How to Prepare for Losing a Pet and Grieving Process

How To Prepare For Losing A Pet

No one wants to think about saying goodbye to a beloved pet.  But all pet owners must face this at some point.  

How do you know when it’s time to put your animal down?  How do you deal with the death of a pet? And how do you deal with the grief?  

That’s what we are going to discuss in this article.      

When Is It Time to Say Goodbye?

Putting your pet down is probably one of the hardest decisions you will ever make.  There are a few ways to make that decision easier.

Pay Close Attention

Pet and owner bond

You can also look for signs that indicate suffering.  Some of those signs include:

  • Chronic pain that is uncontrollable with medication or other therapy
  • Frequent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Refusal to eat
  • Incontinence
  • Loss of enthusiasm for favorite activities
  • Inability to walk or stand

Rate Your Pet’s Quality of Life

Use the “Quality of Life” scale to assess your pet’s enjoyment of life.  You will be scoring 7 different categories:

  • Hurt 
  • Hunger 
  • Hydration 
  • Hygiene
  • Happiness
  • Mobility            
  • More good days, than bad days

Go through each category and score your pet on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the lowest quality possible and 10 being the highest quality possible.  

Talk to Your Vet

Your veterinarian is the best person to get advice from.  He or she understands the effects that illness and aging have on your pet.   Using this knowledge, your veterinarian can give you a better idea of your pet’s pain and discomfort level.  When you know this, the right decision becomes clearer. 

Additionally, you might want to consider hiring a veterinarian to come to your home.  This allows you and your pet to remain in the familiar comforts of your own home.   If interested, our Purrferred Partner Heavenly Paws offers euthanasia home visits that make it easier to put your pet down.  We also wanted to let you know that there are plenty of resources out there that will help you cope with losing your pet.  You can find some of these on the Heavenly Paws’ Pet Loss Support page.

How to Cope with Grief 

When it’s time to say goodbye, it’s completely normal to grieve and you have permission to do so.  After all, your fur baby is one of your best friends and part of your family.

Here are a few ways to manage your grief.  

Don’t Compare Your Way of Grieving to Another

We are all different.  Don’t be surprised if your display of grief looks different than another person’s way of grieving. For example, some of us want to keep busy and stay out of the house after losing a pet.  Others can’t imagine getting out and about while mourning, so they stay at home until they start to feel better.  Neither way is wrong.  They are just different.  So, don’t compare yourself to others.  If you do, you might add unnecessary guilt to your grief.  Instead, allow yourself to grieve in your own way. 

Take a Moment to Remember

Your pet is one of your best friends.  Although it’s sad to say goodbye, you can always look back on your memories Remember all the times your pet comforted you when you were feeling blue, or stuck by your side when everyone else seemed to let you down.  Reflect on all the adventures the two of you embarked on.  These recollections will fill you with a sense of gratitude.   If you have the opportunity, let your pet know how grateful you are by sitting down with your loyal companion and verbally recounting all of those memories. 

Surround Yourself with Those Who Care

You might feel like staying off to yourself.  But eventually, you have to carry on.  Seek comfort from family and friends who understand the pain of losing an animal.   They can walk with you through this period of mourning.  They can also lend a listening ear if you feel the need to talk to someone who cares.    When it’s time to say goodbye, you might want to consider hiring a veterinarian to come to your home.  This allows you and your pet to remain in the familiar comforts of your own home.   Processing the loss of any pet is difficult but there are resources to help.  Two Hearts Pet Loss Center is a great resource and  has everything you need when the topic of pet loss and the grief that accompanies is the subject is at hand.

For more pet advice and information, visit the Savvy Sitter blog.

About the Author:

Savanna Westwood

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