Pet owners hate to think about it, but saying a final goodbye is inevitable. It’s important to remember that the sadness of losing a family pet is actually a good sign – it means that animal was deeply loved!
Preparing your pet to cross over the rainbow bridge? These tips can help you navigate the emotions and practical questions that are common when dealing with the death of a family pet.
Tip 1: Make Arrangements in Advance
When the time comes to say goodbye to a pet, all your focus should be on staying present in that moment and making sure your pet knows you’re there with them. Plan ahead by making the necessary arrangements days or weeks in advance.
If you plan on burying the animal in the garden, dig the grave several days before and have topsoil ready with a memorial tombstone. If you plan on cremating your pet – the more popular option – make arrangements with your vet so that you know every step of the process. Pet urns should be purchased ahead of time so the vessel is ready as soon as your pet’s ashes are delivered from the crematorium.
Tip 2: Treat Your Pet, but Respect their Limitations
In the final days and weeks, most pet owners want to shower their pet with love. This is great – but make sure your pet is able to enjoy activities without pain. Feeding them their favorite snacks is recommended, so long as it doesn’t upset their stomach. In that case, reduce the portion sizes so they can still enjoy their treats, but without the discomfort.
The same applies with play time. Five laps at the park may have been their norm before, but chances are they aren’t able to play with the same level of energy. Consider making modifications, like shortening the distance at the park or bringing a wagon to give their paws a break when needed. In other words, enjoy the time you have left with your pet, but don’t force them to do anything if they aren’t feeling up for it.
Tip 3: Create a Peaceful Environment
Bring out their favorite blankets and pillows. Get rid of alarms, doorbell sounds, loud toys, and anything else that may disturb your pet. Consider putting a sign on the door so delivery drivers know not to knock. The more peaceful the setting, the better.
Tip 4: Don’t Stress About Misunderstandings
Pet owners often worry about their dog or cat feeling betrayed at the choice to put them down humanely. You must remember, animals are extremely intuitive – especially pets with whom you share a bond. Many dogs and cats can sense when their time is coming, and they can pick up on a pet owner’s emotions immediately, including sorrow. Whether they pass in their sleep or require the assistance of a vet, pets know that you love them – and won’t question that.
Tip 5: Lean On Your Support System
The loss of a family pet can be devastating. Rely on your support system – including those who knew the animal – to help process your feelings. It’s okay to be upset! Print and frame photos of your pet. Share funny stories about them with friends. Shop for pet urns or build pet memorials together with family. All of these things can help you cope with saying goodbye.
Tip 6: Planning Pet Memorials Can Help You Grieve
While talking to your support system is good for immediate relief and comfort, pet memorials and keepsakes are essential for long-term healing. Many pet owners choose to keep their dog urns, cat urns, or bunny urns displayed in the family room or master bedroom indefinitely. Keeping pet urns at home can help keep their memory alive.
Saying goodbye to a pet is tough – even when you’re well prepared. But planning for the occasion can help you process the experience and provide a loving environment for your pet to enjoy their final days with you.