Saying goodbye

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Question:

How do I determine when it’s time to say goodbye to my elderly dog?

Answer:

This is a very tough (yet very common) question, as it can be excruciating to say goodbye. You don’t want to wait too long and prolong any suffering the dog is experiencing, but you do want to give her every chance for recovery. It’s nearly impossible to not question your decision.

The bottom line is that you know your dog better than anyone else. If she’s lost interest in the things that used to give her pleasure, that tells you that she may be in severe discomfort or pain. If meals, treats, walks, and affection were once a delight to her but now hold little enjoyment–or have even become unpleasant–that’s clearly a sign.

We all hope to pass away peacefully, and no one should have to endure an agonizing death. If you feel that your dog is in uncontrollable pain, then know that euthanasia is actually a gift–a gift of relief from the pain and suffering. Remind yourself that sometimes euthanasia is the only compassionate response, and that should help make your decision easier.

Consult with your vet so that you understand the process of euthanasia. When grief may seem unbearable, knowing that your dog’s suffering was minimal can help ease your own heartbreak.