This is one of the hardest and heartbreaking questions pet parents will face. But it's not a decision that you have to make alone. In fact, it's one of the most common questions we help our clients to answer. If this is a question you are struggling with then we hope this short guide will enable you to identify some of the important things that matter and help you make the best decision for your beloved pet.
In the end, this is a very personal decision. Roundwood Vets are here to help make sure that your pet’s final days and the moment when you say goodbye are remembered for all the right reasons.
Nothing completely removes the pain of saying goodbye but there is much we can do to make sure your pet can live well, right up to the end. Your cherished memories can be preserved knowing you made the right decisions at the right time.
If you have read this page and would like to speak with one of our specially trained hospice vets, please fill out the form below.
How will I know when it's the right time to say goodbye to my dog?
Three questions to ask yourself:
Is my pet eating well?
As dogs age and approach the end, they may skip a meal here or there. If this pattern is increasing and becomes a frequent occurrence then it can be a sign of pain and nausea. These are two of the things that can cause dogs to refuse food.
So if a dog is having many days where it is inappetent, then it's time to contact the Roundwood Team for advice. It's a really good idea to create a diary of your dog's eating and drinking habits - simply adding a green tick or red cross on a diary helps give you a sense of the problem objectively.
Has my dog's behaviour changed?
Look for signs of a change of attitude or mood with your dog. Do they still get excited when you get back home? Do they still play with you? Do they still react to threats in the same way such as the postman or loud noises?
If your dog seems confused, has a lack of direction or often appears disorientated or anxious, they may be suffering from a version of doggie dementia. It's important to keep a record of these behaviours - no matter how small a detail - and let us know.
Is my dog able to move to eat, play and poop?
Mobility issues are one of the biggest challenges dogs (and their owners) face as they age. Have you noticed that your dog no longer plays or doesn’t get excited or even want to go for walks? Do they find it difficult to get comfortable (sometimes they really struggle to sit or lie down)?
These all could be signs that your pet has pain or discomfort. Some dogs may have audible signs of discomfort such as crying or whining – but not all.
Speak to us
I have only just now sown the forget-me-nots you very kindly gave after you were so kind in helping poor, elderly Stephen at his end. I started planting the terrace here at the beginning of lockdown, and now Stephen’s seeds will flower under a gorgeous fig that has been growing all spring and summer. My real thanks goes to you and the team in walking me through Stephen’s last months. You all made a very difficult time very much easier. I have rarely come across so much compassion and understanding. I have recommended you and the team to every pet owner I know. Very many thanks again.
- Horatia, London