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How do I know if it is the right time to put my dog to sleep?
Unfortunately, our dogs can’t use words to share with us how they are feeling mentally and physically. Therefore, many pet owners turn to vets asking them to decide on euthanasia for them. Unless the dog is visibly in pain, the vet will not know what to make of the situation.
Eventually, it’s up to you to observe your dog and understand his quality of life. Here are some guidelines that might help you in making the right decision.
• Does your dog still have an appetite?
• Is it able to walk?
• Does it show a sign of pain, such as yelping?
• Are the medications you are giving it working?
• Does your vet think there is anything else that can be done for your dog?
• Do you have a feeling your dog is giving up?
• Is the dog avoiding its bed, and prefers to sleep on cold surfaces?
• Is your desire to have your dog by your side overshadowing its suffering?
Talk to your vet about these answers. He will help you in the decision making- process, having your dog’s best interest at heart.The death of a dog doesn’t affect only your family members, the other furry companions in your house will also notice its absence. There are a lot of dog owners who tell stories and claim that their other cat or dog knew that their friend was going to be put to sleep. While vets can’t confirm this, we do know that pets notice the absence of their friends and they miss them. It’s also worth mentioning that different pets may have different reactions to your dog’s euthanasia depending on their relationship. Siblings, for instance, get more upset than unrelated dogs.
How do I explain to my children that my dog will be put to sleep?
The passing of a family dog is an unforgettable experience for children. As a parent, you need to make sure to turn that experience into one in which they learn about the acceptance of life and death and how to deal with grief effectively.
Before you bring your child to say the last goodbye and witness the euthanasia procedure you need to consider their age, and ability to understand what is going on
• Children of 4 years and under cannot understand much about the concept of death; they should stay home so parents can be fully present for the pet’s passing.
• 5-year-olds can understand that their pet is sick, that it will not get better, and that the pet is not here anymore. Luckily, they can be easily distracted by other activities and toys. Once they see other family members crying, they can feel confused and sad, but as soon as they get back to their routine they will forget all about it.
• 6- and 7-year-olds may be able to understand almost everything that is going on, but they will not be able to come up with the right questions. Nevertheless, you need to provide them with the answers. At this point, you need to make sure your child knows what “dying” means. If you are religious, you can introduce the concept of the soul to your children. No matter how you decide to explain the idea of death, the child needs to know that the pet has died and that it will not be coming back.
• Children 8 and over are mature enough to grasp the fact that the pet is in pain, although they may not understand the disease process. They will want to know what happens next. Try to avoid saying things like “the dog will be put to sleep”, because some children are very literal. The best way to make them understand the situation is an honest explanation of euthanasia. Tell them that your loving dog is sick and can’t get better. Explain to them that because you all love it so much, you will not let it suffer, and that you are going to help it die with comfort and dignity.