Making the Difficult Decision to Euthanize Your Pet
How Do I Know It's Time?
I get this question a lot and it is not an easy one to answer. It all revolves around quality of life. Sometimes all body systems collapse at one time: that makes it more clear cut. However, sometimes it is only one aspect of their physical or emotional self that impairs their ability to lead a quality life. It can be a hind end that does not work, lack of appetite and vomiting from nausea, or painful tumors. It can be any number of individual things, even when the rest of your pet's body and mind seem healthy, which compromise your pet's ability to have quality of life.
Many times as pets are reaching the end of their lives they cycle through bad and good days. This brings your emotions through a roller coaster, and makes it very difficult to settle on a decision. Just knowing that the roller coaster type situation exists will help you look for trends. Does your pet have more bad days than good, or are the bad days so bad that their quality of life is poor? Your veterinarian and family and friends can help you make the decision, but ultimately it is up to you: you know your pet best. The decision cannot be rushed, it has to be done in your time. There are no wrong answers either. You have to have peace within yourself for it to be the right decision.
How Family Members Deal with Euthanasia of a Beloved Pet:
Many times different family members are on different pages when it comes to making the decision to provide compassionate euthanasia for their pet. Husbands and wives often differ in this respect. The most important thing is to value and respect the other person's feelings, and try to come up with a peaceful solution for the whole family. It never feels good to euthanize a pet, but each family member should be a sense of peace about the decision. In addition I have noted significant differences in how men and women handle the loss of a pet. These are not absolute, but are a trend that is good to be aware of, as it will help you understand why your spouse or significant other handles things differently from what you think is normal. Women generally deal with this better than men. Men tend to like to hurry up and get it over with, sometimes sweeping the pet up immediately after death and hurrying to bury. It can be distressing to the other partner who wants to spend some time with the pets body before burial. Men generally process things differently from women, and don't like to dwell on things or discuss them. Again don't let it distress you: it is just that we all handle things differently. Give your family members space to deal the the loss of your pet their way.
Final Note: Do Things Your Way
There are no wrong answers when it comes to euthanizing your pet. And you know your pet better than anyone, so you are the one who should decide when it is time. I can help you make that decision by providing information and answering questions, but ultimately it is you who knows best, and you must make the decision freely or you will not have peace about it. Allowing others to have control over your decision will lead to resentment and you will not have the peace about it that you need to have. Listen to your heart, and know that I am here to help you in any way that I can.