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When is the right time to say goodbye to your pet?

How can you gauge the quality of life for your pet?

What constitutes a decreased quality of life? What should you do if you have concerns for your pet’s quality of life? We set out to answer these difficult questions.

Considering putting your pet to sleep is often a heart-wrenching decision, one that no one ever really wants to make, but when the time comes that your pet’s quality of life is suffering, with no signs of getting better, then it may be the kindest option to decide to put them to sleep. It’s a difficult decision; a conflict between wanting to spend as much time with your beloved pet as possible, but on the other hand not letting them suffer and making the right decision for them. Considering putting your pet to sleep does not make you a bad owner, in fact allowing your pet to slip away peacefully and with dignity is one of the nicest final gifts we can give them, when the time is right.

 

You as their owner are best placed to make this decision, with invaluable guidance from our friendly and supportive veterinary team. Your vet understands the important bond between you and your pet, can help evaluate their condition and likelihood of recovery and consider any long term problems, risks and likely outcomes to help you make an informed decision. As an owner, it is ultimately your decision to make, so it’s important that you fully understand your pet’s condition, so if there are any aspects of the diagnosis, condition, treatment or prognosis that you don’t understand, please do ask.

 

How can you gauge the quality of life of your pet?

You know your pet’s behaviours and habits the best, and so are the best judge of their quality of life. Signs that may suggest that your furry friend may not be doing so well may include:

  • Your pet no longer interacting, or enjoying things they used to, or not responding to you in their usual way.
  • They may be experiencing pain or ongoing discomfort. You may notice them having more difficulty moving around, stiffness or limping, or trouble getting themselves into a comfortable position.
  • They may be suffering with a terminal illness or from a critical injury. You may notice lack of their usual appetite, changes to their thirst, or symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • Ossibly you will find they are sleeping a lot more, or in unusual places.
  • You may notice a decline in their cognitive faculties, loss of vision and/or hearing and periods of confusion or distress.

Deterioration

If your pet is deteriorating gradually, sometimes this can be hard to determine, especially when you see them every day. In these cases it’s a good idea to think about the 5 basic freedoms that all animal welfare is measured against – these are freedom from;

  • hunger and thirst
  • discomfort
  • pain or injury
  • inability to express normal behaviour
  • fear and distress

Assessment

Have a think about those for your pet. Ask yourself if your pet is having more bad days than good days overall? It may be helpful to give your pet a ‘quality of life score’ out of 10 based on the list above, considering their ability to interact/play/exercise/eat and toilet like they used to, to determine how compromised these areas of their life are. It can be hard to be objective sometimes, so you may like to ask a trusted friend or relative who doesn’t live with you and your pet for their opinion.

 

For the most part you will have some time to make this decision, review the facts and discuss it with your loved ones, although there can be times when the decision needs to be made immediately if they are critically unwell.

Conclusion

If you have concerns that your pet is struggling, or their quality of life, book in for an appointment. Then we can assess your pet and offer you advice, to help make the decision with you. We can arrange a pre-euthanasia chat to discuss your thoughts and feelings. You can consider when the right time is for your pet. We can go through the options with you, explaining what to expect on the day itself.

We are available to help you with home euthanasia for your pet

In order to safeguard you and our vets and to comply with Government regulations there are some requirements you should be aware of and agree to before we confirm your home visit:
1. If the gentle euthanasia is indoors, only one person can be present during the vet’s visit, other family or friends should say their goodbyes before the vet arrives at your home
2. There should, at all times, be a two meter distance between the family member and the vet.
3. Our process involves sedation, you will be able share closeness with your pet after the vet has given the sedative
4. If you are able to be in your own garden, this greatly reduces the risk of contagion and it may be possible to be more than one person to be with the vet, our vet will advise you.
5. We are doing all we can to ensure there is closeness, care and compassion during the gentle euthanasia home visit. A peaceful goodbye is so important at such a sensitive and emotional time
6. Please follow any guidance our vet may give you, it is given to ensure everyones safety and well-being
7. Thank you for your understanding and consideration in these very difficult and challenging times.