The choice to euthanize an animal who is in extreme pain and discomfort is a compassionate choice when there are no other palliative options. Most people have mixed emotions about pet euthanasia, and with good reason. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly and should only be considered as a last resort. That said, there are some common myths associated with pet euthanasia that need to be dispelled:
Myth #1: Euthanasia is Selfish
Some people fear that deciding to euthanize is a selfish decision that demonstrates a lack of willingness to care for an ailing pet. They feel as though it’s the easy way out and that going to great lengths to care for an ailing pet is the selfless choice. Though euthanasia should only be considered as a last resort, when the time is right it’s the most selfless choice a person can make for their pet. Prolonging the agony of a suffering pet to postpone one’s own suffering is a far more selfish choice.
Myth #2: My Pet Will Tell Me When It’s Time
It’s a common myth that pets will provide some sort of sign that they are ready to die. While the sentiment is heartwarming, most often this isn’t the case. Waiting for a pet to provide some sort of “signal” that it’s their time to go needlessly prolongs their pain and suffering.
Myth #3: Pet Loss is Insignificant Compared to Human Loss
The grief a person experiences, whether due to the loss of a pet or a human, isn’t something anyone has the right to judge. In many cases, the loss a pet is more devastating than a human loss. People grieving the death of a pet should be afforded the same respect and comfort as anyone else.
Myth #4: It’s Best to Protect Children from What Happened
The old story about the family dog being taken to the farm to live out the rest of his years is really more about sparing parents the uncomfortable discussion than it is about sparing the child’s pain. If a child is close to an animal, he or she is going to experience pain when it’s not longer there. Not knowing what happened to the animal can only exacerbate this. When parents are honest with children and offer them the opportunity to say goodbye to a beloved pet, it gives the child closure and a healthier association with the topic of death.
Myth #5: Pets Don’t Mourn the Loss of Other Pets
When animals share close quarters they often form close bonds. Even an animal that wasn’t demonstrably close to a deceased animal can show signs of mourning. When losing a fellow pet, many animals will experience loss of appetite, depression and may search the house to find the missing pet. Remember to provide extra love and attention to surviving pets as they navigate this difficult time.
Ending the life of a pet is not a decision anyone should take likely. When confronted with this most unthinkable choice, many people are clouded by these common myths. In the best interest of your pet, it’s important to get the facts straight about pet euthanasia.