When is the right time to say goodbye?

The needs and beliefs of each family are different, and what might be the right choice for one pet may not be right for another. The following questions are provided to help guide and support you if you are considering putting your pet to sleep.

  • Do I feel like I have all the information I need to make this decision comfortably? Are there questions I need to ask my vet to better understand my pet’s treatment options?
  • Do I have the emotional and physical stamina to provide the ongoing care my pet needs?
  • What are my religious, spiritual and personal beliefs regarding end-of-life for pets?
  • Have I asked the questions I need to ask in order to feel knowledgeable about euthanasia? Do I have fears or concerns that I would like to discuss with my vet so that I have a better understanding of how euthanasia is handled and what my pet and I would experience?
  • Are there friends or family members who are close to my pet and would like to be included in this decision? Might I be comforted by including those close to me?
  • What is the value for my pet to continue to live this way? What is the value for me or my family members for my pet to continue to live this way? Is the value higher for us than for our pet?
  • Will I be honest with myself if my pet’s symptoms and anxiety are no longer well-controlled?

Please know that it is normal and natural to second-guess a decision and that second-guessing does not mean you made the wrong choice. In cases of illness or declining quality of life there is truly no wrong decision to be made, only the decision you feel is best for your pet and your family. While some euthanasia decisions are made in a crisis (such as an acute injury or illness), many euthanasia decisions are made after a gradual decline in quality of life. It can be challenging to trust, moment to moment, that now is the time.

Information from The Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center, Honoring the Bond, Coping with the Loss

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