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Euthanasia is a method of quietly and humanely inducing the death of a pet. Putting your ailing pet to sleep is one of the most difficult decisions you are going to make. A little emotional support and preparation can help you make the correct decision and cope with it.Sometimes, an accident or a sudden illness requires you to put a hitherto healthy pet to sleep without a warning. In some cases, you may sense that the end of your pet's life is near. If the bad days are outnumbering the good days, it is probably time to talk to the veterinarian. It is always a good idea to learn about the course your pet's life is going to take, including the common maladies and the expected life span. When the end seems imminent, here are some decisions you may want to consider:
Clues that the end is near
- Your role – Do you want to stay with your pet through the procedure or say goodbye and leave? Do you want to look at the body of your pet? Do you want the children to be a part of the process?
- Resting place – You can decide between a cremation or a burial. If you are going to go for cremation, you have to decide whether you want your pet to have a private cremation or the cheaper mass cremation.
- Postmortem – You can choose to have a postmortem examination performed on your pet's body to determine the cause of its illness.
The following are the most commonly observed signs when a pet is nearing the end of its life:
- Your pet is acting antisocial and reclusive
- Your pet refuses to eat
- Your pet is being consumed by discomfort or pain
- Your pet is unresponsive
Other reasons to euthanize your pet include a critical injury that leaves it incapacitated or if it has become dangerous and violent. If you find yourself in any of the above circumstances, talk with your family, friends, and vet. Although the vet cannot make the decision, he/she can tell you all about its condition and the chances for recovery.Saying goodbye
Once you have decided to euthanize your pet, the following actions may help you cope better with the loss:
- Bid farewell – Before you put your pet to sleep, gather all your family members to spend time with your pet. It can be very emotional to say goodbye to your pet, but it will help you be at peace with your decision.
- Honor your pet – Apart from cherishing your memories and recounting the good times you had with your pet, establishing a memorial for your pet would be helpful. You can have a clay paw print made, make a scrapbook, plant a memorial tree, write an obituary or contribute to a charity in your pet's name.
- Emotional support – Seek out the support of someone who can empathize with your loss. If you are having a rough time dealing with the declining health of your pet, talking to a mental health professional will help you deal with your loss better.