Rather than hijack another thread, I though it appropriate to start a new one on this topic.
It's a sad twist of fate that with only a few exceptions most non-human animals don't live as long as we. Those of us who love our animals must one day face the fact that life just isn't fun for our companion any longer, and it becomes our responsibility to help them pass over to the next realm with love and dignity.
The hard part is knowing when, and no people will come up with the same answer.
This is an issue that Mush with P.R.I.D.E. (Providing Responsible Information on a Dog's Environment) has struggled with as our board of directors has attempted to update our Sled Dog Care Guidelines. It is especially acute for me, as my Darling Daisy is now 14 years old, deaf as a post, having difficulty with her vision and is "acting geriatric".
If you are facing similar issues, here is what the PRIDE Guidelines Committee is planning to recommend to our members:
Animal care experts agree that it is appropriate to humanely kill a dog rather than to prolong suffering. There are no hard and fast rules regarding when it is or is not appropriate to do so. Here are some considerations you can use to help make your own decision:
Is professional veterinary care available in your community?
Can you afford to pay for the necessary veterinary care?
How likely is your dog to recover from the problem?
Is your dog in pain? If so, can the pain be effectively controlled?
Is your dog able to eat and digest enough food to remain properly nourished?
Is your dog mobile enough to move around its housing area?
Is your dog able to breathe without difficulty?
Does your dog behave as though it still enjoys living?
Once you have considered the above, establish a euthanasia baseline condition. These are best established before the animal reaches the euthanasia threshold. It is much easier to establish these before human emotion becomes the deciding factor. It can be stated as simply as: When the dog is not longer able to
. , then we will euthanize it. It is very easy to change this threshold as a dog approaches it but experience has shown that as one level of quality of life goes by and you establish yet another threshold, you are only avoiding the inevitable.
Whenever possible, animal control shelters or veterinarians should be used to perform euthanasia. In isolated rural areas where such facilities are not available you must still make sure your dog is killed humanely, with no suffering. Consult a veterinarian or animal control officer for advice.
In some regions, body disposal is regulated by local or state/provincial laws or regulations. Many veterinarians and animal control shelters can cremate the body for you at little or no cost. If the law permits and you wish to bury your dogs body at your home or kennel it is recommended you place the body in a heavy duty plastic bag encased in a secure receptacle such as a wooden or metal box. You should bury the body under at least 3 feet of earth to prevent other animals from digging at the grave site.
Wishing you and yours the very best that life has to offer, we are...
Swanny & the Stardancer Historical Sled Dogs