Losing a family pet can be devastating. It is something every pet owner faces at least once in their lifetime and it never becomes easy to say goodbye. However eventually in every pet’s life, there comes a time where we have to make that hard decision.
The decision regarding euthanasia of a beloved pet may be the most difficult decision one has to make in one’s entire life. Whatever the decision, it should be one that you can look back upon and know that the best decision was made and that you would make the same decision again. We all want what’s best for our pets and being able to offer them peace and comfort after a long, loyal life with the family is one of the most humane things you can do.
So how do you know when it is time? There are a few questions that may help you make this difficult decision. Is your pet eating? The quality of life involves eating or at least interest in food. Is your pet free of pain, not only physical but also the psychological pain and loss of dignity that comes from the development of incontinence in a dog that has been housebroken for its entire life? Is your cat still able to happily groom? Or has the pain of arthritis become so severe he spends his days isolating himself from the rest of the family for fear of being touched? Does your dog still enjoy her favorite activities? Or does she turn away from the leash hanging by the door? You know your pet better than anyone and only you can truly answer these questions. Your veterinarian is there to help guide you with this difficult decision, to answer any questions you may have, and to ensure your precious friend gets the peaceful passing that he or she has earned.
When it is time, have a family meeting and discuss what you want for your pet and how you would like to handle his passing. Make sure to discuss your concerns, fears and wishes ahead of time with your veterinarian to ensure your experience can one day be looked upon in a positive light, even during such a difficult time. Discuss these wishes and concerns with a close family friend who can step in and speak on your behalf if needed. Having a friend by your side can give you strength and much need support. Let them drive you to and from the vet hospital.
Although not a happy topic, it is an important topic and one that should be well thought about. When the time comes you can take comfort in already knowing what you want and what to expect. Cherish your pet’s senior years. They pass too quickly. It’s the time when you have the companionship of a wonderful old friend. Make every day count.
Written by Van Isle Veterinary Hosptital