How will I know when it is time to put my pet to sleep?

How will I know when it is time to put my pet to sleep.  Dog sleeping.

How will you know when it is time to put your pet to sleep? Once you have run out of options for cure or treatment of their ailments, you will know. They will tell you. You have to listen to them and one day, you will just know that they are tired and they want to sleep. The difficulty is being sensitive to them telling you this and being brave enough to listen and act on it.

Obviously there are some circumstances where this decision is taken out of your hands. In the event of an accident or sudden and serious illness, for which there is no available treatment or cure. In this case your vet will advise you but again, deep in your heart, you will know it is the right thing to do.

Some illnesses have a very gradual decline, over the course of a number of years. With Gillie, we were treating his arthritis for nearly four years. I believe this is a much harder situation to judge as you see them gradually finding things harder but as I said – you will know. Gillie took a tumble in the garden one day and his reaction told me that this particular pain was something he never wanted to have to go through again and I listened. The vet came out three hours later.

My horse developed cancerous growths and deteriorated very quickly – one day he looked different. He looked weary, his eyes looked duller – he told me. The vet came out the next day.

Both of my animals went when they told me they were ready. My thought is once we know, any delay is for our benefit and not theirs. It may be that you need a little time to make arrangements, particularly in the case of larger animals but once you have made the decision, be brave and go with it. It is often said it is better to be a day too early than a day too late and many owners regret letting their pet suffer once they have been told it’s time.

It is the hardest and bravest decision we make as pet owners. A book I found helped me a lot is called “It’s not putting me down, it’s lifting me up” by Kate McGahan and you can find the book on Amazon by following this link.

A peaceful and gentle end of life is the final gift we can give to our pets and they trust us to make this decision for them. It is our privilege and our responsibility and we accept this the moment we take them on.