Pet Euthanasia – End of Life Decisions Regarding Your Pet
People commonly refer to their pets as members of the family or as their babies. That kind of relationship with an animal can add a lot to life, but it can complicate questions about the pet’s end of life. Your pet may one day be struggling with a debilitating condition, or perhaps just get older and less capable of moving around or controlling its behavior. Is it possibly time to euthanize your pet peacefully? How will you know?
This is a difficult issue for many people to consider. For most of us, confronting this issue for our pets means confronting our own fear, guilt, and grief. The end of our pet’s life is an issue we must be ready to face whenever we make a lifetime commitment to a companion animal. Talk to your University Pet Clinic veterinarian about euthanasia before it even becomes in issue for you and your pet— before you begin struggling with your fear, guilt, and grief. Find out about your options, make some key decisions ahead of time, and ask your vet to add this information to your pet’s chart. Just as if you were preparing your own Living Will, there are several questions you might consider and discuss with your veterinarian.
Decide under what circumstances should you and your vet consider euthanasia? What will your decision criteria be if and when the time comes?
Decide if you want to be present when your pet is euthanized—you may change your mind when the time comes, but it’s beneficial if you begin thinking about this ahead of time.
Consider how you prefer to deal with your pet’s remains— Options include:
- Home Burial
- Cremation Options
At University Pet Clinic, cremation is provided by Family Pet Services. Family Pet Services is a licensed, family owned and operated company that specializes in pet cremation. Kalani is the owner and a certified cremationist. He personally comes to our clinic to pick up, completes all the cremations himself at El Encanto Crematory, the only certified cremation facility in Tucson and then he returns the ashes to our clinic himself. For your peace of mind, this process ensures that your pet won’t ever leave the hands of Family Pet Services and then we will call you.
Cremation options include:
- Private Cremation (your pet alone…your pet’s ashes are returned to you, via our clinic, approximately 4-5 days later)
- Commingle Cremation (with other pets and the ashes are not returned to you)
The decision to euthanize a pet is one of the most personal, and sometimes the most difficult, decisions a caregiver can make. Consider consulting with your veterinarians and using the Quality of Life Scale & Daily Diary to aid in your decision process.