When the time comes to say goodbye to your pet, we understand how heartbreaking and difficult it is. Our hope is that by offering insight into the process of preparing to say goodbye to your pet, we may be able to help you better cope with your loss.
How Do You Know When It’s Time To Say Goodbye?
One day your pet may begin showing signs that they are ready to go, and the next they may seem perfectly healthy and happy. This can make you question your decision to let them go. It’s important to remember that, no matter how much you love your pet, you always want to do what is best for them and make the decision from a place of love.
In order to help you with your decision, we recommend using an objective tool, such as the quality of life scale. The quality of life scale was developed to help make this tough decision more clear.
- Hurt – Does your pet have adequate pain control and ability to breathe properly?
- Hunger – Is food being taken willingly by your pet, by hand feeding, or by coaxing?
- Hydration – Is your pet getting the appropriate fluid intake?
- Hygiene – Is your pet clean, brushed, and with an unmated coat?
- Happiness – Is your pet able to experience joy and mental stimulation (interaction, purring, playing with toys, etc.)?
- Mobility – Is your pet moving around enough and excited to go for walks? Does your pet require assistance to move around?
- More good days than bad – Are there more good days than bad ones? Bad days are those filled with undesirable experiences such as: vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, frustration, falling down, seizures, etc.
These questions will help to provide a starting place for determining the quality of your pet’s life. Together, with your veterinarian, you can determine what the best course of action is.
How To Prepare To Say Goodbye To Your Pet
The decision to euthanize a pet should be made with your veterinarian. In discussion with them, you can ask questions about the procedure and the costs in order to get a clear understanding of what to expect. You may wish to pay upfront to alleviate the need to wait around afterwards.
Another way to prepare is to spend quality time with your pet. This time will be different for everyone. We have heard stories of people dedicating an entire day to their pet, doing all their favourite things and eating all the food they could ever want (if possible). As well, you may wish to let your pet do something that they were never allowed to before, like sleeping on the bed or couch.
You may wish to have family or friends come over to say goodbye, support you, or make sure that you’re not coming back to an empty house. You may also wish to prepare keepsakes of your pet, like photos or toys.
When It’s Time To Say Goodbye To Your Pet
When you arrive at the vet on the day of euthanization, or before, you will be asked if you would like a communal or private cremation. Private cremation means that your pet will be cremated on their own and you will have the ashes returned to you. There are many choices as to how you would like to receive those ashes. The company we have chosen to provide this service offers a variety of wonderful memorial products including urns, jewelry, cemeteries, and grief counselling. You can learn more about Gateway’s memorial services by visiting their website.
It is important to know that you will be able to spend as long as you want alone with your pet both before and after the procedure. Some people want to be there during the euthanasia, some bring their entire family, and others choose not to be present — we have seen and heard it all, and there are no wrong choices. It really is a matter of personal preference, so whatever your decision, your veterinarian will help you make it happen.
The process of euthanasia is almost always a very peaceful process. It involves an injection of drugs that will stop the heart and put your pet “to sleep”.
What Happens After
After the procedure, you are welcome to stay with your pet for as much or as little time as you’d like. We recommend giving yourself time to properly grieve the loss of your pet. Everyone deals with grief differently, and if you feel it would help, you can seek out grief counselling and resources.
If you would like to know more about preparing for euthanasia, or if have further questions, we are always happy to provide support. Contact the team at Woodbine Animal Clinic anytime.