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How do I know it's time to euthanize my pet?


Pets are a part of the family and the decision to euthanize a pet is one that no pet owner wants to make. However, certain circumstances and life events place pet owners in the predicament of making that decision in the best interest of their pet.

Quality of life

Sometimes there are circumstances where the quality of our pet’s life takes a downward turn. Perhaps they have arthritis or have started having seizures. Maybe your pet is having incontinence issues or going for their nightly jaunt around the block has become less fun and more painful. When their quality of life begins to suffer pet owners are faced with the dilemma of choosing to keep their pet alive because they love them so much or letting them go because their quality of life is poor. As difficult of a decision as it is, it’s important to put your feelings aside as best as possible and do what is in the best interest of your pet when they stop enjoying their day to day pleasures and activity.

Medical issue

We’ve all heard the stories or possibly lived through it ourselves. A family pet goes in for a routine check up or testing only to receive devastating news of a debilitating illness. Knowing that your pet is in for pain and suffering with a questionable outcome can force the hand of a pet owner to choose to euthanize their pet. It could be a matter of long term medical costs that a family cannot afford, a diagnosis with a poor outcome with treatment or the possibility of a pet not surviving a surgery. For many families, the decision to lay their pet to rest in this instance again prevents suffering for your pet as well as prolonged heartache as the family endures the helplessness accompanied by seeing your pet in pain. Families need to consider the financial cost as well as the emotional cost of continuing to care for a pet.

Age/Harm to others

When some dogs reach the latter stages of their life their personalities change. They can become less tolerant of children and visitors and at times react aggressively. Additionally, senior animals may suffer from incontinence and bowel issues and their deteriorating health leads to accidents around the home that cause permanent damage as well as stress for the owner and the pet. Pet owners need to consider what is the most humane for their pet but also what is in the best interest for their home environment.

Listen to your heart

Sometimes you just know when it is your pet’s time. It could be a sign such as no longer eating or drinking, it could be a look in their eyes that tells you the time is now.

Making the decision to euthanize a pet is not easy on any pet owner. If you are faced with the dilemma, be sure to gather all the facts so that you can make an informed decision and help to eliminate any future ‘what ifs’. Discuss laying your pet to rest with family members beforehand, especially children.