My dog is an 11 year old mini schnauser. I have had him since kindergarten and love that boy with all my heart. He was semi-recently diagnosed with cancer and has a mass cell tumor on his left hind thigh. It started out about the size of a golf ball when he was diagnosed, but now it is about the size of a tennis ball. When the vet first looked at it he said that there were a few options (amputation, removing the tumor etc) but none of those were practical because of my dogs age and stuff. So we have decided to just wait it out and give him the time that he has left until we feel he is suffering and have to put him down. Well as the tumor has gotten bigger it has stretched the skin and the top part of it is rubbed raw and open, I have to admit it is not a pretty sight. He does lick at it alot, so I assume that it does bother him but other than licking at it he acts perfectly normal and happy. He still has full mobility and runs around the yard like a little puppy, he is always wagging his tail, and he eats normally. He has been having some problems controling going to the bathroom (like he doesn't always make it outside on time) but I don't know if that is a huge issue since it seems sorta normal for an older dog.
I know that the time is coming when I am going to have to say goodbye to him but I don't want to do it too soon. At the same time I don't want him to ever have to suffer and could never forgive myself if I waited too long. Have any of you guys had to put down a pet? How do you know when it's time? What do you think I should do?
Thanks so much for your help.