This is a special guest post by Miranda LaSala.
While it may be a pet owner’s worst nightmare, it is an inevitable fact that sooner or later, you have to say goodbye to your beloved furry friend. When the time comes, you will have to make the hard decision of putting your pet down.
Euthanizing your pet is never an easy choice, but sometimes, it has to be done. When your pet is in excruciating pain or is suffering to the point that it can no longer enjoy life, oftentimes, you have to accept that euthanasia is the only help you can give.
Your veterinarian can only give you advice but the ultimate decision will still be up to you. It is always helpful to be informed and to consider all factors so you can decide what is best for your pet.
You’ll know it is the right time when:
1. Your pet is in unbearable pain
It has been long believed that dogs, cats, and other animals do not feel pain like we do. Yes, the objective pain is still there, but unlike humans, animals do not attach an emotional reaction to pain so they are not as bothered by it.
Signs of pain are dependent on your pet’s disease:
- Arthritis – licking wrists, biting, dilated pupils, stumbling, falling, flinching with touch
- Respiratory disease – cannot sleep well or for long periods, coughing, uncomfortable, side sucking with each breath, staying upright all the time, and not laying flat on one side
- Bone cancer – limping, lump or tumor in leg, skin breaking or splitting, holding one leg up
- Feline disease – not grooming, hiding, sleeping all the time, weight loss, drooling, twitching, staying on the ground and not jumping too high places, excessive purring
Talk to your vet regarding your pet’s pain levels. Is it being adequately controlled by pain medication? Is your pet in extreme suffering
When your pet is rendered invalid by chronic pain, it usually means that the time is near.
2. Your pet has lost its appetite
Your pet used to have a seemingly bottomless stomach; chowing down everything that smells like food. But now, it is refusing even the tastiest treat you give it.
When organs start to shut down, the sensation of hunger or thirst goes with it. You can force feed your pet and keep it hydrated with a dropper (which it will eventually vomit), but you are only buying time.
Keep in mind that loss of appetite for a day or so does not mean your pet is dying so be sure to consult your vet when this happens.
3. Your pet has chronic lethargy
Despite having unlimited energy in its youth, your beloved furry friend no longer has any interest in playing or going for walks. You will notice it just lying in a quiet spot in the corner and does not want to be disturbed.
As the end nears, you will notice depression in cats or dogs. Their playful spirit slowly starts to fade away. They will barely acknowledge family members or enjoy the things they used to do.
This action is done as self-preservation; to conserve what little energy they have left. No more fun quirks or annoying habits, your pet will seem like a shell of its former self.
4. Your pet has incontinence
As your pet’s health decreases, it will also gradually begin to miss the toilet and relieve itself in on spot. It will not be bothered by the filth anymore and will just lie there waiting for the end.
This also ties into the previously mentioned pain and lethargy – meaning, your pet is too tired and hurt to stand up and go elsewhere.
When this happens to your pet, do not neglect the area. Keep it clean and dry to make your pet as comfortable as possible.
5. Your pet’s prognosis is terminal
When your pet is diagnosed with a terminal illness, this confirms that your pet is in the end-stage of the disease and cannot be cured anymore. You and your vet can manage the symptoms but it is clear that your pet will never recover. Its immune system and biological functions will fail.
Instead of prolonging the agony and waiting for your pet to die naturally in severe pain, many owners choose to say goodbye in a peaceful way where you and your pet can have one more day bonding and having fun.
If your pet is seriously injured, terminally ill or is very old, it might be necessary for you to think about euthanizing to spare you and your pet from further suffering. Coordinate with your veterinarian as he or she will be the most qualified person to guide you on your decision.
While the choice to put down your pet is emotionally devastating, it is helpful to think that instead of dying at home alone, your pet will cross the rainbow bridge filled with love and surrounded by family.
Did you enjoy this post? Did you find these tips helpful? Leave a comment below.