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How Do I Know When it is Time for Euthanasia?

Letting go of your beloved pet is the hardest thing an animal lover will ever go through. And what can make it even more agonizing is weighing the decision whether to “help” them in their passing (or not) and the timing of any assistance. Doing it when you think it might be too soon can leave you with lasting guilt over whether you should have waited. But waiting too long can cause your pet unnecessary suffering. Watching them deteriorate day after day is harmful to you too. How do you know what to do?

If your pet has become so ill that your vet has suggested it might be time to consider euthanasia, it can reassure you to hear how your pet actually feels inside their body, and what they want done about it. This helps you reach a decision sooner about next steps, and feel more at peace with how it is ultimately handled.

Some animals — even ones that were not elderly — have told me that they have had a full life and that they were ready to let go. I have known others who were very sick but just weren’t ready to pass because they had reasons they wanted to stick around a bit longer. It is very individual, just as it would be with humans. Some don’t want any more medical assistance, or they’ll tell me that they want every possible healing measure taken first. Some I’ve known decided to slip away on their own without their human present because they wanted to spare them any more distress. Several cases come to mind where my clients were able to enjoy another couple of months beyond what they (and even their vet) thought they had before they said goodbye.

We are so lucky that so many vets now make this a house call so that you can say goodbye in your own home without adding more stress to your pet. It’s really the best scenario, though unfortunately not always possible.

The clients I’ve worked with have been very appreciative that they had me to support them before, during, and after a passing. Many of them who were single needed support all the more because they didn’t have a partner to talk the issues over with. After we worked together, they no longer had nagging guilt about making their decisions, and felt more at peace that they were making was the right choices. The peace of mind they achieved through working with me helped offset their grief. Most importantly, it honored the pet’s final wishes.

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