Euthanasia: Making the Decision

It seems that recently I have had quite a few conversations with owners about when it is time for their senior pet to cross the rainbow bridge. It is never something to look forward to, but in my opinion it is the most loving decision we ever have to make as pet owners.

It can be difficult to see the forest from the trees, so I will often use some objective parameters to guide me in the decision. I will take an inventory of my pet’s three favorite things to do. This could be going on walks, eating treats in the kitchen or curling up on my lap in front of the TV. If my pet isn’t able to do these things,then I need to closely evaluate whether this constitutes a good quality of life.

Sometimes my pet is able to do their favorite things some days but not all. At that point I will take a calendar and start marking at the end of each day whether it was a good day (they could do what they loved to) or a rough day. If the rough days start to outweigh the good days, then I’ll take a closer look at the quality of life of my loved one.

One last thing I take into consideration is what is my quality of life like? If I am unable to even do basic things in my life because of constant medications and cleaning, then that needs to be taken into account as well.

Making this decision is heart wrenching and can be full of self-doubts. We may be concerned about making the decision too early, or beat ourselves up because we feel we have waited too long. The important thing to remember is that you know your pet best and that your veterinarian is ready to help guide you through this decision and process whenever you are concerned.

– Dr. Hekking

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