When is it the right time to euthanize?

Knowing the right time to euthanize your beloved pet is a dreaded decision that no one wants to be forced to make. I’ve been approached by many different people on this topic and I am always cautious in my response. It is a very personal decision that I believe should be based upon many different factors:
  • Your relationship with your pet
  • Your pet’s personality and daily activity level
  • Your veterinarian’s input
  • The quality of your pet’s life

We are faced with euthanasia decisions on a monthly and sometimes weekly basis at Bob’s House and it is rarely an easy call to make. We get to know each dog very well in our facility. It is the dogs that have been with us longest that we are able to notice changes in to make the “call” confidently. Some dogs arrive in rough shape and we don’t know what their normal behavior and energy is. This is where we rely heavily on a veterinarian’s help, medical testing (bloodwork or x-ray), and monitoring to weigh our decision.

It is very important to trust your instincts when making this decision, as you are the one who knows your pet most intimately of all. I would advise you make sure there isn’t a medical problem causing a change in your pet first. Urinary tract infections, pain, tick born illnesses, and other medical problems can cause your pet to act unwell. What does your veterinarian suggest to you?
Once your veterinarian has evaluated your pet and your pet really is starting to physically deteriorate due to age or disease, here are some questions that might help you weigh your decision:
  • Do you think they have good quality of life?
  • Are they enjoying each day? Do the good days outweigh the bad?
  • Are they doing daily activities comfortably? Are they able to go outside and get to and from the yard safely?
  • Are they eating daily? Or is their weight dwindling?
Take everything into account. At Bob’s House, if we know a dog doesn’t have quality of life, then we have our answer. We think euthanasia is our last gift of love and kindness to our pets here. This decision doesn’t have anything to do with our wants and desires, it is about the comfort and well being of our pet. These beautiful souls deserve our help when it is time, and I truly believe this life isn’t their last adventure.
Nikki Ristau, Bob’s House for Dogs Adoption Coordinator

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