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 options have been pursued:

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)

Bernard S. Hershhorn, DVM, author of “Active Years for Your Aging Dog”, agrees that the decision to let a beloved pet go is very difficult and very personal.  Here are 5 criteria he 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 pet in pain or otherwise physically suffering?

4.)   Is it no longer possible to alleviate the pain or suffering?

5.)   If your pet should recover, is it likely to be chronically ill, an invalid, or unable to care for itself as a healthy pet?

If answer to 3 & 4 are no, author of “Merle’s Door” Ted Kerasote recommends asking three additional questions:

1.)   Can you provide the pet’s necessary care?

2.)   Will such care interfere with your own life or create serious problems for you and/or your family?

3.) Will the cost become unbearably expensive?

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 your family, friends, and veterinarian to get their objective input. Peaceful passage is one of the most difficult, but precious gifts to give your beloved pet, and it truly is the last kind thing we can do for them.