When To Put Your Pet To Sleep

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When to put your pet to sleep

Having to make the decision to end a pet's life is quite possibly the hardest decision to make. And unfortunately, it's never a clear answer. We will discuss how to evaluate a pet's quality of life and the questions to ask your Vet.

It is an intensely personal decision to euthanize ("put to sleep") a beloved pet due to injury, old age, and disease. People often wonder if they will know when it is "time", and many ask their veterinarian "what would you do if it were your pet?".

Things to consider when evaluating your pet's quality of life:

  • Does your pet soil him/herself during the day? This can really be a stressor for some pets who prefer to be clean, and it can also pose health risks - i.e. skin rashes and infections from sitting in urine and/or feces.
  • Does your pet still enjoy "basic activities" such as eating? Is the appetite normal?
  • Does your pet enjoy human interaction? Is s/he still cognizant of who you are?
  • Can your pet move around without difficulty or pain?
  • Does your pet have the ability to stand
  • Is s/he refusing food

Questions to ask your Vet when your pet is dying

  • How long does the pet cremation process take?
  • How long will it take for me to get my pet back?
  • In what type of receptacle is my pet returned?
  • Can I buy an urn or other items to remember my pet?
  • If I buy an urn or other item, can my purchase be personalized?
  • How do I know I'm getting my pet back?
  • What checks and balances are offered to ensure that I am receiving my pet after cremation?

Do not be afraid to ask your veterinarian beforehand about the procedure or any other questions that you may have. This is an emotionally charged time, and living with unanswered questions or guilt can hinder the healing process. Please see this page for more resources on coping with loss and grief of a pet.