The death of a pet is an incredibly painful experience, and though it may not be socially acceptable to admit, it can hurt worse than losing a human friend. It can be even harder when the decision to bring them to the end rests on your shoulders.
If you see that your dog is in pain, and your veterinarian cannot offer you any other options, it isn’t cruel to help your pet pass. In fact, we may feel cruel and selfish for allowing a beloved friend to suffer in silence because we would suffer by saying goodbye. When their time is near and a good quality of life is gone forever, it may be the kindest thing we can do for our dogs.
If you’re uncomfortable, or don’t feel like you have enough information to make a decision, discuss it with your vet. Ask any questions you need to – your vet shouldn’t take this sort of thing lightly, and should be willing to answer any questions you may have. No one can make this choice for you, and you should be certain when you make it.
Know that assisting your pet with euthanasia means giving two injections – the first puts your pet into a deep, deep sleep. The second painlessly moves them out of this life, and into the next. Your dog goes peacefully dreaming, over the Rainbow Bridge. This saves them the experience of living out the end of their life in pain for days, weeks, or even months.
Another thing you should know is that you have options as to how the procedure plays out. The goal is always to make your companion feel as calm and comfortable as possible during the process. While pet parents traditionally bring their dogs or cats to the vet, some clinics will send staff to your home to assist in a peaceful passing.
Dina Fantegrossi, a former vet tech and writer here at iHeartDogs, touches upon some aspects that should be considered:
There are several advantages to choosing an at-home euthanasia:
-You do not have to move your sick pet from his or her comfortable spot in the home.
-It allows you to avoid that stressful car ride to the office which is particularly beneficial for pets with car sickness or anxiety.
-The heartbreaking drive home can also be dangerous for owners in distress.
-You do not have to navigate the loud, boisterous environment of the vet’s office which can cause undue stress and mar your final memories with your beloved pet.
-You are free to grieve in private in the comfort of your own home.
-You can control every aspect of the environment from dim lights to soft music to family and friends in attendance.
There are, of course, possible drawbacks to this choice:
-At-home euthanasia tends to be more expensive. In addition to the usual fees, you must compensate the veterinarian and any staff for their time and travel.
-The setting is less controlled from a medical standpoint, meaning there could be more difficulty inserting a catheter or trouble-shooting problems.
-Most of all, you run the risk of creating a painful memory in your home – the place where you should feel the most comfort and peace when remembering your pet.
Fantegrossi has a few more suggestions about making this difficult decision:
Before you make a final decision, speak to your veterinary staff. They can address your concerns and give you a personalized opinion on what is best for you and your pet. They can also explain the procedure beforehand so there are no shocks or surprises when the day arrives.
If your vet does not offer at-home euthanasia, ask for a recommendation and set up an appointment to speak with them about their services and processes.
It hurts so, so much to say goodbye to someone who was a best friend, secret keeper, cuddle buddy and family member. Even if our pets live long lives, they’re never long enough. No one will ever really be ready for the final goodbye, but when our pets are ready to cross the Rainbow Bridge, they rely on us to make a decision in their best interest – even if it hurts us. At least we know that someday they’ll be waiting for us when it’s our turn to meet them.