Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

Support for the Loss of Your Pet

Friend of mine

In our opinion, one of life’s great joys is sharing your heart and home with a pet. Few animal lovers would miss out on that experience, even knowing that eventual loss is inevitable. For many of us, the death of a beloved pet can evoke profound sadness. Mental health professionals validate these feelings of grief. Free of the complications of human relationships, pets offer unconditional love and steadfast companionship. Often we feel a void after the loss, since caring for pets is such a big part of our daily routine.

Foster Animal Hospital offers our heartfelt condolences and encourages you to:

  • Accept your grief as natural and deserving of support
  • Seek out other pet parents who appreciate the human-animal bond
  • Share your feelings with others; many websites offer support as well
  • Consider rituals or other ways to memorialize your pet

What to Expect During a Visit

Visits to discuss possible euthanasia are emotionally difficult for everyone. Knowing what to expect ahead of time might help you prepare.

If you’re not sure whether it’s time for euthanasia, our veterinarian will ask you some questions to assess your pet’s quality of life and your family’s wishes. Together you can decide whether medical treatment is an option, or if euthanasia is the best choice to relieve suffering.

These articles from the AVMA and CSU Vet School address ways that you can evaluate your pet’s quality of life as he or she encounters advanced age or illness.

On the day of euthanasia, we make every effort to ease the process as much as possible, using a softly lit room with plenty of comfort items, and placing an IV catheter ahead of time. Euthanasia is performed by injection of a powerful sedative that sends the dog or cat into a deep sleep, and then body functioning ceases. It is a quick, painless, and humane procedure.

The pet owner has several choices to make, based on personal wishes surrounding this last rite with their furry family member. They can choose whether to be present during the euthanasia. They can also choose from various cremation and paw print options, provided by Good Shepherd Pet Services.

Coping With Pet Euthanasia

Facing the heart-rending choice to euthanize your pet can be very difficult. We all come to this decision the best we can. Most people say, “You just know when the time comes.” Nonetheless, it is not uncommon after your pet has passed for you to experience guilt and revisit the decision during the days and weeks that follow. It is important for you to seek support and treat yourself with compassion. Always remember, you exercised the kindest way possible to take your pet’s discomfort away and that he or she died free of pain or fear.

Many have derived comfort from the poem, Rainbow Bridge. View a video version of Rainbow Bridge.