Advanced Animal Care

Pet EuthanasiaMaking decisions about pet euthanasia can be the most difficult part of being a pet owner.  The bond between a pet and his parent can be a tremendously close bond.  No one wants to see his or her beloved pet getting older or becoming ill.

A Personal Decision

The decision to put your pet to sleep is a very personal decision.  Usually when a pet has reached the point they can no longer live comfortably, a decision must be made.  You need to look at things from your pet's point of view and ask yourself, "Is your pet in incurable pain or continual discomfort?". You also should consider his or her quality of life.

The decision to put your pet to sleep is completely personal and you need to do what is best for you and your pet.  Your veterinarian is the best person to discuss this with.  They will know if your pet is beyond help medically and they can give you advice about pet euthanasia.  Sometimes a gentle death is more humane and loving, than a long, painfully, slow death.

What To Expect

When you make the appointment to have your pet put to sleep, be sure and let the receptionist know you want a time when the veterinarian will not be busy.  Usually an early morning appointment or the last appointment of the day works well.  Ask all the questions you can think of about the process.  The more you know, the less you will wonder about later.

There is no right way to handle the loss of your pet and the animal euthanasia process.  Some people will drop their pet off and leave.  Other people will want to stand by the pet during the entire process.  It is not uncommon for a pet owner to cry or breakdown.  The process is sad even for the staff, who are accustomed to the procedure and see death every day.  It is also common to see people remain calm, quiet and not show much emotion at all.

Euthanasia Means “Gentle Death”

The act of euthanasia is quite simple and painless.  Your pet will be given a shot in his vein.  The hair around the vein may need to be shaved.  Your pet may need to be restrained and in some cases sedated to make giving the shot easier.  After the shot, it only takes 6 to 12 seconds for the solution to work.  The pet will usually breathe deep, grow week or limp and gently pass away.  In some cases the breathing will last longer, especially in sick or older animals, but generally speaking the process is quick and gentle.

Some people stay with their pet during the process and spend time with them after.  Other people wait in the lobby until it is over and then spend time with them.  It is important to consider how you will feel after putting your pet to sleep and stay with them if you think you will regret not being there. 

Deciding What To Do With Your Pet's Remains

Your veterinarian can dispose of the body for you if you desire.  They do not sell the body for science or testing.  The body will be placed in a freezer for sanitary reasons and picked up by a company who will cremate the body.  If you want the ashes, that can be arranged as well.  You can also hire your own cremation company.  Your veterinarian will be happy to go over the options with you.  Some people prefer to leave the animal hospital with their pet’s remains.  It is important to bury your pet soon after the process is over before decay sets in.

Grieving Your Pet

No two people grieve the same way.  Losing your beloved pet and a member of your family can be particularly life changing for some people.  It is perfectly normal to go through the grieving process and to feel many emotions including anger, guilt and sadness.  Some people choose to adopt a new pet right away and other people never get another pet. Some people feel lonely and misunderstood as they hear “It was only a cat” or other remarks from people who have never lost a pet before or who didn't experience the same feelings.  It is also common for the loss of your pet to bring other losses to your mind.  The most important thing you can do is to accept the loss and how you feel about it.  Don’t belittle yourself if you feel depressed or upset.  There is no right way to lose a pet or handle a loss. 

Luckily there are many organizations to help people who are struggling to handle a loss like this.  Talking to someone who has gone through a similar loss or understands your deep feelings of loss can help you return to normal again.

If you are thinking about pet euthanasia and making a decision to put your dog or cat to sleep, we can help you go through the process in the easiest possible way.