Pet Loss: Signs it's Time to Say Goodbye

Saying goodbye to a companion animal is never easy, they are a part of your family after all. While this can be a difficult time, it's important to know that you are not alone. Here, our La Mesa vets talk about the signs that your pet is at the end of their life and how grief counseling and support can help.

Signs That Your Pet is at the End of Their Life

While we typically try not to think about saying goodbye to our pets, there are signs that can show us when it's time. You will be able to advocate for them better than anyone during this time since you know them best.

Some of the signs that it's time for your pet to pass are:

  • Unmanageable and consistent pain
  • Difficulties eating
  • Inability to control their bladder or bowels
  • Hiding often or not socializing
  • Discomfort or lack of joy from walks or playtime
  • A decline in their overall quality of life

These are some of the main considerations that may indicate that it is time to say goodbye. Even if they show these signs there is still a chance that veterinary care can help them live comfortably for much longer. Speak with your vet and schedule an examination if you have any concerns.

Making a Decision About Pet Euthanasia

When your pet's quality of life begins to decline, you will be faced with a tough decision about euthanasia. Here are some considerations to help you with that decision:

Think back to when your pet was healthier: Because we may not always notice the subtle changes in our pets over time it can help to look back at photos or videos. These memories can help you compare how your pet is doing now to how they once were.

Monitor their health over time: Use a calendar to track your pet's condition and behavior each day. If you begin to notice that your dog is having more bad days than good then you may want to start a conversation with your vet about end-of-life care.

Track their daily activity: Pay attention to your pet's favorite activities. Note a few that they seem to really and joy and monitor how often they partake in them. If they have often been unable to perform these activities then it may be time to discuss the next steps.

Memorialization After Saying Goodbye to Your Pet

One of the hardest things to do as a pet owner is say goodbye. While difficult, it can also be the kindest choice you can make in your animal's final days if they are in pain or suffering.

You may consider memorializing your pet in a way that keeps them close to your heart. You may choose to hold a memorial service with your friends and family. Another option is to create a headstone or a living memorial with a tree or plant in a spot that you can visit whenever you miss your pet. You may also choose to have an imprint of their paw print made, so you can keep a piece of them with you in your home.

Each pet is different, so do what feels right for you and your family to remember and honor your unique furry companion.

Pet Grief Counseling & Support at Rancho Village Veterinary Hospital

When a pet passes away, the emotions can be similar to if you lost any other member of your family. As with any significant loss, it is important to let yourself feel your emotions and take the necessary time to grieve.

The compassionate veterinary team at Rancho Village Veterinary Hospital helps grieving dog and cat owners by providing resources to help after the loss of a companion animal.

Our on-site pet grief counseling services can help you process your loss, and provide tools for a healthy mourning process. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you are experiencing grief after pet loss, our team is here to provide you with the support you need. Contact our La Mesa vets to learn more about our pet bereavement counseling services.