dealing with pet loss sick dog

When we adopt a pet, we are well aware of the likelihood that we’ll probably outlive them. Regardless, nothing can prepare a pet owner for the devastation that follows the loss of a beloved companion animal. Coping and healing during and after pet loss involves honoring your pet in a way that is meaningful to you, and seeking support from trusted family, friends, and your Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital team.

End of Life Care for Pets

Making sure our aging pets receive the care and attention they need as they enter into their final days is an important part of pet ownership. Caring for a pet during this special time is an honor, and can be an amazing bonding experience for you and your pet, and help ease their passing for you both.

End of life care may consist of keeping your pet comfortable, following your veterinarian’s recommendations for pain management, lifestyle adjustments related to your pet’s mobility, and lots of attention and mental stimulation.

Saying Goodbye

Making the decision to say goodbye to a pet is arguably the most difficult part of pet ownership. Your Oakhurst family is always willing to help guide you in this area, but the decision is ultimately yours. Some aspects to consider when it comes to your pet’s quality of life are:

  • Is your pet eating/drinking?
  • Do they still enjoy their favorite activities?
  • Are they in noticeable pain?
  • Can they get up and down on their own?
  • Can they eliminate without assistance?
  • Are they sleeping/resting comfortably?

In a perfect world, all pets would pass peacefully in their sleep. In reality, it’s often up to pet owners to be brave advocates for their pets. When it’s time, the Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital team will be here to support you every step of the way.

Coping with Pet Loss

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Allow yourself time to process your feelings, and allowing each family member to grieve in their own way. You may experience intense sadness, guilt, anger, depression, apathy, or all of the above – it’s all ok! 

It can be easy to get caught up in helping children and other family members cope, not to mention the daily responsibilities that don’t end just because we’re sad. It’s critically important to make self care a priority during this time – make sure you are eating and drinking healthily, get out for some fresh air, and spend as much time  as possible with people who loved your pet.

Don’t hesitate to seek the comfort and support of loved ones, local bereavement groups, or your Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital family