Euthanasia is a topic that leaves many with divided opinions. It is not an easy decision to either put an animal to sleep or to be the one who gives the order.
Many people think that this carries the same weight as human euthanasia. It is, of course, an equally important decision. But there are others, who are not so predisposed. The latter set of persons rejects the concept of mercy killing. Because, for them, there is no mercy in the killing, no matter how you look at it.
If you are faced with the decision, the only way to proceed is by first considering all the details and facts.
The best thing to do is to analyze the pros and cons of euthanizing an animal. No one wants to put an animal down only to learn that a better alternative existed, at the time. What is equally true is making the decision not to euthanize, which could leave an animal in suffering.
It is best to consider all the options before coming to the conclusion about what to do, at any given time.
The Pros of Pet Euthanasia
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Euthanasia is the medical term for “mercy killing” where someone, or in this case an animal, is killed in a humane manner.
The simplest way of doing this is with a drug that induces permanent sleep. This decision should not be made on a whim. It should only be done after careful consideration and when there is no other alternative.
Here are some of the reasons for euthanizing your pet.
1. To Stop the Suffering of an Aging Pet
It can be heart-rending to watch a suffering beloved pet. It is especially hard when there is nothing you can do to ease the pain.
If the suffering isn’t something the pet can overcome, or he has gotten so old that preventative care isn’t recommended, then euthanizing may be your only solution.
Even when medical alternatives exist, if they will not improve the quality of life afterwards, then it would be advised that you help to stop the suffering of your pet.
2. To Combat Chronic Pain or Prolonged Illness
Your pet may be diagnosed with an incurable disease that, if treated, will only extend life by a few months. The cycle usually begins again and can potentially cost a lot in medical fees.
Veterinarians are the only authority figures you should trust when determining if your pet is fit for euthanasia.
Based on the pet’s existing conditions, and if treatments have been exhausted, this might be the only course of action that remains.
Euthanasia is encouraged if your pet is experiencing chronic pain or its quality of life has deteriorated to the point where it is no longer able to function on its own. This could mean your dog or cat is no longer eating, may be incontinent, or is unable to stand on its own.
While farewells aren’t easy regardless of whether it’s a person or an animal, you will indeed be showing mercy by ending his or her suffering.
3. It Enables Preparation for Closure
Usually, when a death in the family occurs, it is sudden. What that means is you may not get the chance to say goodbye and it might be harder then to accept the circumstance.
By opting for euthanasia, the pet owner will know beforehand when the time of death will be. They will also get adequate time to prepare for the loss. It gives the owner the opportunity to be there for their pet’s final moments.
The Cons of Pet Euthanasia
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Euthanasia should only be decided upon in the event that all other options have been exhausted. While there are certain benefits, there can be downsides as well.
The most obvious one is that you will have to live with the decision to have your pet killed, though in a gentle manner, and with the best of intentions. It is best that the finality of this decision is treated with all seriousness.
Before making a choice, these cons should be well considered.
1. Error in Judgement by the Owner
If your pet has a serious illness, that is not a reason to request euthanasia. The only time it is recommended is if the disease or sickness is incurable.
Everything must be done to mitigate the circumstances before considering this option. If the owner is only seeking to minimize vet bills, this would, instead, be an unjust killing and unreasonable for the pet.
2. How Ethical is the Decision?
Once the issue of killing is on the table, it provokes ethical viewpoints. As with humans, many persons believe the decision to take a life rests only with God.
Regardless of the condition of the animal, it is argued they should be allowed to live until they die naturally.
On the one hand, persons may argue that being mute pets can’t communicate their pain. On the other, being mute, animals cannot defend themselves against decisions made on their behalf that will eventually lead to their deaths.
Religious and spiritual individuals may not want the guilt associated with the act of taking a life.
3. The Availability and Accessibility of the Service
It is not an easy task to have an animal put down. It may be easier for the owner to make the decision then it would be for the vet or another individual to commit the act.
Only some certified individuals can euthanize a pet, which means they can be difficult to find.
Some establishments provide home services in that a professional will come to your house where transporting the animal to the vet proves difficult. The act of moving the animal might also be counterproductive since during transport the animal might be stressed or caused further pain.
Since the aim is to minimize pain and discomfort, this would effectually be counterproductive.
4. Method to Control Animal Population
This may be the least popular reason to euthanize pets, yet it is a decision that is made on a yearly basis by many shelters, clinics and pet owners.
Animal shelters tend to get overpopulated as homelessness among animals increase. Keeping and caring for these pets can be expensive and without adequate funding, the animals will suffer. As a result, some pets that have not been adopted over a certain period of time will be euthanized.
5. Inability to Afford Medical Treatment
Perhaps one of the worst things that can happen to a pet owner is having a sick pet you are incapable of helping. Vet bills can be rather expensive, and without insurance, could cut deep into your savings.
This might make the decision to euthanize your pet especially hard.
Companies do not provide financing for medical pet treatments. So once the costs get too high, euthanasia might be the only solution present.
6. Additional Stress to the Owner and Families
Your pet may have been in your family for years. His or her lifespan is shorter than yours is, so it is inevitable that you will watch him grow old and die.
This fact, however, may happen sooner than you can handle.
As the pet gets older, they lose a lot of their daily functioning, which can be stressful for the owner. It takes a lot of time to care for a sick pet. When it is discovered that your pet is fatally ill, or undergoing immense pain, the recommendation to euthanize might not be a decision you want to take.
The decision, which ultimately rests with the owner, will lead to even more stress and can add guilt for years to come.
Examining Both Sides of Pet Euthanasia
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Whether or not your pet is euthanized depends on your mental state and your beliefs. There are several reasons as to why putting the animal down is the best course of action, as stated above.
Not all families are able to purchase insurance to cover all eventualities. If your pet becomes fatally ill or loses, its ability to function normally, medical bills can prove very expensive. You, yourself, may not have the time to stay at home to care for a sick animal.
Thus, one glaring reason to have your pet euthanized is that of a lack of funds.
Other times this may be the recommendation from your vet. When no other treatment is available, that is, all other options have been exhausted in the event of an incurable illness. And so, there remains only one solution.
Despite all the legitimate reasons for choosing euthanasia, for some persons, there is no such thing as a mercy killing.
From a religious standpoint, God gives life and is, therefore, the only one who should take it away.
Another terrible reason for opting for euthanasia is to control overpopulation, or just to avoid high vet bills. Because these animals are mute, extreme care should be taken when acting on their behalf. Any decision that is made should be to their benefit and not motivated out of selfishness.
Therefore, before making such a permanent decision, you need to weigh all euthanasia pros and cons.