When to euthanize – Our best tips for knowing the right time to say goodbye.
Pet euthanasia is a painless end of life of a patient that is suffering from a long term incurable, irreversible or painful disease. Saying goodbye is never easy, but how do you know when to euthanize your beloved pet?
How to make the decision.
It is important to remember that every pet, each illness and every situation is different. The right time for euthanasia is no different. Chosing when can be the hardest part. Honestly you will know in yourself when it is the right time. It may sound strange, but it is often true. If you are not sure then your decision should be based on your pet’s quality of life. Persistent inability or want to eat, persistent vomiting, difficulty breathing, collapse, inability to stand and signs of pain, stress or discomfort are all times when euthanasia should be considered. However during chronic illness, such as arthritis, deciding on the right time can be more difficult. There are two main ways we recommended to help you make the decision:
- Make a list of 5-10 things that define your pet. Things such as they always eat their food, they love going out for a walk or they always enjoy a cuddle in the evening. When your pet is no longer doing half of this list then it is time to start considering euthanasia.
- At the end of each day decide as a family if today has been a good day or a bad day for your pet. Then mark it in your diary, on your phone or on your calendar, with a smiley face or sad face or a tick or a cross. When there are more bad days than good then thats is a sign that it is time.
When else might euthanasia be appropriate?
There are other times when euthanasia may be appropriate as well. For instance in a situation where your pet is very ill and they may recover but need longterm care. If the cost or amount of care they need ongoing is not feasible for you, then euthanasia may be a better option. Some animals with longterm illnesses may be at risk of sudden collaspe, if you cannot make arrangements to get them to a vets quickly then euthanasia may also be a better option, to reduce the risk of suffering.
It is also important to consider that our animal companions live in the moment. They do not think about the good times they have had before or ponder about the good times that may lie ahead. They just consider about what they feel like today. Sometimes looking at this perspective can help us see things from their point of view. If you do not feel it is time it is also worth checking why. Is it just because you are not ready to let go or is it because your pet still has a good quality of life?
What happens at the euthanasia appointment?
When the time comes it is helpful to know what to expect. When it comes to making the appointment it is helpful to let our receptionist know your intentions. That way the appointment can be booked with the appropriate amount of time and hopefully at a quieter time of day. When coming for the appointment it may be helpful to bring a friend or family member for support. If your pet is already in hopsital you may ask to come and see them first to say goodbye. However if they are already under anaesthetic it may be kinder to agree to euthanasia without allowing them to wake up.
The euthanasia is performed by an overdose of an anaesthetic drug. Your pet will lose conciousness quickly and soon their heart and breathing will stop. Sometimes there is gasping or twitching seen at this point or over the next few minutes. This is natural part of the process, your pet is not distressed and will have already lost conciousness. The vet will then confirm that the heart has stopped and that your pet has now passed away. In some cases we may place a catheter or used sedatives to allow a smooth and calm administration of the euthanazia solution.
Afterwards once you have said your goodbye you can take your pet home for burial. Alternatively we can arrange a cremation for you, where you can have the option to have the ashes returned. In these cases we will take it from there and arrange it all for you, looking after your pet’s body in the process.
Can your pet have a home visit for euthanasia?
We do arrange home visits for euthanasia appointments. However we often need a good notice to arrange our diaries and staff accordingly.
If you are not sure if it is time for your pet, come in for an appointment and talk it over with one of our vets. Call 01702 545558 now.