How do I know if I am making the right decision?

It’s such a tough call to make.

Nothing is more difficult thank trying to decide when to make the call and let one of your family members go to sleep.

How do I know they are in pain? How do I know they don’t want to live anymore? They aren’t crying or groaning?

These are the questions that go through anyone’s head at this time. It is absolutely normal to question and feel overwhelmed. Your heart and mind are already troubled by knowing your little furry family member isn’t well, then you have to try to make the right decision on when is it time.

Why don’t they cry all the time and tell us?

If only they could talk to us and tell us what they want and how they feel. Our pets are so brave and they do suffer in silence unfortunately. They do not cry all the time or yelp and groan when they are in discomfort. Also often they will hide their feelings and discomfort for the benefit of the rest of the pack ( you – their family) and will often stay around for you. Their instincts make them hide signs of weakness and sickness, this helps the survival of the pack in a nature setting.

How will I know when it is time?

But they do tell us in their own way. If you know what to look for often there are signs and ways to read their behaviour to help the decision process. Lets start with basic body functions – pets should be able to eat and drink, pee and poop and get around to perform these minimal requirements for life. Often there are hints and clues even at this level. Are they able to get up easily, without lots of discomfort and stress? Does it take multiple attempts to get up or do they need assistance to be able to stand and then often fall over? This is a sign there is mobility issues. Often related to severe painful arthritis or muscle weakness. Can they make it to the bathroom readily : the litter box or the garden? Or are they unable to get there or even just going where they are lying? It is not normal for an animal to lie near excrement, this is a sign they are having a difficult time. Are they not eating like they normally used to? Often when an animal becomes sick they get nauseas and the appetite diminishes. When the appetite drops to less than 50% of normal they are trying to tell you they don’t feel well.

Think about how they used to be.

Remember how your pet used to be before they were sick? They would greet you and follow you around, meet you at the door and be interested in their surroundings. They used to get excited at feeding times and want to interact and play. This is what gives life quality – the pleasures of daily life. Now think about how they are now, do they still have fun? Is the quality still there- at lest 50% of the time? Maybe they are so exhausted they just sleep all the time. Or are they not even getting up anymore when you get home. Do they hide at all or sit in places they never used to.

These are some questions and thoughts to ask yourself. Consider the comfort and quality that your loved one is going through. These will help you clarify if they are having a really difficult time and struggling or if they are getting along ok.

If you have any doubts or questions please don’t hesitate to contact us or your regular veterinarian for advice.