Pet Loss: How Do You Know When It’s Time?

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No one wants to think about pet loss. Pets are part of your family, and it’s a scientific fact that pets reduce stress in our lives.

Studies have shown the stress hormone cortisol greatly lessens after interacting with a pet. It’s their sweet nature that tugs at human heartstrings and causes us to want to love them forever.

Still, the years pass, and our beloved pets eventually begin to develop health problems that can become painful for them. This decline brings us to a dreaded crossroads of decision and, ultimately, brings us to a place where we have to consider our fur baby’s health and well-being.

How do you know when you’ve reached this crossroad? Read on; our hope is that the ensuing guide will carry you through the grief of pet loss.

Age Is a Factor

Knowing your pet’s average lifespan is key to this part of the decision-making process. Your pet will not necessarily grow gray hairs as humans do.

Yet old age in your pet will still present other signs to look for. Using the HHHHHMM Scale by Dr. Alice Villalobos, you have seven categories of happiness and comfort to help you track and evaluate your pet’s quality of life:

  • Hurt
  • Hunger
  • Hydration
  • Hygiene
  • Happiness
  • Mobility
  • More good days than bad

Knowing how to put a pet down can be hard to face, but watching them suffer is much worse than the process of grieving a pet.

Listen to Your Vet

If your pet begins to show signs of distress through limping, a loss of appetite, or a lack of desire to drink, reach out to your vet to see what kinds of solutions there may be. Technology and medicine have come a long way to help pets thrive.

Your veterinarian can guide you during this stage of your pet’s journey and identify when to put a pet down.

In the event of an accident of some kind, don’t lose hope and begin grieving just yet. Your local animal hospital may be able to help, too.

However, if the accident caused too much damage, they may still have a way to make your beloved pet more comfortable as you say goodbye. Your vet will be able to walk you through the process of how to put a pet to sleep with great care for you both.

Seek Support

Surround yourself with family and friends who love you and your pet. It’s important to have support in this decision.

Sometimes an outside perspective can help you make the right choice at the right time. There are many support groups available, as well, to help you through this difficult time.

Grieving Your Pet

Although inevitable, losing a pet is never an easy process. They’ve become a member of the family, and it can be hard to let them go.

Keep in close contact with your vet, observe and record their behaviors during the last stage of their life, and seek support throughout your decision-making process.

Here at Midland’s Pet Care, we work hard to help families memorialize their beloved pets.

We offer help and support to all our clients during their grieving processes, and we’ll be glad to help you through your time of mourning, too.


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