Discussing when to say goodbye to a beloved pet is one of the most difficult but important conversations you will have during your pet’s life. Whether your pet has been diagnosed with a terminal illness or is nearing the end of their normal life expectancy, euthanasia is a gift we can selflessly give them to prevent suffering. It is normal to feel emotional and overwhelmed during this time and making sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision is important. Euthanasia means “good death” and this is something we do not take lightly. This is one of the most compassionate gifts we can give our patients and we consider providing a peaceful ending to a beloved family member a privilege. We have many resources to help guide you through how to decide if it is time to euthanize as well as what to expect during the euthanasia process. We want to support you in any way possible so that you know in your heart that you made the most compassionate decision for your pet.
Whether for religious or emotional reasons, euthanasia may not be an option for some people. A “natural death” is what we wish for all of our pets, but a true “natural death” may neither be quick nor painless. Some pets may go to sleep and not wake up, but this is by far the exception. The progression of the primary disease your pet has been diagnosed with determines the course of the natural death process. How death happens and how long it takes to occur is unknown and not always an easy thing to witness. We know this is difficult to read, but we want you to understand what a “natural death” may entail in order to decide if this is the right option for you. Death will occur whether or not we step in to euthanize, and if your pet happens to pass without euthanasia, this should be considered a gift your pet has given you by not requiring that decision be made on their behalf.
Facing the loss of a pet is not easy and brings many emotions. Making end-of-life decisions in advance may make the process easier to bear. These decisions may include, who will be present to say good-bye, where will you say good-bye, do you have a special song or poem for saying good-bye, what do you wish to do with your pet’s remains, and/or who will be with you for support. Making these decisions in advance can reduce anxiety and regrets surrounding the loss of your pet so you can focus on your pet and be prepared to support children or others who also love your pet. Our hearts are with you and we are here to support you through this difficult time.