Many of my friends have asked me how to tell if it is time to let their beloved pet “go”.
In this “business” I have seen it all. Some people put their dogs or cats down at the very first sign of illness because they don’t want to pay vet bills or because they claim that is the most humane thing. Unfortunately I have also seen people wait far too long, past the point of humaneness and into the realm of cruelty.
I know it is difficult to let a beloved pet go. I can’t even type this without my throat closing up and tears welling into my eyes at the thought of the ones I have had to let go.
This is a very personal decision.
No one can make it but you.
I am certainly no authority on this, and nothing would give me the right to judge this for others, but here is how I decide with my own dogs, if this helps.
1. Have they stopped eating?
If my dogs stop eating that is it. I will not force feed them. I will give them three or four days of me trying everything to get them to eat – chicken and chop meat, but once that doesn’t work, that is it, it is time.
2. If my dogs can no longer get up and walk around on their own.
If they can not stand, walk around and move with nobility and dignity, then it is time, even if they are eating and otherwise mentally alert. That is no life for an animal. (I mean this only in the sense of senior failure…not dogs that are young and healthy and get along GREAT and just FINE with a cart. I am talking about when a dog is so old it would not have the strength to get up any longer).
3. If my dog has lost his or her nobility.
If I look at my dog and say I would want to be let go if I was in this stage, then I make that decision of kindness to let them go so that their pride and dignity is no longer depleted.
4. If they are so uncomfortable that they can not sleep, that they are constantly unhappy, miserable or crying or whining.
If my dogs are suffering, it is time. It is the only gift I have left to give them – and that is to let them go.
So, no one can decide for you. I’m sorry that you are in this place.
But respect your pet and LOVE your pet enough to let them go.
I wish you much love and affection and peace with whatever decision you make.