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How to Know When It’s Time to Put Your Pet to Sleep

In a perfect world, our pets would live forever. In a somewhat imperfect world, they’d all pass away in their sleep at a ripe old age. Unfortunately, in the real world that isn’t how things work. As our pets’ owners and guardians, we usually have to make that final big choice regarding their lives- when to put them to sleep. But when is it the right time? Take a look at this info on How to Know When It’s Time to Put Your Pet to Sleep.

How to Know When It's Time to Put Your Pet to Sleep

How to Know When It’s Time to Put Your Pet to Sleep

Why We Put Pets to Sleep

When you were little you may have thought, “There are a lot of people suffering from terrible illnesses or injuries who still live fulfilling lives, so why do we put ailing pets to sleep?” The answer is in the question. It all comes down to quality of life. As humans, we are lucky to be able to do a lot even when bedridden. Many bedridden people still live happy, fulfilling lives building careers as writers, artists, online consultants, etc. And on days when their condition is at its worse, bedridden people can entertain themselves with books, movies, TV, video games, conversations with friends, and so much more. People have even had good lives from the confines of an iron lung!

But pets can’t live like that. If they’re bedridden, all they can do is sleep and lay there awake. They can’t or don’t want to play with their toys or other pets. There’s no more playing games with you, going for fun walks, chasing after birds, or digging random holes. There’s just laying there and sleeping. Some chronically ill pets have to be force fed or can’t go to the bathroom by themselves. When you reach the point where you’re actively keeping your pet alive and they have a low quality of life, then they’re not really living. That’s why we put pets to sleep.

When You Still Have Time

When considering when it’s time to put your pet to sleep, think about their condition. If an injury isn’t too severe, or an illness is discovered soon enough, you may have options and time. Perhaps your veterinarian can suggest a surgery, medication, or treatment that may help. Maybe there’s some holistic/alternative health remedy you should try. Listen to your vet, but also do your own research. Cancer isn’t a death sentence for pets anymore thanks to chemotherapy, and dogs with injured spines or missing limbs can live full lives thanks to doggy wheelchairs or prosthetics. Consider your dog’s quality of life. Do they eat on their own? Can they go potty on their own? Do they play? Can they move? Do they wag their tail? Are they alert more often than not? Do they have more good days than bad? If you answered yes to most of these, you likely still have time.

When It’s Time to Say Good-Bye

When your pet is continually in pain and isn’t happy, that’s when it’s time to put your pet to sleep. Don’t prolong their suffering just to try idea #100 if they’ve already been suffering for a long time. It’ll be hard, yes, but in the end you’re helping them. Releasing them from suffering is your final big gift to them. A final, highly appreciated, act of love.

Losing a pet is difficult. For help coping with your grief, you may find it worthwhile to talk with friends or family, or to read our articles on pet loss.

How do you deal with the loss of a pet?


Shannon Holmes

Tuesday 11th of February 2020

This is a hard subject and thank you for posting this.

gloria patterson

Monday 10th of September 2018

Some times the best thing you can do for your furbabies is let them go. It is hell and you don't want to but you know in your heart. Some people stay with them and hold them some cannot. We love, We cry, and we do

Linda Manns Linneman

Sunday 27th of August 2017

I have had to put a dog to sleep in the past. She was a boxer and had cancer. It got to where she could not walk and seemed to be in alot of pain. Thank you so much for sharing this great article. We love our pets. God Bless


Wednesday 26th of April 2017

We have done this so many times over the years. It never gets any easier. Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net


Monday 17th of April 2017

Walking out of the vets office crying my eyeballs out and vowing never ever to get another pet.

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