My dog Daisy was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of skin and liver cancer (stage 4). My vet said that we have to just give her palliative care until its her time to pass. So, for the last month or so, I have been spending every second I can with her until I feel like she is suffering and I have to let her go. The thing is, that the vet said she would likely only have a few weeks left, but so far she had made it a little over a month. She seems to be doing ok, as she has both good days and bad. She has little bumps all over her body, which I know means that the cancers are metastasizing. The tumor in her mouth is starting to really smell, and leak everywhere. When she first got diagnosed, I thought that the vet could be wrong in her prognosis, because she was doing so well, and was very chipper. However, now it seems like things are about to go downhill quick, as she is struggling to chew her food because her mouth tumor is getting a lot bigger. 

My question is when will I know when I have to let her go? She still seems mentally aware, and somewhat chipper. But, I don't know if she is suffering too much yet. I have to have faith that she will let me know when she is ready to go, by showing me signs. I feel very in tune with her, as we have always had a strong connection. I just don't know how I will be able to go into the vet, and know that I will not be walking out with her. 

I just love her so much. Please, any words of wisdom is appreciated.
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This is a very difficult and even subjective thing. It’s a decision you have to live with and be comfortable with. Whenever a doctor gives a timeframe for diseases like this, it is just a best guess. Pets have lived longer and they have lived shorter than expected.

I would suggest googling “dog quality of life test”. There are these websites, many of them veterinary websites, that go down a list helping you to determine the quality of life your pet has. I would have posted the questionaire here, but it’s way too long. That can be a helpful tool to ascertain where your pet is at.

Ultimately, you have to look at: Are they eating and drinking? Are they going potty like normal? Are they showing signs of pain or discomfort? Remember, our pets frequently hide their pain, so we have to look at other indicators. Do they seek you out, or do they hide and spend time by themselves? Do they greet you like normal when you come home? Do they play and show interest in the family? Have they lost weight? Etc.

This is a very hard decision. No one wants to think they’ve ended their pet’s life too soon. But keep in mind, what are they going to gain by staying alive? What are they going to lose if they’re euthanized sooner than later? Oftentimes, the only thing they gain are days, or maybe just a few weeks. And those few weeks can be spent in a lot of discomfort we don’t realize they have.

I know this is difficult. I was in the same exact boat with my own dog. She had mast cell tumors on her skin and in her breast, and more than likely internally as well. I am someone who did not recognize that she was coming to her end, and that we were at that point. She did not die in a peaceful way. I feel a tremendous amount of guilt for what she must have been going through that I did not realize. But at the same time, I read many here who have euthanized their pets, and they STILL feel a lot of guilt about making that decision. It just seems like no matter what you choose, there are always unanswered questions and that guilt is a large part of the grieving process.

I just feel that sooner than later is a better call so as to avoid any possible unnecessary and unexpected suffering. When they’re terminal like this, it’s not as if they are going to have a lot of time left anyhow. I don’t mean to discourage you or put any pressure on you. This is your call, and you need to decide for yourself and Daisy. You’re in the best position, along with your vet, to know when the time is right.

Above all, hang in there, know our thoughts are with you, and please give Daisy lots of love from us. I hope she’s able to keep on going for as long as possible!
—Loving Riley, Rosy & Axl always 🐾

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I'm so sorry to know what has happened to Daisy. Please do remember that cancer is very painful and as Rileysmom said, animals hide their pain. The tumour in her mouth would be agonizing. I think you will have to decide based on what the best thing is for Daisy even though it will break your heart. As sad as it is, it is a matter of time. The question would be whether you will want to look back and suffer guilt on top of the heartbreak because she had to suffer. It's an awful place to find yourself because either way is so painful so do what it's best for your wonderful baby. Hugs and strength to you,
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I am currently in the same situation. My best bud was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma in the esophagus back in August. My vet predicted 6 months. This month is the 6th month. Over the course, he had good days and bad days. In the last week, it seems he has more bad days. I've been in constant contact with my vet asking the same question, "when will I know it's time?"

I know for a fact his cancer has spread. That same smell you notice in Daisy's mouth, is same smell my pet has. He now has a difficult time drinking water or eating. He still follows me around and lays by my feet whenever he has the energy. His behavior initially made my decision much more difficult. But what I realize is that he will always show his loyalty, no matter how sick he is. His selfishness highlights my selfish reasons to keep him alive. I love him so much, and I don't want to let him go!

My vet told me 2 things that also help guide me to my final decision:
1) are more good days than bad? No, everyday has been bad over the course of 1 week.
2) keeping him alive will not cure what he already has (fact).

He has lived a good life; spoiled rotten. For 13 years he had the best home, best vet care, surrounded by a loving family. Jack Russell's are meant to be vibrant and energetic. I want to remember him this way.

I know he loves me and will continue showing me his love, even though he is in extreme pain. I can no longer have him sacrifice the pain he is going through, to show his loyalty and love for me.

I've already made arrangements with my vet. He will be missed very much. But he's giving more than I can ask for, over the course of 13 years. He has been with me through all the ups and downs in my life. Now its my turn to be there for him.

By the way, my vet is coming to my house. My pet hated the vet (as I feel most pets do). Having the vet come over will help alleviate his anxiety.

The picture below was taken a few days ago.

I hope my story will help you decide. Best wishes to you and Daisy.
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Thank you so much for all your kinds words. I really took to heart what your thoughts were on this. I feel much more at ease that I will know when to put my Daisy down. I hope you all are doing well, and I wish you all the best.
Thinking of all of you. XOXO
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