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Euthanasia during COVID and options to consider when saying goodbye to your pet

euthanasia Jan 09, 2021

Kathryn Jennings, CPFE, CPLP, Pet Hospice Support Services 

Having to say goodbye to a pet is more challenging during these difficult pandemic times, we when we understand that the safety protocols and procedures implemented by veterinary hospitals are in place for everyone’s wellbeing. Because of these new policies, pet parents more than ever need information on how to make their final days or end-of-life time with a cherished pet memorable and peaceful.

Facing end-of-life with a pet during this isolation can be filled with anxiety and frustration and preparing to say goodbye can be even more heartbreaking when we do not know what options are available during this time. Because of this, we wanted to share important options and considerations should you find yourself faced with end-of-life decision-making.

If you prefer to have your pet pass in the comfort of home, in-home veterinary services, like PetHospice, are still providing this essential care. Our vets can enter your home safely with enhanced protocols, assess your pet and perform a peace-filled end-of-life experience. Should we not service your area at present, you can utilize the In-Home Pet Euthanasia Directory to find a provider near you.

If you prefer or need to utilize a hospital or 24/7 emergency clinic for an end-of-life experience, there are some things you can consider in order to help make the experience as good as possible for both you and your pet during these challenging times.

  • First, call ahead to find out if staying in the room during the procedure is an option, or if you have to wait outside in your car. 
  • Ask if you can Facetime during the procedure or record a message that can be played so your pet can hear your voice. 
  • If you are unable to physically be with your pet, consider sending a favorite toy, blanket or article of your clothing with your scent on it with him or her.
  • Bring your pet’s favorite meal or a treat for them to enjoy during these moments; you can also cook up a delicious meal for them prior to going to the hospital. For a last meal, nothing is off limits, and your pet can enjoy whatever foods they want prior to leaving to your appointment.
  • Consider writing a poem to have your veterinary team read to your pet during the procedure. 
  • Inquire about your aftercare options, and if considering cremation, perhaps you'd like to see or spend time with your pet privately following his or her passing before you leave.

If you are caring for a pet who is nearing end of life, having a bucket list of “to do’s” can also help you focus on the here and now as well as begin to prepare you for loss. During the pandemic, simply offering car rides around the neighborhood can be enjoyable and easily accomplished. Sharing stories of the life and love shared with your pet, setting time aside for a photo session with your pet and family members, or writing a letter of thanks can also be helpful. 

Now more than ever, pet families need support and options to ensure their pet’s end-of- life experience is as calm for them - and as comforting for the family - as possible.  If you are struggling with grief or decision making, PetHospice can help. We offer virtual Quality of Life consultations with our highly trained doctors and nurses nationwide as well as pet loss and support services with our Hospice Counselor.

For more information on our services, you can explore our website or speak directly with our nurses. You are not alone and we are here to help.

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