Putting a Pet to Sleep

Deciding When to Put a Pet Down

When a pet owner is confronted with the undesirable decision to put their animal to sleep, or euthanize their pet, there is no simple answer as in most cases; a pet becomes an essential member of the family. Your pet has been there for support, companionship and much more. Watching a pet grow and develop throughout its life creates a bond most pet owners fear losing.

Some situations require your pet to be euthanized immediately, however, there are those instances where it is at the pet owners discretion, making the decision very difficult. A veterinarian may give you advice, taking into consideration the animal’s age, medical condition and continued quality of life. As a responsible pet owner you must also take into consideration your pets continued quality of life if you choose not to euthanize.

Your pet may let you know when its time, the pet will show signs that it is unable to perform healthy functions that aid in normal living. These functions include, but are not limited to, control of his/her bladder or bowels, eat or drink when needed, inability to walk independently due to age/illness and any function that proves to be an indignity to your pet.

Some diagnoses that lead to the euthanasia of animals are cancer, severe arthritis, severe accidental injury, old age and illnesses that are terminal or untreatable.

By now, if you are asking yourself this question, your pet has demonstrated some sign that it may be time to take further action. There is no guideline to aid in the decision or the decision making process. You may want to confide in your family and friends but most of all speak with your vet. Look deeply at the long-term effects your pet will be forced to endure should you decide against euthanasia.

Getting information on the process may also be helpful in deciding whether or not it is time. The procedure is painless for the pet; in some situations you may request the vet administering the procedure come to your home where the pet may feel more comfortable.

The first step in the procedure is to administer a barbiturate or other sedative. This relaxes the animal and induces a deep sleep; another shot is then administered intravenously. This second shot stops the heart and concludes the procedure; your pet will not feel any pain associated with the procedure.

Again, this decision is never easy to make, but there are also support services available, your vet can provide you with local groups in your area.