The day has come that no pet owner wants to face: pet euthanasia. The sad time to end the life of your best friend. Whether your pet has suffered a trauma or is terminally sick, putting your companion out of his or her suffering is an act of kindness that any pet lover may have to perform. This does not make the act any easier, however.
I know firsthand the grief that Pet Euthanasia brings to a family. I understand how hard it can be to agree to end the life of your furry friend. Any pet owner will do anything possible to extend his or her pet’s life, but when you have exhausted all options, Pet Euthanasia is often your only—and painful—choice.
Here are some tips to make these last days and last moments very special for the both of you.
Is Pet Euthanasia the Right Thing To Do?
I understand how difficult it can be to part ways with your best friend. When I was first confronted with this decision, I had to make the best decision I could. On one hand, I didn’t want my terminally ill senior dog to suffer anymore. But I didn’t want her to physically leave me. Marley was my soul-mate.
The decision to provide Pet Euthanasia is not a cruel one, though it may feel it that way. Pet Euthanasia provides a peaceful end to your pet’s suffering.
When making this decision, you must consider your pet’s quality of life. But you also need to consider what is best for you and your family. If your pet’s quality of life is seriously impaired by an illness or injury Pet Euthanasia is the most humane option. Consider if your pet can do the things he or she once enjoyed, if he or she is still happy, and/or if your companion has lost their dignity.
Pet Euthanasia is often the choice when your pet is in significant pain or distress. If he or she cannot perform the acts of daily living anymore without considerable suffering, his or her quality of life has diminished. Pet Euthanasia is not a cruel decision at this point. You are doing what is best by making a life or death decision for your pet’s well-being.
Telling Your Family
Handling Pet Euthanasia is painful, but it can feel even more so when you have to tell your family.
If you can, a helpful course of action when handling this part of the Pet Euthanasia process is to include your family in the decision. Call a family meeting. Present the reasons why you feel Pet Euthanasia is best and be open to listening to what others are feeling.
If you have children, they may have questions about the process. In my book, Healing a Child’s Pet Loss I talk about this in great detail and I also have useful ideas and resources for helping the entire family with pet loss grief.
Be sure to offer support. Some of your family members may not agree with the decision. It may upset them. Explain why it is best and hug your family. Openly discuss your feelings and listen as your family members discuss theirs.
Moving forward with this decision as a family can help you all heal together. This decision will impact everyone. As long as you support each other, you will heal each other’s hearts.
When you have reached this difficult decision, it is important to prepare yourself and your family for the final good bye. Saying goodbye to your pet is a difficult but loving and healing part of handling Pet Euthanasia.
Give each family member a chance to say goodbye to the family pet alone. You could each spend some time petting your pet and talking to him or her, or you could do your favorite activity with your companion. Make this a special time that helps you all feel supported through the tears.
If your pet is in hospice. Bring him or her a favorite toy and show lots of love. This is as much about grieving as celebrating his life.
Be Present for the Pet Euthanasia
Your pet will be nervous in the vet clinic, so your presence will help your companion feel better. Being in the room with your companion’s final moments can give you closure and help him or her feel at ease.
Don’t prevent your children from being there if appropriate. This is a chance for them to understand what has happened to their beloved friend. It also lets the family grieve as a whole.
Offer your pet comfort by holding or petting him. Talk to your companion and let them know how much you love them. Even if your companion is very sick or sedated, he or she will know you are there.
After the Pet Euthanasia
It may be helpful to spend some time alone with your pet after the Pet Euthanasia. You can continue to speak to him in spirit as you grieve. Let the family grieve together and say farewell a final time.
After they have taken away your pet to be cremated or prepared for burial, your family could hold a service. You can plan ways to memorialize and celebrate life. A pet loss poem, a video, or framed pictures are ways you can memorialize your pet forever.
Funerals also help provide closure. You can have a burial or a memorial service together. Take turns eulogizing the pet, sharing your favorite memories of him.
While handling Pet Euthanasia is sad, it is a chance to come to terms with grief together as a family. You have a chance to say goodbye to your pet before they reach the end of their life. You can also comfort your companion during the final moments and celebrate their life afterward with a wonderful memorial service. You must do what is best for you, your family, and your pet. Sometimes, Pet Euthanasia is the only way to preserve the well-being of everyone involved.
How have you handled this tough decision? Did you have family members that were involved?
Wendy Van de Poll, MS, CEOL is a certified pet loss grief coach, bestselling author, animal medium and communicator. Through her experience and working with others she teaches folks… grief needs attention so that it can teach the profound lessons of life. You can reach Wendy by clicking here. She also has many books on Amazon to help you on your journey. Here is the link to access Healing Your Child’s Pet Loss Grief. Her newest is Pet Loss Poems: To Heal Your Heart and So