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Saying Goodbye

Resources about euthanasia, how to know when it is "time" and pet loss and grief


The "how will I know it is time" question is a common one for vets and one of the most common questions asked on this site. Of course, there isn't one clear-cut answer for this question. The nature of the disease or condition, the general health of the pet, and the household/living situation all play a part in this process. It is a very personal decision. A decision that I would never answer for anyone else, but offer these guidelines and resources.

1. Pet Loss Support Hotlines

If your grief is prolonged or interfering your ability to work or function, please consider calling a pet loss and support hotline. Many veterinary schools offer hotlines, and most operate at no charge.

2. Understanding Euthanasia

Having to make the decision to end a pet's life is never easy. It is a subject that many people do not want to talk about until they have to, but then it becomes a decision made under emotional stress. The purpose of this article is to explore what happens when an animal is "put to sleep" and how to handle the grief from losing a pet.

3. Hospice Help: Guidance for Knowing When it is "Time" to Say Goodbye

 One of the people navigating this limbo time is Edie Jarolim, writer and blogger at Will My Dog Hate Me. Her dog Frankie is a senior diabetic dog who has Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD). Confused by Frankie's growing confusion, Jarolim contacted a veterinarian who specializes in doing in-home visits to help assess a pet's quality of life.

4. Hospice Help: A Veterinarian's Perspective

 In this interview, meet Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, more commonly known as Dr. V to the fans of her blog, Pawcurious. Dr. Vogelsang is a veterinarian working for a home hospice practice helping pet owners do an objective assessment of the pet's medical or aging issues and quality of life.

5. How Will I know When It Is "Time" To Put A Pet To Sleep?

Having to make the decision to end a pet's life is never easy, and rarely has a clear cut answer. This FAQ focuses on ways to evaluate your pet's "quality of life," and make a decision that that won't be filled with regret and guilt.

6. Twilight Time

Welcome to the twilight time. That bittersweet time when you know that the end is near, the time to say goodbye is at hand, but you are left wondering: "how will I know when it is really time to put my pet to sleep?"

7. Euthanasia a Difficult Time for Vets and Companion Pets, Too

Euthanasia of a pet is often a very heartfelt and difficult decision to make, and at times feels very lonely. It may be comforting to know that veterinarians and hospital staff are not immune to the stress of this type of decision -- it can feel just as confusing and lonely to those who may seem "used to it."

8. How To Know When It Is 'Time' to Euthanize a Pet

Here are some questions to consider when evaluating the quality of life for your pet. A general rule of thumb is when "the bad days outnumber the good days," but that can be difficult to assess. Becoming familiar with these guidelines will help pet owners determine when it is time to determine the best course of action for a terminally ill, geriatric, or injured pet.

9. Helping Children Deal with the Loss of a Pet

Dealing with the loss of a pet is never easy. When children are involved, special considerations must be made to help them understand what is going on and how to deal with pet loss and grief. This article will address planning for euthanasia, how to recognize signs of grief in children, and ways to start healing after loss.

10. Dealing With Terminal Illness and Grief

Sometimes, after receiving a terminal diagnosis for a pet, the "waiting" time is the most painful time. Grief is a daily bittersweet experience.
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