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Knowing When It Is Time To Let Go Of An Ill Or Older Pet

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One of the hardest things for a pet owner to do is to know when it is time to let go of an ill, aging companion.  While some pets simply pass away in their sleep, more often than not, due to a long-term or terminal illness, it is the pet owner that needs to decide when it is time to help their companion cross over.  But, how do you know when the time is upon you?   Deciding when it is time to put your longtime companion down is a very personal decision; however there are a few guidelines that can help in making the decision.

  • Obvious suffering – It is probably easiest to decide on euthanasia when you see your companion in obvious pain.  However, there are people who can’t see past their own grief to see how much their pet is suffering.  While no one wants to lose their pet, a truly caring and compassionate owner would not want to see them suffer either.  There comes a point when the most important and caring thing you can do for your pet is to help them pass away without pain and as comfortably as possible.
  • Giving quantity instead of quality – Some people want vets to do everything they possibly can do to extend their pet’s life.  However, if it will only give your pet nothing but time, you have to consider whether it is worth the discomfort, time, and expense to give a few extra weeks or months to your pet.  There is a huge difference between giving a pet a quantity of time and giving a pet quality time.  Sometimes, more time isn’t worth it for the pet if it is suffering or is uncomfortable.
  • Lengthy treatment with a low chance of survival – Veterinary medicine has given us the opportunity to treat a variety of illnesses affecting our pets.  Yet, it is impossible to help your pet understand that the potentially uncomfortable or painful treatment may extend their life for a period of time.  Particularly if there is a low chance of survival or a strong chance of the illness occurring again, owners need to seriously consider the chance of survival as well as the pet’s quality of life during treatment and after before committing to a long treatment protocol.
  • Living a low quality of life – Animals, like people, can continue living as their bodies systems and functions slowly fail, waiting to die.  No one wants to think about losing their old friend, but there may come a time when an owner needs to think about what sort of life the animal has.  If your pet is suffering from multiple severe disabilities or body system failures, it may be time to consider what life is like on a daily basis for your pet.  If you wouldn’t want to live in that condition, you should think if your pet would want to live in the same condition.

No one ever wants to think about having to actively making the decision to have their pet put down.  However, because they rely on the humans they love to help them, pet owners have a responsibility to their old friends to be compassionate and always keep the animal’s best interest foremost in their mind.  Animals can’t say how they feel or what they want so you must consider all the options and do what is best for your animal friends, even if that means that you may have to opt for euthanasia.   By relieving your pet’s suffering, you can take comfort in the fact that, even though you feel the loss of your pet deeply, in the end, you did what was best for them.

Diane Schmidt writes for VipSitters which is located in Toronto, Canada. Diane enjoys learning, researching and writing about topics related to pets and animals. She’s researched and written articles about pet cremation, pet burial and pet sitting. Diane has owned several pets in the past. She writes from her home, which she shares with her husband, their son and two cats.

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