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Dog’s End Of Life

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Bonnie Conner DVM, a Clinical Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine & Critical Care at University of Florida, specializes in small animal emergency and clinical care.

How to prepare for a dog’s passing?

The tragedy of dogs and cats is that they will never live as long as want them. No matter the circumstances, it will be hard to say goodbye to a beloved friend and family member. Why some pets will pass away quietly at home, in many situations the pet’s quality of life will decline, and you will be charged with whether or not to consider humane euthanasia. In some cases, this may be thrust on you in an emergency situation. It’s always a difficult choice, but discuss it with your veterinarian. They’ll be able to talk to you about all your options, including euthanasia and whether or not it is the right decision for you.

  1. Speak to your veterinarian about the quality of life as your dog gets older, what signs to look for as your dog begins to decline.
  2. Speak to your children, if need be, about your dog getting older.
  3. Ask your veterinarian about the process and if your child wants to be in the room make sure they know what will be done.
  4. Plan where your dog’s last moments will be, some veterinarians will come to your house for an additional cost.
  5. Find out about cremation, or if you can bury your dog at home. Some municipalities do not allow you to bury your dog at home, so make sure you know the local laws.

What is euthanasia?

Euthanasia means “Good Death.” Most of the time your veterinarian will place a catheter in your dog’s leg so they can deliver the medication which is an overdose of an anesthetic drug. As they give the drug, your dog will start to go to sleep as though they are going under for a medical procedure. As your vet continues to give the medication, it will bring about a painless and peaceful death.
After your pet has passed away, you will have several options on how to handle her remains. Many people elect cremation for their pet, and in a lot of situations, you can have your pet individually cremated so you can have their ashes returned to you. If it is legal to do so in your area, you may choose to have your pet buried on your property.

Helping with the passing grief.

Once a pet has passed away, you will go through a grieving process. While this is different for everybody, your veterinarian will have information on local support groups in your area or online resources you might be able to reach out to. No matter how you grieve, it is important to take care of yourself and seek support if you need it. This is a time that will be difficult but try to focus on the good times you had with your pet and remember how lucky you were to have found each other.