Saying Goodbye To Your Pet

We know that saying goodbye to your pet is a hard thing to do but if your pet is extremely ill or severely injured it may be the kindest thing to do. We know that making the decision to have your pet euthanized is a serious and difficult one to make, so we wanted to offer some words to help.


Making the Decision

How to make this decision: know that the process of making this decision will be a hard one but it doesn’t have to be done alone. Your friends, family and your veterinarian are all a part of your pet’s family. They will be there to assist and support you, and what is best for your pet. You have been your pet’s friend and provider, now you’re faced with making this life or death decision. Keep this in mind, that quality of life, is as important for us as it is for our pets.


When is it time? Just like not all pets are the same, not all illnesses and conditions are the same. There are several things you should consider before you decide when is the right time to let go. It may be time to consider euthanasia when your pet can no longer do the things it once enjoyed, is not responding the way it used to or if it is in pain most of the time. Some instances with terminally ill or critically injured pets the financial and emotional burdens may go beyond your means.



Discuss it with your veterinarian: your vet knows you and your pet, they will be able to give you the best assessment for your pet’s chances for recovery. At the same time they can discuss potential treatments, disabilities and long-term problems and effects.


Understand your pet’s condition: your veterinarian cannot make the final decision to euthanize your pet. It is vitally important that you fully understand what your pet’s conditions, disabilities and chances for recovery are. If you have, doubts, questions or concerns ask your veterinarian to explain it again. Rarely will a decision be required immediately, which gives you time to understand the situation.


Final thought: once you have made your decision, you may wish to also consider what to do with your pet’s remains. There are several options available to you. Take the time to discuss this with your family and your veterinarian. Your vet can provide you with the information on burial, cremation and any alternatives.


What if the pet is healthy? Surprisingly enough there are reason that pets are euthanized even when they are healthy. Some of these reasons include: vicious, dangerous or unmanageable behavior. Even a change in lifestyle, economical and emotional changes may force an owner to consider euthanasia. However some of these conditions can be changed. For instance finding the pet a new home, training, and treatment may be better alternatives. Euthanasia should always be the last choice considered, when there is no other alternative.


The Next Step

Telling your family: family members usually are aware of the pet’s conditions. However there should still be a discussion. Family members should know the information you received from your veterinarian about your pet’s conditions, disabilities and chances for recovery are. Knowing this information will help everyone understand the decision being made. Encourage your family members to express what their thoughts and feelings are. It is important that everyone feel that their feelings have been considered especially children.


Children: often people make the mistake of thinking that children are too young to understand. This isn’t true, specifically because children share a special bond with their pets. If you do not explain the situation to your child, it will only complicate their grieving process making the situation more difficult for them to handle. Let me be a part of the decision making proves, be straightforward and truthful with them. If a child is properly prepared they tend to accept their pet’s death more easily.

Does it hurt? No, the euthanasia is an injection that induces your pet’s passing. Your veterinarian may choose to give your pet a tranquilizer first just to relax it before giving it the euthanasia. Once the euthanasia has been inject your pet will fall into a deep sleep, quickly and painlessly they will pass.


How to say goodbye: saying goodbye is always a difficult thing to do, but it is a very important part in managing a natural and heathy feeling of loss. Once you have made your decision, the family may want to spend some time with your pet saying their farewells.


Dealing with the loss: it is natural to feel grief and sorrow once your pet has passed. It takes some adjusting getting used to your new life that no longer includes your pet. Here are some stages in grieving, but everyone will not experiences them in the same order.


1. Denial: sometimes we refuse to accept the loss, and act as though it hasn’t happened.

2. Anger: this can be directed toward people that you would normally love and respect but because of your pain you are now feeling indifferent. This can cause you to say something that you don’t necessarily mean but that can be taken as hurtful. This anger can stem from blaming yourself and/or others for the cause of your pet’s ultimate passing.

3. Guilt: this happens from time to time. At some point you may end up blaming yourself or others for what has happened to your pet. You may feel responsible for not noticing the illness sooner or for not being more careful as to prevent their injury.

4. Depression: this can be the hardest feeling of all. It may keep you motionless in your bed feeling drained and lost. Sometimes these intense feelings pass on their own other times it may be best to seek special assistance.

5. Acceptance: once you and your family have come to terms with your feelings you can begin moving on from them. You will begin to accept your pet’s passing and mend your broken heart. This by no means, means forgetting your pet, it only means no longer thinking of them mournful instead remembering them with happy memories.


Remember: these phases of grieving do not only apply to losing a human, but equally as when losing a pet. It is a personal process that everyone goes through, and no two processes are the same. Some people take longer than others to deal with of all these feelings, while others may be able to process their feelings quicker. Understand these feelings and reactions are normal and it is better to be prepared to cope than to try facing these feelings without any knowledge. Reassure your family that these feelings and stages are normal natural responses to death, and that it will be ok.


Sometimes they may not understand: although our friends and family love us they may not understand what we are feeling. Especially about the loss of a pet, they may not understand how important your pet truly was to you.


Can’t let go: sometimes letting go and moving on can be hard. You or a family member could have a harder time accepting your pet’s passing. Should this arise you may want to contact a profession who can help you with the grieving process. Your veterinarian understand the lost you are experience and may be able to direct you to a support group or hotline. It’s important you talk to someone who understands the grieving process and can help you.


Is getting another pet a good idea? Losing a pet can be emotionally tasking especially with euthanasia was involved. People feel differently after this experience some feel as though they will never want another pet again while others may feel they immediately want a new pet. Because people grieve differently, getting a new pet should be discussed by the whole family before getting a new pet. Someone having a harder time letting go may feel as though others don’t care that their pet has passed and/or that their feelings don’t matter, since they are already brining a new pet into the house.


Remember your pet: your pet’s life span is substantially shorter than that of a human. However death is a natural part of the life cycle for all living things, it cannot be avoided. Meeting the impact of passing with the understanding and compassion can make memories of them more pleasant. You can make a memorial, planting a tree, a garden make even make a scrap book to remember your pet. Sometimes people enjoy making charitable donations in your pet’s name: if you would like to do this you can get information from The American Veterinary Medical Foundation their website is:





About Kelly's Animal Hospital

Kelly’s Animal Hospital is a full-service veterinary medical facility, located in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The professional and courteous staff at Kelly’s Animal Hospital seeks to provide the best possible medical, surgical, and dental care for their highly-valued patients.

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150 NW Central Park Plaza

Port Saint Lucie, FL 34986



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