Is it time to let go of your pet? When & what to do when your cat or dog dies

Imagine this …your vet breaks the news to you that your precious pooch has lymphoma and only has about six months left to live. You are shocked and confused. You aren’t ready to let your pet go yet…you need more time. Or maybe your old and faithful furry friend has been suffering for years with a painful condition that is affecting his quality of life. You know the end is inevitable, but you just can’t bear to say good bye …..

While some pets do pass away peacefully, others often end up suffering in silence and their quality of life is compromised. Many pet owners have to face the difficult and often traumatic decision to put their pet down. Making the decision to euthanize your dog or cat brings about mixed emotions – you feel guilty, sad, angry, resentful and devastated.

The Feelgood Pets PetAlive shares some useful guidelines that will help you to know when to put your pet down.

How to know when it’s time to let your pet go

There are certain things that you might want to consider to help you make the decision to put your pet down.

1. Speak to your vet first

In order to make an informed decision, it is always recommended to speak to your vet first about the severity of your pet’s health – For e.g. “Is my dog in  pain? How much time does he have? Is my pet’s condition deteriorating quickly? Will treatment relieve his pain and improve his quality of life”.

Your vet will be able to tell you what the prognosis is and what the costs involved are. Getting a professional opinion will help to steer you in the right direction.

Don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion – this doesn’t mean that you don’t trust your vet but a second opinion may give you the peace of mind you need to make a decision.

Remember, at the end of the day the final decision lies with you. Your vet cannot force you to put your pet down if you decide not to – the choice is yours even if your vet is pro-euthanasia and you’re not. 
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2. Ask yourself these questions

As difficult as it is to have to decide to live without your pet, the idea of him suffering when there is no hope of recovery is  even more devastating.

Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you to answer your questions regarding pet euthenasia

1. Has your pet been diagnosed with a terminal illness?
2. Does your pet still have appetite? Usually when an animal loses his appetite completely, it’s a sign that things are not going well
3. Is your pet in pain and discomfort?
4. Has your pet lost control of his bodily functions?
5. Does your pet need ongoing treatment to improve his quality of life?
6. Will medication relieve his pain?
7. Does your pet still seem to be enjoying life?
8. Is caring for your pet taking its toll on you? Has it all become a bit too much to handle?
9. Can you afford the costs of your pet’s treatment and veterinary care?
10. Are you extending your pet’s life for his best interest or primarily for yourself? 

These are some of the signs that often help pet owners to decide that it’s time to let go. In many cases, pet owners have reported that their dog or cat gave them a sign that they were ready to go and based their decision on that.
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3. When you know it’s time

You finally arrive at the decision that it’s time to say good-bye to your precious pooch. After much grappling and soul-searching about what to do, you have more clarity about the situation and are ready to make peace with it.   
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4. Your pet is suffering too much

Pets with chronic or terminal illnesses often experience a lot of pain, discomfort as well as some unpleasant side effects.  When you’ve tried everything you possibly can to help your pet but unfortunately he is still suffering.

Sometimes you get to the point where you just know you can’t bear see your pet suffer any longer.
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5. Trust and support from loved ones

Support from family and friends whose opinion you trust and value, and who may have been through a similar experience can also help you to move in the right decision.

Speaking to loved ones can help you to voice your concerns, vent your frustration and put such a huge decision into perspective for you.
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Coping with the loss of a pet

Just like when a person you love dies, it is normal to feel grief, loss and sorrow and this is also true when you lose a pet. Dogs and cats become members of your family, providing companionship, unconditional love and support.

When a pet dies, the emotions you feel and the intensity of the loss can be overwhelming. However, it is okay to grieve for your pet in whichever way you choose to do.

Here are a few tips to help you cope:

Allow yourself to grieve for your pet and express all the emotions you ae feeling (sadness, anger, denial, acceptance)
• Prepare a burial or memorial for your pet to bid your final good-byes and commemorate his death
• Reach out to others for support – speak to family and friends who understand what you are going through and how you are feeling. If you don’t have support from family and friends, there are other forms of support available such as pet loss support groups, online support groups, books and DVD’s to help you not to deal with your grief alone.
• Avoid getting another pet in hurry as it is always best to work through your grief first
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Natural remedies can help!

The Feelgood Pets PetAlive range has natural remedies that can help your other pets cope with the loss of their companions. Yes, pets form strong bonds with one another and grieve when their companion is no longer there. Give lots of love and attention to the surviving pets to help them through their loss.

Anxious or stressed pets (especially those who are struggling with separation anxiety) will also benefit from our PetCalm which helps them feel calm and relaxed quickly.
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  • Feelgood Pets - October 17, 2017

    Hi Cornelia Hilton,

    Thank you for reaching out to us and we are so sorry for your loss.

    It is never easy making the decision to put a pet down as they are a part of our family, just like a baby/child however sometimes it is best so that they do not suffer anymore. We know that the decision that you made to have her put down was not an easy one but the right one.

    The pain never goes away however we learn to accept that it’s for the best.

    Sending you lots of love and strength during this difficult time <3

  • Cornelia Hilton - July 07, 2017

    God in his wisdom, made you post this today. I need it. On Tuesday we had to make the painful decision to put our beloved Cleo down. She was suffering and just looking at those eyes begging us to help her, was so painful. She had congestive heart failure and water on the lungs. On monday, after she had an injection she felt better and she ate some food and even had piece of biscuit. I was so happy, but then she took a bad turn on Tuesday. I miss her so much. It hurts even more because two and a half months ago we had to put our precious Lady to sleep and two years ago My Muffie, died in my arms, also from congestive heart failure. It hurts so much.

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