Deciding when to euthanize your dog is certainly the hardest decision of any dog parent’s life – when is it time to let your baby go, how to put them down, how to be sure it’s right, and how to not feel guilty for loving your dog. Quality of life is the most important measurement – when quality of life deteriorates, then there are things to think about.
- make every decision with your heart based in love
- share your feelings with your friends and family
- include your family in the decision
- research all options before making the decision
- keep quality-of-life as the number one ideal
- avoid the decision
- forget the good times
- forget the favorite things you used to do
- be afraid to have it exactly how you want it
- worry about what others will think of you
Loving our dogs is how we get to this position in the first place. We love them and we don't want to see them suffer. As our wonderful dogs age and become frail or ill, we wonder how best to take care of them in the end. As long as these thoughts, these concerns, are based in love, then the end will always be right.
It's not a decision to make alone. Just as you have shared your dog's life with your whole family and your friends, your feelings and concerns are worth sharing as well. It also helps to talk, to tell stories, to remember the great times. Friends will help you make your decision.
Making the decision is more than just talking. It's looking at your dog and loving him/her enough to make sure your baby doesn't suffer. Together, you all can objectively decide if your baby has good quality of life – if can he do his favorite things then he's happy; if he can't do his favorite things he's not having fun. You all should talk about that.
Before you decide, make sure you know all the treatment options, if there are any. Know the costs, the possible outcomes, and what you can afford – financially and emotionally. What is right for each of us is different for each of us. This is how it's supposed to be – we each have our own lives. You may perhaps measure quality of life based on whether your puppies can still do their favorite things as described above.
Quality of life for your four-legged baby is what matters. The decision is for your dog, not for you, your family, or the memories. The decision is meant to be made when your baby's quality of life is no longer where it needs to be.
Often, we avoid the decision because it is a very hard decision to make. However, if we are thinking about it, then it really is time to have a full discussion with the family about our best friend’s quality-of-life. If your friend is failing and you put off the decision, there's a possibility that she may suffer. The whole point of euthanasia is so your baby doesn't.
The good times are why we have dogs! While their lives are not as long as ours I could never imagine my life without them. They make homecoming wonderful, no matter how bad the day has been. They make going for a walk an entertainment event. They make every day things such a pleasure. And it would do disservice to their memory if we do not remember all of the good times.
There's nothing wrong with saying to your friends, “Remember when…” and fill-in the blank with all those great things. Every dog has its own favorite thing to do just as every dog parent does. That's why it is such a special bond and even when it hurts when this baby goes, there's room to love another – which honors the love you have for this baby.
When it is time for your baby to move on, things should be exactly how you want them to be. If you prefer it to happen at the comfort of your home in your baby's bed, then you should ask for that. If you prefer not to have that memory at your house, then specify that. If you prefer to do it alone, or if you want your family present make sure it's exactly how you wanted to be. Even euthanasia should be a positive, while sad, experience.
This isn't about them. This is about you and your bond with your baby. What matters is how you honor your dog, honor your bond, and honor your self.
Euthanasia is an uncomfortable subject. But, as loving dog parents, when our baby’s quality of life is no longer good, love suggests we let them go with ease. Including friends and family in the event and/or the decision often makes things easier. Honor your memories, remember them, and love again.