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Our accredited pet bereavement counsellors can support pet carers before euthanasia and are knowledgeable about the difficulties pet owners face when providing palliative end-of-life care for their pets. When the time comes there are many factors and complexities involved in making the decision to euthanise a companion animal; life is unpredictable and can throw many obstacles in our paths. Quality of life for your companion animal is vitally important.
Given the choice, most pet owners would prefer that their pets simply slipped away in their sleep; sadly, very few companion animals die in their sleep and a pet carer may not realise that dying naturally may not necessarily be a peaceful way for their companion animal to die.
You should always seek advice from your vet with regard to your pet’s health, that is not something a counsellor is qualified to offer.
Your vet may have suggested palliative care - palliative care aims to improve quality of life by relieving pain and associated distressing symptoms. End-of-life palliative care can be a huge undertaking for a pet owner; the emotional and physical toll it takes on the pet owner is not underestimated.
Your vet may suggest keeping a diary during palliative care. This diary should include all observations of your pet, including its food and water intake, toilet habits (quantity and quality), medication and any notable changes in your pet’s health or behaviour.
It is important for a pet receiving palliative care to have fun times too. Interacting with our pets and allowing them to meet other dogs can keep them stimulated.
One of the most common questions our counsellors are asked by pet owners is, ‘when will I know when the time is right?’. This is the million dollar question, but you will know when the time is right. It can be like a switch going on; you may notice a tiredness in your pets eyes, or a feeling deep in your stomach – your gut reaction. Some pets health may deteriorate rapidly as their life draws to an end, it is usually very noticeable and almost without exception, pet owners know the time has come to say goodbye.
Having a plan and preparing in advance can help enormously and assist in removing additional stress for the pet owner, when you may have no choice at the time of euthanasia or death other than to act quickly and make decisions that you may not necessarily have chosen had you been thinking clearly. Our accredited pet bereavement counsellors can help you plan for the day you have to say goodbye to your companion animal.
Sudden or Accidental Death
Not all pets have the privilege of living to old age. Pets also die young as a result of accidents, misadventure, illness or disease.
Sudden or unexpected death of a companion animal is a devastating situation for any pet owner to deal with, cope or accept. Unfortunately, accidents are a fact of life, but to lose a pet in traumatic circumstances can have such a devastating impact on the pet owner, leading to traumatic grieving and may need additional support to deal with the effect of trauma.
The Association of Pet Bereavement Counsellors will officially launch in March 2024