When it’s time to say goodbye to a terminally ill or elderly pet

If we are lucky our beloved pets will live long, healthy lives but sadly, we know the end must come eventually.

As a pet parent we are faced with one of the most distressing decisions anyone can ever make for an ill or aging pet that is a beloved friend, and that is euthanasia. I often witness the struggle people face surrounding end-of-life decisions for their pets. I have also personally experienced this heartrending time with my own beloved pets, and one thing I am certain of is that our feelings cannot be spared.  However, there are some things that we can do to prepare and plan to make things a bit easier.

What can we do for our pets, ourselves and our families at this time?

Be informed.

Learn about your pet’s diagnosis / degenerative disease and what might be to come.

Is there any chance of spontaneous recovery or cure?

Talk to your Veterinarian about euthanasia and the process.

Step outside your circle.

Find someone you can trust, outside of the picture that you can discuss things with.

Quality of life.

Use the Quality of Life Scale (QOL) developed by Dr. Alice Villalobos to assess your pet’s quality of life. This Scale measures:






Mobility and

More good days than bad.

There are other Scales available including pain assessment scales that are freely available on the internet also.

Remember, pets live in the moment – (Dr. Andy Roark).  Ask yourself….

How is my pet right NOW?

Am I making this decision for me, or my pet?

Why do I think it might be time for euthanasia?

What are my fears and concerns about euthanasia?

Whose interest am I considering (besides my own) when I am making this decision?

What are the fears and concerns of the people around me?

Involve children.

If old enough, children should be part of the decision-making process.

Take lots of photos and videos. Don’t push your pet to do things he or she is no longer capable of in fulfilling an unrealistic bucket list.  Spending time and having cuddles and pats are enough.

Ultimately, decisions on behalf of your pet need to come from you, the pet parent.  If someone else makes the decisions for you, this could cause ongoing resentment in your relationship.  If you have time, and there are no emergencies, steady yourself and think things through, planning can definitely ease some of the distress for you, and your beloved buddy.


If you are going backwards and forwards with decisions that need to be made on behalf of your pet, and/or you need emotional support with the ongoing caring role of your pet, please get in touch. I have supported many people through the emotional considerations that need to be made at this time. My heart is with you and I am by your side, always.