Euthanasia for your Pet
The Hardest Decision a Pet Owner May Face
Pet euthanasia is a difficult issue for many people to come to grips with. For most of us, confronting this issue is clouded with emotions, invoking fear, grief, and guilt. Inadvertently, we sign up for the possibility of having to make this decision the moment we make the lifelong commitment to having a pet as a companion.
Being informed. Talk to your veterinarian about pet euthanasia long before you are potentially faced with the issue. Find out your options, while making important decisions ahead of time. Some key points to consider are:
• Under what circumstances should you and your vet consider pet euthanasia?
• What will your deciding criteria be if and when the time comes?
• What method(s) does your veterinarian use for pet euthanasia?
• Do you or other family members want to be present if your pet is euthanized?
• Would you prefer a home pet euthanasia? Is your veterinarian willing to come to your home to euthanize your pet? If not, can s/he refer you to a vet who makes house calls?
• In the event of an emergency, is there a mobile vet who would be available to make a house call after hours?
• How do you prefer to deal with your pet's remains - burial, cremation, other?
Try not to put off asking these questions until you are in the middle of a crisis. This will leave you forced to make decisions under distraught conditions.
Knowing when it's time to let go. Emotionally speaking, all the preparation in the world is not going to make the decision any easier if or when the time comes.
The decision to euthanize is one of the most personal, and perhaps most difficult decisions a caregiver can make. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to suggest a "correct" way to make such a decision.
There may come the point when a pet is fighting a terminal disease, that the cost of treatment can become greater than its benefit. In the advanced stages of diseases such as cancer, kidney failure, or neurological disorders, sometimes treatments can cause your pet's pain to increase without any hope of curing their disease. At this point, caring owners need to make a decision about which is more important for their pet: quality of life or quantity of life.
Dr. Rosen points out that pet owners have the option of stopping aggressive treatments, letting their pets' lives end comfortably in the intimate, caring surroundings of their own home through mobile hospice care services.
Hospice care services - euthanasia at home. Some pet owners may not feel home service is right for them. Some may feel it isn't suitable for them or their family members to be present. For example, having young children attend may not be advisable. However, increasingly, pet owners and family members insist on being there for the final goodbye. Dr. Rosen has performed home pet euthanasia for loving pet owners in her many years of practice and states that each case is as unique as the pet and the individual who cares for it.
Many factors are involved which consider the animal, owner, and environment. It takes more than just a skilled veterinarian to master all three components while putting the owner and patient at ease. Dr. Rosen emphasizes the importance that respect plays in the final moment of a pet's life. She advocates other animal companions being present to allow closure and peace.
Dr. Rosen can perform the procedure in a variety of environments, for example, outdoors in the backyard, under a favorite tree, on the couch or bed, in front of the family room fireplace, wherever you think is best.
Being prepared. More and more educated pet owners realize that waiting in a crowded clinic while being surrounded by other possibly misbehaving pets tends to add to their own pet's nervousness, while not offering the preferred environment in which to say final goodbyes.
Finding closure. Choosing to put your dog, cat, or rabbit to sleep will never be an easy decision for any loving pet owner. Whether you choose home euthanasia or clinic euthanasia, the ultimate goal is to offer your pet the most humane and stress-free option, while knowing you made the best possible decision on its behalf. Your pet deserves it!
(1) Brent O'Connor is an independent freelance writer, business consultant, and entrepreneur with a strong commitment to social and environmental change.