The Decision
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Knowing When It’s Time

One of the most valuable considerations in making the in-home pet euthanasia decision rests in determining your animal’s quality of life. You know your beloved pet better than anyone else. This is truly an individual decision, best made by you and your family with the professional help of your veterinarian to assess your pet’s overall health condition.

When choosing the time to say goodbye, it can be a painful and heartbreaking experience. It can be accompanied by feelings of guilt and uncertainty, often leaving you questioning whether you made the right decision. If you’re reaching out to me, you likely intuitively know that it’s time. In my experience, there is no “perfect” day and no right or wrong decision.

There are some indicators and behavioral changes that can inform you on your pet’s quality of life. Some signs include whether they’ve become uninterested in food or water and are having trouble going to the bathroom on their own. This can be accompanied by accidents in the house and significant weight loss, as well as difficulty getting up and standing on their own.

Some more difficult symptoms to watch for include seizures, labored breathing or even crying out and whimpering regularly. Pets near the end of their life may become confused, or lose interest in their normal daily activities. Sadly, some can even have an adverse reaction to your touch, hiding away from you and the family. For others, it can be difficult to determine if they’re in pain or suffering. Often times, our faithful companions hide their pain; cats will continue to purr and dogs will continue to wag their tail and seek out comfort from you, even as they experience pain and illness.

The time to say goodbye

If your pet has been diagnosed and is suffering from a terminal illness, you may already know that the time is coming near. Once they start to have more “bad days” than good, you may need to start thinking about how you’d like their final moments to be.

“Good Days” and “Bad Days”

It may be helpful to keep a log of any noticeable behavioral changes and calendar “good days” and “bad days” to help you further assess if your pet is making improvements or experiencing diminishing quality of life.

Here are some indicators and behavioral changes to consider when making an assessment of your pet’s quality of life. If your pet is experiencing any of these conditions, pet home euthanasia would be the right decision:

  1. Is your pet able to eat and drink? Are they still interested in their food? Are they taking in enough water?
  2. Has your pet experienced significant weight loss?
  3. Does your pet have any problems urinating or defecating on their own?
  4. Is your pet experiencing incontinence? Not able to remain house trained?
  5. Is your pet able to get up and move around on their own? Are they able to stand on their own?
  6. Is your pet having seizures or circling?
  7. Is your pet still expressing interest in his/her normal daily activities? Playing? Running?
  8. Is your pet becoming confused or experiencing dementia?
  9. Is there a noticeable difference in their breathing? Having more short and labored breaths?
  10. Is your pet having fewer “good days” than “bad days”?
  11. Does your pet have an adverse reaction to your touch? Do they pull away?
  12. Are they “denning” or hiding more wanting less contact with you and the family?
  13. Has your pet been diagnosed and suffering from a terminal illness or disease in which recovery is not probable or response to treatment has not been effective?
  14. Is your pet crying out or whimpering? Is your pet in pain or suffering? This is sometimes more difficult to determine since often times our faithful companions hide their pain; Dogs, typically, do not cry out in pain, will continue to wag their tail and seek out comfort from you, even as they experience pain and illness. Cats are tougher than dogs and may even pass away on their own if you are not aware of their signs. Their telltale sign is not eating.