As animal lovers, it’s almost impossible to think about the day when we will have to say goodbye to our beloved pets. We can only hope that when the time does inevitably come, it will be a peaceful passing at the end of a long and happy life.
Sadly, as many of us know all too well, sometimes this is not to be. Sometimes our faithful companions become ill or are injured, and we may have to face some very difficult decisions in order to prevent them suffering prolonged pain.
Euthanasia (sometimes referred to as ‘putting to sleep’) is the term used to describe the active veterinary intervention undertaken to end pain or suffering. Discussions with your vet exploring all the options and details will undoubtedly be emotional; the overriding desire to ‘do the right thing’ is often clouded by feelings of guilt, sadness and frustration for many of us. If you are currently in a position where you have to think about ending your pet’s suffering, or would like to be a little more prepared when the time comes in the future, you might like to know that you can find plenty of helpful practical support on our website here.
Accepting when is the ‘right’ time to let your companion go can often be the hardest part, and it’s helpful to consider some simple questions that can help you reach the decision that is ultimately in the best interests of your pet:
- Is your pet is still enjoying life? Does he/she seem happy?
- Is the overall quality of life still acceptable? Think about:
o Evidence of discomfort
o Appetite levels
o Urinary or faecal incontinence
o Mental capacity and confusion
o Ease of breathing – is it a real effort for your pet?
- What is the prognosis associated with any illnesses diagnosed?
- Are treatment options available? How aggressive, invasive or uncomfortable are they likely to be?
Ultimately, helping our pets to a dignified and peaceful end is the most important and noble act we can undertake for our faithful companions. However, the decision is particularly painful because in order to end a pet’s suffering, we must unselfishly, and in the name of love, choose to accept our own.
Until next time, very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support