Pet Euthanasia

Pet Euthanasia: How to prepare

Author: Marianne Soucy

The natural lifespan of the vast majority of our pets is short compared to the lifespan of humans. So it is very likely that you will outlive your pet, and sooner or later you are likely to experience losing your beloved animal companion.

Some pets may die suddenly or unexpectedly, whereas others get so sick that it is heartbreaking for us to watch our pet suffer. So we are faced with having to decide whether we should euthanize our pet or let him or her die a natural death.

Each case is individual, so anything that can be said about euthanizing a pet is merely a guideline. It is you as the pet’s caretaker who are left with the most difficult decision of all: “Should I have my pet euthanized?”

Why it’s a good idea to prepare

When your pet gets very sick, it can be difficult to think straight and make decisions because of the emotional distress you are in when faced with your beloved pet’s severe illness. Therefore, you might want to consider what to do before your pet gets so sick that you make a hasty decision you could end up regretting afterwards.

Questions to ask yourself

While there are many things around our pet’s illness and death we cannot foresee, there are some things you can investigate in advance. It is a good idea consider the following questions before a decision becomes necessary, but this list is also good to have nearby, if you are faced with having to make a quick decision:

  • Generally speaking, how do you feel about pet euthanasia vs natural death?
  • If you decide upon euthanasia, what will your criteria be for making the decision to euthanize your pet?
  • Do you want to be present when your pet is euthanized?
  • Do you prefer that your pet is euthanized at home in familiar surroundings? Of so, it is a very good idea to make sure your vet does home euthanasia. If not, you might want to find one who does, so you are prepared if or when the time comes.
  • What about the pet’s remains: Would you prefer burial or cremation?
  • If your pet is already very sick, talk to your vet and hear what your pet’s prognosis is and what you can expect.

Thinking about losing our pet is the last thing we want to do, but for your pet’s and you own sake, it would be worth it to do a little investigating and preparing around your pet’s end of life. The pain and the shock of the death of your animal companion will be overwhelming, even if you have done your best to prepare. But having done this research and preparing can make your pet’s last moments easier and more peaceful as well as preventing you from experiencing deep regrets afterwards.

The steps to take when preparing for the decision

When making a decision as important as to whether you should euthanize your pet or not, you need to make sure that your decision is not made when you are highly distressed and that it is not based on your fears. Remember, that while you need to consider your own limitations – whether emotionally, financially, or otherwise – the main concern is your pet.

Here are my suggestions for how to approach this:

  1. If you need to gather information, do so.
  2. Before making any decisions, do a meditation or deep relaxation to find a place of stillness and calm inside yourself. It is important to be calm when you make a decision about your pet’s life, because if you make a decision when in a state of fear, you might end up making a wrong decision that you will regret.
  3. But if you make a decision from a place of calm and inner peace you can make the decision that ensures the most harmonious and peaceful transition for your pet from this life to the afterlife.

I hope this article was helpful to you. If you have a question about pet euthanasia that I haven’t covered here, let me know in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to include it in a future article.

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“This article is copyright © Marianne Soucy. Marianne is the founder of Healing Pet Loss  where she helps grieving pet owners cope with and heal after the loss of a beloved animal companion. Her unique approach combines practical steps for coping & animal and spirit messages to bring comfort, healing, and inspiration. For more support on coping with pet loss, visit