When to Say Goodbye to Your Dog or Cat
No doubt about it, saying goodbye to a beloved pet is hard. In fact, it is one of the most difficult things you will ever do. Deciding when it is time for your dog or cat to be euthanized is, well, for lack of better words, awful. When is the right time to "put your pet to sleep?" How will you know when that time has come? I have always said that my pet will tell me when the end is near. There will be signs and he will let me know.
Obviously, you will want to consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about euthanizing your pet. They will give you professional and humane advice. Prolonging a dog or cat's life just because you cannot face saying that final goodbye is not the right thing to do. Though it hurts (kind of like a knife in your heart) sometimes saying goodbye is the only answer. If your pet is no longer enjoying life because of a long illness or cannot partake in daily activities, then the time to think about saying goodbye is near. If you are struggling with the decision, ask yourself the following questions (and remember…answer each question HONESTLY!).
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Is your pet able to eat and drink without pain and or vomiting?
- Is your pet in constant pain and or distress?
- Has your pet lost his or her ability to walk without staggering and or falling?
- Is your pet having difficulty breathing?
- Is your cat or dog able to hold their head up on their own?
- If your pet is really sick, are there treatments available that will aid him (improve his quality of life)?
- If your pet is really sick and there are treatments available, will these treatments cure him or simply prolong his or her suffering?
- Does your pet no longer enjoy life (such as eating)?
- Has your pet become unresponsive?
- If your pet is sick and there is a treatment…can you afford it? I HATE to put a price tag on a pet's life, but unfortunately, it is a question that must be asked.
- If your pet is sick and you can afford treatment, what will your pet's quality of life be after the treatment has been administered? This is a question you should ask and discuss with your veterinarian. This question is especially important if you have an elderly pet.
- If your pet is ill, how will his illness affect your other animals (if at all?).
- Does your pet suffer from repeated convulsions that cannot be controlled with medication?
Obviously, there are other important questions to ask and signs to look for. Before you go to the veterinarian, make sure you write down EVERY QUESTION that you have. Don't be afraid to speak up! If it will make you feel better, get a second opinion. Making the decision to have your pet euthanized is very difficult. The more you know about your pet's condition and quality of life, the better.
If you do decide that saying goodbye is best, do not feel guilty and allow yourself time to grieve! Losing a beloved pet can be similar to that of losing a human family member or friend. In fact, most people view their pets as family…so know that these feelings are completely normal and natural! Surround yourself with other animal lovers who understand what you are going through. Losing a pet is tough and making the decision as to whether or not to euthanize your beloved friend is one of the most difficult decisions you will ever face. Know that you will make the best, most educated and informed decision that you possibly can and also know that no matter what, your friend will forever live in your heart.
I miss the little wagging tail;
I miss the plaintive, pleading wail;
I miss the wistful, loving glance;
I miss the circling welcome dance.
Have a few minutes to spare? Please visit some of my other pet related HUB Pages! Thank you!
More by this Author
How long do kittens' eyes stay blue? Get answers to some common questions about kittens from an SPCA foster parent!
Do you have a pet rabbit? Do you know how to keep your bunny happy and entertained!? Like other pets, rabbits need plenty of exercise and lots of toys!
How to give your cat a bath without getting clawed to death! Tips and tricks on how to bathe your kitty.