, but he can pet her. She bit him hard the other day, but he was picking her up... and really, I am the only one who can do that. 

Once in a while, she will take the love... and she eats like a champ. In fact, I think she's pretty much living to eat right now. 

How do you know when it's time? I feel like my dog is fine, but not fine... I wish she would stop eating or walking. Give me a sign. And the fact that I want those things has me filled with guilt.

I don't know what I am expecting anyone to say, but thanks for listening.
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Hello cookiehead,

20 years! That is a commendable age. And she must have had a very good life to have reached that age.

The question you ask is one we all face and one which we can not answer ourselves. We think about that question laden with emotions which makes it too hard. I can only tell you about my time I took that decision and maybe you can find some answer in that.

I had to make the decision based on health and not age so in that there is a difference but I do think one thing will be similar: the quality of life.

Try to ask yourself the question, without emotions or thinking of yourself, what is her quality of life right now. Does she have more good days than bad days or the other way around. I know it is a very hard thing to do and it destroys us emotionally but it is the one promise we have to keep: to not let our companions suffer. That is the price we have to pay for their love. Yes, it will be very hard and very sad.

I do not know if you have discussed this with your vet, but I found that my vet has a lot more experience than I will ever have and they act in the interest of the animal, not in my interest. So when my vets told me they agreed it was time to let my Nani go, I knew they said that for Nani's sake and not mine.

Nobody will be able to make the choice for you, you will have to decide and take her pain upon yourself.

I am sorry if this is not the answer you were looking for, but I hope it helps a little bit.

Take care and stay strong,

Erik, Nani and Nikki
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Thank you, Erik. I appreciate your kind and compassionate answer. 
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Hi cookiehead,

That's the hardest question. When to let them go. I just had to put my 17 year old cat down after nearly 2 1/2 years with kidney disease. In April he seemed fine, then he started wasting away, despite still having a decent appetite. Then eventually he lost the use of his hind legs, had awful dental disease, loss of appetite, and lost his vision on his last night. That's when I knew it was time. He couldn't get around or see and I couldn't bare to see him like that anymore. Just a little bag of bones. It sounds like your dog may have some of the signs of advanced kidney disease. Have you had bloodwork done recently to see how her kidneys are doing? The last couple of weeks, my cats numbers were off the charts. That might give you and your vet an idea of her progression. But like Erik said, you really have to start looking at how many good days vs bad ones. For me, I just couldn't let my cat suffer any longer. It will just come down to how you define her suffering. Hope that is somewhat helpful.
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