How do I know when it’s time to say goodbye to my pet?

 

This is such a personal decision and the time is different for every pet and every pet owner, but vets agree that these guidelines are important to consider when faced with this decision.

 

1. Is my pet in pain?

This is sometimes difficult to determine because different pets behave in different ways when they are in pain. Some will whine or cry out, which makes it easier to tell if they are suffering, but some will just be silent. In cases such as these, it’s up to you to look for other changes in behavior that may signify pain, such as getting aggressive, withdrawing from contact, or not taking joy from activities that they used to enjoy, like taking walks or playing.  It’s important to remember that if a pet displays these symptoms, it does NOT necessarily mean that the end is near. It’s important to discuss these symptoms with your vet.

2. Is my pet’s quality of life-changing for the worse, without any hope of it getting better?

Sometimes emotional pain can be worse than physical pain, and when a pet loses the ability to enjoy life it can be a sign that a discussion with your vet is in order. Sometimes pets become blind, deaf, incontinent, unable to eat or drink or suffer other losses due to various medical conditions. If your pet’s condition is terminal, or their quality of life will only decline, sometimes that means it may be time to talk to your vet about making these decisions. It’s important to remember, of course, that many pets lead healthy and natural lives with one or more of these conditions if they are still young and able to adapt. For example, your pet may be blind, but otherwise young and healthy, and therefore still able to enjoy life.

 

3. What are the best options for my pet?

You should consider different options if they are available, and then try to make an unbiased decision that takes your pet’s quality of life into consideration first and foremost. Sometimes facing the loss of a pet is too difficult for pet owners to face, and then the end of the pet’s life may be dragged out even if they are suffering.

4. How do I prepare to say goodbye to my pet?

If the signs are clear that it’s time to let your pet go, you need to choose a time. Watch your pet to see if they have more good days than bad. When your pet has more bad days than good ones, book an appointment to discuss things with your vet.

**Remember that the purpose of euthanasia to eliminate prolonged, untreatable, or inevitable suffering.

For advice by experts on “ when it may be time”, check out these links:

 

Humane Society

https://americanhumane.org/fact-sheet/euthanasia-making-the-decision/

 

Cesar Milan

https://www.cesarsway.com/understanding-the-dog-quality-of-life-scale/

 

PetMD

https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/what-you-need-know-about-putting-dog-or-cat-down

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