Any pet lover will tell you that when we have a pet, we develop very deep and unique bonds with them so much so that even in our thoughts we wish that our pets outlive us so that we do not see them as old, weak or suffering. However we have to face the inevitable. It is likely you will outlive your pet, and you pet will get older, and eventually, you will have to make some hard decisions. So, how should we respond to the situation that we wish never came our way?
How can I decide that it is time to say goodbye?
As a pet parent you will have to judge the overall quality of life of the pet. Looking for how the pet does overall through the day, other vital signs (see below). If the pet is affected with a terminal condition a balanced decision based on the existing quality of life and prognosis of the condition after consultation with your Veterinarian will help to come to a decision. We can look at some of the following factors determine the quality of pets life.
- Chronic pain that affects the pets quality of life.
- Vomiting or diarrhea leading to weight loss and severe dehydration.
- Pet not eating on his/her own.
- Incontinence leading to pet soiling himself/herself with feces, urine.
- Decreased interest in all activity, toys, treats, playing with family/other pets that may indicate an impaired quality of life.
- Unable to walk or stand balance.
- Difficulty in breathing.
How would I know for sure if its time?
Discussion with family members, roommates or any other individuals linked to the pet in regards to the quality of life must be the starting point. If there is still doubts about the decision, getting an appointment with your Veterinarian specifically to discuss any possible alternatives or even an objective analysis in the light of pets medical records may help resolve some confusion.
When it’s time, what happens next?
You will need to call your Veterinarian to schedule and appointment. During the appointment you will authorize the Veterinarian to perform the euthanization. Most Veterinarians will sedate the pets by giving an injection in the muscle so that the pet is calm and sedate before the procedure. After the pet has calmed down an intra-venous catheter is placed to secure a port in the vein. Euthanasia solution is administered in the vein which immediately stops the heart, nerve conduction and brain activity in a few seconds. The entire procedure is extremely smooth and painless.
Can i be present at the time?
Yes. It is entirely your decision whether you our your family want to be present at the time or not. However having kids at the time is not recommended.
What happens to my pets body after the procedure?
The body is generally sent to cold storage immediately, and thereafter it is cremated with full honors. Most Vets will send a sympathy card a few days afterwards. You will also get a call from your Vet if you requested to get the ashes back. If you choose, you can have your pet buried in a pet cemetary or purchase a memorial. Some pet owners prefer to keep their pets ashes in a special urn. How you choose to memorialize your pet is entirely up to you.
Only you know the depth and the warmth of the relationship that you shared with your pet, so you may find it extremely hard to get over the grief. It is hard to share your feelings with someone due to the same reason. It may be best not to try to get over the thoughts but rather learn to live with the thoughts. Slowly time will change that lonely spot of grief to a permanent warm place for your pet which you will value for the rest of your life. Just like the death of a friend or a family member, different people grieve differently, but you can eventually move on and know that your pet is in a better place.