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Is it time?

It’s never an easy decision to make, but perhaps the kindest thing you can do for a pet that is terminally ill or will never be able to resume a life of good quality is to have a veterinarian induce its death quietly and humanely through euthanasia.

A decision concerning euthanasia may be one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make for your pet.  Although it is a personal decision, it doesn’t need to be a solitary one.  Your veterinarian and your family and close friends can help you make the right decision and can support you as you grieve the loss of your dog or cat.  Dr. Adamson of Peaceful Vet Visit can also help support you through this difficult process.

How will I know when?

If your pet can no longer experience the things it once enjoyed, cannot respond to you in its usual way, or appears to be experiencing more pain than pleasure, you may need to consider euthanasia.  Likewise, if your cat or dog is terminally ill or if the financial or emotional cost of treatment is beyond your means, euthanasia may be a valid option.  Sometimes asking yourself the question, ” Does my pet have more bad days than good days?” can help you make the decision.

Because your veterinarian cannot make the euthanasia decision for you, it is important that you fully understand your pet’s condition.  If there is any part of the diagnosis or the possible effects on your pet’s future that you don’t understand, ask questions that will help you understand.

What if the animal is healthy?

Euthanasia might be necessary if a pet has become vicious, dangerous, or unmanageable.  Some undesirable and abnormal behavior can be changed so it is important to discuss these situations with your veterinarian or Dr. Adamson.   Your and your family’s safety should always be taken into consideration.

Economic, emotional, and space limitations or changes in lifestyle also may cause an owner to consider euthanasia for their cat or dog.  Sometimes it is possible to find another home for the pet and that option should be pursued prior to opting for euthanasia.  Euthanasia of healthy pets should be considered only when alternatives are not available.

How do I tell my family?

Family members usually are already aware of a pet’s problems.  However, you should review with them the information you have received from your veterinarian.  Long-term medical care can be a burden that you and your family may be unable to bear emotionally or financially, and this should be discussed openly and honestly. Encourage family members to express their thoughts and feelings.  Even if you have reached a decision, it is important that family members, especially children, have their thoughts and feelings considered.

Children have special relationships with their pets and should not be excluded from the decision-making process because they might seem too young to understand.  Preventing children from participating in the process may only complicate and prolong their grief process.  Children respect straightforward, truthful, and simple answers.  If they are prepared adequately, children usually are able to accept a pet’s death.


reference:  American Veterinary Medical Association

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