How Do I Know When It’s Time?

Almost all pet owners struggle with the decision to let a pet go. “Should I just wait and hope he’ll die at home? Should I have him put to sleep? How do I know when it’s time?” All of these and more are questions our team is asked on a near-daily basis.

Here are some guidelines to help you make the decision about when to let your pet go:

First, it is important to understand that animals hide pain and suffering. By the time you see that they are really not doing well, they probably have been feeling bad and have possibly been in considerable pain for some time. Additionally, they may linger for long periods of time with very, very poor quality of life before they actually pass away.

Second, you are your pet’s person. You are the one who has cared for your pet throughout its life, who has fed and played with and provided for and loved it. Your pet looks to you for its needs. Choosing to stop your pet’s suffering is not a terrible thing but a noble one. It takes great love to give the gift of final peace to a suffering animal, to put your pet’s needs above your desire to keep him or her with you. The word “euthanasia” is derived from Greek and literally means “good death” or death without suffering.

But how do you know when it’s time? There is a rating scale called the HHHHHMM Quality of Life Rating Scale developed by a veterinarian who created a hospice-type program for terminally ill pets. Using a score created by your responses to a list of questions, you may be able to determine if it is time to release your pet from a pain-filled or poor quality life. And as always, we are here to talk with you when you need us. Download it by clicking on the link below.

HHHHHMM Quality of Life Rating Scale

Here is a helpful web page about making the decision to euthanize a beloved pet: Euthanasia: The Most Painful Decision.

​​​​The Process
Adult Resources
Pet Loss Care for Children

Roya1234 none 7:30am - 7:00pm 7:30am - 7:00pm 7:30am - 7:00pm 7:30am - 7:00pm 7:30am - 5:30pm Closed Closed veterinarian # # #