The Reality of Saying Goodbye to Your Pet

When is it time to say goodbye to your pet? Most people think of their pets as family members, therefore this decision is quite the struggle. Should you let nature take its course? Or euthanize the pet to take away the pain and misery?
The article, Is it time to say goodbye? By Laverne Stewart, focuses on this dilemma. Her patient, Darlene Norman-Brown, who has lost four pets over the past two years, has been faced with this very decision again and notes “whether a pet dies on its own or with assistance it is never easy.” With that being said, she urges that the owner always keep in mind what is best for the pet, and to look at the situation objectively.
Considering the difficulty of this decision, speaking with your pet’s veterinarian about your options could aid with your decision. The article continues to mention Dr. Peter Foley, an assistant professor of small animal internal medicine. He speaks with his pet owners to discuss quality of life issues related to the pet’s condition. After having this tough conversation, the pet owners are “better able to make an informed decision as to what is best for their pet.” He recommends charting good and bad days for the pet, which will help illustrate the quality of life the animal is living.
Some signs, according to Dr. Foley, that it might be time to say goodbye include: if the animal is not comfortable through medication; if they are having difficulty breathing and are in respiratory distress; if they are no longer interested in the things they used to like to do, like eating or going for walks; if their life is not enjoyable; and/or if living is a burden to the animal.
If you see these signs, it’s important to understand the process of euthanization so you are aware of the process and to ease your anxiety of what’s to come. Stewart says “the recommended method of pet euthanization is through injection at a veterinarian’s office.” The animal will be put to sleep with anesthetic’s and rendered unconscious before the heart stops beating and the breathing ends. “Veterinarian’s say this is a painless, humane procedure.”
Knowing when to say goodbye is a difficult time for pet owners. Understanding the process and speaking with your veterinarian can help with your decision. According to Dr. Foley, “it is hard and it is also a blessing because you know that when a pet doesn’t have any quality of life and it is in misery it is necessary.”

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