In my years of working at Manchaca Road Animal Hospital I have been asked many times, “When is it the right time to say goodbye to my beloved companion?” The answer depends on the nature of the disease and the health of your pet. I was faced with this last week.
My good friend’s Basset Hound, Lizzy, had a large growth that was increasing in size rapidly. She was eating and having normal bathroom habits. My friend asked that I bring Lizzy to the clinic with me and have her checked out. My friend was not pleased with his past experience at his local vet. I knew the diagnosis would not be good but I took her anyway. She had multiple tumors and was anemic. I called my friend and explained the sad news. He chose to take her home for the weekend and to put her to sleep on Monday. No one wants their four-legged companions to suffer. We all wish our companions could live forever, but there comes a time when we must make this difficult decision. I cannot tell someone when it is time to say goodbye, but I can provide support and guidance.
Here are some guidelines that may be helpful:
- Is your pet still eating and drinking normally?
- Does he or she still enjoy life?
- Are there any medical problems that are making your pet painful?
- Is your pet suffering?
- Does he or she still do their favorite thing or play with their favorite toy?
- Is he or she able to get around comfortably and able to eliminate normally?