Every pet owner would wish for their pet to be around them for as long as they are alive. However, because pets live shorter lifespans and age at a much faster pace than humans do, we will bear witness to their ageing and suffering. As pets get older, they may develop complications and lose the ability to perform even everyday functions like bowel movements, walking and eating. This stage can be made even more difficult for your pet if they experience pain as well.
The last stages of a pet’s life are difficult for a pet owner, along with sadness for your pet’s worsening condition there is the decision to euthanise your pet or not. The decision isn’t an easy one, it helps to speak to your pet’s veterinary team about the options available and what these might mean for you and your pet. One of the advantages of putting your pet to sleep is the option for home euthanasia, this allows you to gather everyone involved in the pet’s life to say their goodbyes and to allow your pet the dignity and comfort of dying with you by their side.
Here are some points to consider when preparing to say goodbye to your pet at home.
Choose a place: the first step is to think about where you would like to have your pet breathe its last. Choose a place that is familiar to your pet and ideally a place they usually like to spend time. Maybe in your backyard or next to the couch in your living room, a place they love. Think about all who will gather around your pet and choose a place that can accommodate everyone including the vet. comfortably.
Prepare the area: when the vet.performs the procedure, the muscles will start to relax and your pet may pass some urine and sometimes have a bowel leakage.Think about a thick blanket that you can lay your pet on. This blanket should be big and sturdy enough to both wrap the pet after death and if needed carry the pet for cremation or burial. If you have chosen to perform the procedure on a piece of furniture or carpet, think about laying a plastic sheet under the blanket to protect it from any leaks.
Who should attend: apart from immediate family who your pet spent time with regularly, think about anyone else who was close to your pet you would like to invite to the event – It could be a neighbour or someone with a similar pet that you and your pet used to meet at the park for instance. Because euthanasia is a gentle and peaceful process other pets and children can be present. However, not if they are too young and would disrupt the process. Older pets will usually remain silent in a corner and can be part of the gathering that attends. Allow them time to sniff their friend after the procedure. Animals instinctively recognise death and have their way of paying their respects.