There are countless reasons to love working at an animal hospital including puppies, kittens, saving lives, and the daily joy of meeting new animals every day. However as in any job that deals with life, there is also death.
Humane euthanasia is the pain free process of ending your pets’ life and it is the single toughest decision that pet owners have to face. Euthanasia is not something that over time hurts less. Every pet that passes on in our clinic saddens us and makes the day more challenging. We remain calm and compassionate for you, our clients and the beloved animals that we come to know so well. We explain, we recommend, and we pass on our acquired knowledge of how to move forward. As our pets get older, euthanasia tends to loom in the background. The desire to have our pets pass naturally at home can be overwhelming, but waiting is not always the best option. It is important to consider your pets quality of life; whether or not your pet is still happy, comfortable, and healthy.
Pawsitive Resources recommends assessing quality of life based on three main attributes: attitude, appetite, and activity. Their questions to ask yourself follows:
“Attitude – Does my pet still enjoy doing most of the activities he/she used to do? Have there been changes in how my pet interacts with other family members?
Appetite – This is often a big indicator. Does my pet still enjoy eating or have a good appetite? Most often, once you pet consistently loses interest in food, the quality of life has diminished.
Activity – Does my pet seem in extreme pain or reluctant to get up and move around? Is he/she able to go outside or to the litter box to urinate or defecate on his/her own?”
If you are unsure about any of these questions, or if you have questions of your own it always a good idea to contact your vet. Even if there are health issues with your pet, there are still some questions to be asked. Can the pain be managed? Are there any treatments available?
At Menzies Pet Hospital we recommend two yearly exams for pets over 5 years of age in order to help detect issues before they become serious. We also have an in-clinic lab to offer lower cost blood work in order to better diagnose your pets potential health issues. Your veterinarian can alert you to potential issues as well as offer preventative treatments and alternatives.
Aftercare options are another tough conversation. Try to have it ahead of time so that you know your options. We work with Paws to Remember, a locally based cremation group which offers compassionate service and some beautiful keepsakes. They offer three types of cremation: communal, segregated, or private. Communal cremation is done with a group of pets; the ashes from communal cremations at Paws to Remember are placed in a garden. With segregated cremation a few pets are cremated at a time, but are strictly segregated. You get your pets ashes back. Finally private cremation is when your pet is cremated by itself and the ashes are returned to you. All Paws to Remember cremations come with a white, pearl, or black urn. You can also request specialty urns or keepsakes such as a paw print.
At our clinic we do our best to make your challenging moments slightly easier. We offer both in clinic euthanasia or we can come to your home. Our veterinarian will take the time to explain the whole process of humane euthanasia to you. We also give you as much time as you need to say goodbye. While the clinic is generally busy, we try to discreetly ensure that you get the peace and time you need. If we come to your home, we can help your pet pass peacefully in a stress free environment that they know. If you have any requests or wishes regarding your pets’ end of life options please don’t hesitate to bring it up to us. Every person deals with euthanasia in their own way, being informed and aware of the options can help provide some peace of mind.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding any part of your pets’ end of life care.