Pet Euthanasia

One of the most difficult things for a loving pet parent is deciding when it’s time to let them go and deal with the death of a pet. In some cases, it’s obvious, maybe you have a sick cat whose kidneys have completely stopped working. However, in others it’s more difficult. The pet euthanasia decision may involve an aging pet that has some health issues or is having trouble walking from arthritis.

Guidelines for Assessing a Sick Cat or Dog

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you determine if the time is right for pet euthanasia:

  • Is your pet still eating?
  • Is your pet still interested in life around him?
  • Does your pet want to spend time with you or other pets?
  • Is he able to get up and move on his own?
  • Is he having accidents in the house?
  • Does he seem to be in pain?

Today vs. Yesterday

Cat Euthanasia

If you have a sick cat or dog, and are forced to consider pet euthanasia, you want to compare how she is today to how she used to be. They all slow down as they get older, but is it more than that? If you think she still has more good days than bad, it’s probably not time. At this point, quality is more important than quantity. It may help to ask a friend or family member to give you their opinion.

When the Time Comes

We all hope our pets will die peacefully in their sleep.  Unfortunately, the death of a pet doesn’t usually work that way. When you are faced with making that final decision for your sick cat or dog, these guidelines may help.  

You may choose to be in the exam room with your pet when the veterinarian administers the pet euthanasia solution. There is no right or wrong decision. Just be gentle with yourself and know that you have been a wonderful pet parent and that your beloved friend deserves to be at peace. 

The process of pet euthanasia differs slightly from clinic to clinic.  Some vets prefer to place an IV catheter, and administer a mild sedative to help your sick cat or dog remain calm before the final injection of pet euthanasia solution.  This solution will slow the heartbeat and breathing to the point it stops.  At that time, they vet may listen with the stethoscope to determine if the pet has passed.  Occasionally, there can be some muscle twitching, a 'last breath', or a release of the bladder and bowels after the heart has stopped.  The procedure is extremely quick and painless, comparable to simply falling asleep.  The eyes will not remain closed.  

You can choose to have the body cremated, or bury your beloved pet in a location of your choice.  

Regardless of when or how you make the decision, however, you will probably struggle with feeling guilty. Be easy on yourself. You made the best decision you could. You did what you thought was best for your sick cat or dog. No one could ask for more.

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