Letting Go of Aging Pets

Corky and 11 year old cat Cat and dog owners can safely assume a person in reasonable health will outlive their pet.

The facts don’t change the feeling of loss when your senior pet dies, yet there’s more to consider when letting go of aging pets. My guardians were enlightened by their veterinarian in a discussion about the elderly dog who was in our family before me.

The dog was near her natural end of life with serious health complications due to aging that could not be reversed. Besides vital functions shutting down she was incontinent. Within weeks she stopped eating and could not walk.

After a thorough examination and comparing notes from recent visits, the vet advised a humane and peaceful end.

The facts about pets and pain which the vet shared helped the guardians in their decision. Dogs are stoic meaning they tolerate pain without letting you know. This is true of cats, as well. Here’s a quote with a link to more information about how dogs and cats handle pain.

Dogs’ responses to pain vary. Some dogs are very stoic, and will show few outward signs even when in extreme pain.
Source: Dr Barchas, DVM http://drbarchas.com/pain

Letting go of aging pets is not easy. Seek professional advice from your veterinarian to know the right thing to do and when. Understanding the stoic nature of pets, extending their life by all possible means may not be in their best interests if they’re in agony.

Appreciate your pets every moment of every day while you can. Supress selfish feelings and let them go peacefully with dignity when the time is right. Finally, as you heal and consider another pet, please adopt from a local shelter. Millions of abandoned yet healthy cats and dogs are waiting.

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