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April 20, 2022
Sometimes, doing what's best for your pet can be one of the hardest things you'll ever have to do. When your faithful friend is in pain, the decision to put your pet to sleep weighs heavy on your heart. But it can ultimately be the kindest thing to do, although coping with your pet's death is never easy.
When a cat or dog no longer enjoys daily life, a pet parent faces a difficult decision. If you have young children, be honest with them about what needs to happen. When preparing to put your pet to sleep, spend one-on-one time with them beforehand. Let everyone create some positive final memories with your pet.
Sometimes, you might question if euthanizing your pet is the right decision. Your emotions can take over, and you understandably want to exhaust any and all possibilities before making such a final choice. In times like this, your vet can be an incredible source of support and honesty.
If your dog or cat is ill, your vet will provide you with all options. Very often, they might tell you the words you're hoping never to hear, "there's nothing more we can do." Or, the available options come at a high cost or with risks. At that point, it's a question of your pet's quality of life.
You might wait it out as long as you can, as long as your pet is still comfortable. But make sure to keep your pet's happiness and comfort top priorities.
If you've already discussed the possibility of euthanasia with your vet, keep alert for several signs that can help you with your decision. Here are a few things that might help you make the unselfish choice to put your pet to sleep.
If you need extra clarification about your decision, you can consult the HHHHHMM Scale. It's a rating system that can help you measure your pet's quality of life.
It focuses on Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Hygiene, Happiness, Mobility, and "More good days than bad days." Within each area, it instructs you on determining where your pet falls on a scale of 0 to 10.
Often, the decision to put your pet to sleep is not clear-cut. There might be many questions and what-ifs and maybes. One suggestion to help you decide is to list your pet's seven favorite things to do.
If your pet can no longer do any more than 3 of the 7, it's time to start seriously considering euthanasia.
If you feel it's in your pet's best interest to say goodbye, discuss it with your vet and ask any questions you may have. It's crucial that you decide without any doubts in your mind. But, it's equally important that you also base your decision on what's best for your pet and not what's best for you.
Most vets will have you handle payment ahead of time, so you won't have to worry about a bill when everything is done.
You can make arrangements with your vet about what you will do with your dog or cat's remains. Your options are typically burial or cremation.
Most vets will perform the procedure in the clinic, although some will come to the pet's home. Either way, ask your vet if they feel it has to be done immediately or if you can schedule it for a few days later.
If you get a couple of extra days, spend them with your pet and dote on them. If they're willing, give them a tasty bite of steak or other food you usually didn't allow. Soak up every second with them.
Take time to say goodbye to your pet. It's your choice to be in the room with your pet during the procedure or if you want to step out. Everyone is different, but know that you can choose either option.
If the procedure happens in the clinic, make arrangements for someone else to drive you. No matter how strong you are and how prepared you are, the experience can affect you much more deeply than you anticipate.
Putting the family pet to sleep becomes especially difficult if you have children. For many kids, their cat or pup was their very first friend. How do you tell your kids it's time to say goodbye?
After you say your final farewell to your faithful companion, you need to prepare yourself for what comes next. You'll likely have many days where you still listen for their claws clickety-clacking on the floor. When you wake up, you'll miss their wet nose greeting you as soon as you open your eyes. Your home will feel quieter and emptier, and your heart will ache.
Even if your pet takes the decision out of your hands and passes peacefully, it doesn't make the loss any easier. But there are things you can do to cope and heal in time.
It's never easy to say a final goodbye to your best friend. But, sometimes, it's the most merciful and unselfish thing you can do for them. Being a loving pet parent is all about doing what makes your pet happy, and sometimes that means making tough decisions.
If you're looking for other helpful tips on caring for your fur babies, check out the rest of our blog. You'll find information and resources that can help you make all sorts of pet-parenting decisions.
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