When your family has decided to euthanize a pet Dr. Bennett’s Veterinary House Calls will help say goodbye. We make sure your pet passes in a pain-free and dignified manner.
Deciding to euthanize a pet is a very difficult process for most people. Often caretakers are unsure or confused over the timing or what justifies pet euthanasia. Unfortunately, in most cases, there is no simple answer as to when euthanasia should take place but there are certain factors that can be considered to help guide the process.
The most important factors in considering pet euthanasia include the pet’s quality of life, the wishes of the caretaker, the readiness of family members, and in some cases the practicality and expense of moving forward medically. Dr. Bennett’s Veterinary House Calls offers a quality of life assessments in the comfort of your pet’s home. During the quality-of-life assessment, Dr. Bennett will review the factors summarized below which may be very helpful in coming to a decision. Here are some factors to consider:
- Pet quality of life assessment.
- Pets general condition and disease states. Perhaps the most pertinent question is how a pet is doing in terms of organ function. What previous medical diagnoses have been made and what is the short- and long-term prognosis. Understanding the disease state can help caretakers monitor a pet’s progression, recognize the onset of clinical signs, and to better assess day-to-day general comfort.
- Signs of pain and discomfort. Vocalizing, shaking, hiding, panting through the night, reluctance to move, not eating, vomiting/diarrhea can all be signs that a pet is in discomfort. Other signs may be more subtle such as a pet not engaging in normal behaviors, not being excited to walk or greet family members, or overtime becomes aggressive or snappy. It is important to monitor general muscle tone, Respiratory rate, and general facial expression. Pets can have a tragic expression (contracted facial muscle tone, wrinkled forehead or open-mouth breathing which can all be signs of discomfort.
- What are the pet's challenges: When pets become crippled or incontinent, caretakers and pets both begin to suffer. Pets can also suffer from dementia which may cause them to head press against walls, get stuck in corners, vocalize at night, or simply become confused.
- Quality of the pet and human relationship. It is important to also consider the well-being of the caretaker and other family members. Taking care of an aging, the ill or terminal pet can be a great burden. The relationship between pets and family should be healthy for all parties. This factor should also be considered when deciding to euthanize a pet.
- The practicality of moving forward medically Vs. Euthanasia. It is sad but true that expenses are often a factor when considering treatment options for sick or injured pets. Nowadays a veterinary emergency or advanced treatments/ surgeries can run into the tens of thousands. Sometimes not being able to move forward with expensive treatments may mean that a pet will suffer and therefore euthanasia may be indicated. We take care of our pets to the best of our ability but sometimes the expense factor is beyond our capabilities or control. Pet owners should not feel guilty about having to make a tough decision based on expense.
- Emotional readiness: It is also important to consider the readiness of family members. The grieving process usually starts before the decision is made and of course can extend for weeks after the euthanasia.
These are all factors in deciding to euthanize a pet. Dr. Bennett’s Veterinary House Calls is here to help you through the process. Please call for a free phone consultation and to set an appointment if needed. We serve Walnut Creek, Berkeley, Oakland Orinda, Lafayette, Pleasant Hill, and surrounding areas. Out appointments are usually the same day or 1-2 days out.