Is it time?
I have had many pet parents ask me “How do I know when it is time?”
This is indeed very difficult. Just as with people suffering from terminal illnesses, there are good days and bad days.
It is not uncommon for a person to make the decision to let a pet go, only to see their pet have a good day where they eat well, or go outside eagerly, or play with a favorite toy.
Old Age is not a Disease
Maybe your senior pet has a totally treatable condition like an infected tooth that is causing pain and reluctance to eat, or an overactive thyroid, or overgrown nails making it hard to walk. A thorough medical exam & basic bloodwork do not have to break the bank, and can provide invaluable information. Just because a pet is old, does not mean that medical care is “wasted” on them. Additionally, there are many options available to help older pets remain comfortably at home for longer than ever before. For example, arthritis is not curable, but pain control may greatly increase quality of life. Perhaps mobility aids are needed. You can do an online search for devices like slings, and check out handicappedpets.com, a local company with a variety of products. Maybe physical therapy would help.
Necessary vs. Convenience Euthanasia
Please note, I DO NOT perform “convenience euthanasias”. I will only euthanize animals who are suffering from a greatly diminished quality of life, whether due to advanced age or untreatable disease; cases where euthanasia is truly a kindness. If your pet does not meet these criteria, and you are not able or willing to care for them, then you should contact a local shelter or rescue group.