Putting down a beloved pet may be one of the most difficult things a person experiences in life. However, there are ways to make it a bit easier.
First and foremost, it is important to know that pet euthanasia is not painful.
"The only sensation a pet will experience following this injection is falling into a deeper and deeper sleep," Dr. Shea Cox of Bridge Veterinary Services told TODAY.
So try to remain calm knowing that your pet is at ease.
When it comes to timing for pet euthanasia, trust your instincts. If he or she appears to be suffering, euthanasia is something you may want to consider. But, you make the call. No one knows your pet better than you do.
If you do decide to go through with the process, consider having it done at home. Your pet will be most comforted in the typical environment he or she lives in as opposed to a clinic, which is often associated with anxiety. However, if home-based euthanasia is not an option, bring your pet's favorite toy or a soft blanket with you to the vet. This will keep him or her calm up until the time of the injection. And above all, love on your four-legged friend until the very end.
To cope with the near end of your pet's journey, try celebrating the life he or she has left. Revisit favorite places you've been together, feed him or her special treats. And when the final day has arrived, be sure to be surrounded by friends and family.
In addition, remember that your veterinarian is here for you and understands your same pain. In fact, he or she may cry with you during the process. According to TODAY, Dr. Dani McVety, founder of the veterinary euthanasia service Lap of Love, described being a part of this time as an "honor."
"To be able to make a final journey as meaningful as the life lived is not just a gift to the pet and family, but a gift to me," McVety said.
There are many ways to honor your pet once the euthanasia is complete.
Cremation services should be available in your area, and you may wish to keep your pet's ashes in an urn. In some jurisdictions, you can bury your pet in your backyard, and in others, you can even arrange to have him or her buried with you when the time comes.
Veterinarians suggest you keep a piece of your pet's fur or something special to remember him or her by. There are also support groups you can join to help you cope with the loss.
Remember to take time to grieve as the death of a pet can be very traumatic.
"It is not a sign of weakness to love a pet... And it’s certainly not a sign of weakness to mourn their loss," Dr. Katy Nelson, a veterinarian with Belle Haven Animal Medical Centre, told TODAY.