How do you know when it’s the right time to put your pet to sleep?  This is one of the toughest questions we ask ourselves and quite a tricky one to answer.  We all have different ‘thresholds’ for when we think the time is right but, ultimately, the most important thing is that we don’t let our pets suffer. 

Unlike humans most of our pets don’t complain when they feel unwell and are suffering.  Unfortunately, this can give the false impression that they are ok, when indeed, they are far from it.  So what signs should we look for to determine when the time is right?

Signs that your pet may be suffering: 

– They have stopped eating or are only eating very little.

– They are pacing around and find it difficult to settle.

– They need help getting up from their bed.

– They are panting more than usual with no obvious reason.

– They try to hide away somewhere where they wouldn’t normally go.

If your pet is a regular visitor at your vet and has been diagnosed with a disease, it is likely that you are expecting to eventually make the decision that your pet will need to be put to sleep.  However, this doesn’t make the decision any easier and I hope these signs give you something tangible to look out for and help you when the time comes.  I would also say, trust your instincts.  Sometimes, their eyes might just say it all.

If you are still unsure, you can make an appointment with your vet for a Quality of Life Assessment.  They will ask you questions to ascertain whether or not the time is right.   The appointment is not for euthanasia but to establish whether or not your pet is having any quality of life.  Some people find this very useful as we all have a fear that we might let our beloved pet go too soon or too late.  It’s also a good opportunity to discuss the euthanasia process and cremation options before the time comes.

If your pet has been showing any signs of suffering and has not seen a vet in the last 6 months, please make an appointment as soon as possible.  The term, “they are just getting old” gets used a lot but, more often than not, there is an underlying disorder which is causing them to be unwell and it would be unkind to let them suffer or deny them treatment.  Please see more on my post “Is it ok to let my pet die in their sleep”.