If your pet is very old or ill, you may be considering euthanasia. It can be a rough decision to make, and it’s certainly a solemn time in a pet owner’s life. How will you know when the time is right? This is one of the weightiest responsibilities of pet ownership: taking care not to prolong a life full of pain. Ending your pet’s suffering is a humane decision to make for a beloved member of your family.
- How do you know when it’s time? Euthanasia, or “putting to sleep”, is used when a pet is suffering and there is little to no hope of recovery. Sometimes, it’s hard for a pet owner to make the decision. Talking to your veterinarian can help you gauge whether or not it’s the right option but, ultimately, the choice is yours. Here are some signs that your pet is not enjoying a good quality of life:
- Chronic pain that cannot be controlled with medication
- Frequent vomiting or diarrhea, causing weight loss and dehydration.
- Inability to eat
- Loss of interest in favorite activities
- Chronic labored breathing or coughing
- Inability to stand, falling down when trying to walk
- Once you’ve made the decision, make sure to say goodbye. Decide whether or not to be there during the euthanasia process. It can be very comforting for a pet for the owner to be present. In some cases, the veterinarian will come to your home so that your pet can be in familiar, comfortable surroundings. Tell family members what’s going on, so that they can say goodbye, and prepare children for what’s going to happen.
- What can you expect from the euthanasia process? Knowing in advance what to expect can make the experience less stressful for you, which is likely to be less stressful for your pet as well. Your veterinarian will administer an antiseptic before giving an injection of sodium pentobarbital. Remember, because of the pentobarbital, your pet will not feel the injection. It is a very peaceful process. Your veterinarian will let you know when your pet has passed.
- What happens next? Your veterinarian understands that this is an emotional time and will likely give you time alone with your pet. You pet’s bladder or bowels may release, the eyes may not close, and you might see twitching or what seems to be a breath. This is all normal, and not cause for alarm. Remember your beloved pet has clearly passed when these reactions occur.
At Reed Animal Hospital, we treat your pets as if they were our own. To that end, Dr. Reed can make house calls when it’s time to peacefully end your pet’s pain and suffering. As always, our goal is to help you and your pet enjoy a healthy, fulfilling life together, so this is just one of the many services our extraordinary team offers. For more information or to make an appointment, call us in Campbell at 408-369-1788, or in Saratoga at 408-647-2906, or contact us through our website.