How Do You Know When It’s Time to Say Goodbye?

When a beloved family pet becomes ill, injured, or elderly, pet owners are faced with the decision of when to say goodbye. Because pet owners simultaneously dread the loss of their pet and want to prevent any suffering, this decision is incredibly difficult.

Your veterinarian is the best resource for determining when to say goodbye to your pet. In some cases, your veterinarian can tell you exactly when it is time to euthanize, but in some cases the answer is not as clear.

By consulting with your veterinarian and looking for the following signs, you will be able to make the kindest decision for your pet.

Signs It’s Time to Let Go of a Pet

Listed below are some of the most common signs that an animal is in pain or has a decreased quality of life.

• Your pet has lost interest in their favorite activities, such as walking, playing, or interacting with you and other family members.
• Your pet has no appetite or is drinking excessive amounts of water.
• Your pet appears to be in pain, outside of what is being managed by medications. Gasping, panting, and raspy breathing are common signs of pain, but your veterinarian is the best resource for determining if your pet is in pain.
• You have found your pet sleeping or hiding in unusual places.

Finding Additional Advice about Euthanizing a Pet

If you are still unsure of when to say goodbye to your pet, there are resources available to assist you. The ASPCA has a Pet Loss Hotline available at (877) 474-3310 to help you with your decision. Consult with your veterinarian to find more information about pet hospice care and other options that may be available to you.

For further support during this difficult time, we encourage you to attend our monthly Pet Loss Support Group meetings, held on the first Tuesday of each month at Paws, Whiskers & Wags in Decatur, GA. Contact our team for more information about grief support or any of our services.

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