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  • Writer's pictureellis co. animal hospital

Saying goodbye to your best friend

Watching your pet grow old is often the least fun part of owning a pet. When they have no desire to play, everything hurts, nothing looks appetizing and the pain meds quit working, it may be time to start thinking seriously about their well-being.

How do you know when it's time?

We are asked this question on a regular basis and to be honest there is only one good answer. YOU will know when it’s time. Now this is when we get that look of dismay and utter helplessness from owners who were hoping that we had a crystal ball to tell them when the time line on their precious part of the family has run out. Unfortunately, we as veterinary medical staff are no good at telling the future. You as the pet owner spend the most time with your pet, we do not and for us to decide when the time is right would be cruel.

Our general rule is that when your pet is having more bad days than good, it’s time. That being said, we do recommend trying things like joint supplements and pain medication before we call it quits, unless of course the animal is in too much pain or has other health issues contributing to the decision.

What do WE define as good days?

  • Eating and drinking

  • Overall happy attitude

  • Able to get up and down off the floor by themselves

  • Able to urinate and defecate on their own

Our definition of bad days:

  • Not eating or drinking

  • Depressed and lethargic

  • Unable to get up off the floor or lay down without collapsing

  • Unable to urinate and defecate on their own

  • Urinating and defecating on themselves due to being unable to get up

  • Major attitude change

The "E" word

Euthanasia can be such a scary word, but it doesn’t have to be. As veterinary medical professionals we strive to do what is best for your pet and sometimes unfortunately that is euthanasia. We are given the opportunity to end the suffering of our beloved and loyal furry friend so why wouldn’t we choose to use that power when the time is right? Often, we hear that owners would prefer the animal to pass at home in their sleep, unfortunately that is not usually the case. We as animal lovers cannot let our older animals suffer at home until the body eventually shuts down and gives up. Which is why euthanasia is sometimes the best option.

How to make it through the euthanasia process:

  • When your pet is ready call for the appointment (you will never feel ready!)

  • Do the best to CELEBRATE their life in the coming days/hours (You and your pet have so many great days, amazing memories and endless stories to tell)

  • Spoil your pet with love and affection

  • Stay with them during the procedure (if you can) and tell them all the great things you love about them

  • Bring a friend or family member to drive you if necessary

Know that its okay to cry because it's definitely not an easy decision to make. We understand because we've all been there too! Remember that YOU know your pet best and can tell when they are starting to suffer. Let euthanasia be the light at the end of a dark tunnel for your much loved pet.


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