Is It Time?

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It’s one of the hardest questions you may have to ask yourself.   There are many joys to owning a pet but one of the unfortunate duties that we may encounter as an owner is deciding if it is time to end the suffering of our beloved friend.  Since pets can’t talk we look at indicators that they may show us to decide if the time is right.

Dr. Alice Villalobos, DVM, is the head of “Pawspice”, a hospice center for pets, in California.  She has devised a list of those indicators to consider as the decision for euthanasia is being made.  These are only guiding questions.  You know your pet best and you are the best person to make the decision for your pet.

These are the things to consider. ..

  • Is he or she in pain?
  • Are they moaning or crying or are they showing their pain in more subtle ways such as panting, hiding or restlessness?
  • Are there drugs or treatments that might help to alleviate or diminish the pain and discomfort?
  • Will these medications be affective without causing uncomfortable side effects?
  • ŸDoes your pet want to eat?
  • Is your pet able to eat?
  • Is your pet refusing his or her favorite treats?
  • Is he or she able to eat without vomiting?
  • Is your pet eating enough to sustain life?
  • Is there muscle wasting due to low calorie intake?
  • Is there a special food or medication that can improve their appetite or their ability to hold down and use the calories they take in?
  • ŸIs your pet drinking?
  • ŸIs your pet drinking enough to stave off dehydration?
  • ŸIs your pet able to drink without vomiting?
  • ŸIs your pet urinating a normal amount?
  • ŸAre there treatments that you can do at home that will help compensate for your pet’s dehydration?
  • ŸIs your cat grooming him or herself?
  • Is your dog concerned with their coat and its cleanliness?
  • ŸDoes your pet soil themselves or their bedding on a regular basis?
  • ŸAre you able and willing to maintain your pets hygiene for them if they are unable to do so?
  • Ÿ  Does it hurt them to be cleaned?
  • ŸDoes your dog wag his or her tail?
  • ŸDoes your cat want to be petted?
  • ŸDoes your cat purr?
  • ŸDoes your pet want to do his or her daily routine?
  • ŸDo they want to play with their favorite toys or take their walk?
  • Are they able to do these things without pain or discomfort?
  • Do they want to be with their family or are they hiding or distant?
  • ŸIs your pet able to get around?
  • ŸCan they rise and lie down without pain?
  • Do they need assistance and are you willing and able to assist them?
  • ŸCan they navigate their home to get to their food and water?
  • ŸCan he or she get to their litterbox?
  • ŸAre they mobile enough to go outside to urinate and defecate?
  • ŸAre their treatments or devices that can assist them with their mobility?
More Good Days Than Bad Days
  • Does your pet enjoy the majority of their days?
  • ŸDo the comfortable days out number the uncomfortable ones?
  • ŸIs their pain or discomfort rare, occasional or frequent?
  • ŸAre they getting a good night’s sleep the majority of the time, or are they restless most nights?
  • ŸAre you enjoying your time with them or are you angry or frustrated with them frequently?
This list of questions is only a tool to help you recognize the quality of your pet’s life.  If your answers confuse you please allow us to help you through this decision.  It takes a courageous owner to evaluate the situation with honest eyes.  You don’t have to do it alone.