We are never quite prepared for the death of a pet. Whether swift and unexpected or after a slow decline, we aren’t fully aware of what a pet has brought to our lives until our beloved companion is gone.
Everyone wishes for a pets peaceful passing, hoping to find them in their favourite spot in the morning. Unfortunately this often isn’t the case, and the impact of a pets passing is significantly increased when, as responsible and loving caretakers, we decide to have our pet euthanised.
Requesting euthanasia of a pet is probably the most difficult decision a pet owner can make. You don’t want to prolong their suffering, but at the same time you don’t want to put them to sleep when they are still enjoying life.
Making the toughest call
Euthanasia is the greatest gift that you can give an animal to mercifully end suffering. Your veterinarian can assist and support you throughout the decision making process, however ultimately the final decision should be based on not only what is best for your pet, but also what is best for you and your family.
To help guide you through the decision making process, here are some things to consider.
1) Is my pet still eating well? Being hungry and eating with gusto are signs of vitality.
2) Is your pet drinking and maintaining hydration? Reduced water intake or dehydration in spite of drinking plenty is a sign of illness.
3) Is my pet still interested and responsive to things around him (family, toys etc)?
4) Does my pet seem tired and withdrawn most of the time?
5) Is my pet in pain?
6) Can my pet get up without assistance? Go to the toilet outside?
7) Is my pet still interested in exercise, participating in his or her favourite past time?
8) Do they have an incurable illness?
9) How does my pet’s health impact on my family’s well-being?
10) Do I have the financial and physical resources it may take to adequately care for him/her as his/her condition declines?
11) What do I think he/she would want at this point? What would I want if I were in her/his position?
12) Will the quality of life through the treatment and beyond be good enough for the time it afforded? Am I prolonging his or her life for my pet or for me?
13) Does my pet have more bad days than good?
There is no right answer when it comes to making end of life decisions; only what makes sense for you and your family. Take your time, don’t rush your decision and remember that giving your beloved pet the gift of a peaceful rest is the last best thing you can do for your best friend.