​Why Euthanasia Shouldn’t Ruin a Good Vet-Pet Owner Relationship

​Why Euthanasia Shouldn’t Ruin a Good Vet-Pet Owner Relationship

Posted by Positive Impressions on Apr 26th 2018

Parrots and tortoises can outlive people, but the lives of almost every other pet are far

shorter than ours. That means when we welcome new pets into our homes, we have to

face the fact that we’ll often have to see their deaths. Greek for “the good death,”

euthanasia lets us end our pets lives to relieve their pain and suffering. While it may

seem like the end, a good experience through this time can help your clients and

continue your relationship when they’re ready to get a new pet. Here are some ways

you can make this choice easier for all involved.

Explain the Pet’s Perspective

When choosing a care path, clients need to understand how it will be perceived by their

pet. When we’re injured or suffer from a major disease, we understand the treatment we

receive, and we can make accommodations. However, a pet just knows that it’s in pain,

it doesn’t feel like doing anything and it doesn’t know that all the vet visits and

examinations are anything other than a nuisance. This makes chronic care and

intensive treatment far harder on them than it is for us.

There’s No One-Size- Fits-All Solution

Every case is different, and ultimately, it’s up to the owner to decide when they should

euthanize their pet. Now more than ever, it’s important that you take the time to talk to

your client and answer their questions, so they can make an informed decision. These

questions can help frame the discussion:

  • Why do I think it’s time for euthanization?
  • What are my concerns about the process?
  • Whose interests is the choice serving? Am I considering what is best for the pet, or what I think is the best for me and my family because we don’t want to see the pet go?
  • Is there someone else who should be involved in the decision?

Weighing the Good and the Bad

Sometimes animals suddenly become ill, making changes in quality of life obvious.

However, old age can blur the line between healthy and ill, making it hard for owners to

know when they should consider euthanasia. Keeping a journal can help the client look

at their pet’s health objectively. Here are some ways owners can use the journal to get a

clear view of their pet’s quality of life:

  • Write down a list of things the pet likes to do. If the pet can’t do over half of these

things, then it may be time.

  • Good vs. Bad days: How often is the pet its usual self, and how often does it feel

ill? Are bad days outnumbering good ones?

  • Judging basic care: How hard is it to cover physical necessities like water, food

and hygiene? Do pain and limited mobility get in the way?

Helping Children Deal with Death

As adults, we’ve had to face mortality in one way or another, but for many children, the

passing of a pet is their first experience with death. While it’s up to the parents to judge

what their children can handle emotionally, you should always be honest about the

procedure. Books like Mr. Rogers’ “When a Pet Dies” and Monica Mansfield’s “When

You Have to Say Goodbye” can help explain what will happen and why in terms young

children can understand.

Explaining the Process

Whether they’ll be there for the procedure or not, the client should understand how the

euthanasia process will affect their pet, including what happens when the euthanasia

drug enters the animal’s body and what it will feel. If they’ll be there, make sure they

know about other surprises like post-mortem muscle spasms that may make it seem like

their pet is still alive.

Giving the Family Space

Let the family have a quiet area where they can grieve, both when saying goodbye to

their pet and after the procedure, and give them a way to exit your clinic without having

to pass by other clients and their pet. Many clinics have a candle they light to let clients

and staff know that a family is mourning the death of their pet.

Give the Owner a Reminder of Their Lost Pet

At Positive Impressions LLC, we understand this can be a difficult time, which is why we

offer  memorial products that help make your clients’ loss a little easier. We offer

ClayPaws kitsseed packs and ornaments to give owners a physical reminder when

they can’t bury their pet, while our  sympathy cards help you show your clients that you

care for their loss. We also have  euthanasia posters to help comfort families and remind

others to give them time to grieve.

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