Letting go of your pet ...
As you will notice as time goes by with a dog that suffers from kidney disease is that inevitably your dogs symptoms will worsen, what you can hope to accomplish by treating your animal is perhaps not so much to prolong it's life albeit good care will do that but much more importantly to improve the quality of their lives for whatever time they have with you.
We unfortunately had to make a choice with our Marley eventually and the choice was not easy in fact it was the hardest decision we had ever had to make. But in many ways the decision was already made for us.
These are the things to look out for that will perhaps tell you that it might be time and although I do not pretend to know when it will be the right time for you or if you even if should make that choice, look out for these things that might clarify things for you.
- Is it getting harder and harder to feed your dog to the point where your pet may not be eating almost anything at all?
- Does you pet vomit the few things that he or she does manage to eat?
- What about your dogs energy? is it still there? does he or she shake a lot or get cold even on days where it's not cold?
- Does you pet still like to spend time with the family? do you often find your dog separate from the rest of the family sleeping alone?
- Does your dog's breath have a strong ammonia smell? this is a sign that is very indicative of end stage kidney disease.
- Does your dog look to come back home sooner and sooner when out for a walk and perhaps is lacking the energy for stairs and such.
- Do you find yourself asking yourself more and more often if it's time to let go?
- Does your dear dog friend still enjoy being a DOG?
All of these things only you can answer and only you and your family can make a decision either way.
My personal decision when the time came to euthanize and this coming from having gone through it once before with a cat some years back was to be there and do have the procedure performed at home in familiar surroundings.
I also decided to have my dog sedated before hand, we requested a very common tranquilizer used for pets that have to travel on airplanes to try and reduce anxiety levels for everyone involved especially your dear pet.
It all happens very quickly as the vet injects a barbiturate overdose that instantly stops the heart, we stayed with Marley an extra 10 minutes since total brain death can take about 5 minutes.
Although nobody can truly know, I do not think they suffer at least I try to hope and believe they do not.
We took her for cremation at a great pet funeral center called Amicus where she was treated with the utmost respect. http://www.amicus-pet-cremation.com/dog-memorial.html
Amicus pet cremation
9691, Metropolitain Blvd. East
Montreal, Quebec H1J 3C1
Tel: (514) 353-9999
Fax: (514) 353-0009
Make no mistake, this will all be very difficult for you and your family and you will soon enter a time of grief that will vary from person to person.
One thing that is almost inevitable is a sense of guilt after euthanasia, perhaps not right away but in the weeks following you might find yourself apologizing to your departed friend for having made that choice. I can tell you that feeling is normal and natural but can also be very poisonous and has the potential of lingering for a long time and even replacing grief or the fond memories if you do not deal with it quickly.
Remember why the decision was made and go back on all those questions mentioned above, focus on the good times and those way outnumber the final bad times, know that you did the right thing, for the right reasons and above all thank yourself for being such a loving dog owner and taking such good care for your loved pet especially in the final months or years. Don't be afraid to mourn and grieve for your dog but stay away from feelings of guilt since those are not warranted and unfair to yourself.
You will find that keeping a positive mind set will help in slowly and surely replace those negative feelings with fond memories that you will cherish.
And above all, forgive yourself! this is the best way to honor your friend's memory.
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