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Euthanasia: Is It Time Yet?


There comes a time in every pet owner’s life when this question arises. Compassionate pet owners agonize over it. Here are some factors that may be helpful to consider after reasonable medical and/or surgical adjustments are made:

1.
The quality of the pet’s life.
2.
The comfort level (Pain or anxiety issues.)
3.
The pet’s dignity (ie: frustration over the inability to perform basic daily activities and interactions.)
4.
Significant lifestyle adjustments required (ie: restriction from the house due to odors or problems related to elimination, habits, barking issues, etc.)

Bernard S. Hershhorn DVM, author of the book “Active Years for Your Aging Dog” agrees that the decision to let a beloved pet go is very difficult and very personal. Here are six criteria Dr. Hershhorn suggests that you consider when you have “quality of life” concerns:

1.
Is the condition prolonged, recurring, or getting worse?
2.
Is the condition no longer responding to therapy?
3.
Is your dog in pain or otherwise physically suffering?
4.
Is it no longer possible to alleviate the pain or suffering?
5.
If your dog should recover, is it likely to be chronically ill, an invalid, or unable to care for itself as a healthy dog?
6.
If your dog recovers, is it likely to no longer enjoy life, or will it end up having severe personality changes?

Ted Kerasote, (author of the book “Merle’s Door”) asks three additional questions:

1.
Can you provide the necessary care?
2.
Will such care interfere with your own life as to create problems with you or your family?
3.
Will the cost involved become unbearably expensive?

A final tidbit to help with the decision is consult your mind, your heart and your "gut" instinct. Two out of three wins. It is better to be one week too early than to be one day too late.

Please recognize that there are no right or wrong answers. If the majority of the responses suggest that it may be “time”, it is still advisable to discuss your concerns with you family, friends, groomers, and veterinarian to get their objective input.
Peaceful passage is one the most difficult but also one of the most precious gifts to give your beloved pet. When the time is “right” your heart will surely guide you.