How to Prepare Yourself for Your Pet’s Death
Your pet is an important part of your life but you have to acknowledge that he/she will not live forever. For this reason, you must do your best to ensure the best possible comfort, as well as spend as much time as you can together. As your dog will get older, you have to prepare yourself for the unavoidable. Here are a few measures that you can take, so that you are better prepared for when the moment arrives.
Forming memories will help you remember your beloved pet
Like humans, dogs age and become sick. As his/her owner, the most important thing is that you spend time together and form memories that you are going to cherish when he/she will no longer be around. You can take a walk every day, play catch or just spend some together in the back yard. Your dog thrives from your physical presence, so try to be there for him/her.
Prepare for the actual moment
If you are aware that your dog might not have that much to live, you have to be practical and prepare for the actual moment. You can decide whether you want the dog to be cremated or buried, getting the necessary approvals from the health department. A pet insurance policy will come in handy, as there will be a lot of medical bills to handle in case of chronic or terminal illnesses.
Acknowledge what is happening
No one is prepared for death, whether it involves a person or a pet. However, you have to acknowledge that your pet will soon go dog heaven and you will have to grieve. If you are having difficulties handling the whirlwind of emotions associated with your pet, you might want to consider going to a psychologist. Grief counseling will help you deal with the accumulated anger and frustration, as well as provide you with coping strategies for the future.
Kids have to be informed about the situation
Depending on the age of your kids, you will need to sit down with them and explain the situation. Children need to be told about pets getting older and death as a natural consequence, being taught about dog heaven. Be patient and answer all of their questions, making sure to explain to them that death brings comfort and peace for older, chronically ill dogs. Allow them to say goodbye and be there for their own grief as well.
Choose things to remember your dog by
The easiest thing you can do is take plenty of photos with your dog, as these will help you keep the memory of your beloved pet alive. You can also frame his/her paw print or use the collar to decorate a potted plant. What matters is that you choose things to remember your dog by, being thankful for the years he/she was part of your life. And, most importantly, cherish these keepsakes, as they are more valuable than you might think.
Ensure adequate comfort in his/her final days
Your dog deserves the best, especially when he/she is suffering. Take every step to ensure his/her comfort, visiting the vet for regular checkups and offering pain medication when necessary. Older dogs might require an adapted diet and specific physical exercise, particularly in case of arthritis. Respond to the needs of your pet and do not hesitate to make special arrangements in case of terminal illnesses.
Euthanasia is an option that should be considered
If your dog is in a lot of pain, is unable to move or has severe breathing difficulties – all of these manifestations being caused by a terminal illness – you might need to consider euthanasia as an option. Discuss with the vet about this option and ask questions about the procedure itself. Keep in mind that this might be the only way to curb his/her suffering, allowing your dog to finally be at peace in dog heaven.
It is never easy to say goodbye but, unfortunately, we are powerless in the face of death. The best we can do is to ensure our dogs have all the comfort they need in the final days and that we prepare for the unavoidable. Spend time with your dog and cherish every moment, as you can never know when he/she will only be a memory.