I'm so sorry you and Sweet-Pea are going through this,.. I had to make "the" decision for my 16 year old chihuahua back in January, after a 5 month battle. It's an emotional rollercoaster of good and bad days, and as long as the good days outweigh the bad ones, she's eating, is not in pain and enjoys a quality life, just love her and enjoy the time you have left. She will let you know when it's time.
My heart breaks for you as I just went through this with my sweet beagle. Keep her as happy as you can for as long as you have left. Daisy weighed 25 pounds and we gave her 250cc's of fluids everyday for 3 weeks until we lost her.
You run the risk of dehydration the longer she goes without eating. At this point try anything... ground beef, steak, cat treats or food, anything to get her appetite up.
The final stage is the worst and you will never be prepared to say goodbye, but watching them go downhill is heart breaking. I wrote a post earlier about thid same topic. Let me find it
Daisy suffered with kidney disease for 13 months. The last 5 weeks were the worst though - her levels went up, she was barely eating, vomiting and diarrhea then she spent 5 days in the hospital getting IV fluids, medicine, etc.
The first few days after the stay, she came home and refused to eat... settled on cat treats for a bit and had shots of cerenia twice to help with the nausea. She was never really quite the same after the hospital stay. She was very slow moving and sleepy. The last week, she threw up Tuesday - Thursday. The last bit of food was Thursday morning, took her to the vet (we had been going to monitor bloodwork every week for the last month) and her levels were up again. We knew that it was only a matter of time. The next day, she started to fidget during her fluids and I stopped them halfway through. She still wasn't eating. I knew she wouldn't make it through the weekend.
Saturday, Feb 22... she was very restless overnight, pacing, falling, etc. I knew it was time. I picked her up, rocked her in my arms and told her not to stay around for me that I'd be ok and I'd never forget her. Not a minute later, she fell when she would walk.. her back paws were dragging on the floor as she walked. My vet met us at the office to put her down. She was ready. I truly believe they tell you when it's time. Trust your sweet girl that she will let you know. I second guessed myself for a few days, but honestly, the pain Daisy was in was far too bad for me to watch.
I promised her no more hospital stays... and that I wouldn't make her suffer. She spent almost 11 years making me happy, loving me unconditionally that I knew I owed it to her to end it before things got really bad. You'll know, and you will never be fully prepared to say goodbye. I still miss my sidekick and still get sad and lonely. Take as much time as you need to grieve, everyone is different. My heart breaks for you, I know how tough it really is. I often compare it to a roller coaster ride.. one day, she could feel great the next two days she could feel worse.
Just make sure the good days outweigh the bad :( and trust in her that she will 'tell' you when she's ready.
To everyone who has just received a diagnosis of kidney (renal) disease or failure from the vet:
My 14 1/2 yr old shepherd/rottweiler mix, Morgan, was diagnosed 2 years ago with advanced chronic renal failure. She seemed to be deteriorating rapidly and we expected to lose her within 6 months until, in total desperation, I got brave and stopped listening to the vet's advice to put her on prescription 'low-protein' diet food (we tried Hills KD and several others) + phosphate binding pills plus other meds. Instead I researched a TON on sites like DogAware and started Morgan on a raw food, high-quality protein & low-phosphorous diet plus daily supplements which I'll list below. It's not the most convenient at first, the food's pretty gross, the cost is about £40 per month for the food, and another £25 for the supplements, but my dog turned around straight away with this diet, both in her behaviour and her blood BUN and creatinine levels. Now her blood work is down to nearly normal, she loves to eat, doesn't drink any more than normal, and with her bright eyes and shiny coat most people think she is several years younger than she is. I'm in London, UK, but from NYC, so I know that there are alternative suppliers of the products I us - just be sure to research all ingredients.
Every day, my 27kg (59lb) Morgan eats the following: From Nature's Menu dot co dot uk (not *******!) the Chicken&Tripe complete dinner. Defrost two individual "meal" packs and mix with 1/2 teaspoon of eggshell (which I save from our breakfasts, then wash, let dry out, and grind into fine powder in a cheap coffee bean grinder I got off Amazon - once a month I make a batch. It's pure calcium carbonate, the same stuff you may be buying from your vet only without any manufacturing additives). Also mix in a big spoon full of plain yogurt or good quality probiotic powder. I use a teaspoon of Green Vibrance powder, which is the best but unless you can buy in bulk it's very pricey (then again, I haven't had a vet bill in 14 months!). Also mix in 100mg of CoQ10 (get these in capsule form from a human health food store, open up, and pour the powder into the food. If your dog is elderly like mine and suffers from arthritis, also pick up from the healthfood store (or I order everything from amazon): Turmeric (500-720mg), Green-Lipped Mussel extract (I use Musselflex 500mg, which I have to crush as it's not a capsule), and Thorne Research Arthroplex for Canines (2 capsules). Mix all together very well along with at least a cup of water (filtered unless you know your tap water is excellent - in London it's not) then divide into 4 small meals spaced throughout the day (keep the rest sealed in the fridge - it smells a bit. If your dog has trouble with upset stomach (eating grass, vomiting) I give Mo a 75mg tablet of Ranitidine (generic ingredient in Zantac).
Here's the last bit, which I'm a strong believer in: everyday I give Morgan about 8oz or so of raw green tripe, which I buy in frozen chunks from the Nature's Menu website. This stuff is foul. I keep it and the rest of her food in a small freezer only for the dog (£60 at Argos). I can only handle it with rubber gloves, never open the bag in the house, and toss the frozen chunks into her bowl out in the garden, but she will never refuse it, no matter how low her appetite ever becomes. It's naturally calcium-phosphorous balanced and is hugely nutritious - in the wild, this is the first part of the prey that the dogs eat. Even if you don't do any of the other supplements (except you must always add the crushed eggshell!) the green tripe is seriously important. Anyway, my vet, husband and friends have been urging me to post this info around, given what a miracle it's been for Morgan's CRF and general health. I can promise that I'm not some wacko - it's just that I did SO much research and experimentation with all the prescription diets, alternatives, home-cooked meals, etc. on the market in hopes of keeping my best girl with me as long as possible...Now that I've discovered a routine that's working so well, maybe we'll get another 14 yrs together :) Best of luck to all of you and yours, Rachel
Thank You Rachel for sharing!!! I too, believe you've got it correct! .....Congratulations to you and your Morgan!!! Sounds like he will be around for many years to come!! Keep us updated & again, thanks so much for your story.......Karla
P.S. I'm surprised that your pre-packaged meals are not formulated w/Calcium.......That's unusual unless of course, you can purchase either way......