Deciding when to say goodbye without regret
It is a difficult time when your pet is nearing the end of its life. We often get questions about a pet's quality of life, and hope the following helps you and your pet to make the right decision at the right time. Here is a list of possible areas which question whether our pets are really enjoying themselves:
- Can they make their way to food and water bowls, and enjoy their eating and drinking?
- Are they in control of their bladder and bowel movements?
- Are they still interacting happily with you and the rest of the family? Maybe they seem to no longer want to be a part of the household?
- Do you recognise the pet you've always had? Do they still have the same personality?
- Have you noticed changes in your pet's personality that may indicate it may be in pain? Perhaps they have become aggressive or they are seeking isolation?
- Are they able to do normal things - go for a walk, enjoy a sniff around the yard or park, still able to groom themselves without being distressed?
- Do they still enjoy playing games and doing other fun activities?
- Has your pet's existing condition got to the point where it can no longer be controlled or treated medically?
If your answers to most of these questions indicates a poor quality of life, come in for a consult and discuss with the vet if there is any treatment to help these conditions, or consider if it is the right time to let them go.
Good days and bad days can be recorded on a calendar as a tick or a cross. In any one week when the crosses (bad days) exceed the ticks (good days), then the quality of life is surely diminishing. Consider it is time.
Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is one of the hardest but most important times of your pet's life. In the end we must trust our instincts and after seeking the advice of your trusted vet, you will know it is the right time.
National Association of Loss and Grief (NALAG)
We are very fortunate to have the services of some wonderful support people in Dubbo. NALAG (NSW) Inc. is the National Association of Loss and Grief (Phone: 02 6882 9222). There are many volunteers who dedicate themselves to supporting others. These wonderful people know first hand what depths of despair people who experience loss go through and they want to help.