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  • Personality change
  • Reluctant to walk, jump or play
  • Refuses using stairs or the car
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in behavior
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Lagging behind
  • Yelping when touched
  • Limping
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Posts Tagged ‘Cost of Dog Euthanasia’

When It’s Time For Euthanasia

Monday, February 4th, 2013

When my beloved dog began to falter, lose his appetite, and became lethargic, I consulted my vet who had been taking care of him for 10 years. She said, “You’ll know when it’s time for euthanasia because you’ve been so close to your dog all these years.”

Dog euthanasia, or as most people prefer to call it – “putting a dog to sleep” – can be a very emotional time for any dog owner. Facing the mortality of a beloved pet dog is not an easy responsibility to accept, especially if you have been very close to your canine companion for many years. Although the sudden death of a pet – from a heart attack for example – can be traumatic, some owners would prefer this rather than having to make the choice of euthanizing their pet or not.

There are two very good reasons to consider putting your pet to sleep:

1. Illness
2. Old Age

In the case of a serious and incurable illness such as cancer, the decision to humanely end your dog’s life is often times the hardest. The tendency is always to prolong the life of your pet as long as possible, even when your life-long companion becomes extremely ill and is suffering terribly.

As dog lovers, we consciously or subconsciously equate making the choice to put a beloved pet to death with doing the same to a parent or loved one who is terminally ill. This seems strange to those who have never loved a dog, but anyone who has spent years with their pet understands the emotional connection.

Growing old is a natural part of life for humans and animals. But when your dog reaches or has surpassed the normal lifespan for its breed and begins to show signs of serious deterioration, you should begin to prepare yourself for the eventuality of euthanasia. When your pet can no longer manage to go outside to take care of its bodily functions and begins to lose interest in eating – especially if it has always had a voracious appetite – these are signs that your pet is reaching the end of its life.

As difficult as it is for a dog’s owner, deciding when it’s time for euthanasia and making the decision to put your terminally ill dog to sleep, is the kindest and best decision for your faithful companion. The actual procedure is painless and your dog will no longer suffer with daily pain. The welfare and quality of your dog’s life should be your main concern when making the decision to humanely put your pet to sleep.

Some questions you should ask yourself that will help in making the decision of choosing to euthanize your pet:
1. Does the cost of your pet’s medical treatment make it impossible for you to provide the care needed?

2. Is your pet’s medical condition getting worse with time?

3. Are any medical treatments your dog is undergoing, or has undergone, improving your pet’s medical condition and lessening its pain?

4. Is your pet’s medical condition no longer responding to treatments or therapy?

Your responses to these questions can help you make the right decision. If you answered yes to all the questions, you should at least discuss euthanasia with your veterinarian.

If, after consulting with your vet, you come to the decision that it’s time for euthanasia, you will instinctively know it is the humane and best thing for your pet. You may want to consider “In home euthanasia.” This is an alternative to taking your sick pet to the vet and saying goodbye to a life-long companion, then leaving the animal hospital alone without your pet by your side as you had done on every prior visit to the vet.

Spending the final moments of your dog’s life in your home where you two have spent so much time together is sometimes the most comfortable setting for many dog owners; and it also can be best for your pet.

If in-home euthanasia is a choice you would like to make, ask your vet if he or she will come to your home to administer the euthanasia solution.

There are some factors that you need to consider if you do decide on in-home euthanasia:
What will you do with your pet’s remains? Will they be buried? Cremated? Disposed of by the vet?

Will restraints be required to calm your pet while the needle is inserted into its vein?

Can you afford the cost of the veterinarian coming to your home?

Are you prepared to deal with your pet should it become defensive about the procedure?

Should you decide to put your pet down at home, do everything you can to make it a comfortable, loving atmosphere for your companion. Putting your pet to sleep at home can be the best solution to ending the life of one who has meant so much to you because you can be with your pet until the very end. But make certain that it is the best choice for the pet as well.

The advantage of choosing to have the procedure performed in your veterinarian’s office is that the staff is trained in the protocol of pet euthanasia and will know how to care for your dog during the procedure and will be respectful of the last moments you spend with your pet.

When Your Dog Dies: Getting Help From Pet Owners

Monday, June 20th, 2011


When your dog dies it can be a traumatic experience, and for some, it is the equivalent of losing a human member of the family. If your pet was an integral part of your life, your grief is likely to be intense, and at times overwhelming.

