Pet Loss: How to Say Goodbye to an Old Friend

April 14, 2022

When you’re the caregiver to a furry friend, your life is enriched beyond measure. Your pet gives you undying companionship, love, and faithfulness and cheers you up when you are feeling down. You know that, unlike many humans, he will always be there for you, so you do your best to show him how much he means to you. These acts of care and kindness create a special bond between you and your pet and can make the loss of your beloved companion very hard to cope with.

Pets Have Shorter Lives Than Humans

Unfortunately, there’s a big price to pay for the joy that your pet brings you – his life span is much shorter than yours. Of course, you want your special friend to be with you always, but there will come a time when you have to make that agonizing and difficult decision to end your pet’s suffering. Here are some tips to help you say your final goodbyes and cope with pet loss.

Give Yourself Times to Remember

Your dog may not have the energy to go out and frolic about. However, if he is sufficiently mobile, take him to his favorite place for the last few times – the park or the lake – even if you have to take him there in your car. 

If your pet is a feline, indulge in a super purr-fest with him on your lap and give him his favorite treats – you know the ones you usually reserve for that difficult claw clipping time. 

Expect this time to be emotionally trying as you come to accept that the day is approaching when your furry friend will no longer be around. 

Prepare Yourself and Your Family for Pet Loss

Your pet has been a significant part of your life and is considered a part of your family. Talk to your children and gently, but honestly, explain that the family pet is becoming ill or getting older and will soon pass away. Depending on how old they are, provide them with as many details as are appropriate. Comfort them by explaining that after their pet passes, he will be pain-free and happy. 

·  You might want to learn about the stages of grief and what you and your family members are likely to go through after pet loss.

Saying Your Goodbyes 

Saying goodbye is a painful process but view it as your final act of love for your beloved pet. Allow your feelings and emotions to flow through without judgment. Above all, be kind to yourself by avoiding self-blame over a situation that was likely unavoidable. 

Talk to Your Vet About Pet Loss

Talk to your veterinarian if you’re trying to decide if it’s time to euthanize your pet. Your vet will understand what a difficult decision this is for you and will be able to speak with you about the quality of your pet’s life and give you guidance. 

Also, discuss with your vet what options are available for the aftercare of your pet’s body after he passes. It’s better to have arrangements in place ahead of time as it saves you from being forced to make unwelcome decisions while you are grieving over your loss.

In-Home End-of-Life Care in the Seattle Area

Compassion 4 Paws provides expert end-of-life care for your beloved pet in the comfort of your pet’s own home. We help your family say goodbye to your old friend when the time arrives.

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