Pella Chronicle

October 21, 2011

Choosing to say goodbye to your pet

The Chronicle

Pella — Just like humans, pets can get diseases that wear their systems down. It's not uncommon for pets to be affected by arthritis, cancer, or diabetis. Depending on severity of the case, there may come a time when a pet owner faces the decision of whether or not to euthanize a pet.

Choosing to euthanize a pet can be sobering. Most pets are valued members of their families and the idea of living without the companion that has shared the ups and downs of life can be heart-wrenching. However, while some animals die peacefully on their own, many animals have strong wills to stick around with their pet parents and may live on despite a poor quality of life. It's in their nature to mask pain and illness, so it may be difficult to determine the extent of illness or failing.

While owners cannot control all of the factors, the one thing you can do is alleviate pain and suffering to a companion animal. In many cases, the decision to euthanize a pet is the most humane option available. So how do you determine if it is time? There are certain questions to ask that may help the decision:

Answering these questions might help you make the right decision based on the health of your pet. If you are still having difficulty determining if it's the time to say goodbye, talk with your veterinarian. He or she is in the business of saving pet lives and will not encourage euthanasia if it is not the right time. Most people and vets agree that it is better to euthanize a pet earlier than later so that he or she will not suffer unnecessarily.

Some prefer to make a list of what their pet enjoys, i.e. chasing a ball, being petted, eating, going for rides. Set a minimum that must be reached for quality of life. If the pet falls below this minimum, then euthanasia should be considered. Couples who have a pet may disagree on the time to euthanize. But ultimately the needs of the pet should be put before personal feelings.

Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is never easy for anyone. But euthanizing an animal when his or her quality of life has diminished vastly is often best for the animal.