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End of life decision making

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Wed, Mar 21, 2018 @ 11:39 AM

pets_wide-af65d25cd6980441331f3eae6f52334d1aa7d74f.jpgPets quickly become a cherished member of the family and it can be hard to imagine life without them. However, part of life is aging and pets generally have much shorter lives than their owners. When the time comes to make a decision for your pet, it's never going to be easy. But you can move forward with peace of mind that you did the right thing if you follow certain signs and do the right amount of research. The day will be hard, but in the end, euthanizing your pet can be what's best for everyone involved. When considering whether euthanasia is the right direction for your family and your pet, think of the items in their life like a pyramid and use these tips to help you make the agonizing decision.

Emotional Aspects

The emotional involvement of your pet is at the top of the pyramid. It will help make a small portion of the decision. Ask yourself if your pet still has their dignity. Can they go to the bathroom on their own and eat alone or do they need help with some of the most basic items? Do they seem lax in their will to live or are they still looking for attention and acting like themselves? These emotional items will tell you a little more about what your pet might want if they could talk to you.

Social Elements

You know what your pet is like when they are healthy. How they act socially will tell you a lot about the direction you should take. Does your pet still engage with your family and play? Do they want to have pets and cuddles like they used to? Are they engaged with the other pets in your house if you have them? Pets who show some social engagement are healthier and in a better place than those who don't. If your pet is pulling back in a social way, they may be nearing the end of their time with you.

Pain Management

The bottom part of the pyramid is the largest portion and a big deciding factor as to what you need to do with your pet. You want your pet to be happy and healthy, but when they're not, you want to ensure that they aren't in any pain, if at all possible. Take a look at their mobility and hygiene. Are they able to keep clean like they used to and get around as needed? Are they safe or are they stumbling and stairs becoming a danger to them? Sometimes you can tell a pet is in pain because of the way they act and other times, they suffer silently. The best thing you can do when it comes to pain is consult with your vet. They are experts in the field and can tell you what your pet may be experiencing. The last thing you want is for your pet to suffer and if it is evident they are and there's no end in sight, you will know what to do.

Every pet is an individual and an important member of your family. No two pets are alike and there is no one right answer when it comes to the end of their life. If you are able to take a look at the emotional, social, and physical pyramid and fill in the gaps, you will better be able to come up with an answer that will give you peace of mind about the direction you take with your pet.

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