Euthanising a pet


How do I know when it is time?

Your relationship with your pet is a uniquely special one, where you are responsible for decisions of its care and welfare. Sometimes, owners are faced with making life or death decisions for their pets.

A decision concerning euthanasia can be one the most difficult decisions you will ever make regarding your pet. Euthanasia can be your last caring task for your pet when such a decision may become necessary for the welfare of your pet.

If your pet is terminally ill or critically injured, so sick or so severely injured that he or she will never recover. If your pet can no longer do with you and your family the things he or she once enjoyed, if your pet cannot respond to you in the usual ways, if there is far more pain than pleasure in his or her life, having your family veterinarian quietly and humanely assisting through euthanasia may be a valid option.

Your decision is a personal one, but it need not be a solitary one.

Your decision is serious, seldom easy to make but your family veterinarian along with family and friends can assist and support you.

Consider not only what is best for your pet, but also what is best for you and your family. Quality of life is important for pets and people alike.

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What Should I do?

Your veterinarian is a highly skilled professional who will examine and evaluate your pet's condition, estimate your pet's chances of recovery, and discuss potential disabilities and long-term problems. He or she understands your attachments to your pet, and can explain the medical options and possible outcomes.

Because your veterinarian cannot make the euthanasia decision for you, it is important that you fully understand your pet's condition. If there is any part of the diagnosis or the implications for your pet's future that you don't understand, ask to have it explained again. Rarely will the situation require an immediate decision, giving you time to review the facts before making your decision.

As you make your decision, you may wish to discuss the care of the remains of you pet's body with your family and veterinarian. You have several options, and your veterinarian or Pet Funeral Director can provide information about a burial at home, a cremation and the return of your pet's ashes, and other alternatives currently available such as direct disposal by council contractors.

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How do I tell my family?

Family members normally are very aware of a pet's problems allowing you to review with them the information you have received from your veterinarian. Even if you have reached a decision encourage family members to express their thoughts, and feelings to.

Children respect simple, straightforward and truthful, answers. If they are adequately prepared, children are usually able to accept a pet's death.

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Will it be painless?

The painless act of euthanasia is almost always undertaken by your veterinarian, who will administer an injection of a highly concentrated barbiturate or tranquilizer. Following the injection, your pet will immediately go into a quiet and irreversible deep unconsciousness. Death will come quickly and painlessly.

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How can I say goodbye?

The act of saying goodbye is a very important step in managing the natural feelings of grief, sorrow, and sense of loss. Your pet is an important part of your life and it is natural to feel you are losing a friend - you are.

Once the decision for euthanasia has been made, you and other family members may want to say goodbye to your pet. A last evening with your pet at home or a visit to your pet at the clinic may be appropriate.

Your Veterinarian appreciates that farewells are always difficult and will normally allow you time alone with your pet.

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They may not understand.

Often well meaning family and friends may not realize how important your pet was to you or even understand the intensity of your grief. Being honest with yourself and others about how you feel is best. It is part of your recovery to talk to people who will listen about your pet's life, illness and even death.

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I feel as if I can not cope

If you or another family member are having difficulty accepting your pet's death and unable to resolve feelings of grief and sorrow, you can discuss those feelings with a person who is trained to understand the grieving process such as a grief counselor, clergyman, or your doctor.

Your veterinarian certainly understands the loving relationship you have lost and may be able to direct you to community resources, such as a pet loss support group. Pets in Peace have grief brochures that can help. Talking about your loss will also help.

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Should I get another pet?

The death of a pet can be upsetting emotionally, especially when euthanasia is involved.

Some people feel they could never have another pet, but for others a new pet can help them get over the loss quicker.

Just as grief is a personal experience, the decision of when, if ever, to bring a new pet into your home is also a personal one. All family members should come to an agreement on the appropriate time to acquire a new pet, not as a replacement but to share your family life.

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Remembering your pet

The period from birth to old age is much briefer for an animal life than a person. Whilst death is part of the life cycle for all creatures, and it cannot be avoided, the impact can be met with understanding and compassion.

By remembering the pleasure of the good times you spent with your pet, you will realize your pet was worthy of your grief.

Saying goodbye is very hard, although we feel it eases the pain if you are comfortable with those who are taking care of your pet. Pets in Peace offer a professional dignified cremation service that will ensure your special family friend has a very dignified farewell.

Having the ashes returned either to scatter at your pet's favorite place or to be kept by your family in a special urn helps to continue the special bond and relationship you have.

Knowing that you will always have your pet's ashes is a comforting thought to many. You may also wish to establish a memorial of some type in honor of your pet.

Pets in Peace Pty Ltd staff are professional Funeral Directors who can assist you with a burial or cremation service or just some simple advice whenever you need it.

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