Saying goodbye is one of the most difficult things we have to do as pet owners.
It is a very personal decision that should not be influenced by others. Having let go of my own dogs, I can say that it is never easy, no matter if the dog lives with you for many years, or just a few. It is probably one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make in your lifetime.
Each person is an individual and will handle things differently. As an animal begins to decline it is important to have a discussion with your family about how far you are willing to let things go and what you are willing to do for your dog. You know your dog better than anyone and you know when it's time. With this, comes experience as well. Some have said that they held on too long and would change things going forward.
In my own experience, I don't want to have a terrible memory of the last few days with an animal and I also don't want to make the decision too late. I feel it's selfish to continue to sustain a dog's life when they are very clearly declining and in pain or have poor quality of life. I want to do things on my own terms and not be forced to let them go in an emergency situation.
I believe it is important to be with your pet when you let them go. In this way, you can comfort them on their last journey. It is difficult and heartbreaking, but we do it because we love them.
After an animal passes it is important to remember that we as humans need time to grieve for our pets. To some, it may seem odd but we truly need the time. Sometimes we dwell on what could have been done at the end or if it was the right time and we tend to blame ourselves, this is what makes us human. Remember that you did it out of love and compassion, to end their pain and suffering. Try to stay positive and think about how good of a life your pet had and try not to focus so much on the end.
Some resources to help you on your way: