Your Aging Pet: Considering Euthanasia

Your Aging Pet: Considering Euthanasia

It’s never easy to watch a once-playful and energetic dog or cat enter its twilight years. Fatigue, arthritis, and a number of other problems can often make daily life difficult for your aging pet, and eventually, its quality of life must be considered. One unpleasant aspect of owning a pet is to understand and accept the reality of when it must be euthanized, and there several factors for you to consider when making this difficult decision.

woman-dog-homeDegenerative Diseases

Diseases like arthritis, diabetes, late-stage cancer, and even senility cannot be cured in your aging pet. Joint disease may eventually keep your pet from walking without pain.

Senility may cause your pet to have repeated toilet accidents in the house, which can be expensive and time consuming to constantly clean up.

st-bernard-dogsPain

If your pet is in constant pain from illness or other problems that come with old age, you must consider its quality of life.

Signs of pain include listlessness, hiding, or constant whining. If the pain cannot be managed with medication, it’s not ethical to allow your pet to suffer, especially if the pain grows worse over time.

cat-eatingLack of Appetite

When an old dog or cat stops eating, it could be for a number of reasons. Cancer and kidney disease are the two biggest causes for loss of appetite.

Euthanasia should be considered if your dog can no longer eat on its own, especially if it starts to reject foods that were always accepted before or if it cannot drink water.

vet-catThe Cost of Care

As much as you love your pet, there comes a time when the cost of keeping it alive is no longer financially possible. Repeated surgeries, medications, and vet visits can rack up bills into the thousands of dollars.

When the pet can no longer be made well and money is an issue, it is time to think about saying goodbye.

hamster-pups-handOverall Quality of Life

If your pet lived for long walks, playtime, or being with the family, when it can no longer do those things, you must consider its quality of life.

Pets that grow so old that they can no longer interact with family become withdrawn and depressed, which can make other problems even worse. Your pet’s happiness should always be a factor when you’re considering euthanasia.

dog-boyA Family Choice

Euthanasia should always be discussed frankly with every member of the family. This decision is never easy, but you should always be honest with your children, even if they are young. Never tell your kids that the dog ran away or that you “sent it away.”

This won’t give your kids the closure they will need when it comes to losing their pets. Euthanasia is a decision that should be made by the entire family as a whole.

walking-dogsOther Pets

If you have other pets in the home with the elderly pet, you must consider how euthanasia will affect it. Many animals form strong bonds with their housemates and can grow depressed and even refuse to eat after the other animal dies.

If you do choose to euthanize your elderly pet, remember that the remaining animal may need a lot of extra attention; pets have the ability to grieve for their lost friends just as much as their owners do.

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