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Is It Time?

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Is it time to say goodbye?


You have cared for your beloved aged or ill pet day after day, and now it seems that the end of the journey is near.   And now may be the time for you to make the hardest decision during your journey- Is euthanasia right for my my pet? And if so, when will the right time be?  Will I know the signs?

The question of whether to help end your pet’s suffering through euthanasia can be one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make and many factors do play a role as to when the right time is for this decision to be made.

Making this decision can be clearer in some cases than in others.  Sometimes a pet shows clear signs of distress and/or suffering and you may feel confident, although heartbroken, about making an appointment for euthanasia. More often though, quality of life indicators are far less clearer, and signs and symptoms can be more complicated and harder to detect.

Below are some questions and things you should consider to help you decide when the time has come to say goodbye, understand your options and prepare for your pet’s end-of-life.

Consider your pet’s quality of life at this time.

  • Is there more pain than pleasure in your pet’s life now? Talk to your veterinarian about what signs you should look for to determine your pet’s quality of life and how to tell if the end is near.
  • Can anything more be done? Consult your veterinarian to determine what options for veterinary medical treatment he or she can provide to support your pet’s continued care and quality of life, or if nothing more can be done.
  • Who can you talk to? Connect with family, friends, loved ones, or a Day By Day support group, to help you make decisions about your pet’s quality of life and end of life care.

View our Quality of Life page for more on what to look for in your pet’s quality of life.

If you still are unsure, don’t hesitate to further consult with your veterinary team or get a second opinion and/or euthanasia consult from another veterinary team.  Ask all the questions you need to in order to make an informed decision.

And, keep in mind that creating plans for your pet’s end-of-life does not mean that you are giving up hope.  Preparing for that time is part of your emotional journey as a pet caregiver.