Our pets are a part of our families. They have a special bond that makes their loss extremely difficult. The decision to euthanize and then the following days, months, and years are not easy. If you are not the primary owner but are close to them it may be difficult to know what to do or say.
If the pet in question is getting on in age, it might be a good idea to prepare yourself. Here are some things to think about.
Making the Decision to Euthanize Your Pet
One of the hardest decisions is knowing when to euthanize an aged or sick pet. It’s a difficult choice and should be done in conjunction with a veterinarian. A veterinarian will look at the quality of life of the pet before making a recommendation. If the pet is suffering more than enjoying life then usually the veterinarian will recommend putting the pet down. However difficult the decision is, euthanasia might be the best option for the pet if he or she is suffering.
The Grieving Process
After a pet dies, people tend to grieve in different ways. The first thing people can experience is shock and disbelief. Counterintuitively, even if a pet is old and sick, it can still cause shock.
Anger can come out and it’s usually directed at the veterinarian or a family member. Usually, a pet’s passing is nobody’s fault and just part of the life cycle. Anger is not something easily controlled but it’s important to recognize that it’s often misdirected.
Another unexpected emotion is guilt. People tend to feel that they should have done more, and they should have kept their pet safer or should have caught the symptoms earlier.
Finding Ways to Cope With Pet Loss
Often the weeks after the loss of the pet are the worse. It’s important to talk to others and find friends and family who understand your loss and will support you through it. There are also hotlines to call. You shouldn’t feel scared to ask for help.
You can do things by yourself too like journaling, yoga, meditation, exercise, or travel. You might even consider going to a support group or a counselor. Support groups or a counselor will help you understand what you feel and help normalize the process.
Each person will find something a little different to help them through the process. It’s also important to know that grieving is natural and you shouldn’t feel bad for going through it and be patient with yourself.
Memorializing a Deceased Pet
Some people find funeral services or memorials that acknowledge the place the pet held in your family and your life. You can share stories and pictures of your pet, just like you would for a human family member. These efforts can help you say goodbye to your pet and give them a healthy way to express their feelings.
Getting a New Pet After Loss
You should take some time to grieve and not jump into getting a new pet right way. It can be tempting to try and cover up the pain with a cute puppy or kitten but it can lead to stress and sometimes even neglect. However, it’s up to the individual and how they think they can handle a new pet in their family.