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How will I know when it's the right time to say goodbye to my dog?

When to decide to euthanise a pet is one of the hardest and heartbreaking questions pet parents will face. But it's not a decision that you have to make alone. In fact, it's one of the most common questions we help our clients to answer. If you are struggling with choosing when to put your dog down then we hope this page will help you to make a decision.


Roundwood Pet Hospice are here to help make sure that your pet’s final days are lived well, and when the time comes to say goodbye, your dog enjoys a loving and painless transition into death. 


Nothing completely removes the pain of saying goodbye but there is much we can do to make sure your dog can live well, right up to the end.  Your cherished memories can be preserved knowing you made the right decisions at the right time.


If you would like to speak with one of our specially trained hospice team then please call us or complete an appointment request form today.

Three signs that the time to say goodbye is close at hand

Is my dog eating well? 

Many dogs continue to eat well right up to the very end despite severe disease. So appetite alone is not a good way to know if your dog is struggling with a painful or terminal disease.

That said, if you dog does stop eating, then this is a serious sign that things are not right and help is needed.  Some dogs may experience a reduction or increase in appetite that is quite different to their normal pattern. Or they may look nauseous after eating.

If you are seeing any changes in appetite, or increased vomiting of food, then it's a sign that things are not right. 


It's a really good idea to create a diary of your dog's eating and drinking habits - simply adding a green tick or red cross onto a wall calendar can helps give you a sense of any patterns objectively. And help you to know when good days are outnumbered by the bad ones.


Has my dog's behaviour changed?

Look out for signs of a change of attitude or mood with your dog. Do they still get excited when you get back home? Do they still want to play with you or their favorite toys? Do they still react to threats in the same way such as the postman or loud noises?

If your dog seems to sleep more. Or appears disorientated or anxious (sometimes they pace around for hours) they may be suffering from a version of doggie dementia. Or painful arthritis. It's important to keep a record of these behaviours - no matter how small a detail - and let us know.

Is my dog able to move to eat, play and poop?

Mobility issues are one of the biggest challenges dogs (and their owners) face as they age. Have you noticed that your dog no longer plays or doesn’t get excited or even want to go for walks? Do they find it difficult to get comfortable (sometimes they really struggle to sit or lie down)?


These all could be signs that your pet has pain or discomfort. Some dogs may have audible signs of discomfort such as crying or whining – but not all.


The decision on when to say goodbye to an older pet is a very personal one which each family will make at different times for different reasons. At Roundwood Pet Hospice, it's our job to help your pet live well, and when the time comes, to help you make the decision to say goodbye. If you need help with assessing your pet's quality of life or you have made the choice to say goodbye, then please get in touch and one of our team will be available to help you.

Booking an appointment

Whether you are a pet owner looking for some reassurance or advice, or a vet looking to refer a client to our service, the first port of call is to get in touch. You can do that by calling us directly or by using our booking form. Simply click either button below to call a Care Coordinator or complete the booking request form. One of our friendly team will be available to take your call or respond to your request when made during our regular opening hours. (If you complete the form, we will call you back within 30 minutes when we are open or within 30 minutes when we re-open the following day.)


I have only just now sown the forget-me-nots you very kindly gave after you were so kind in helping poor, elderly Stephen at his end. I started planting the terrace here at the beginning of lockdown, and now Stephen’s seeds will flower under a gorgeous fig that has been growing all spring and summer. My real thanks goes to you and the team in walking me through Stephen’s last months. You all made a very difficult time very much easier. I have rarely come across so much compassion and understanding. I have recommended you and the team to every pet owner I know. Very many thanks again.

- Horatia, London

To book your appointment to talk to one of our specially trained hospice vets, please click below.

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