likely to be one of the most difficult decisions you
will ever make.
do you know when it is time to say goodbye to a
well-loved pet? Every dog that has ever owned us has
lived inside our homes for more than a decade and were
considered important members of our family.
how do you know when it is selfishness that stops you
from letting a pet go when the most compassionate course
is to help it cross the rainbow bridge?
as we would all love our animals to die quietly in their
sleep, in reality, it is almost never that easy.
American Humane Association lists ways to help you make
the decision and suggests you talk with your
veterinarian to help guide you. A vet may be able to
tell you definitively when the time has arrived to
euthanize your pet.
you will ultimately need to make the decision because
you are really the only one who knows your pet.
AHA suggests the following signs that may help you
decide if your pet is suffering and no longer able to
enjoy a good quality of life.
pet is experiencing chronic pain that cannot be
controlled with medication (your veterinarian can help
you determine if your pet is in pain).
has frequent vomiting or diarrhea that is causing
dehydration and/or significant weight loss.
has stopped eating or will only eat if you force feed
is incontinent to the degree that he frequently soils
has lost interest in all or most of his favorite
activities, such as going for walks, playing with toys
or other pets, eating treats or soliciting attention and
petting from family members.
cannot stand on his own or falls down when trying to
has chronic labored breathing or coughing.
you have made the decision, the hardest part is seeing
it through to the end.
will need to decide how and where you will say your
final goodbyes and everyone in the family should be
given some time to say a private farewell.
should explain to young children what you are doing and
prepare them for the loss of their friend. The AMA
recommends children’s books that will help them
understand the concept of death such as "When a Pet
Dies" by Fred Rogers or "Remembering My
Pet" by Machama Liss-Levinson and Molly Phinney
whether you want to be present during the process. It is
one of the most personal decisions you can make. Some
people will find this emotionally overwhelming. Others
may feel they must be there, comforting their pet until
his final moments.
with your veterinarian how it will work before the
procedure. The doctor may choose to give the pet an
anesthetic or sedative that allows your pet to be very
relaxed or sleeping before administering an injection of
the procedure is complete, you may decide to have the
remains cremated or you might want to take the body home
for burial in your backyard. Check local ordinances to
make sure it is legal. There are also several pet
cemeteries in the area.
be afraid to hold a memorial service for your pet if it
will help ease your pain. Don’t allow critics to deter
you from what is right for you.
in mind, there are plenty of us who understand and have
experienced your pain.
some compassion for those who don’t. They may never
know the love of a pet and that is a very sad thing.