Putting Your Pet to Sleep: When Is the Right Time
Letting go of that special pet – a much-loved member of the family whom you’ve shared countless fond memories with – can be one of the hardest things to experience as a doting owner. yet, as heart wrenching as making the decision to say goodbye is, euthanasia is truly a gift for any suffering pet. if you’re wondering when you should give your four-pawed companion the blessing of peace, here’s some advice to consider.
Remember, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ rule Every pet, illness and situation is different: there’s no single rule you can follow when the time comes to help your best friend find peace. Of course, seeking assistance from your vet is central for doing the best thing for your pet. Consulting a compassionate friend who isn’t involved in the situation can help too. They may provide some valuable perspective and help you ‘see’ what’s really happening to your furry friend.
Understand that pets live in the moment It could be said that your pet’s most charming characteristic is his relentless ability to grab the present with all four paws. ‘Carpe diem’ is literally engrained in his psyche. All that matters is the joy and happiness he feels right now – in this very second. He doesn’t care for the past, nor does he care for the future.
Ask yourself important questions
Sometimes, writing down or verbally expressing your feelings can help you see the wood from the trees, and make the right path seem more obvious. Here are some questions you may want to ask:
Why do I think now is the best time to euthanise?
What are my concerns and fears about euthanising my pet?
Whose interests, besides those of my pet, am I taking into account?
What are my concerns of the people around me?
Am I making this decision because it’s best for my pet, or because I’m not ready to let go?
Turning to the five H’s and two M’s are: Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Happiness, Hygiene (the ability to keep the pet clean from bodily waste), Mobility and More (as in, more good days than bad) is a helpful tool to assess your pal’s quality of life. Grade each category on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being the poorest quality of life and 10 being the best). If the majority of the categories are ranked as 5 or above, continuing with supportive, loving care is acceptable.
Measure their quality of life
Trying to assess your furry friend’s quality of life can be complicated, most especially because he can’t communicate with you. To help you draw an accurate conclusion then, you need to keep your eyes peeled for certain clues.
Five good things
Pick 5 things your pet loves to do and write them down – it could be playing fetch, swimming, or snuggling on the sofa with you. When your little fur ball can no longer do three or more of his favourite activities, his quality of life has been impacted to the point where many vets would recommend euthanasia.
Keeping a journal of your pet’s condition, appetite, behaviour etc. can prove very useful in evaluating his quality of life.
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Keri Filtness has worked in the Nutrition Industry for 19 years. She is regularly called upon for her professional comments on health and nutrition related news. Her opinions have been featured by BBC3, Prima, Vitality, The Mirror, Woman’s Own and Cycling Weekly, amongst others. She has also worked one to one with journalists, analysing their diets and health concerns and recommending changes and additions, where appropriate.