While there are some dogs that die a natural death due to old age in the comfort of their own home, there are some furry friends that become seriously ill or injured and experience a significant decrease in quality of life. It is in these situations that you may have to consider having your pet euthanized to end the prolonged pain and unnecessary suffering that it is experiencing.
Below, we will cover some of the common signs that indicate that it may be time to euthanize your canine companion. While this is never a decision that we want to make, sometimes it is the last act of love that we can provide for our dogs.
Deteriorating Quality Of Life
You have likely heard the term “quality of life” at some point in your life, either through conversations with your vet or people that are close with you. It is important to assess your dog’s quality of life as well as their level of pain.
If your dog is suffering from a particular disease and has a deteriorating quality of life it is important to understand the disease process that your pet is experiencing. Consulting with your veterinarian will also provide you with further insight as to if your pet is going to recover or continue to worsen, leading to a lower quality of life.
Just like humans, pets experience changes in their bodies and react differently as disease progresses. The response that their body goes through is also highly dependent on what disease they are suffering from. If your dog is suffering from a more manageable disease such as arthritis, you can likely provide your dog with a great quality of life with symptom management for quite a while at home. However, if your dog is suffering from heart failure and begins to have difficulty breathing, it may be time to consider pet euthanasia.
Increased Pain And Anxiety
Pain is one of the most important things to consider when deciding to euthanize your dog. Like humans, dogs can also feel pain. If your dog is no longer to get around or is constantly whimpering or whining due to pain, it may be time to consider euthanasia. Persistent and incurable inability to eat, vomiting, signs of pain, distress or discomfort, or difficulty in breathing are all indications that euthanasia should be considered.
In addition to pain, you should consider the level of anxiety your pet is experiencing. In some cases, this can be worse than pain within animals. Many dogs that are in the end-stage of life exhibit symptoms that you may mistake for pain while they are actually signs of severe anxiety. These symptoms include panting, pacing, whining, and crying. These signs of anxiety usually become worse at night compared to during the day. In some cases, anti-anxiety medication can temporarily relieve some of these symptoms.
Arriving At The Decision To Euthanize Your Dog
There are some things that you should consider before making the decision to euthanize your furry friend. It is important to talk this personal decision over with your veterinarian as well as your friends and family. Ask yourself questions like:
- Can your dog still eat, drink, sleep, and move on its own?
- Does your dog respond to your presence or to those around him?
- Is your dog still interested in eating food?
If you answer these questions in the affirmative and your dog has an incurable ability to eat, is vomiting, and showing other signs of pain or labored breathing, it may be time to euthanize the animal. You know better than anyone else if your dog is its same happy self. It is important to use your own judgment to consider the recommendation of your veterinarian.
Many pet owners hope that their dog dies peacefully in their sleep at home; however, this is rarely the case. Most dogs reach a point when they no longer have any quality of life, and the decision to euthanize them has to be made.
What To Expect During The Medical Procedure
Making the difficult decision to euthanize your dog and say goodbye is never an easy decision to make. This decision can be even more difficult to make if you do not know what to expect during the medical procedure. Your vet will likely explain what happens during the procedure before you make the hardest decision to euthanize your furry friend. Be sure that you are comfortable with your decision and to ask any questions to your vet if you need clarification.
It is important that your dog sees that you are not scared or anxious during this time. Many times, small to medium-sized dogs are placed on a table for the procedure, while larger dogs are usually placed on the floor due to their size. It is important that your dog is comfortable and is supported by a blanket or has a bed to lie on.
If you wish to be with your dog during the procedure, the veterinarian will direct as to where to stand to ensure that your dog can see you and hear your voice as the procedure is performed.
The procedure consists of the veterinarian administering a lethal dose of an anesthetic drug called sodium pentobarbital. This drug causes the dog to become unconscious and eventually stops the dog’s heart from beating.
Sometimes, vets choose to give the pet an anesthetic or sedative before the procedure to ensure they are comfortable and not in any pain. This is typically done to dogs that may not hold still for the final infection.
Should You Stay With Your Dog When He Is Euthanized?
The choice to be by your pet’s side is entirely up to you. It may provide you with some comfort knowing that the process is very quick and pain-free. However, you should never feel guilty if you do not want to watch as your pet is euthanized. It is important that you surround your dog with love at this time and remain as calm as possible to keep your dog at peace.
After the procedure is complete, your vet will likely offer you a variety of options for your pet’s final resting place. Cremation is usually the most popular choice; you can then choose if you would like your pet’s ashes returned to you after cremation. Many cremation providers offer a variety of memorial options including personalized urns. A pet cemetery is also another option that you can choose. Purchasing a plot at a pet cemetery usually costs between $300 to $800.
Getting Back To Normal After Your Pet Is Gone
Coping with death is never easy. Pets are a part of our families, and the loss of them is sometimes very difficult to process. So, you should not be ashamed if you feel loss and sadness. Never be afraid to admit how you feel and seek the comfort of those around you. It is important to remember the good times that you had with your dog while they were alive instead of dwelling on their death.
In addition, you should consider hanging up photos of your dog to create a memorial for them in their honor. Losing a loving member of your family is very hard; it is going to hurt. Just know that you are not alone in your grief!