Grief for the impending loss of your pet is complicated by the need to make difficult, often painful decisions. You may ask yourself how much treatment should I pursue? At what point will treatment cause more trauma than relief? Can I provide the care needed to keep my pet comfortable? At what point, if any, should I consider euthanasia?
Sometimes circumstances don’t give you time to ask such questions. An unexpected illness or injury might give you minutes. Whenever possible, it is ideal to develop a plan, taking into consideration three basic issues:
- When should you consider euthanasia? When your pet is ill, this may be the last question you want to think about. Yet, it is an important question that needs to be considered. Our veterinarians can provide you with information on your pet’s problem that can help you form your plan. For example, you may decide to seriously consider euthanasia when your pet refuses to eat or drink for a certain period of time, is in pain despite medication, or has difficulty urinating/defecating in a normal manner. By defining a “decision point” in advance, you place boundaries on the suffering your pet is likely to endure.
- Will you be there? This is a very personal issue. This is not a decision to be made lightly or based on someone else’s choices. Many feel that the pet’s well-being is the most important consideration. If you believe your pet will feel more comfortable or secure in your presence, you’ll probably want to stay. On the other hand, if you’re concerned that your own reaction and grief may disturb the pet more than the process itself, you may prefer to stay away.
- What will you do next? The worst time to decide what to do with your pet’s remains is at the last minute. It’s far better to begin discussing options in advance. At Animal Medical Hospital, we offer three options:
- You may take your pet home for a private burial.
- We can help you arrange a private cremation for your pet with its ashes returned to you.
- We can handle your pet’s remains for you, which involves a communal cremation.
Special thanks to Moira Anderson Allen, whose article on euthanasia was used to compile this information.
Our staff members are also pet owners and, therefore, they understand the bond between humans and animals and the difficulty of losing a cherished pet. Our staff does everything possible to help you through this decision and is available to talk to you about the euthanasia process before you come in for the service, so that you understand what to expect.
At Animal Medical Hospital, because we are a 24-hour hospital, we will see both our regular clients for this service as well as new clients. However, when we see a new client for this service, we must spend time talking about the pet’s condition with the owner and evaluating the pet’s overall health. If it is possible, please call ahead to either schedule an appointment for euthanasia or to let us know you are on your way in so that we can be prepared for your arrival.
If you have questions about euthanasia, please call us at (704) 334-4684(704) 334-4684 and we will help answer all of your questions.
"I am impressed by Dr. Andersen. She’s very knowledgeable. She treats my dog well and takes time to explain things to me."