Euthanasia- the timing? Many families choose euthanasia to end their pet's suffering. And most struggle with deciding when is the right time. As veterinarians, we have learned that animals often do not show pain in obvious ways, and many times show little pain at all, even when we believe fairly severe pain must be present. It is my belief that our animals try very hard to live if they sense their owners need them. Thus, it is my contention that sooner is better than later in most cases where the end is inevitable.
What changes might you detect? Please be aware that many of these signs occur LATE in the terminal disease process. Change in appetite or drinking (amount or preferences) Pet awakens frequently, no longer sleeps through the night, seems unable to get comfortable Pet no longer plays Pet seems confused, even depressed Inability to stand or go outside unassisted Incontinence Bad days outnumber good days Whimpering and crying; constant panting Hiding, choosing to be alone and apart Changes in normal behaviors Apparent shame at house soiling from incapacity
If you are still unsure, ask your pet for a sign then put your anxiety and grief aside, however briefly, and be open to a subtle answer.