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“When is the appropriate time to say good bye to a beloved pet?”

I am often asked,
“When is the appropriate time to say good bye to a beloved pet?”

There are many things to consider when deciding when the time is right to say good bye to our loved one. Many of my clients have heard me talk about the “HHHHHMM, quality of life scale”, that I read about in a veterinary journal. This helps the family decide if their pet’s “quality of life” is still worth living.
These are the Quality of Life Signs
1. Happy. Does your pet seem to enjoy the normal daily activities?
2. Hurt. Does your pet seem to be hurting and in pain?
3. Hungry. Is your pet eating enough to sustain life. Starving to death is a very painful way to go.
4..Hydrated. Is your pet drinking enough water to prevent dehydration?
5. Hygiene. Is your pet urinating and defecating appropriately?
6. Mobility. Is your pet able to move about or is he or she just staying in one place, developing painful bed sores?
7. More Good Days Than Bad. Or is it the reverse?

These 7 qualities make life worth living. If the answers are more negative than positive, it is getting time to let go.
If your pet is approaching this time, there is still “End of LIfe Care” that you can provide at home to keep them comfortable. Jim Humphries DVM in Veterinary Practice News has outlined some options I can help you with depending on your pet’s condition. At this point we just want to keep our loved ones comfortable and out of pain for the time they have left. Everyone’s goal is to avoid a painful death. Here are the “Signs of Impending Death”, as outlined by Dr.Humphries.
1. Loss of Appetite
2. Loss of interest in interactions with the family members
3. Increase in sleep time
4. Irregular breathing, abnormal breathing noises, gasping for breath
5. Cold extremities (arms and legs)
6. Eyes unable to close and with decrease blinking
7. A “far off look”.
8. Seizures or convulsions
Seeing these signs means the end is getting very close. It is time to prepare all family members for the impending death. I have materials on how to approach this subject that may be helpful for those of you who have children.

Euthanasia is a gift that we can give to those we love. They do not have to suffer. When making a decision to choose euthanasia, remember, “ It is better to be a few days early, than a minute too late, We do not want our family members to experience agony or suffering.”

This is a difficult discussion I have with my clients every day. It is heartbreaking for me but even harder on the family. I hope this information will be of help to all of my clients when you are faced with this final decision. Dr.L