A Terminally Ill Pet

Unfortunately, sick pets usually do not just pass away in their sleep. Pet owners, more often than not, have to make the difficult and painful decision of having a sick animal euthanized.

Animals are generally kind and forgiving, and they offer unconditional love and affection to their owners. Every pet has a unique personality, and it's no wonder why beloved animals are often considered an important part of the family. It's unfortunate that most pets have a lifespan that is considerably shorter than the average human being. When a person takes on the responsibility of caring for a pet, they take on that duty with the knowledge that they will more than likely outlive that pet.

Life Threatening Illnesses

Animals suffer many of the same illnesses and diseases as people, and they require regular medical checkups and preventive care. However, even with the best care, most pet owners eventually suffer the loss of their beloved friends. People may outlive many pets during the course of a lifetime. These losses can be devastating since animals are often loved just as much as people.

When an animal becomes afflicted with a life-threatening illness, unlike humans, there is only so much that can be done for that animal. Although animals can receive lifesaving transplants and surgeries, most veterinarians do not have the capabilities to preform these types of operations. Even if these types of services and health care options were available, the average pet owner could not afford the expense. Most pet owners do not have health insurance for their pets. People these days are lucky if they have health insurance for themselves.

The Decision to Euthanize

Unfortunately, sick pets usually do not just pass away in their sleep. Pet owners, more often than not, have to make the difficult and painful decision of having a sick animal euthanized. Keep in mind that an animal may not act very ill when they are in fact slowly dying and suffering. A sick dog or cat will still appear happy to see its owner, thus making the difficult decision of euthanasia even more difficult.

Pet owners considering euthanizing their pet should take plenty of time to consider all options. They should ask their veterinarian questions that cover all aspects of the illness or condition afflicting the pet. A professional veterinarian probably won't give a personal opinion in regards to euthanizing a pet, but they will give the owner the facts regarding the health and prognosis of the animal. Ultimately the pet owner has to decide if the animal will be euthanized. Since a veterinarian cannot possibly provide information on every facet of the illness, pet owners should seek additional information on the internet or at their local library. Being informed regarding the illness will make the decision somewhat easier, and it will help eliminate the chance of later regretting that decision.

The Process of Euthanasia

Some people wish to be in the examination room when their pet is euthanized, while others do not. Some choose to say goodbye outside the examining room, and others simply drop the animal off at the vet's office. It is a personal choice to be made only by the pet owner. A person should do whatever makes them the most comfortable in this difficult situation.

The process of euthanizing an animal is generally quick and gentle. The veterinarian finds a vein, usually in the leg, and after administering the solution, the animal takes one last breath and lapses into unconsciousness. They appear to just fall asleep, hence the euphemism "put to sleep." Some animals will continue to take a few breaths after the solution has been administered, but they are completely unconscious and have lost all feeling. The entire process takes approximately 15 seconds. Except for the initial prick of the needle, the process is said to be painless for the animal.

Did I Make the Right Decision?

The process of euthanasia is not however painless for the pet owner. No matter how much a person prepares for the death of their dear pet, it is very difficult. Feelings of regret, remorse, and guilt are very normal for those choosing euthanasia. Unless a pet is obviously compromised and suffering, no matter what anyone says, it is hard to be sure the choice was right.

You may be wondering if your personal decision was right, and chances are you are wondering if you should have given your pet more time at home. If you truly loved your pet, be assured that your decision was in his best interest. You loved your pet enough to spare him from a slow and agonizing death. Feeling remorse and questioning your decision, further shows that you weren't heartless in making the choice to end the suffering of your dear friend.