The end of your pet’s life and saying goodbye is never an easy subject to talk, or even think, about. However, it is inevitably something that will happen at some point in every pet parent’s life, so there are things that need to be said. After all, educated decisions are best when it comes to such a big decision, and your veterinarian is here to help guide you. Some possible discussions you may have with your vet are: quality of life, finances, and several other end-of-life care factors that may be more specific to your situation.
There are many reasons for making this choice, and you may be left wondering if what you decided was what was best. Know that you are not alone. There are many steps to the grieving process, one of them being guilt. When, or if, you feel this way remember not to berate yourself. Trust and accept that you have made the right decision, or seek help with a counselor who specializes in end-of-life pet care.
An aspect of putting a pet to sleep, that often goes over-looked, is that other pets at home can be affected by the loss as well. Just like with humans, the way our animal companions handle grief can vary. Some signs that a pet is mourning the loss of another are: loss of appetite, restless in their sleep, wandering aimlessly, “quieter” than normal in their communication (or the opposite extreme, being louder than their norm), constant searching for their pet friend, demanding more attention than usual, or no desire to be social. If possible, give your pets the opportunity to say good-bye. It is best to allow the remaining pets to sniff their deceased friend, however this is not always easy for the human, so an alternative is to snip a locket of fur to bring home so they can sniff that instead and begin their own grieving process. Most importantly remember to keep your routine the same and provide extra care and attention during this time.
When you make your appointment here at The Animal Clinic and come in to put your pet to sleep, there is an important question we will ask you; that is if you plan on having a group or private cremation, or if you will be taking your pet home. Many pet parents are so full of emotions that it makes processing these questions difficult, so it is important to try and think about what you want before coming in. Group cremation is the process of cremating your pet in a group with many other pets. This option does not return your pets remains to you, however it is the cheapest option, apart from taking your pet home. With a group cremation, there are other ways of having something to remember your pet by. For example: you can snip off a lock of fur as mentioned above, or you can request we make a paw print for you here, if you haven’t already done so at home. With private cremation, your pet will be cremated separately from other pets, which means you will be able to pick up the remains. Additionally, many places that cremate pets offer viewings and final goodbyes as an option to assist with closure.
Ultimately, all of us here at The Animal Clinic want what is best for your pet and you. Never feel embarrassed or ashamed to share with us how you feel, as we have been in your shoes and helped many pet parents before you. Your pet will live in your heart forever.