When to Humanely Euthanize Your Dog

When should you humanely euthanize your dog

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Dogs are our trusted companions, and we’d be thrilled if their life spans were as long as our own. I’ve often said that the worst part about having dogs is that they don’t live nearly long enough. As my dogs are starting to act older, it is a thought I constantly have.
While some dogs are able to live a good quality of life, even as old dogs, and pass peacefully in their sleep one day, many dogs have medical concerns or suffer a poor quality of life that may make euthanizing your dog the kinder option.
Unfortunately, sometimes the day comes when it is time to euthanize your dog. It’s important to ensure that the process is humane and handled as quickly and painlessly as possible. Many people will take their dogs to the vet for this procedure, but some vets are willing to make the drive out to your home so that your pet can be euthanized in the place where they will feel the most comfortable.
Be sure to follow these helpful guidelines for deciding when it’s time to make one of the hardest choices you’ll ever make.

1. Speak to a Veterinarian

When we’re deciding the fate of our precious friends, it can be hard to be objective. At times like these, it’s crucial to seek an unbiased opinion, so we can make sure we’re making an informed choice. Maybe you’re trying to tell yourself that your dog isn’t suffering as much as they appear. Or maybe you think your dog is suffering more than they are. Maybe there is a form of treatment that will help your dog live well a little longer.

No one ever wants to pull the plug on their beloved companion too soon or prolong their suffering longer than needed. Speaking with a veterinarian can help to alleviate those types of concerns.

2. Loss of Faculties

Once your dog has lost the ability to enjoy the same quality of life they’re accustomed to, it may be time to humanely euthanize them.

This may include your dog becoming blind, deaf, immobile, unable to control their bowels, unable to eat, among other things. While some of these things are more severe than others, many dogs develop many of this items as they age. Maybe your blind or deaf dog is still able to get around pretty well, but then one day they are also unable to walk well or eat. Then your dog will suddenly be at a very high risk of injury that could become a much more painful way to go.

This involves making an honest assessment of your pet’s current quality of life. Do they seem happy to you? Are they able to run, play, and eat in the same manner that they’ve become accustomed to? If the answer to these questions is no, it’ may be time to spare them any additional suffering.

Ultimately, you’ll know your dog best and will have to decide if they’re still enjoying a good quality of life, or if they’re suffering more than they’re enjoying life.

3. Look Them in the Eyes

Pets are very different from humans, in the sense that they live in the moment. When a human isn’t feeling well or is beginning to suffer from a physical standpoint, they have the ability to reflect on the past and remember the good times.

A pet doesn’t have the benefit of this perspective. Look your dog in the eyes when you’re considering the possibility of euthanization. Your dog may be able to give you the answer you’re struggling to find yourself.

4. Weigh the Pros and Cons

A dog doesn’t have to be euthanized once their health shows the first signs of slippage. But it’s best to weigh the pros and cons.

Some diseases take a long time to really reflect their health. Make sure to talk with your vet so that you can understand the signs that things are getting worse and know what to expect as the condition progresses. They can set up the expectations ahead of time, and give you a little bit more time to process your emotions and ensure that your spending good quality time bonding with your dog in their last days.

If your dog is starting to have many bad days, the time has come to keep track. Over the course of a month or a few weeks, take a moment to mark down whether your dog is having a good day or a bad one. If the bad ones outnumber the good ones, this could be a sign that your dog’s ready to be euthanized.

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