Knowing when to make the final decision, putting your dog to sleep.
A very hard subject to talk about, but it needs talking about to help people through the process.
Owning a dog is a pleasurable experience but we all know that there will come a time when we have to make a decision. Please allow yourself to be guided by a professional. We always deliberate and agonise over the timing of having one of our beloved pets put to sleep but timing is crucial. The best advice I can give is if you think the time might be coming is to discuss this with your vet. Your vet ultimately will have the final decision so never think it has been your decision made on your own. A vet will not put an animal to sleep if there is a chance of full recovery with quality of life.
As an owner you need to be able to consider your dog’s needs, he must have quality of life free from pain. When the time comes it can be hard making that final decision and carrying it out is so very hard. In making your decision, it is such a sad time for you, look into your dogs eyes and remember everything they have given you. The loyalty and companionship. I think ultimately their eyes will tell you when they are ready. They will look lost and somehow empty (though this may not always be the case). Try to think of it that you are giving your beloved pet a gift in dieing with dignity. It is better to make the decision a day too early than days or weeks too late. An owner will always feel guilt and you will question your decision over and over. Allow yourself time to grieve for your dog and remind yourself you have carried out a kindness in ending suffering. It is not playing god even if at the time, this is how it may feel. Your dog deserves a peaceful end.
When an animal is put to sleep, they are given an overdose of barbiturate which will stop the heart almost immediately. If you are holding your dog, they will go to sleep quickly and before you know it they are gone. Having held dogs many times for this procedure for owners, I would like to stress the point they slip away very quickly so be mentally prepared with your goodbyes before the procedure has even started. Very occasionally after your dog has passed away, you may see some breathing and some muscle movement. These are tremors that sometimes occur after the heart has stopped and as the blood circulation has stopped supplying the muscles with oxygen. This can be upsetting for people to see. Before you carry out the procedure give some thought as to whether you would like the ashes back or not. Hard decisions to make, but perhaps best made at home before you go to the vets. Of course if you choose, the procedure can be carried out at home, this will involve an additional call out charge, but ultimately it can be less stressful for you and your dog. Another consideration you can make is asking if your dog can have a sedative before the procedure. If you know your dog is likely to be upset by being at the vets you can ask for some sedative tablets to give him before you arrive.
Grieving for a pet once they have gone can feel a lonely process. I would suggest that it is very important for you to talk with people who do know and understand how you feel. Dog lovers will feel your pain with you and in sharing this will help you through the process. Everyone is different in how they cope with their grief. If it helps you by getting photos enlarged or portraits commisioned then do it. You dont have to forget a dog that has shared his or her life with you. They may not be with you physically but they have played a part in your life. This is something that you have to embrace and treasure the memories.
Some people want another dog straightaway and some say they cannot possibly have another dog again. Give yourself time to consider your feelings. I know I need animals around me but I can also understand that the pain in making the decision to choose to end your pets life is a very hard one to undertake.
If you are reading this and about to make the decision, please dont feel alone. If you need support I am happy to answer any messages sent through my contact page.