12 Sep 2020 by Gentle Pet Passages
Accepting Dog Euthanasia - Be Cruel to Be Kind
Most people, who own a dog, love their dog; that pretty well
goes without saying, although a lot of people do like to say it. 'We love Fido.
He's been part of our family now for fifteen years. Ever since the kids were
little.' Etc etc. We've all heard it before. But I have to question just how
much you love Fido. Enough to kill him or pet euthanasia?
I know that sounds terrible but I get so frustrated when
speaking to dog owners who will not do the right thing when their dog is old
and in pain. You see them out walking, urging Fido to 'C'mon, keep up', as Fido
struggles along ten yards behind, his tongue lolling from his mouth, his stiff
old legs lacking the flexibility they used to have. They seem to be forgetting
the old 'dog years' rule. If old Fido has been around for fifteen years or so,
he's an OLD DOG. Give him a break. I'll bet you can't jog around the block like
a spring chicken when you are a hundred years old.
But worse than this is when I hear people telling me stories
of the trouble old Fido has just lying down; how he turns and shuffles as he
prepares for splashdown. And the little whimpers and yelps he emits when he
summons up the energy to get up from a lying position? Those are just the bits
you hear. Do you think that all the time he isn't making a sound that
everything is hunky dory? If he's in pain getting up or lying down or
negotiating stairs that he used to bound up and down, then there's a good
chance he's in at least some discomfort just laying still, especially on a hard
I recently heard from a friend that his dog that had gone
almost completely blind and was possibly suffering some kind of canine dementia
(the owners diagnosis), and those ailments combined with the arthritis and skin
problems meant that this pooch was in a lot of discomfort whether he was moving
or lying down. The owner had only the best intentions. He loved and cared for
his dog, carrying him when he could, bathing him with special lotions and
potions etc, but could not bring himself to do the kindest possible thing and
have him put down. Whenever this suggestion was put to him he would get very
defensive. "I've had him since he was a puppy." He would say. "I
couldn't bear to lose him."
Well never mind what you could or couldn't bear. Think about
what poor Fido has to bear every day, simply because you don't want to lose
Of course I am not suggesting for a moment that you ship old
Fido out at the first sign of slowing down. On the contrary; there are some
great products out there today that can be of enormous benefit to a
dog showing signs of arthritis or the like. But when even these remedies
no longer help him, let him go. He's loved you as long as he's known you.
Return the compliment and let him rest in peace.
Accepting Euthanasia for Your Dog
Facing the Possibility of Pet Loss
Dogs, no matter how strong they may seem, are actually very
vulnerable creatures because of the several diseases that can affect them. A
lot of canine diseases can lead to death of the animal or, if not, can mar the
dog for life. For example, a cancer in your dog can still be treated by, say,
chemotherapy, but the procedure can practically take the life and energy out of
the dog completely. There are also diseases that can still be cured, but are
causing a huge amount of pain to your dog that even death seemed more
favorable. In similar cases, your dog's life really is in your hands, and so
are its comfort and its suffering as well. When dogs get sick with severe
diseases, their owners are suddenly faced with the difficult decision
concerning euthanasia or putting a dog to sleep.
Euthanasia Would Be the Better Option
Some dog owners rule out euthanasia, thinking that it is
such a cruel thing to do to a pet that has been loyal and loving for several
years. However, there are cases that euthanasia would be the better option.
Since you are the only person who knows your pet very well, you are the only
one who could possibly tell if your dog is in too much suffering already. As a
guide, consider euthanasia when the very essence of your dog's life has
diminished, and even its daily survival is marred with visits to the vet, painful
medications, and difficulty in getting up or moving around. Check for the
following signs to see whether euthanasia would be the better option for your
pet. Your pet should be able to get sleep, to breathe easily, and to move
without intense pain. Your pet also needs a continuous bowel and urine
movement, and should still have enough strength to care about what's going on
around it. If the disease is not so severe, or does not cause much pain, don't
consider euthanasia yet. But if your dog is suffering from severe pain, and
chances of saving it are pretty slim already despite the soaring medical costs,
then you may want to relieve your dog of its suffering earlier.
How to Handle Post-Euthanasia Grief
The grief that follows a euthanasia procedure may be one
coupled with feelings of guilt and regret, in addition to the painful feeling
of losing a pet to a disease that you could have prevented in the first place.
Although euthanasia is also referred to as putting a dog down or putting a dog
to sleep, which implies its painless nature, some dog owners feel as if they
betrayed their pets and caused them pain. The best way to balance your emotions
and relieve the guilty feeling after a euthanasia procedure is to provide a
fitting burial place for your beloved pet. It will help you feel that you've
done your pet the justice it deserves by burying it properly. You can bury your
beloved companion complete with a casket in a cemetery, or have it cremated and
take the ashes home with you. After the burial, give yourself time to grieve
and cry for the loss of your pet.