The best thing you can do for your own well-being is to surround yourself with people who understand the bond that exists between a human and their beloved pet. People who don’t share your love of pets or have never owned one, will not understand the deep sense of loss you experience. If you have to make the painful decision to euthanize your dog, it is very important that you be there for your pet and give it the ultimate gift of a peaceful and pain-free end.

Some people are lucky to have another dog to help them through the sadness of losing a loving companion animal. Pets also feel the loss of their friend, and together you may find comfort in sharing your sadness, even though it is with an animal rather than a human. Animals will never be unfeeling or judge you, telling you to “Get over it,” or “It’s time to get on with your life and forget your dog.”

It helps to understand your feelings of loss when your dog dies. The bond that we form with our dogs can be deep and fulfilling, and the loss of a beloved animal can have an impact on us that is as painful as the loss of a family member or friend. This bond is what makes the connections with our pets rich and rewarding; and also what makes the grieving process so difficult. The greater your love for your pet, the deeper the sense of loss will be when they are gone.

The length of time a person grieves for the loss of their pet is often very different among people. Grief is an internal and personal response to the loss of a pet and there are identifiable stages of grief that most people experience. By understanding the grieving process, you can learn to accept and manage your grief, and help other family members or friends who share your feelings of loss.

There are many stages of grief, but not everyone experiences all of them, nor in the same order. These stages include denial, anger, guilt, depression, and acceptance, followed by the assurance of a life yet to be lived. Grief often comes in waves and can be brought on by something as simple as remembering how you and your pet used to spend loving times together. Seeing other people enjoying their pets can bring back good memories of you and your pet together and can seem overwhelming at times.

Many people immediately get rid of all the things their pet used every day – food and water bowls, collar and leashes, dog food, the dog’s bed, and many other items. This makes it easier to accept your loss because you are not being constantly reminded that your pet is no longer with you. If your pet’s death was sudden, or the time was short between accepting the finality of compassionate euthanasia, the more difficult it can be to accept the loss and the stronger the denial.

Anger and guilt often follow denial. Your anger may be directed toward people you love and respect, which often
includes family and friends. People coping with the death of a pet will often say things that they don’t really mean, and unintentionally hurt people they don’t mean to offend.

Some pet owners may feel guilty or blame themselves for not recognizing the seriousness of their dog’s illness earlier and doing something about it sooner. Others may feel guilty because they could not afford the cost of further treatment to help their dog.

Depression is a common experience after the death of a beloved dog. You will probably find yourself frequently crying, and day-to-day tasks can seem impossible to accomplish. You may also feel isolated and alone, avoiding the company of your friends and family. Some people find it hard to get out of bed in the morning, especially if the morning routine included caring for the dog’s needs.

There may be times when you wonder if you can go on living without your pet. The answer is a resounding YES. Eventually you will be able to handle your sadness and begin to accept the death of your pet. When you can remember your dog and the happy times you spent together without feeling intense grief and emotional pain, you are on the road to recovery. Acceptance does not mean you will no longer feel the sense of loss, only that you have come to accept the fact that your dog has died and will always live in your heart and memories.

Although everyone experiences some stages of grief, grieving is always a personal process one goes through and some people will take longer than others to come to terms with denial, anger, guilt, and depression. If you understand that these are normal reactions almost every dog owner goes through when their beloved pet dies, you will be better equipped to cope with your feelings.

Sometimes family and friends may not realize how important your pet was to you or the intensity of your grief, and may make remarks at times that seem cruel and uncaring. Understand that these comments are not meant to hurt you.

The death of a beloved dog can be extremely upsetting, especially if you had to euthanize your pet. The pain that comes from having to choose euthanasia, initially makes people vow that they will never have another pet dog because they could not stand to go through this kind of pain again. The thought of loving and eventually losing another dog may seem unbearable. Know that if you think these feelings will never go away, be assured that they too will pass with time. The decision of when, or even if ever, to bring a new dog into your life, is a personal one. Although you can never replace the dog you loved and lost, it is possible to find another pet to share your life with.

The length of time from birth to old age is much shorter for dogs than it is for people, and the death of a pet is a normal part of the life cycle. No matter what you do or to what extent you go through to keep your dog alive, death cannot be avoided. Understanding and compassion from friends and family can help you manage the grief of losing a best friend when your dog dies.

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