In your home, your back yard, on a favorite bed, in a local park, or wherever you feel your pet would be most at peace, we will be there for you and your dog or cat.
Making a Decision about Pet Euthanasia
Sometimes the decision about euthanasia seems an impossible one. We love our pets dearly and want to do the right thing. We all want to pick the best time to say good-bye - not too soon, not too late. Sometimes the decision seems obvious and it is clear that the time for euthanasia has arrived. Other times you may need help assessing the timing or discovering if there are other viable options. We have helped thousands of people through this decision-making process, and we can likely help you too.
Knowing When it is the "Right" Time
Every situation is different. There are many factors to be considered: your pet's current quality of life, the likelihood that the quality can be significantly improved, and the philosophy and past experiences of the family. Many issues may be intertwined.
First and of utmost importance, is your pet's quality of life. If your pet is painful, struggling to breathe or is otherwise suffering with little to no hope of immediate improvement, the decision to euthanize may be more urgent.
Try to imagine how your pet is feeling in the present moment. It is generally thought that pets live "at the moment". They do not think about feeling better at some point in the future. Nor do they mark time in the way we do ("if only he could be here to celebrate my daughter's birthday with her"). As best we can tell, they focus on the here and now.
One factor may be the age of your pet. What is the reasonable expectation they may have a better quality of life, for a significant period of time, once they recover (if possible) from the current illness or injury?
What is your past experience with pet loss? Have you had a pet in hospice care or did you work hard to improve their quality of life before? What did you learn from that experience that might influence what you would or would not do now? Although previous situations were not likely to have been exactly the same as this one, there may have been lessons that you can draw on now.
Have you explored all your options? There may be other means of financial or logistical help that have not been explored. Sometimes a heart to heart with a trusted friend or a thorough consult with your veterinarian can shed some light on other alternatives. We are always happy to come to visit your pet, perform a Quality of Life Assessment, and talk through all your options with you. We can offer an objective yet supportive and empathetic opinion and sometimes can bring new ideas or solutions for consideration.
What about "natural death"? Can't I just wait until my pet dies in their sleep? We hear this often. Most people would prefer to not make the decision and hope that their elderly or sick pet simply dies peacefully in their sleep. This does happen sometimes - but rarely. When it does, it is often unexpected. Usually, this is not a realistic thing to wait for. Typically a pet dying from illness is not blessed by a quick and painless death on their own. The truth is that euthanasia is almost always more peaceful and merciful than a "natural" death. If you feel strongly about providing a natural death for your pet, one of our doctors would be happy to consult with you.
Every family and situation is different, but you may want to consider some of the following steps:
Most people start with a conversation with their veterinarian about their options. Often people seek a second opinion from another veterinarian as well since often input from a fresh source can be helpful.
Once you have made a decision that euthanasia is something you are seriously considering, you may want to start gathering information about the process, the timing, the location. The decision to euthanize your beloved pet will never feel "good", but it should feel "right." It can often take a long time to get to this point, but there are times when you are forced into making a decision more quickly.
Please don't hesitate to call us to talk about your decision, to ask for help and options, and to use us as a resource for your initial information gathering. We know that it often is a multi-step process to make the final decision. Tentative, initial inquiries are welcome, and we will do our best to clarify any questions you may have.